I'm looking for a substrate to use in a parrot cage. It needs to be safe (firstly), but then also not to bad looking and easy to clean.

3 Answers 3


Looking at the opinions of other keepers and internet consultants the safest and most recommended/used substrate for parrot cages is paper. Newspaper and white or brown butcher paper are mentioned on ALL personal sites.

  • I cannot find any authoritative sources for substrates, so I would like to call for known reliable sources for this answer please. Apr 3, 2016 at 9:58
  • What would you consider an authoritative source? I highly doubt there's been an academic study on parrot substrates. Paper is cheap, easy to change, and easy to examine droppings if necessary. Unless you are wanting a substrate that can be left in a cage without changing for an extended period of time, I can't think of anything with a benefit over paper.
    – Jestep
    Apr 5, 2016 at 20:07
  • @Jestep. Yes. I got hold of A New Owner's Guide to African Grey Parrots by Nikki Moustaki. 2004. T.F.H Publications, which for example does not even mention substrates. She does however encourage cages with a grating or grill at the bottom for greys not to get in contact with whatever substrate you're using. I don't think all keepers will have access to such a luxury though. I was looking for safe options on this topic. Apr 6, 2016 at 6:35

Hagen Vision Cage With Shredded Paper Litter

I have two budgies, one male, one female. Each bird has its own cage because the female tends to bully the male so I give him his own cage.

See photo. I use Hagen Vision cages for my budgies. The design has a plastic base which is about 10 cm (4") deep. I fill this base to depth of about 8 cm (3") with clean shredded waste paper i.e. junk mail etc that has been passed through a shredder with a cross-cut function so the paper is cut into strips about 0.5 cm wide x 2.0 cm long.

This homemade litter is free, clean, low-dust, non-toxic and my budgies (especially my female) like playing with the pieces of paper so it is an extra toy.

I work from home so I can let my birds spend all day outside their cages and return only to sleep. Each morning I release the birds and then clean the cages. Under the sleeping perch there is a small heap of night-time droppings. I lift this out with a handful of shredded paper and smooth over the gap. I then clean out the water and food bowls. It takes about five minutes to make each cage perfectly clean and ready to be used again that night.

At the end of the week the litter is emptied into a compost bin to be recycled and I clean and disinfect the cages and add new shredded paper. It takes about 20 minutes to wash each cage.

Shredded litter means effortless petcare which is 'green', ethical, and very efficient. I recommend it!


Normally newspaper is what people would use but you can actually buy sandpaper like sheets from the pet store for use with parrot and small parakeet cages. They are brown and about the size of a piece of writing paper (8x11").

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