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Bird Bowls and Feeders

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Here are some helpful facts about food containers for birds to help you decide the best type for Polly.

Food Containers
The size of your bird is the biggest determining factor when choosing a food container. Large birds will require feeding containers that are durable and tamper-proof. Bowls can be placed in the bottom of the cage as long as they are the heavy ceramic bowls.

Steel feeding bowls can also be bolted to the side of the cage. Stainless steel bowls that sit on the bottom of the cage are too easy to tip.

Smaller, less destructive birds will do fine with plastic feeders. No matter what kind of bowl you choose, be careful not to place the bowl where the bird's droppings will fall in the bowl.

Once a bird eats a seed, it tends to put the empty husks back in the dish. In a deeper dish, the discarded husks may get so deep that the bird won't be able to reach the uneaten seed underneath. Therefore, food dishes that are more wide and shallow are better than those that are deep.

Many bird owners like to use a seed hopper for their bird's cage. A seed hopper contains seed for several days, and it trickles down into a feeding trough as the bird eats it. Some hoppers are made with clear material so the seed level can be seen at a glance. The disadvantage of a seed hopper is that it can encourage wasted seeds. Some birds acquire a preference to certain seeds within a seed mix and pick through the whole hopper in search of it. If a bird develops this habit, it's best to have several hoppers with only one kind of seed in each. It's still necessary to perform daily husbandry tasks even though you have the multi-day feeding ability of a hopper.

Water Containers
Larger parrots require a durable and unbreakable water container, such as a ceramic crock. Make sure you don't place it under any perches where droppings fall. The water bottles with stainless steel spouts are not recommended because big birds tend to crush the spout with their powerful beaks. They might also learn how to detach the bottle from the cage, causing it to crash to the floor.

The use of a water bottle is best for smaller birds because the water will not be easily contaminated by droppings. However, some birds, such as doves, cannot drink from a water bottle. Clean, fresh water should be changed daily, regardless of the container.

Keeping Cage Feeders Clean
Clean all feeders and water containers daily with a mild detergent and water. Soft foods and fruits should be placed in a separate container and removed after about 2-4 hours, depending on your climate. Poor quality water and foods with a high-moisture content (grapes, apples, citrus fruits) are the greatest contributors to high-bacterial exposure in birds.

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