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How to Make a Bird Hospital Cage – A Guide for Avian Owners

How to make a bird hospital cage

Is your bird critically ill or recovering from surgery? If yes, you may need to set up a cage specifically designed to cater to his needs.

But the next question that may pop into your mind is “how to make a bird hospital cage”?

In this article, we curated a guide on how to build a hospital cage for birds.

We’ll also share with you some ideas on:

  • What to put on the bottom of the cage
  • How to keep sick birds warm
  • How to disinfect avian cages to prevent infection and the spread of bacteria

So, without further ado, let’s dig in!

How to Make a Bird Hospital Cage infographics

How to Make a Bird Hospital Cage

A bird hospital cage doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. You just need to get the size, materials, and accessibility features right and prepare the following materials.


  • Smooth-sided cage
  • Lining or bedding
  • Low perch
  • Supplemental heat
  • Fresh, clean water
  • Nutritious food
  • Nutritional and Electrolyte supplements
  • Thermometer
  • Cage cover/ towel

So, how to make a hospital cage for birds? Here’s a simple step-by-step guide for you.

how to make a hospital cage for birds

1. Choose a Quality, Smooth-sided Bird Cage

You can choose other materials but we recommend choosing a smooth-sided or transparent material. It’d be even better if it contains ventilation holes that trap the heat for the bird hospital cage.

It can be either an aquarium or a bird carrier which contains a handle that enables you to move it quickly in times of emergency and observe your bird such as the following:

  • Wingabago Bird Carrier – This carrier is handy and perfect for traveling to vet clinics but it can also serve as a hospital cage for large birds like cockatoos. However, it’s expensive and bulky.
  • Caitec Perch and Go Bird Carrier – It was designed for African greys and smaller birds like Budgerigars. It’s easy to clean and convenient to use for tiny avians.
  • Caitec’s Macaw Carrier – As the name suggests, this is for bigger birds like macaws. It includes front and back doors, preventing your bird from having to turn around to enter or exit the carrier. And your Macaw will be encouraged to relax in this Macaw-friendly parrot hospital cage thanks to the low perch height.

It must be small to limit your bird’s movement and prevent him from spending his energy on other activities that may hinder his recovery.

A reptile enclosure or hot box can also make an excellent hospital cage but it can be costly. However, it’s ideal for birds with poor heart conditions or advanced diseases.

2. Keep it Warm

Just like humans, sick birds may struggle to maintain their body temperature and get chilled.

Their resting body temperature ranges from 38.5°C(101.3°F) to 40°C(104°F) but their active temperature is around 42°C(107.6°F).

To maintain their temperature, they need a controlled external heat source in their hospital set up maintained at around 25°C (77°F).

How do you keep a sick bird warm?

Here are three tools or devices that you can use the keep sick birds warm.

Heating pad

You can use a heating pad and put it under the carries to provide heat for your bird. However, it’s not thermostatically controlled so it may result in overheating which can also lead to dehydration.


This device that regulates the temperature in a cage automatically switches the heat globe on and off. The temperature drops to 23°C when off but increases to 26°C when turned on which is the suitable range for sick birds.

Heat lamp

A heat lamp is also effective in providing warmth to the bird. But similar to the heating pad, you can’t control the heat it provides.

Cage warmers

These heating devices are thermostatically controlled so it provides just the right amount of heat.


A hotbox has a built-in thermostat that maintains a constant temperature even if it has vents that allow airflow. The globe switches off by itself to prevent overheating. So, it’s definitely ideal as a hospital cage.


Look out for signs of overheating. Overheated birds may pant, breathe via an open beak, or hold their wings away from their bodies. If you noticed the signs, check and adjust the temperature accordingly.

3. Put Cage Liners at the Bottom

You can use towels and newspapers as cage liners but puppy pads and paper towels are better because they will allow you to observe their droppings if there’s blood or anything unusual.

Changes in your bird’s poop, such as color, frequency, volume, moisture, or character, may indicate a health issue that needs prompt veterinary care.

4. Put the Hospital Essentials

Now, you may be wondering what to put on the bottom of the bird cage.

Here are the hospital must-haves and simple accessories your sick bird needs.

Shallow food and water bowl

It’d be best to use a shallow food and water dish when your bird is sick so it doesn’t have to climb to eat or drink.

But make sure that the dishes aren’t easy to tip over to prevent food wastage and keep the hospital cage clean.

Low T-perches

If your bird is strong enough to climb a low perch, then you can add this to your hospital cage.
The perches must be low so your birds won’t fall more than an inch or two.

Otherwise, your bird may sustain further injuries. You can also wrap it with a vet wrap to prevent foot injuries.

Nutritious food and clean water

Given your bird’s current condition, you need to provide a balanced diet and accessible fresh and clean water for your pet.

You can also give him his favorite treats once in a while. And don’t forget to monitor his weight using a bird scale so you can provide supportive care if his weight drops.

Electrolyte mix

If your sick bird refuses to drink, you may need to have an electrolyte mix to prevent dehydration.

Over-the-counter mixes have high sugar content so it’s best to create a homemade one using this simple recipe:

  • 2 c. fresh water
  • 1 teaspoon of honey or Karo syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt

Just mix the ingredients above thoroughly. Then use either a dropper, curved spoon, or cream pitcher to get your bird to drink it.

Your bird will recover more quickly if the electrolytes are balanced. Please keep in mind that whenever a bird is warming up and recovering at the same time, it must always have access to fresh, clean water because heat leads to dehydration.

What’s a Bird Hospital Cage?

A bird hospital cage is an avian cage designed to accommodate and provide supportive care to sick birds.

The goal of making a hospital cage is to provide 3Rs for birds:

  • Rest
  • Relaxation
  • Recovery

It’s a nest cavity that provides ICU experience for birds who sustained injuries from bumping into a window or cat and dog attacks.

You can also use it when your pet bird has a broken wing or fractured leg due to a fall or when he’s experiencing a serious bacterial infection.

Why a Bird Hospital Cage is Important?

A hospital bird cage is essential when your bird is sick. You can use it while waiting for a vet appointment or if your bird is recovering from a disease or surgery.

You may not be able to contact your vet 24/7 and it can be costly to keep your bird in a vet’s clinic. So, it’s handy to have one.

Furthermore, your bird faces lots of household dangers.

While hospitalization is ideal, you can save a considerable amount of money if you have a hospital cage in handy for his recovery at home.

How to Disinfect a Bird Hospital Cage

Sick birds are at a high risk of contracting secondary infection and exposure to droppings or old food with bacteria can only increase the risk.

Since birds are messy and poop a lot, you need to keep their hospital cage clean at all times. He must use his energy for recovery and not for fighting against another viral disease or infection.

You need to remove the bird droppings and change the cage liners several times a day. Then, clean the inside and outside of the cage by removing food splatters, poop, and other types of soiling at least once a day.

Check the towels at the bottom of the cage as well and change them at least once a day.

Don’t forget to clean the food and water bowls too.

You can use a vet-grade bird-safe disinfectant to clean the cage and kill viruses and bacteria like F10 veterinary disinfectant. Another home remedy you can use is soapy water. Just rinse it after to make it spotlessly clean.

Where to Place a Bird Hospital Cage

Sick birds need a quiet and calm environment to rest and recover faster. So, the hospital cage must be far away from the television, noisy children, and other pets that can disturb them.

You may not want them to get out of your sight. But you must not put them in an uncomfortable and stressful area so they can have peace of mind and focus on recuperating.

Their hospital cage must be in a warm area, away from drafts and windows. You can even put a thick towel around it to darken the atmosphere and reduce sounds that may disturb your bird.

call a vet or stay in a hospital cage?

When to Call a Vet and When to Settle on a Hospital Cage

It’s crucial to know which signs of a sick bird require emergency care right away and which improve with supportive care provided at home.

So, in this section, we’ll talk about when to call a vet or when can you stay at your home and place your bird in a hospital cage.

If your bird suffers from broken bones, you must bring him immediately to a vet. Bones like wings are extremely fragile so it needs vet attention.

Other injuries like beak, mouth, and sinus injuries also require you to seek vet care immediately since they can allow infections to enter the brain.

Bitten toes and feet can be treated in a hospital cage unless the laceration is extremely bad. Broken blood feathers can be treated at home as well.

If you catch one bleeding, try holding flour onto it until it clots.

Spayed legs can be also easily fixed at home without a veterinarian’s help. Simply bind the bird’s legs together with paper tape or vet wrap (but not too tightly that you cut off the circulation).

Do this for at least a week, and if necessary, more (older birds). Then, replace the dressing every other day or if it falls off.

If your bird is suffering from other injuries and you aren’t sure about what to do, it’d be best to let the vets do the job.

Remember that first aid can be a lifesaver but an instant killer in the wrong hands.

To sum it up, here are the injuries that require immediate veterinary care and injuries you can handle at home in your bird’s hospital cage.

Types of Injuries

Injuries that need immediate vet care
  • Broken bones like wings
  • Beak, mouth, and sinus injuries
  • Bitten toes and feet with extreme laceration
Injuries that can be taken care of at home
  • Bitten toes and feet with no laceration
  • Broken blood feathers
  • Spayed legs

how to make a hospital cage

How to Make a Bird Hospital Cage: Final Tips

When making a bird hospital cage, you need to put your bird’s interest first instead of aesthetics. The goal is to make it a place for rest, relaxation, and recovery.

So, be sure to keep it comfortable, clean, warm, and away from windows, drafts, and household traffics.

Don’t forget to prepare his food and water bowls and electrolyte mix should the need arise.

And lastly, get your first aid kit for birds ready which includes syringes, scissors, vet wrap, cotton balls, tissue paper, Q tips, flour, or Kwik Stop.

These tools are essential when you need to administer first aid to your sick or injured bird.

So, that wraps our guide on how to make a bird hospital cage. Have you tried making one for your pet? What are your tips and ideas? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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