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In addition to toys and treats, another two of the easiest ways to increase variety in your bird’s environment are perches and boughs. These relieve pressure on the feet, reducing the risk or arthritis, rheumatism and pressure sores.

Correcting avian foot problems once started is difficult, so prevention is essential. Perches and boughs are manufactured from lots of different materials, including wood, concrete, plastic, acrylic, PVP pipe, and even rope. Shapes range from round to elliptical to flat. Natural wood and molded plastic perches offer knobs and uneven surfaces. Metallic, wedge-shaped perches offer avian feet the open work of a cage top in the interior corner of the cage.

Wood is the natural choice for perching material and gives the bird a sure grip without conducting cold. On the down side, wood is more difficult to sterilize, and some birds may routinely reduce their perches to splinters. Quakers can be very destructive with their beaks if they are not given approved alternatives to steer them away from the more valuable furnishings in your home. Some nontoxic species of boughs include alder, birch, hazelnut, poplar, willow, beech, elm, grape and maple (except red maple, which is toxic).

Several of these species also make good perch material, along with the well-known standby Manzanita, which is exceptionally though yet lightweight, and an excellent choice for voracious chewers, Of course, a determined bird will eventually gnaw its way through any wood, but it will take a considerable amount of time with Manzanita.

One particular cage company has introduced a line of Manzanita perches and cage top trees to fit some of the more popular cages. Perches and boughs made from wood will probably need to be replaced on a regular basis, due to Quakers being such avid chewers.

However, to reduce your costs, some of these species may be found on your own property, or that of a friend or neighbor. Pieces that you suspect may have been sprayed with pesticides can be sterilized by washing them thoroughly with a mild soap and water and then heating them in an oven for thirty minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Manzanita perches and chewable toys can be purchased at pet stores or through mail ordering.

Tow woods you will be hearing more about in the future are madrone and ribbonwood. Madrone is a smooth, brown-barked hardwood more uniformly straight and round than Manzanita. Birds enjoy peeling the bark from madrone and can chew without destroying the perch itself. Ribbonwood is occasionally used in place of Manzanita and is supposedly just as durable.

With the large variety of perches and boughs available at various different locations and at very reasonable prices, you really have no excuse for providing your Quaker with only one style or size.

While the basics, such as providing perches of adequate diameter and placing them strategically so as to prevent contamination of their feet from defecation, are important, it is crucial to offer your Quaker a choice of safe footing to prevent avian foot problems.


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