|Male chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs). |
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Whether you have built your own flight or purchased one from a manufacturer, cleaning and maintenance are vital. Unlike cages that hold only a couple of birds, a large flight can hold dozens of birds depending on the size. The more birds housed together the greater the threat of bacterial infections from a dirty flight.
The design and setup of your finch flight are extremely important. It should have conveniently placed doors at the bottom to provide easy access to the cage floor. There should also be access doors to allow easy access to the birds, walls, perches and other items. Many commercially built flights have wire grates above the floor.
If possible eliminate the wire grate as it only makes more to clean and does not benefit the birds in any way. Finches like to forage on the floor of the cage and the grates can possibly injure the feet of your Finches. Another bad thing about wire grates is if you provide nests for your Finches and they raise young. The babies could be severely injured if they should fall from the nest onto the grate.
There are several fantastic products that are both effective and affordable to make the job of maintaining your flight quick and easy. All are readily available online or at your local pet store.
- Poop-Off; A very safe product for cleaning cages, perches, and accessories.
- Aviclens; A great water cleanser. Add it to your bird's water at all times to prevent bacteria from forming. Change your bird's water every 1-2 days in hot weather, every 3-4 days in cooler weather.
- Planet Petco Crumbled Paper Litter For Birds; An excellent litter for the bottom of the cage. Lasts from 1 to 2 weeks in large Finch flights.
- Finch Seed Hopper with Catch Tray; A great feeder that reduces mess.
Perch and accessory placement inside the Finch flight is something often overlooked. The placement of perches, toys, feed and water stations, etc. need to be carefully thought out. Never place any of them where other items are directly below them. This greatly reduces the buildup of droppings on perches and accessories. This will result in having to clean perches, toys, etc. only about once every 7-10 days. (Unless you notice a need sooner) Cleaning is a snap too!
- No need to remove perches or accessories from the cage, simply spray with Poop-Off.
- Wait 10-15 seconds and wipe down with a damp cloth.
(Do the same for the cage walls)
Avoid small water cups in your flight. Use a 1 quart or larger hanging Waterer and always filled with water treated with Aviclens. Unless you notice a large number of droppings you will only need to change the water every 1-2 days in hot weather, every 3-4 days in cooler weather.
Use Seed Hoppers with Catch Trays. The hopper holds a large amount of seed and the catch tray eliminates most of the mess. A good rule of thumb is to add 1 hopper for every 4 inches in your flight. By providing the proper number of seed hoppers you will be emptying the catch trays less often.
Cover the flight floor with about 2" of the Planet Petco Crumbled Paper Litter. Even in very large Finch flights the litter only needs to be changed every 7 - 10 days. This will vary depending on the number and type of birds in your flight. Typically the litter lasts anywhere from 7 days to 4 weeks. The litter absorbs moisture and odor, as well as effectively preventing bacteria. When it's time to change the litter simply sweep or vacuum it out of the flight and add new.
Place the Bird Grit in a 10-ounce crock on the flight floor. Be sure it is away from the hanging waterer or it will become wet and need to be changed. Also, make sure there are no perches or other items hanging above the crock. If you pour a nice layer of grit in the bottom of the crock it should last a couple of weeks before you need to worry about changing it. (Unless you notice droppings building up in the grit)
These simple steps will make maintaining your large flight easier and less time-consuming. You'll have a whole lot more time to just enjoy your birds.