To prevent corrosion and increase steel’s tensile strength, add the elements nickel and chromium to stainless steel (S/S). As consumers seek safer, more durable, and more attractive enclosures, stainless steel cages have been a popular choice in recent years. The stainless steel cages can last up to 50 years. They are beautiful, safe, secure, and easy to maintain if designed correctly.
These enclosures are expensive due to the higher
costs of raw materials and labor-intensive construction methods. Most commonly, stainless steel cages are used to house larger species of psittacine. These cages are especially well-suited for large macaws or cockatoos that are capable of dismantling inferior material.Bird Flying For medium-sized birds, stainless steel cages are also very popular. Even though the birds don’t test the structure of the cages, stainless steel cages provide a safe, durable, and easy-to-maintenance environment for pet birds.
Powder coating is a common technique to prevent steel from corroding. Powder coating protects steel components by providing a durable finish. Powder coating is achieved by electrostatically applying a specialized paint and then baking at high temperatures. The final product is attractive and versatile. This technique was originally developed for lawn furniture but has been adopted by birdcage producers.
Powder coatings used high levels of zinc
to speed curing and harden the finish. Most of the formulas in use today have eliminated the requirement for zinc. Variability in paint formulations and application methods can affect the final product and lead to chipping, peeling and corrosion. Powder-coated steel is the most common type of cage available for large and medium psittacine species. If properly made, these cages will last for decades and provide safe, functional, beautiful, and long-lasting enclosures.
There is a growing demand for powder-coated cages for small birds such as budgerigars and cockatiels. California Cages and Animal Environments are two manufacturers that have created cages for smaller birds. The Barcelona cage by Animal Environments is a cage for budgerigars. It uses materials and manufacturing techniques that were previously only available in large bird cages.
Powder-coated steel is the most
secure type of painted cage. However, some manufacturers offer powder-coated galvanized wire cages at a fraction of the cost. These cages can increase zinc consumption. This is often due to the fact, that powder coating requires some surface roughening. Galvanized surfaces can be pitted and this roughening can lead to irregularities.
Powder coating can easily peel off and flake on smooth galvanized surfaces. Zinc can be found in paint flakes, which have been leached from galvanizing to the powder coating. If pets chew on the cages, they can inhale toxic amounts of zinc and/or leached from galvanized wire. (See below). Most owners of these cages don’t realize that they are purchasing inferior products.
Although stainless steel or powder-coated steel cages
can be very attractive, there are cheaper ways to prevent corrosion in cages for smaller psittacines. These owners are more likely to be budget-conscious. Electro-plating steel wire with a cheap metal to prevent oxidation or corrosion is the most common method. Zinc is the most common metal used for electroplating.
To achieve the desired result, some manufacturers may layer other metals on top of the steel. The wire will be shiny silver, but it can also be shiny golden. The majority of electroplated finishes contain at most some zinc. A survey of 8 commercially available cages for smaller parrots showed that zinc levels ranged from.5% up to 42%. As long as the plating is clean and smooth, it is unlikely that a bird will eat electrostatically applied plating.
If the cage exhibits signs of oxidation or pitting
loss in sheen, white rust, or other undesirable characteristics, it should be removed. Because of their constant exposure to food waste and droppings, cage grates are more likely to develop degenerative changes. These surfaces can often be oxidized and deposit elemental zinc. These deposits are often seen as white burrs and pits. Birds can be attracted to these imperfections. These deposits can lead to potentially dangerous zinc exposures if they are not removed and ingested. Birds who chew, bite, or mouth the cage can be at greater risk. A zinc-free enclosure would be better for them.
A cheaper way to prevent oxidation is to coat galvanized steel wire with vinyl or plastic. These coatings protect the wire from oxidation but can be easily removed by busy birds. Tropical Birds Vinyl and plastic coatings can quickly degrade and fall off the wire. Birds can inhale pieces of vinyl and plastic coatings containing lead, which are common ingredients. Ingestion of coatings can cause gastrointestinal irritation, regardless of their metal content. Zinc ingestion can occur if a vinyl or plastic layer is placed over galvanized steel wire.