Birds are not just pets!
They are companions, roommates, friends, and most importantly, family. Most will form some sort of bond with their owners, while others, like parrots, can even talk.
As such, many owners want their birds to live cage-free for an experience akin to what they enjoy in the wild. They consider having their pets caged as unideal for the bird's overall health and well-being.
So, is it really possible to maintain a pet bird without a cage; cage-free?
Lets find out 🤷♀️🤷♂️!
Cageless is one thing when you are home to supervise your birds, but if you work long hours, keeping your bird free in the house will only work until it doesn't.
Well,several people keep birds uncaged. Usually, what happens is they have a dedicated room for the birds. An area where they can spend time while you're not home to supervise them.
It's basically an indoor aviary.
Though it also depends on the species of bird you have.
For instance, finches, house sparrows, and canaries are not ideal candidates for (small) cages, because unlike parrots, they can't exercise by climbing, hence need enough space for flight, plus they are not too destructive.
Most parrots, including Amazons, macaws, lories, lorikeets, parakeets, and conures, can also live without a cage as long as you have space for them to retreat, feed, and drink, though unlike sparrow, they can be quite destructive.
Pigeons can live cageless and even be let out of the house to fly. From experience (through a cousin who has kept them for ages), they somehow always find a way to come back home.
That said, note all birds require a home space, usually in the form of a cage, aviary, or coop. Think of it, not as confinement for your birds but more as their bedroom.
It's the place they go when they are tired and want to sleep, hide if they feel scared, or just want to be left alone.
You can have birds flying free in your house all day. It's just better to also have a dedicated room or a cage for safety when you do not have time to supervise them, especially since an average household is full of dangers, even for clipped birdies.
Read on for more insight on keeping your pet birds uncaged.
Keeping Your Bird Without A Cage
As I stated above, free-flight can be okay for many birds, as long as it is in a birdie-proofed indoor room.
It also depends on the species of bird you have. For instance, there is a trend to keep larger parrot species cage-less, especially macaws, but not so much smaller birds...
...and remember, even cageless birdies still need a designated stand with a food and water dish as a home base accessible at all times.
That said, there are a couple of things you'll need to keep in mind if you decide to maintain your birds uncaged.
Cageless Birds Will Need You to Proof Your House
If you are considering keeping your bird cage-less, the first thing you need to consider is birdie proofing your house since most standard house settings are not safe enough for them.
For starters, there are a lot of hazards, including cooking stoves, electric cables, windows, overhead fans, and lamps, air conditioning and heating systems, and electronics like TVs, all of which pose a danger to your birds.
Be careful while cooking and when you have your lights and electronics on. Also, remember to keep your bathroom, bedroom, and outdoor spaces such as patios, balconies, and porches closed off to keep your birds from flying away.
Another thing to note is some birdies, such as parrots, are quite destructive. They will obliterate anything they can get their claws and beaks on or in.
So, make sure your pillows, couches, rugs, mats, throws, and other fabrics are birdie-proof.
You'll also want all your furniture and area fabrics made of tough skin that can withstand occasional beak-nicks and claw-scratches.
From experience, parrots show a keen liking to leather and suede, perhaps for the satisfaction of pinching through it or the back and forth beak sawing motion they love to do.
Wicker made from plant's material and woven together to make baskets, chairs, footrests, and more, are also conspicuously interesting to most house birds.
True to their destructive and foraging tendencies, taking down a wicker object might be a weeklong project for your uncaged cockatiel, while a macaw or Amazon can conquer it in a few well-placed chews.
While fabric furniture is a lot safer from your birdies' wrath, if you have the dustier bird types like cockatoos, your sofa or chair might be a canvas for your bird's dust and dander, especially on darker shades.
There is no way to a hundred percent birdproof your house, and since you do not want anything hurting your pet while you are away, consider getting an aviary to house them if there is no one to supervise them.
Uncagged Birds Might Fly Away and Get Lost
Parrots (and most birds) are not cats or dogs that find their way home. They are not homing pigeons either. They do not have the instincts to locate the dot that was a human shoulder: Africangreys.com.
Most birds are not like dogs or cats that can stroll away and still find their way home. While you can let them roam freely in the house, don't let them go outside.
Closing open doors and windows is an ideal place to start, but their wings can also be clipped to reduce your birds flying ability and keep them closer to home.
Rememeber having a bird in a cage or indoors is not always to keep them locked in, but to keep others locked out. Most might not find their way home if they fly out and will not even survive in the wild, apart from to few species like pigeons.
If you are considering letting your birds cage-free outside, you will have to contend with wild predators and environmental elements, so have an aviary or coop for them to take refuge at night or from hostile threats.
Birds Easily Get Scared and Agitated
Like most animals in the wild, birds contend with many hostile elements and hence have developed a flight reflex. As such, it is recommended to have a place for them to take refuge in instances of threat.
A cage is usually the easiest to implement, but as stated above, you can use a bird-room instead. For birds let free outside the house, either an aviary, coop, or treehouse (bird's nest) will suffice.
Also note that most parrots species become overly loud and aggressive when agitated, and it's not uncommon for them to bite.
That, plus their inherent destructive behavior, it can be challenging to tame them without a cage.
Many Birds are Dusty and Messy
If you share your life (and home) with a pet bird, containing its mess and keeping the cage clean can be a daily battle. So, imagine the task you'll have if you let your avian friend roam around the house, leaving a trail of dust and poop on your furniture, electronics, and what have you.
And please note there is no such thing as a clean bird. Right from molted feathers, droppings, chewed-up toys, empty seed hulls, and flung food, all house birds are quite the handful.
As such, it's easier when they have a cage since all that mess will be contained in one area instead of an entire room or house.
You especially do not want to let your birds free if you have costly household items the animals can readily destroy. Keep all cables and other chewable items out of sight and doors to unsafe areas like bathrooms closed.
Moreover, look out for any items that can trap, zap, or generally put your bird in harm's way. I can't tell the number of times I've had to help my bird out of a rats' (mouse) trap.
Consider Your Bird's Personality
Keeping a bird cageless is quite an idea, especially if you have a shy that you want to venture out more. But if you have a super confident bird, you might run into issues.
An overly confident bird outside the cage may become too aggressive and be somewhat similar to having a wild bird in the house. It might be too much at first, but eventually, you'll get tired of all the commotion.
You also need to consider a bird's personality.
You will get more success keeping him cageless if your birdie is somewhat lazy, thus not too destructive as far as household items are concerned.
A bird that is happy on play stands or on your shoulder most of the time...
...but the birdie you do not want to keep cageless is any that won't last point two of a second before he is on something and anything. Whether it's negative or positive attention, he is all for it.
Best Pet Birds to Keep Without A Cage (Cageless)
As you may have already noted, not all birds are ideal candidates for cageless maintenance. Smaller bird types, including parrotlets, are best kept in cages since an entire room for such tiny animals would be overkill.
Still, keep in mind not all small-bodied birds are ideal cage types...
...some species like sparrows need to fly free more often since that's the only way they remain active and in good health.
On the other hand, pigeons are not precisely large in size but prefer if they are not too confined. In fact, they are among the very few house birds that can be let free outside and not wander off entirely.
Below is a list of birdies you should consider when looking for a pet bird that can live without a cage.
Most parrot species can live open in your home provided you take care of safety issues like overhead fans, stovetops, cables, bathrooms, and so on.
However, always have a home space, even if it's a designated stand, for your birds to perch, rest, eat, drink, and sleep.
There is also a trend among the larger parrot keepers to maintain them cageless while inside the house, probably because they require bigger-sized cages.
So if you have a macaw or Amazon parrots, it's not entirely odd to consider keeping them cage-free but think of an aviary outside for when you don't want to roam around the house.
I should also point out that while it's possible to keep your parrot cageless, the risk of having your bird fly outside is great.
As well, depending on your bird's behavior and your comfort level, be willing to clean up after your pet and comfortable with whatever number of things they destroy.
Pigeons and Doves🕊
While dove and pigeons may need a cage as their home base and safe place if they are living in-house, they also require a lot of time outside to exercise and socialize.
Doves and pigeons are also at a lesser risk of getting lost while outside since, unlike most house birds, they know how to find their way home.
They are like cats, but with wings and a better homing instinct.
So, while not as cuddly or colorful as parrots, if you need a bird to keep cageless, doves and pigeons are probably right up there with the best.
Although sparrows are fickle pets, they are also social birds, which means they need friends and a bit of room to be happy and healthy.
This means you can let them fly freely around or in your house, and if you must have a cage for them, make sure it's large enough for flight because they can't get exercise by climbing like parrots.
Also have fresh food and water every day and start them from a young bird.
As well, note that sparrows, like most native or migratory species, are protected, and you're not allowed to keep them at home. Only house sparrows (Passer domesticus) are legal to domesticate in the US and only if it's outside their native range.
Lastly, finches and canaries are almost as active as sparrows and require a large cage for flight, so keeping them cageless is feasible. But they are also more likely to fly away and not make it back home.
Happy Birding 🕊🐦🦜.