Perches are more than an accessory in your budgie's cage. Their use and placement can impact his health. Your budgie will spend most of his life standing on a perch, so perches should be placed correctly and offer some exercise and variety. Too many perches can be a danger to your bird, but too few can be bad for his feet. The correct number will depend on the size of the cage.
Cage Size Counts
Choose the right size cage for your budgie and then determine how many perches it will need. A single budgie needs a cage that is at least 20 inches long by 18 inches deep and 18 inches high. Budgies are active birds who need room to fly and move around their living space. Budgies prefer to move from side to side. They like cages that are rectangular rather than round and wider than they are tall. This configuration offers more room for movement and flight.
Choose the Number
Plan the perches once you know the size of the cage. A busy budgie should have at least two long perches so he can fly or hop from one to another. Birds like to sleep at a high point in the cage, so consider adding a swing near the cage top. Feeding stations with attached perches should offer additional spots. More perches can be provided in a larger cage. If more than one budgie is to be housed in a bigger cage, increase the perches, allowing at least one perch for each bird, plus another in the sleeping space.
The location of perches is as important as the number. Perches should not impede the bird's movement, crowd him or create a danger when he flies around the cage. Avoid placing perches over food dishes where droppings will soil them. Place the perches at varying levels in the cage to encourage your budgie to exercise by flying or jumping to each. Perches should be parallel to each other and not overlap where they can hinder the bird's flight or catch a wing.
Most bird cages come with standard wooden perches. Save these for a traveling cage and provide perches made from different materials in your budgie's home. Natural wood perches, rope perches or those designed to keep your bird's beak and nails trimmed are a few choices. Heated and therapeutic perches are also available. Budgie perches should be roughly 1/2 inch in diameter, but you can add a perch of a slightly wider size to exercise his feet.