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I just got a free cage from a friend and my husband is going to sandblast it for me at work due to the rust. I am hoping someone on here can point me in the right direction on where I can find paint that would be safe. I know from reading that it needs to be lead and zinc free and child safe. Any help is greatly appreciated!!! ~Candy

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I did some research awhile back looking to get my cages recoated. For the places I found it was going to be about as much to have it powdercoated as to buy a new cage. I needed them to do all the sandblasting and everything though also so it may be cheaper than you. I just looked up "powdercoating" in the local phone book/dexonline and started calling around.



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While doing some research on paint I found this article on avain web....I know that you all have said only powdercoating...so is this article in correct? Thanks again for all your help...this gets so confusing!


Refinishing an Old Cage:


Wear and tear on pet cages is usually pretty high, as parrots often chew, scratch or wear the paint. They can ingest flakes of paint which can be harmful to their health. Pet birds can also be sensitive to fumes from new paint.




The following are tips for refinishing your pet's cage:


Clean the cage: Scrub the wire / bars thoroughly with a wire brush to clean the cage and remove any rust and loose zinc flakes, and then sand smooth by hand. If your cage is rusty, please refer to the below for tips on how to remove rust.



Spray with some fish oil and wait for it to dry. Expect it to be tacky. The fish oil will stop the cage from rusting again.



Select the paint: Look for paints that do not contain lead, zinc or chromate, are "high adhesion", formulated to bond with the metal surface, are hard-wearing, and are fast drying. Another suggestion is to look on the back of the paint can and see if it is safe for a human infant. There usually is a picture of a mom holding a child's hand somewhere on the can. Also refer to this website for non-toxic, environmentally safe paints.

Krylon and Rust-Oleum are two paints that are certified as "bird safe" in terms of ingredients and residual toxicity. Both have been extensively tested and the only problems ever discussed have been flaking due to improper prep work (failing to remove all of the rust, scale, or bird poop). Neither uses cadmium dioxide or any other heavy metal as a whitening or tint base, unlike certain very cheap house brand spray paints made in China.

Rust-Oleum makes a great paint for recoating--unfortunately it is only available in white, almond and black. It is a spray type appliance recoating paint and dries very hard. As a matter of fact, it is used for painting new refrigerators. Almost all of the gloss and semigloss Krylon products are suitable as well--and they make a "hammered finish" paint in charcoal that is really attractive.

Krylon paints have a faster evaporating solvent vehicle (VOC's) than the Rust-Oleum - but with both you are looking at being able to handle the painted material in just a few hours. This time is referred to as the "initial cure set" when the majority of the VOC vehicle has evaporated and a hard shell formed on the surface. Single coats will be fully free of VOC residuals in about 12-18 hours. Multiple coats extend this time - so it is prudent to allow at least 24 hours after the final coat in an area above 76F for all VOC's to evaporate and the coats to become fully hardened.

For those wanting to play it safe, 48 hours will give results that are completely beyond doubt.

Keep in mind though, that both companies make specialty paints--rust conversion primers and high gloss metallic finish types. These are not suitable for bird use as they do contain possibly toxic materials.




While painting, be sure to move bird to a separate room and work in a well-ventilated area. It's best if you paint the cage outside, if possible.



Apply paint in a thin coat. If you're using a spray paint, be sure to hold a large piece of paper or cardboard behind the cage, moving it as you go, to act as a backdrop which catches the excess paint.



After painting the cage, wait a week or longer before using it. Solvent-based paints take time after initial drying to release the solvent vapors. NEVER cover a bird in a freshly painted cage.



This tip to help minimize paint chewing by birds:


Birds love to climb, and paint damage often occurs from birds' gripping the cage with their beak to assist them in climbing up the cage. Aviculturist Eb Cravens also once reported that, by wiring perches or appropriately-sized tree branches onto the inner sides of the wire enclosures, the birds will be encouraged to climb from place to place by gripping these with their beaks, so that they do not even touch the wire when climbing.




A recommendation from Palace Cages:


"Much of the cage industry today uses a "Powder Coat" system. They advertise it is easy to clean and super hard. It may be easier to clean but I don't use powder coat on my cages. The chip problem gets much worse with a very hard material. Powder coat is not paint. It is a thermoplastic. Chips will not break up and be more likely to cause intestinal blockages. It is also difficult to repair. It is melted on to the cage at appromately 300 degrees. Powder Coat can be less of a threat with some birds, but I don't recommend it for hook bills."




Rust Prevention:


Prevent indoor metal items from rusting by keeping their surfaces dry, dusting regularly and wiping down occasionally with a damp cloth. Dry immediately after wiping down.




Tips for Removing Rust:


Thoroughly clean the cage.



Rust needs to be removed as it is toxic to birds. To remove rust stains, choose one of the following instructions, per your preference and applicability:



Tea Bags: To remove rust from steel parts (whether it be cages or toy parts, the secret are ordinary tea bags. Boil about 1/2 liter of water and add about 4 or 5 tea bags. It should be a strong mix of tea. Stir well and let this brew for about 5 minutes and remove the bags. If you used tea leaves, strain the liquid. Let it cool down and then add the rusty steel parts fully submerging them in the liquid. The rust should come off after about 1 to 8 hours - depending on the amount of rust. Keep an eye on them and remove once the rust has dissolved. You will find that the steel parts have taken on a blue-greyish color after the soaking. It is easily rubbed off with very fine wire wool and oil. After this procedure, clean using your usual procedure. You will find that this procedure will not harm the item in any way; it doesn't affect brass and it actually delays further rusting.



Hairspray (pump style, not aerosol) will also remove rust. Spray - let soak for a moment, wipe off. Repeat if necessary. Do remove any birds from the cage and, in fact, the room while spraying and wash off any traces of hairspray before placing your bird back into the cage.



Wire Brillo Pad: Scrubbing the rust lightly with a wire brush or a wire brillo pad. Scrub hard enough to remove any rust flakes, but be careful not to scratch the paint (unless the rust is so bad that you'll have to repaint the cage). (Please use non-toxic paint!) Dipping the pad or brush in white vinegar might make this process easier.



Rusted Joints: If rust has developed in the cage joints, you may find it easier to disassemble the cage and work with smaller pieces.



Toxic Method that Work: The following tips work well, but care should be taken around birds! This is toxic stuff. It should be applied away from any pets or even family members and cleaned off carefully afterwards, before allowing yours pets anywhere near it:



Lysol toilet bowl cleaner removes rust oftentimes on contact. All you need to do is wipe it off with a wet rag.

Kerosene: If you see rust stains but no flakes, dip a very fine steel-wool pad into kerosene, and brush out the stains. Wear safety glasses and rubber gloves when handling kerosene, and work well away from open flames.

Severe rust problems can be treated with naval jelly, which dissolves rust. Some products convert the rust into a primer so the metal can be painted later. (Please use non-toxic paint!)



To remove rust from carpets or other like material, use rubbing alcohol and a clean paper towel. Mix 1 part alcohol with 3 parts water. Put in a spray bottle. Spray the area and blot with paper towels. Repeat until the rust is gone. If no rubbing alcohol is available, you can saturate the spot with lemon juice, using a spray bottle, allow to remain for 5 minutes. To remove the lemon juice, mix one-third cup of white household vinegar with two-thirds cup of water and apply to stain. Blot with white towels. If this does not work, and it may not, call a professional. Most rust removers contain a very strong acid and are, therefore, not recommended for use by homeowners.

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There is a ton of incorrect data on the Internet regarding Parrots. This is one of those items.


Powder coating is the only way to go for a Parrot with a powerful beak. Everyone in the painting field knows that powder coating is far superior to any type of spray paint. It does not just flake off or easily removed by a strong beak. People use Powder coating for all applications that require a bullet proof hard surface. Your parrot will just flake off regualr paint and if eaten he may die.


I know spray paint is a lot cheaper, but is worth the risk of a life?


As others suggested, it is normally cheaper to by a new cage or purchase one that is "Like New" used on ebay or other such sales avenue for a good deal.


We on this Forum know what we are talking about and NEVER give out bad or incorrect advice. We are all highly educated on our birds and know what we are talking about.


If you just wish to find an answer that makes you feel better about going the cheap and dangerous way, then just keep searching the Internet and you can find as much bad and dangerous information as you wish.<br><br>Post edited by: danmcq, at: 2009/01/12 15:38

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I totally agree with Dan


"""There is a ton of incorrect data on the Internet regarding Parrots."""""

Much information being put out there is coming from companies that want you to buy their product.

Other information say's that the redoing of a cage is fine for hookbills. What they don't mention is what kind of hookbills.Different hookbills have varied interest in chewing things. A grey is one of the most notorious chewers of all. They can't not only find a tiny opening that's a chip but they can create that opening if they want to. Greys are notorious for chewing on the bars of their cages when inside. All of this has to do with chewing but there's also another aspect to think about..the claws. greys will scrape the bars of cages while biting them. They'll do this when trying to undo a latch or when they're on the grating going through a natural process that they use in the wild which is scraping the hard ground in order to get any food that's there. Think deeply about this cage process. Many here had bad cages and graduated to cages made for their kind of hookbill

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The cost of a new or second hand cage in good condition far out weights the chances you will take with paint. Please reconsider the idea of paint and look for a good second hand one - try e-bay or craig's list for some good deal you may have to check every day as postings are put up daily.

But you will no that your cage is Grey safe.


Carolyn & Mika

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I was no way saying that this info was correct or incorrect....I myself hadn't heard of the H2O paint prior to this article and wanted to run it by some more experinced bird owners. I value all of your advice very much much I just wanted to make sure that this wasn't a new product prior to getting the cage powdercoated. I have a wonderful cage for Sterling that is very large, I was just investigating options for this cage that was given to me so that I would have a cage on my breezeway so that he could enjoy some nice spring and summer weather with the family. I have called a few local places reguarding powdercoating and am waiting for them to call me back. Thanks so much for all of the help! Candy

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danmcq wrote:

Powder coating is the only way to go for a Parrot with a powerful beak.


Are you talking about powder coating being the only safe "pain" or application to apply to a used cage? Or are you talking about safe materials for cages? Because stainless steel is another safe way, but ridiculously expensive and harder to find! ;)<br><br>Post edited by: Goralka08, at: 2009/01/13 06:18

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Goralka08 wrote:

Are you talking about powder coating being the only safe "pain" or application to apply to a used cage?


The subject of this thread is the appropriate Paint to use when refinishing and old rusted cage.


Your right, if you want to purchase the ultimate and 3x the price cage, stainless is the only way to go. :-)

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Hey guys a new queston for you after these questions arose about redoing a cage I started to question the cage I have. I think it is painted due to the fact that it came with a small bottle of touch up paint. Can anyone tell me how to know for sure? His cage was quite expensive and told to by the bird store I bought it from (also where I the breeder of him) that it was their best cage. It was about 500.00 dollars, did I make a horrible mistake?

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YOu or your husband should be able to tell by looking at the cage if it is powder coated or painted. The fact that a bottle of touch up paint came with it is very suspicious.


I am uncertain of how large that cage is, but 500 is a lot of money that should have been a huge cage atleast 48 wide x 36 deep x 68 inches high.


You can find really good new cages online that are very large for 400 or less and that includes free delivery.

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