The finishing.com Hotline: Serious Education ... plus the most fun you can have in metal finishing. Ted Mooney, Webmaster
Q&A on Zinc-free Bird Cage Construction for Parrots
Q. I'd like a specific size of bird cage that is not available commercially and therefore would like to create my own. The dimensions of the cage will be 67.5 x 36 x 30. I'm looking for 1/4" powder coated wiring for my design. Do you sell this or something similar?Sheri Wallace-Matthews
- Dublin, Ohio
A. Are you saying the bird cage is made of 1/4" diameter wire, Sheri, or do I misunderstand?
What species are you building it for, Pterodactyl? What I'm really getting at is that 1/4" diameter is so heavy that screens of that weight are usually fabricated by welding the lengths of rods together, rather than by weaving them.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Pterodactyl wasn't a bird ;) Maybe for a condor?Adam Weston
- Northridge, California
Of course pterodactyls were birds. Did you miss the closing scene of Jurassic Park? :-)
A. Just a tip- be careful not to use galvanized wire for birds b/c I have just learned that the zinc in the galvanized wire is toxic to birds if they manage to get the zinc off in their mouths. I'm also looking for wire to replace the galvanized wire on my birds cage and I have found some stainless steel welded wire.
Good Luck,Tracey Cipollone
- New Richmond, Ohio
Q. Did you find your wire. I am building a large aviary for finches and can not find wire I would like black plastic or something similar or anything else that works.Terry Pinto
- Rockland, Maine
Q. I'm glad I'm not the only one having trouble finding what I need. I am looking for stainless or aluminum welded wire mess with a .5 inch by 4 inch mesh diameter. I have investigated having it made at I have been quoted prices from $600-$900 USD. A tad high for a bird cage for finches. If anyone has any reasonable suggestions my ears are open too.Dan Kresan
- Kingsville, Ontario, Canada
Q. I am still looking for bird cage wire for finches I am building an aviary 4w x 8h x 8L has anyone found anything that works. HELP!Terry Pinto [returning]
- Rockland, Maine
A. Here is a source for custom cages, any dimensions you require. They also have all the supplies and various size wire available for those of you who are doing it yourself. They have panels with doors in them they will also powder coat in several different colors for additional cost. I am not affiliated with them at all, I just am aware of there products and service. I keep English budgies, Pennants Parakeets (Crimson Rosellas), Diamond doves, finches and canaries. Go to KW Cages at www.kwcages.com, then go to the "Wingz Aviary Products" catalog.Lauren Schlick
- San Jose, California
Q. Is galvanized metal toxic to animals, mainly birds. I'm thinking about using galvanized metal to build my aviary cage and wondered if my parrots who chew on them would be zinc poisoning or only the fumes are toxic?
Thanks. JVJohn Vu
- San Jose, California
A. Go to the following link for PVC coated wire mesh of many sizes and gauges for aviaries: www.ceshepherd.comRoyal Miree
- Birmingham, Alabama
A. There is a place to get coated wire and cage supplies at www.klubertanz.com. Do not use Galvanized wire for any animal it is very toxic.Patty Fatsie
- Cleveland, Ohio USA
A. An alternative for birdcage wire is stainless steel TIG welding rods, not cheap but not too bad, if you have the equipment to weld S.S. There are also different gas welding rods available at welding shops for gas welding muffler pipe that are not stainless, but they would need to be painted or taken to an outfit that could powder coat the whole cage, a reasonable alternative for a custom cage.Romas Povilaitis
- Monterey, Indiana
Q. I am desperately trying to find wire mesh panels to build a flight cage in my backyard. It is for cockateils and would like it long so they can actually fly. Do I keep it off the ground? How high? I am having trouble finding supplies locally as well to put it all together. Also some suggestions to secure it from Hurricanes would be helpful.I have about 10 birds. I live in South Florida. Any suggestions.
hobbyist - Hollywood, Florida
A. Hi, Susan. This is actually a metal finishing site, and the topic has drifting beyond my area of experience, so I don't know if anyone can help. But four suppliers have been mentioned by other readers. Good luck.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
February 3, 2008
A. I just ordered wire panels and doors from Wingz Avian Products for my 8' X 16' Indoor flight. Everything was powdercoated black. I also bought a roll of Pvc coated wire to re-wire my outdoor lori aviary.Tom Arbeta
- Plant City, Florida
March 16, 2008
Yes you should keep your flight cage off the ground. Ground feeding birds frequently get infected with worms if allowed to actually ground feed. This is one of the reasons that wild birds don't have as long life spans as captive kept birds.
- Green River, Wyoming
July 28, 2008
A. I have found a source for 1/2" "chicken wire" Try Kent Design and Manufacturing and scroll down in their "metal grill" section and find #1220T.Elizabeth Paul
- New York, New York
September 18, 2008
Thanks for letting me know about Wingz. I ordered their free catalog from clover.forest.net/kwcages/index.html Looks like they have wire panels, doors etc to make your own cages. I have looked for a long time and it is very hard to find anything like what is being sold through Wingz. Thank you again for the info.Christine Miller
- Vancouver, Washington
April 12, 2011
A. Just to put in my 2 cents as a cage builder, and bring it back to metal finishing...
The links suggested above are mostly for galvanized , powder coated, or pvc over galvanized wire. Galvanized wire can cause chronic toxicity and shorten the life of your bird through nerve and liver damage - especially if he likes to climb with his beak. And anything coated or plated will eventually uncoat especially with the more active birds.
So, if you make the cage yourself out of mild steel wire mesh and then have it powdercoated it should last for several years (depending on the bird and the quality of the prep job of the powder coater). However, in the future it will begin to chip off, at which point the cage should be refinished. Ingesting the right size chip can kill your bird.
If you make it yourself, a good choice is to use a 304L or 316L stainless steel welded wire mesh (or solid brass, not plated). You can search "welded wire" in the Thomas Registry. Research the appropriate bar spacing for your bird (e.g. google "finch cage bar spacing"). Then, either the wire company or you can make the mesh into panels which can be connected together with j-clips.
Before connecting it together though, your welded panels should be cleaned and passivated because a bird cage is a highly corrosive environment, even for stainless. Use an electropolisher for this, or passivate it yourself with citric acid. I have used Citrisurf's products (www.citrisurf.com) and the guys there are very helpful.
If you're like me, and you don't prefer the high security prison look, make your own custom panels out of tig wire (again 304L or 316L stainless). Be careful to avoid pinch points. Or bring your ideas to a custom cage builder and have them do it for you.
Hope this helps,
- Portland, Oregon
October 9, 2014
Q. I am aware of the downside of using galvanized mesh for my parrot aviary. Parrots chew on the wire and therefore risk toxicity from the zinc in the galvanized mesh. I've been told to wash the mesh with vinegar to remove some of the zinc and to do this once a year. It's supposed to lessen the risk of toxicity. My question is can powder coating the mesh with a zinc free powder coat make the galvanized mesh safer and less chance of toxic poisoning to my birds. Or I've also been told that I can paint the mesh with a paint that is made for galvanized wire.
- Fairfield, California USA
November 10, 2014
A. I'm no expert here, other than once working with a customer that was making stainless steel bird cages.
The point of galvanized steel is corrosion resistance. If you're going to strip off or coat over the zinc, you may as well just get plain old steel to begin with and paint or powder coat that. And there's always stainless, though it's likely a pricier option.
Stellar Solutions, Inc.