Recommended space requirements for birds kept in a pet retail environment

Background

In line with a decision made by PIJAC Canada’s National Board of Directors, the association was asked to prepare a set of recommended space requirements for pets kept in a pet retail environment. This document represents the second segment of the exercise and refers to birds.

The following document is the result of some extensive research.. The document reflects the expertise identified and selected by the staff of PIJAC Canada. Through our involvement with the International Pet Advisory Council we were able to review pertinent documents from other pet industry associations around the world. Further consultation with PIJAC USA resulted in, among other references, a referral to the State of Colorado’s published Animal Care Facilities guidelines.

The first version of the document created some concerns, i.e. some of the calculations and cubic densities were in question, and as a result of the feedback from our membership, we have reviewed the method of calculation used in the formula originally proposed. Another methodology that was examined uses area (sq. cm.) rather than cubic space. The theory is that most birds will gravitate to the top of the cage. Hence, the height of the cage (and subsequently cubic measurement) is irrelevant and possibly misleading in determining space requirements.

Assumptions

The following assumptions have been taken into account to come up with the recommendations appearing in this document:

  1. Definition of Pet retail environment. “Pet retail environment” means any place or premise used in whole or in part, whether on a permanent or temporary basis, for the purpose of retail sale, trading or otherwise transferring pet animals to the public.In addition to the traditional pet shop or wholesaler, pet retail environments shall include the keeping for transfer or the transfer of pet animals at temporary facilities such as flea markets, mobile facilities, department stores, merchandise outlets, discount outlets, pet animal shows conducting a sale, and other types of retail outlets.
  2. Notwithstanding the other assumptions, it is understood that while this document specifically refers to stocking densities, it is assumed that all other pertinent animal welfare considerations, as outlined in other PIJAC Canada publications, are being met. More specifically this means:

1. Primary enclosures are those animal enclosures in which the animal normally rests or sleeps (also referred to as housing).

2. Primary enclosures shall be structurally sound and maintained in good repair to protect the animals from injury, to contain them, and to keep predators out. Primary enclosures shall be constructed such that they can be routinely maintained to allow animals to stay dry and clean (as appropriate for the species) and to provide convenient access to clean food and water. The floor of the primary enclosure shall be constructed to prevent injury to the animals’ feet and legs. All the surfaces of the primary enclosure must be constructed of a material that is water resistant and can be cleaned and sanitized. All primary enclosures shall allow each pet animal to turn around, exercise normal postural movements, and to experience necessary socialization with cage mates.

3. Display cases may be utilized as primary enclosures during the workday; however, animals should not be kept in display cases overnight unless the display case also meets the requirements of and functions as a primary enclosure.

4. Display cases must be constructed of a material that is water resistant and can be cleaned and sanitized. Display cases must be well constructed and kept in good repair. The area around the display case must be well ventilated to prevent odor buildup. Display cases for birds shall be maintained in good repair and constructed of non-toxic metal or other water resistant material, which can be cleaned and sanitized

In light of these assumptions, PIJAC Canada recommends the following as suggested cage stocking densities for birds kept in a pet retail environment.

General considerations: Minimum Space Requirements:

(a)  Other than for head, wing and tail clearance, the housing must be large enough to provide full body extension without contact with the confines and must be wide enough in at least one direction to accommodate completely stretched wings.

(b)  A single well-placed perch may be adequate for Psittacines i.e., the bird can stand completely upright on the perch without having the head contact the ceiling of the cage and at the same time not having the tail contact the floor or grate. For those species, such as Finches, Canaries, etc. that prefer flying or jumping to climbing, adequate perches, minimum of two, one at each end of the cage, must be provided. Perches should be strategically placed to prevent droppings from contaminating food, water or other birds.

(c)  Minimum space requirements for multiple birds housed temporarily depend on the calculated Housing Density Factor and the overall length of the bird as measured from the tip of the tail to the top of the head. Additional birds are added as space allows based on the formula.

The following calculation is will now be used to determine the number of birds that could be housed in a given enclosure:

A + B = C

  • Where A = 1, (represents the calculation of the first bird’s space requirements (see Density Factor Chart)).*
    If this is less than one (1), this means this cage is not suitable for this type of bird.
  •  where B is the calculation of how many additional birds may be suitably added,
  •  where C is equal to the total birds suggested for that particular space.

Calculation of A:

(cage size in sq. cm.) – (single bird need in sq. cm.)
where the answer is > 0*, then A = 1

Calculation of B:

(cage size in sq. cm.) – (single bird need in sq. cm.)  = B (rounded down)
(additional birds needs in sq. cm.)

Calculation of C:

A +B =C


Example: What is the suggested maximum number of cockatiels in a 2400 sq. cm. cage?

A=

(2400 sq. cm.) – (1st Cockatiel @ 1000 sq. cm. )
where the answer is > 0*, then  A = 1

B =

(2400-1000)
additional birds needs @ 250 sq. cm.  B = 5.6, rounded down to 5

C =

6


Measurements are based on the actual living space and do not include T-stands or perches attached to the outside of the cage.

Outdoor Aviaries. The size, shape, and design of the cages shall be appropriate for the species being housed and shall allow space, without overcrowding, for the normal exercise requirements of each bird. Flight cages shall be constructed to prevent injury to birds. A covered portion of each cage shall be provided where birds can avoid direct sunlight or adverse weather conditions and commingling with non-captive animals.

Density Factor Chart

Bird Group
(size related)
Length of bird
(cm)
Single bird needs
(sq. cm)
Additional bird needs
(sq. cm)

African Grey

1500

750

Amazon

under 40
40+

1500
2000

750
750

Budgie

675

125

Cockatiel

1000

250

Cockatoo

under 35
35-40
45+

1500
2000
2750

750
1000
1325

Lovebird

750

150

Macaw

under 35
350-50
50+

1250
2250
3750

625
1000
1200

Parakeet Long Tailed

under 25

1000

250

Conure or Rosella

25-35
35+

1000
1400

250
450

Caique or Pionus or Senegal

to 30
30-35
35+

800
1250
1500

275
625
750

Parrotlet

400

150

Lories or Lorikeets

under 30
30+

1250
2000

375
500

Dove

To 22.5
22.5+

500
1250

400
625

Finches including Silverbills and Waxbills

12.5
12.5-17.5
17.5+

650
750
1000

100
150
200

Mynah

1500

750

Pekin Robin

1000

200

June 2015