How to Use Nontoxic Paints on Bird Cages

Because pet birds use their beaks to play and climb inside their cages, the finish of your bird's cage will chip at some point in your bird's life. Choosing the right paint is important since your pet will be placing its mouth on the paint and your bird may ingest some if the paint chips. When refinishing your bird's cage, look for a paint that says it is nursery safe. These paints are water-based with low volatile organic compounds making them safer for birds than traditional paint. To make the paint last as long as possible, apply it correctly.

Move your bird, its toys and its food into an alternative cage. The painting process takes at least 48 hours and your bird should not be exposed to the fumes and dust during this project.

Move the cage to be painted to a well-ventilated area. Put on the dust mask. Sand the areas of the cage you want to paint.

Vacuum up as much of the dust produced from the sanding. Wipe down the cage with a rag dampened with the white vinegar.

Shake the paint can well or open the can and stir the paint to mix it thoroughly. Apply the paint with the brush. Allow the paint to dry.

Apply a second coat if any areas appear thinly covered. Allow the paint to dry for 48 hours before placing your bird in the newly painted cage.


If you are painting an entire cage, consider renting a spray applicator to achieve more even coverage. Avoid painting the bars of your bird's cage if possible. The bird is more likely to ingest paint chipped from the bars of its cage and even nursery-safe paint isn't something your bird should be eating.


Do not paint or sand in the same room your bird is in. The fumes and dust are harmful to your pet.

Things You'll Need

  • Alternative cage
  • Cage to be painted
  • Sandpaper
  • Dust mask
  • Vacuum or ShopVac
  • Clean rag
  • White vinegar
  • Nursery-safe paint
  • Stir stick
  • Paint brush
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About the Author

Based in Portland, Ore., Tammie Painter has been writing garden, fitness, science and travel articles since 2008. Her articles have appeared in magazines such as "Herb Companion" and "Northwest Travel" and she is the author of six books. Painter earned her Bachelor of Science in biology from Portland State University.