From Chapter 6 - Adapting Your Home
Cleaning your house can also be a challenge when you have birds. They are, by nature, messy creatures, but that doesn’t mean you must have a messy house. In fact, there are quick and simple ways to keep your house clean if you have the proper supplies and take a few minutes here and there to spot clean messes.
If you got a cage with a cage skirt or put a cage skirt on the cage then you’ve done 90% of the work already. That will go a long way in keeping mess confined to the cage area and keeping it out of carpets and off walls or furniture. But some will still get out, and those cages still need to be cleaned. Here are a few things you can keep on hand to make cage and house cleaning quick and easy:
A lightweight vacuum (for carpet)
A broom (for floors)
A small scrub brush
The need for a lightweight vacuum and a broom are obvious. Vacuuming and sweeping every few days will go a long way in keeping your house clean. The cleaning wipes, scouring pads, and small scrub brush make cleaning cages much easier. Cleaning wipes and scouring pads are sanitary, safe for use on cages, and disposable. The carpet spray and scrub brush are good for cleaning “accidents” on carpet and furniture, and the scrub brush can be cleaned in the dishwasher. And, of course, you’ll need plenty of newspaper and garbage bags because the cages will need frequent paper changes.
The experts will tell you that you need to clean cages daily but really, who really has time for that? If I cleaned cages every day then that’s all I’d do with my spare time. Here’s a trick I’ve learned: Deep clean cages about once a week. Set a night each week that you’ll do it (doing it the day before garbage pick up day is usually smart). Wipe down the cage with the cleaning wipes, scrub away hard messes with the scouring pads, change newspaper, rotate toys, wash cloth toys, and vacuum or sweep around the cages on this night. Then for the rest of the week, freshen food and water daily and change newspaper and spot clean messes every two or three days. This will keep the cages and the area around them clean and sanitary with a heavy investment of time once a week and minimal disruption to your schedule the other six days.
Now on newspapers: I realize that fewer and fewer people are taking the newspaper, so what do you do about cage lining material if you’ve gone digital? Well, we cancelled our newspaper subscription in 2007 and have never lacked for paper to clean cages. Here are two options on getting newspapers with little or no cost to you:
1. If you work in an urban area, see if they have what I call “freebie papers.” These are small local
newspapers that are usually stacked in stands about once a week that people can pick up. We had two papers that restocked in my building once a week when I worked downtown. I learned that they restocked new editions on Fridays, so I went to the stands before I left work on Thursdays and took whatever papers they had left. (If I found I needed more paper during the week, I’d grab one or two newspapers to hold me over).
2. There will always be “paper holdouts,” so take advantage of them. When my job was transferred out of the downtown area, I didn’t have the “freebie papers” available anymore. What to do? I asked my parents, who still take the daily newspaper, if I could have theirs when they were done reading it. They bring me their old newspapers about once or twice a month, and I keep them stored in a large bag with the other bird toys. And if anybody at work or elsewhere asks if somebody wants a newspaper when they’re done with it, I take it. Ask your neighbors, colleagues, church members, friends, or others you see frequently that you know have a newspaper subscription if you can have their papers when they’re done reading them. It saves them from having to dispose of them, and it keeps you supplied with cage cleaning material.
And if these options fail, then you might have to occasionally buy a Sunday newspaper. I suggest getting the Sunday edition because it’s usually the biggest of the week, so that should keep you covered for a couple of weeks, depending on the size of the cage (and how many cages) you’re cleaning.
Having birds doesn’t mean your house has to look and smell like an aviary! In fact, it is possible to have a nice, clean home and have multiple birds in it. You just have to know the tips and tricks for set up, safety and cleaning to keep things running smoothly and to keep a nice home that’s comfortable for you and your feathered friends.