A Perch – AKA, A Parrot Playground 🦜
🌴 How about some fun for your parrot?
I made this perch for my Catalina Macaw, Kailani; I wanted her to have a place to “hang out” that wasn’t quite as big as her cage, giving everyone in the family room more space.
What The Perch Has
The perch has 5 ‘branches.’ If you start with the branch that Kailani is on now, this is the “Enrichment Branch” meaning that it has a PVC “T” at the end. That means that I can place a small tree branch or a flower stem in here for her to play with or eat – a non-toxic plant.
Next, above her, the “Toy Branch” is made to hold a toy, which shows in the photo. This branch is not parallel to the branch she is on, so that she can step up from one branch to the other. In the middle there is a small, thicker branch. It is the highest point for her, “The High Branch.” To the right of that is another, longer thick branch on the right. This “Thick Branch” offers her another place to perch that has more twine on it and gives her feet a larger place to be, if she likes. Finally, the lower, right-hand branch will be the “Food Branch.” I am in the process of seeing if I can get the PVC to make cup-holders for her food and water.
My goal is for Kailani to have a full-service place to be with us, be happy, be out of her cage — and have space for her future macaw-companion.
🧰 Materials Used
All of my materials came from the home-improvement store with the exception of the umbrella stand.
1 1/2″ PVC pipe
1″ PVC pipe
Jute & Natural Rope
- 3 Elbows (2 are 1″, 1 is 1 1/2″)
- 2 of 1 1/2″ Cross piece (connects 4 pipes)
- 1 of 1″ “T” piece (left on the side to hold enrichment)
- PVC Cement (PVC glue)
- 1 of 1″ cap
Power Tools Used: Saw and Drill
The Method To My Un-calculated Madness
I didn’t make a diagram ahead of time because I knew what I wanted to include (a place for food, a place for a toy, a place for enrichment) I couldn’t guess the sizing because I had to get the pipe and “feel” how high I wanted the ‘tree’ and how wide I wanted the branches. Some of the plan was pragmatic according to what would or would not work. That is why I haven’t finished the food dishes yet, I’ve got my base working, but I need to go back (for a 4th time!) to the hardware store and get my pieces/see how it will work out.
So, I started by running back and forward between the parts I’d laid out and the garage, where I was cutting. I put the perch together (without glue) to make everything work and fit.
Once I was happy with the design, I drilled holes in the pipes that were meant for Kailani to stand on. I drilled two holes, one at each end, so that I could tie the rope on the pipe and then wrap it, and tie the other end off. I’ve seen videos where people rough up the PVC pipe to have more of a natural wood feel, and they smooth it too, ensuring there are no sharp or rough edges left. However, I those tools are beyond me 🤭 and this was (I am guessing) faster and easier.
I chose PVC over wood because I can easily clean and disinfect the PVC. Of course, the rope may be harder to get clean. I plan on taking it outside, hosing it down and then spraying a disinfectant on the rope. I like the rope because I find that my parrots like biting it, plus my renowned veterinarian, Dr Susan Clubb, recommended rope perches for their feet. She has told me that cement or metal perches can be hard on a parrot’s ‘palm’ (not that their feet have palms, but I mean that palm-like skin on their feet). My Amazon’s feet are scared (I adopted her this way), which is what brought the conversation up, and Dr Clubb says that this skin of theirs does not grow back. So, rope it is!
Finally, once I was happy with everything and the perches had their rope, I glued all the pieces together and, although it dries fast, I let it sit out in the fresh air for a while before letting my feathered monkey-parrot on! Kailani is young, so she took to it right away, whereas Venus, my African Grey, is thinking about. Typical parrot, she’ll need to adjust and then I’m sure she’ll love it!
Another great thing about this project is that I already had the umbrella stands, so that made it easy. I made two perches, one for my African Grey – her perch’s tree ‘trunk’ is also 1 1/2″ PVC, but her branches are 3/4″ since she has smaller feet. All together, the two perches have taken me 2 days. Both perches are basically the same and they both still need the food bowls, but since I think I have that figured out, I don’t think finishing these will take more than a couple hours.
If you want to see my video ‘tour’ on the perches, watch this:
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