Never forget that intense cleanliness is almost more of an absolute necessity to the happiness, nay very existence, of chamber birds than even seed and water. A person scrupulous in the purity of the details of the cage in which his pet’s life is passed, is not at the same time one to forget the supply of its occupant’s daily wants.
Do not rest content with merely scraping the tray and perches occasionally neglecting to cleanse the wires, roof, seed-stands, or any other part with water and “elbow grease,” for the trouble or time thus temporarily “saved” will inevitably be doubled when your poor suffering victim is thrown upon your tender mercies, to be nursed back into health lost through your failure in this duty. More time is uselessly “lost” repairing the damage caused by selfish neglect than can possibly be “wasted” in attending daily to Dick’s necessities cleanliness being chief amongst the number. Better to clean out a cage once thoroughly than to fiddle and scratch at it half a dozen times. Each bar, wire, seed stand, and every other portion should be rubbed inside and out until it shines, and that not with knife or scraper, which is destructive to wood and lacquer, but with sponge fresh water and a dry duster kept on purpose.
The perch ends and wooden parts require frequently to be plunged into boiling water, to prevent the creation of red mites, a pest once produced next to impossible to eradicate.Train oil or any external application within the hollows at the extremities is quite ineffectual; the very first creature to attack it is the bird itself, who of course suffers from eating the deleterious matter whereas the crafty, lurking, red mite runs over it and escapes scot free! For an ordinary sized square cage containing one bird, every four days is sufficiently often to wash the bars, tray, roof, &c.; if the cage be small and round, or more birds be kept together, this duty must be performed twice a week, and even each alternate day, according to the number and habits of the birds and the size of their home; fresh coarse sand should be given every time; clean perches, water fountains, and full measure of seed each morning.
~ Birds, their cages and their keep, 1874