Perches & playstands


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phoenix landing presentation from 12/15/13

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  • All of the directions that follow use just push together construction. You can use PVC glue in the joints if desired, just be sure to use outdoors, away from the birds, as fumes are toxic. Once cured, however, the glue is safe.All fittings are of push on variety, that is, smooth inside, not with threads.
  • Thanks to John Carpenter for these instructions! Large suction cups can be found at large craft stores. I bought ones that hold up to 7 lbs each.
  • Rueben is Adrian’s caique
  • A pilot hole is a hole that is smaller than that which you will be screwing into it.
  • Perches & playstands

    1. 1. Perches & Playstands A Parrot Enrichment Class
    2. 2. Enrichment means, “to encourage species specific and appropriate behaviors in captivity.”
    3. 3. A perch; a roost for a bird, an elevated place for resting or sitting, a position that is secure, advantageous, or prominent. So let’s think beyond the wooden dowel!
    4. 4. Since most parrots do not lie down, and many of our companion parrots do not spend much, if any, time flying from place to place, it is probable they spend 99% of their lives standing on their feet. Due to the design of a parrots foot, pressure points can develop from standing on improper perches, such as plastic perches or sandpaper covered perches or of having perches of all the same diameter. The resulting inflammation is commonly known as Bumblefoot. If not treated, infection can spread to the bone, resulting in the loss to toes or feet, or if spread to the blood, can result in death.
    5. 5. Improper perching options can, over time lead to crippling arthritis, and weakened joints and muscles. For optimum health, an assortment of perching options should be provided, varying in size, texture and material.
    6. 6. You can purchase perches can be made from a wide variety of material. The most popular being wood, rope, and cement. You can also find perches made from stone, crushed seashells, leather and PVC. (We’ll learn how to make some of our own latter.)
    7. 7. Extra care should be taken when selecting and placing perches for birds with foot damages, injuries or deformities. More textural perches, or perches with a smaller diameter are easier to grip. As a personal request, if you are caring for a bird with any foot issues, please consider not clipping their wings. They need the extra balance and stability, to feel safe and secure..
    8. 8. Larger, flatter surfaces that require less balancing, can allow a bird to rest easier.
    9. 9. Perch Size Most of us have heard that the “correct” size perch for your parrot is one that the birds foot encircles ¾ the diameter of. But for optimum foot health, you should have a variety of diameters, from one that your parrot’s foot will completely encircle, or even have her back and front toes overlap, to one where her foot is completely flat.
    10. 10. Perch Types & Placement Most parrots will choose the highest perch in their cage to sleep on. So for this perch you want to choose something soft and comfortable. Choose a rope perch, a soft wood, like apple or willow, or a fabric wrapped perch.
    11. 11. Grooming perches help your parrot keep her toenails and beak from becoming overgrown. These perches can be made from concrete, stone, crushed seashells, pumas, or texturized minerals. A good location for a grooming perch is in front of a food bowl. Do not use sandpaper covered perches.
    12. 12. If you have a bird who you are having difficulties getting to step up from inside their cage, try this. Mount a small perch to the inside of your bird’s door. With the door closed, target train your bird to come and stand on that perch. Then gradually open the door, rewarding the bird for staying on this perch. Once the door is fully open, the bird is no longer “inside” the cage, and may step up much more easily from here.
    13. 13. If you are not comfortable offering the bird your hand, and want to teach her to step onto a hand held perch instead, match the hand held perch to the one you mount on to the inside of door, and the transition will be a simpler one. Both perches are made from a single branch that was cut in two.
    14. 14. Perches that move, such as swings, boings, atoms, non wired ropes, require extra balance and provide exercise for your parrot’s ankles and knees.
    15. 15. Rope Sisal, Jute, Hemp, Manila, Poly and Cotton are some of the types of rope available for making perches. Wired Cotton and Sisal ropes, are rigid and hold their shape. These are readily available for purchase. Unwired ropes can be strung from one side of a cage to the other, hung from the ceiling, used to from a tightrope bridge from cage to playstand, or woven into a climbing net. Safety note: Always check ropes daily and cut off and frayed strings that your bird can become entangled in.
    16. 16. By Chris Zapp
    17. 17. Baskets & Wreathes The simplest of all homemade perches are natural (unvarnished) baskets or wreathes made from wicker, willow or grapevine. These can be purchased new from most craft stores or found at bargain prices at thrift stores or yard sales. They can be hung from the ceiling, tied to the side of a cage or playstand. A basket with a sturdy handle can be used as a portable perch with it’s own built in toy carrier!
    18. 18. Lumber Pine and Fir are readily available in a variety of sizes, can be found at any lumber yard or home improvement store, are inexpensive, and easy to work with. For large birds who enjoying chewing their perches, 2x4s can be used as a simple inexpensive perch material. Platforms can be constructed with 2x6 or 2x8, giving a flat surface for your bird to stretch out her toes. Never use pressure treated wood, plywood, pressed board, or oak.
    19. 19. This 1x6 board is BeBe’s favorite perch (and one of her favorite chewing toys too!)
    20. 20. Natural Branches Natural branches provide and endless variety of shapes, diameters and textures that enhance the health of your parrot’s feet. Placing branches at unusual angles can provide climbing and balancing exercise.
    21. 21. Chewing and stripping bark off of natural branch perches provide additional enrichment and nutritional benefits.
    22. 22. Some Bird Safe Varieties Ash, Apple, Aspen, Bamboo, Beech, Birch, Butterfly Bush, Cottonwood, Crabapple, Dogwood, Grapevine, Lilac, Magnolia, Mulberry, Pear, Poplar, Sassafras, Sweet Gum, Sycamore, Viburnum, Willow Be sure to use only wood from safe sources, that are free from any chemicals, herbicides, or pesticides.
    23. 23. Some Toxic Varieties Apricot, Azalea, Black Locust, Box Elder, Cedar, Cherry, Hemlock, Holly, Hydrangea, Juniper, Laurel, Mountain Laurel, Nectarine, Oak, Peach, Privet, Rhododendron, Walnut, Witch Hazel, Wisteria
    24. 24. Cleaning For smaller branches, wreathes or baskets, you can run them through the dishwasher, using a non toxic detergent such as Oxy-Clean. For larger branches, baskets or wreathes, soak & scrub thoroughly with 3 parts warm water and 1 part white vinegar, and a few drops of organic non-toxic soap. Rinse well. Set in the sun to dry.
    25. 25. Construction Smaller branches can be wedged between cage bars, or the ends split and slipped around a bar, or zip tied in place.
    26. 26. Larger branches will need to be notched on the ends with a saw, or fitted with hanger bolts.
    27. 27. Notching ends To calculate the length of a perch to be notched, measure to the outside of the cage bars, and add two inches. Use your choice of saw, hand, table, band or jig, to cut a slot slightly wider than the cage bars, and an inch to inch and a half long. Or leave the center of the branch slightly narrower than the space between two of the bars and cut away the outside. Some times you will only need to notch the thicker end of the branch, and the thinner end can be wedged between bars or zip tied into place. Take care, if notching both ends, that you have the notches going in the same direction.
    28. 28. Hanger bolts A hanger bolt is threaded on both ends, one side looks like a screw, the other side a bolt.
    29. 29. Collect an assortment of bird safe branches, hanger bolts, cap nut, washers, wing nuts drill and wrench. Drill a pilot hole into the end of a branch. Screw cap nut onto hanger bolt. Using wrench, screw hanger bolt into branch up to center of bolt, the blank space between the threads. Remove cap nut. Using your choice of washers, and a wing nut install in desired location.
    30. 30. A slice across a thicker branch can be used to make a natural platform. Again you need a drill, wrench, hanger bolt, wing nut, cap nut, and your choice of washers. Drill a pilot hole. Screw hanger bolt into the wood slice. Hang in the cage, using your choice of washers and wing nut. ( If small cracks develop as the wood dries, you can fill these with elmers glue.
    31. 31. A larger platform can be made using a piece of 2x6 or 2x8. (You can have pieces cut to size at your local Home Improvement store) Lightly sand any rough edges. Hold you section of wood up to the cage bars and mark where you want to place hanger bolts, you will need two for this project. Drill pilot holes. Screw in bolts. Place in desired location using your choice of washers.
    32. 32. Every bird should have some type of shower perch. (We all know how essential regular showers are to our bird’s heath)
    33. 33. Tabletop or floor standing training perches are great to have, and let your bird know that it’s learning time. PVC training perches can be made in a size to fit any bird.
    34. 34. Perches Are Not Just For Inside Cages Consider adding perches to the outside of your bird’s cage, or hanging from the ceiling above or beside her cage. Expanding her available play area without an increase in floor space used.
    35. 35. Tony’s wonderful home in North Carolina
    36. 36. Tony’s wonderful home in North Carolina
    37. 37. Tony’s wonderful home in North Carolina
    38. 38. Tony’s wonderful home in North Carolina
    39. 39. By Megan Lovejoy
    40. 40. By Julia Notin
    41. 41. An infant activity gym can be a great play topper for a flat cage. By Judy Brown
    42. 42. Add extra perches to existing playstands, again for increased play area.
    43. 43. Rosco, who is missing all her toenails, needed a playstand with a variety of very textural perches for added grip
    44. 44. Ariel enjoys climbing the vertical perches that were added to her playstand.
    45. 45. Playstands, free standing or hanging, allow your parrot a safe place outside her cage to play, exercise, forage and explore.
    46. 46. Give them a new view on the world.
    47. 47. Even common household items, like this step stool can be turned into a playstand. This would be great to take with you when you and your parrot go to visit a friend.
    48. 48. A Toddler’s toy stroller turned into portable play area. By Lucy Egloff
    49. 49. Here’s PeeWee in his Foraging Tree, which is simply a branch of a butterfly bush in a clay pot filled with river rock. (No tools required!)
    50. 50. PVC PVC pipe and fittings can be found in the plumbing department of most hardware stores. It is inexpensive and very easy to work with. It’s water proof nature makes it ideal for use in wet areas, such as showers, and easy to clean. The surface should be sanded or covered, with rope, twine or vet wrap, to provide better grip. There is also a flexible ribbed PVC that is used as electrical conduit, that comes in ½” and ¾” sizes, so it can be used in conjunction with the standard plumbing PVC.
    51. 51. By Becky Lyons
    52. 52. Folding PVC Stand This stand can be used as a training perch, a shower perch, or a travel perch, or small playstand. It folds flat when not in use. The following directions can be adapted to fit your own needs. You will need 10 ft+ of pvc pipe in the diameter of your choice. 6 or 8 pvc tees, depending on design choice. 6 caps, or 4 caps and 2 bends (90 degree) PVC cutter (buy a good one, it’s worth it!) Measuring Tape
    53. 53. Cut four 7” sections of pvc. Push one section into each side of a tee. Push a cap on each of the remaining ends. Cut two 2” sections, push into the top of the tees. This forms the feet. Cut two 12” sections. With the first section add tee to each end. Push onto top of feet. This forms bottom brace.
    54. 54. Cut two 30”+ (but identical length) leg sections, push into remaining openings in tees in bottom brace. Add tees (or bends) to each end of the remaining 12” previsouly cut section. Push onto top of legs. Cut two 2”+ pieces, push into last ends to tees, cap. Sand or wrap the perching surface as desired.
    55. 55. Suction Cup Shower Perch (This perch can also be placed on a window) 2 ½ feet + of PVC (½” or ¾”) 1 PVC cross 1 bend (90 degree) 4 caps 3 Large suction cups PVC cutter (buy a good one, it’s worth it!) Drimmel tool Measuring Tape Thank you to John Carpenter for showing me how to make this perch!
    56. 56. Using Drimmel tool, cut a groove into three of the caps. Slide suction cups into the groove. Cut three 6” sections of pvc. Push three section into the cross, and push caps on ends. Cut a 1 ½ ” section of pvc, push into cross. Cut one 6-9” section of pvc, place cap on one end, and push other end into bend. Push bend onto 1 ½” section. Sand or wrap perching surface as desired. *If caps with suctions cup do not fit extremely snuggly, I recommend using PVC glue on them. Make sure to use this glue only in a well ventilated area, away from the birds, for it’s fumes are toxic. Allow to cure for at least 24 hours. Once cured it is completely safe.
    57. 57. PVC Orbit Roll of ribbed PVC electrical conduit (½” or ¾”) (Carlon Flex-Plus Blue Electrical Nonmetallic Tubing) 6 PVC crosses, size to match conduit Stainless screw eye(s) 1 for hanging, optional additional screw eyes for hanging toys. Your choice of hanging material, such as plastic chain. Drill Measuring Tape PVC cutter (buy a good one, it’s worth it!)
    58. 58. Cut pvc into 12 equal length pieces, 12 ½” for ½” 16 ½” for ¾” Drill a pilot hole in the center of one of the crosses, screw in eyescrew for hanging. If using additional eyescrews for hanging toys, do those now too. Push (hard) the ends of two sections of pvc into two oppisite sides of first cross. You will notice that the pvc does not go all the way into the center of the cross.
    59. 59. Add crosses to the o other ends of these w two first sections of v pvc, then two more ct sections of pvc to those crosses, then add the fourth cross to form a complete circle. Form a semi circles with a cross and two pvc sections, make two. Add one semi circle to the circle.
    60. 60. Add the second semi circle to the opposite side of the circle. Insert remaining pvc sections into crosses.
    61. 61. Hang and add toys as desired.
    62. 62. For additional PVC stand ideas and instructions, see the book, Parrot –Toys & Play Areas, by Carol D’Arezzo & Lauren Shannon-Nunn
    63. 63. Sleeping Platform A few years ago, our macaw, Trixie, began laying across her water bowl to sleep at night. This concerned me because she was damp all night, started wearing off the feathers across her chest, and was obviously uncomfortable, because we would hear her whining during the night. I remembered a “hammock” that my friend Susan had made for her macaw, Gracie.
    64. 64. I’ve adapted Susan’s idea to make a more stable platform, that bolts to the side of the cage, and makes a secure spot to lay down and sleep. Trixie says everybirdie deserves a bed of her own.
    65. 65. Sleeping Perch Artist’s Canvas (2)2 ½” bolts Washers Fleece Elmer’s Glue Drill & Staple Gun Place Canvas frame up to cage bars and mark where you want to place bolts. Drill holes that will allow bolt to fit snuggly. Push Bolts into holes.
    66. 66. Cut 2 pieces of fleece. One large enough to wrap around frame and overlap the edges, the second slightly smaller than the outside edge of the frame. Wrap canvas frame, mitering corners (like wrapping a present) and stapling as you go. Push bolts so that you can see where they are, and cut a tiny hole. Push bolts all the way through. Run glue around the backside edge of fleece.
    67. 67. Place smaller section of fleece to cover the back (and staples). Press firmly into the glue. Check to make sure that all edges are glued down. Allow to dry completely. Using your choice of washes mount in cage.
    68. 68. For Questions or Comments contact Laura at Visit my Blog at Join the FaceBook Group, The Parrot’s Workshop to share more fantastic perching and playstand ideas.