As I mentioned in my review of bird cage brands, some rolling bird cages have a convenient storage shelf at the bottom. Here are two, for comparison.
Personally, I find it an invaluable place to store food, toys, cleaning supplies, and other items. When you’re pressed for time and want to swap out a toy, this makes it super easy. Also, if you want to move the cage, the floor around the cage isn’t cluttered with items.
But I have a bunch of cages that don’t have this nice shelf. I thought of just cutting a piece of plywood, but I have roaming birds that become hormonal when they find dark places. Plus, plywood isn’t particularly attractive.
You may not know it, but you probably have a custom plastics shop where you live. They will take plastic sheets, film, tubes or anything else and create whatever you can dream up.
In my case, I wanted to create a shelf that would fit on the rail just above the wheels. It would have cut-outs for the corners to fit around the legs. It would be translucent plastic, something birds can’t chew, and thick enough to support 10-20 pounds of weight.
What I ended up with was this:
- Rectangular piece of 3/8″ acrylic
- Clear smoke color
- Edges tapered to avoid anything sharp
- Rectangular corner cuts to fit around the legs
Here’s the custom cut piece of plastic:
And here’s the piece inserted into the base of the cage.
Unfortunately, custom plastics aren’t cheap. I got three of these made and they were $53 apiece for materials. The smokey color added $6. Labor for cutting all three pieces was $25.
You could save money going for clear and also potentially going for a thinner piece of plastic. The 3/8″ is extremely sturdy and might actually be overkill.
Before you order any custom plastic, measure very carefully and here are some tips.
- Be sure to measure from the outside edge of the metal frame where the plastic will sit. You want the full width of those rails to support the plastic.
- When measuring the cut-outs for the legs, be sure to allow some padding, maybe 1/16″ just to be sure it’s going to fit.
- Most importantly, see the diagram below. Made sure the full width of the cage (yellow) is not wider than the diagonal measurement of the opening (red). Ideally, the diagonal measurement should be at least an inch more. Tilting the plastic at an angle is how you’ll get it into place.
Although this seems unrelated to the ideas of Free Range Parrots, it’s important that you always have everything you need for your birds at all times. Everyone is pressed for time so if you want to keep your bird’s environment changing and engaging, you need your bag of tricks close-by.