Powder coated cages are the most common used by parrot owners. They are generally heavy duty cages that can stand up to the abuse of even the largest parrots and they are more affordable than the stainless steel cages. However, an advantage the stainless steel cages has over their powder caged cousins is that they have no coating that can be chipped or damaged.
When I purchase a cage for my birds, I take a lot of things into consideration. Aside from appropriateness for my bird’s species, its mobility, the bottom grating and the feeding stations are very important to me. I measure it completely and make sure I have a space in my house where it will fit. Finding just the right cage can be an ordeal, but once I found it I intend to keep it for a very long time.
So what happens if it becomes damaged? Once the chipping starts, it might attract the attention of your bird and a large beak could push the chipping process along which not only poses concerns about the possibility of ingesting those pieces but when the coating falls away from the cage bars, they are left open to moisture and rust can easily set in. We can’t have rust in our parrot’s environment. Painting is not an option because it will not stand up to even small beaks, not to mention the probability of toxins in the paint.
There is hope for the restoration of your favorite cage!
What is powder coating?
Powder coating is a pigmented polymer resin that is processed into a powder and adhered to the metal cage using electrostatics. The powder is then baked on.
It is a non-toxic coating and covers the entire cage seamlessly. This especially advantageous given that our very observant birds would quickly find flaws and go to work on them starting a peeling dilemma. It also makes cleaning all parts of the cage easy without the fear of causing rust.
How do cages get damaged?
The one thing a powder coated cage needs to keep the coating intact is rigidity in the bars. People have tried to powder coat damaged small cages, flimsy cages such as those made from aluminum without success. If the bars are flexible, their movement will cause the powder coating to break away little by little.
But even iron or steel cage bars can be jarred during movement causing them flex. I have damaged the coating on bottom grates and tray tops during cleaning when I have dropped them onto cement. It happens.
The good news is that powder coating your old cage (provided that it is on good general shape otherwise) is a cheaper option than buying a new cage. Your old cage will be sand blasted to remove the old powder coating and any rust that has developed from exposed metal. Once rusting parts are enclosed in the coating, they rusting process is halted.
The new coating will provide a brand new surface making your old cage new again!
To find out where to have it done in your area google “powder coating” or “sand blasting”and the name of your city.
Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.