For some time now I have been contemplating upgrading Truman to a larger travel carrier. Unfortunately his carrier is no bigger than Kili's even though he is a bigger parrot. Generally this has been fine for short outings like taking him to the vet or on a short drive. However, I have begun taking him on overnight outings lately and long drives. Not only is the carrier confined, but also boring for him. I think boredom leads him to a lot of screaming during the drives. Most of this would be manageable but my biggest complaint is that he ends up stepping off his perch into the poop below. Just stepping in poop is never enough. He ends up getting it all over his beak, the walls of the carrier, and everywhere as he is playing with the paper towel. Also his tail keeps hitting the walls as he turns around, so he comes out quite scraggly looking.
I would gladly put his perch higher (like in Kili's carrier), but since he is so big, any higher would cram him against the top of the carrier. Thus I set out in search of a new travel carrier. My main criteria was that the carrier must be about 4 inches taller so that I could raise the perch 3 inches and allow an extra inch of head room. Of course I must be able to modify it to add a perch but toy hanging options are also important. I wanted a few inches more to the width but not really the length. The length gives him more than enough space as it is. Finally, I like having a cage style top loading door for putting him in and cleaning. Most pet carriers have a side door only which is unsuitable for a parrot.
At PetSmart I actually found the same version as his current carrier but one size larger. I was really excited because I liked the design I initially chose. Unfortunately it turned out that the bigger version was several inches longer but barely an inch taller or wider. This was of absolutely no use to me. Since I bought Truman's cage, I was aware of a travel cage made my Kings Cages. I have thus far been reluctant to buy it because of price and weight. I began considering it again since seeing it at the Bird Paradise Parrot Palooza. However, they lied about their products being 20% off which was a major turn off from buying the cage there.
I had no luck finding a plastic carrier to modify and replace Truman's carrier, so I considered the Kings Cages Travel Cage some more. I got to see it in person and my first reaction was that it was too big, too heavy, and too expensive. This was the same feeling I got the previous times I've seen it which was why I did not buy it previously. I decided to compare to the smaller version of it. Despite being made out of aluminum, it weighs a hefty 14lbs without the parrot, toys, or perches.The small Kings Travel Cage is more affordable and the 8lb weight is acceptable. I was not disappointed about the lack of a grate or food doors. I could always hang my own food bowls and keep the perch high instead of a grate. However the 14" cube dimensions were unsuitable. It would hardly serve as an upgrade from Truman's current carrier. Furthermore, I discovered that the bottom is not held in and can fall into the cage. It cannot fall out, but there is nothing stopping it from falling in.
Realizing that the small carrier was not an option, I continued deliberating with myself about the medium one. I even got permission to bring the sample out of the store and check how it fits in my car. Luckily it just fits on a seat and the seat belt just reaches to secure it. I even held Truman next to the cage to see how he would fit inside of it. Finally I was convinced by the incredible discount I was offered to purchase the travel cage. 30% off the online standard price is no cheap Bird Paradise trick. Even at $150, the travel cage is quite expensive. This is really the absolute max I would pay for it but I knew there was no way of finding it any cheaper or a better alternative elsewhere. So I went ahead and bought the cage for Truman.
I discovered that the medium travel cage does not come with a top handle perch like the cheaper small cage does. I brought this up and was given a perch dowel for free to screw on myself. Being handy, this was not much of a problem for me but I find it disappointing that the more expensive cage lacks an awesome feature of the cheaper version! If I could make one complaint about Kings Cages is that the more expensive the products they make, the more they cut corners. The cheap economy cages come with stainless steel bowls while the expensive aluminum cages come with worthless plastic cups. The travel cage came with these cheap cups but I don't intend on upgrading them unless Truman chews them to bits. I wouldn't be surprised if he does; he chews plastic bottle caps into a pulp in under twenty minutes. I'm mainly counting on the fact he won't have enough time in the travel cage (and that I will only leave cups in briefly during feeding) to destroy the cups and want to save on weight, space, and money from upgrading to stainless steel ones.
I let Kili and Truman stay out to watch the assembly of their new travel cage. The reason I say their is because they will each continue to have a carrier but will take turns spending time in the travel cage. My brother helped assemble the cage. Assembly is quite easy and takes no time at all. No tools, hardware, or skills are required. This definitely puts Kings Cages ahead of others for people who need the product without the complexity of assembly. The hard part is figuring out the orientation of each piece but luckily they only go in one way. Once the inner tabs are lined up, it's just a matter of pounding the parts until they lock into each other. The best way is to turn the parts such that you can hit down with your hand and allow gravity to help.
The four sides connect first and then the top is added to hold everything together. The poop pan and grate slide in like a normal cage. Yet, unlike the normal cages, the travel cage has a rotating flap to prevent them from sliding out. This is fantastic and I'm disappointed the bigger cages don't have this feature as well. The large door is built into the front panel, so no mounting of a door is required. The door spans the entire front so it is very easy to access the inside. The food doors are built into the front door which makes it easy to open the cage door to refill the cups without need of taking them out.
The included perch is a machined dowel with notches. It is easy to drop in place. Gravity holds it down but unfortunately driving on a bumpy road could allow the perch to bounce upward. I do not recommend using the included perch as a primary. In fact, it is almost mandatory to have two perches inside. I placed the included perch toward the front of the carrier to facilitate easy access to the food bowls for the parrot. Then my brother helped me by cutting and bolting a dragonwood perch slightly back of middle. I selected dragonwood because the bark is more porous and allows the parrots a good grip with their talons during travel. My brother bolted the perch on using equipment from my Traning Perch assembly kit. Instead of the wing nuts typically used for cage perches, we opted for a permanent wrench on nut instead. The added security of such a nut plus the fact that it sticks out less made it preferable for a travel cage. The notched perch can only stand at the height dictated by the cross bars it sits on. However, I was able to select any height for the bolt on perch. I did not place it dead center because that would waste space toward the back and cram the feeding perch. So instead I placed it back as far as I could go without Truman's tail hitting the rear cage bars. I also placed the main perch slightly higher than the food perch. This way the low perch does not affect him when he stands on the main one and his tail can hang below the main perch when he is on the eating one.
The final modification to make was to cut and screw on the spare dowel I received. This was easy for me but not something the average person can undertake. I used a miter saw to cut the dowel to the size appropriate to the cage top handle. Then I drilled holes through the aluminum handle using a drill press. Next I added wider holes into the outside of the handle holes to facilitate counter sinking the screw head into the handle. Next I transferred the holes from the handle to the perch by aligning it and using a drill with a smaller bit. The final step was to put 3 screws through the handle to attach the perch. This is a pretty essential modification because perching on the bare handle alone would be uncomfortable for the parrot. The method for mounting the handle is pretty strange. There are two knobs that stick out the sides of the cage and the handle snaps onto them by stretching apart and over the knobs. Then the handle is pulled upward and locked in place by pieces that rotate down. Not only is it complicated, but also looks like the most likely fail point on the entire cage.
I added two toys to the carrier. One was an old toy but one was brand new. I hung them on the sides not only to keep them out of the way but also to provide a little bit of hiding cover. Since it is a cage rather than a carrier, all sides are exposed, so it's not bad to give a little hiding. The first time I tried to put the food bowls in, it was really difficult because the plastic was not yet stretched. It's a good thing I tested them prior to putting food or water in because the first time they wouldn't budge until they snapped in all at once. After a few uses, they go in ok.
In conclusion, the Kings Cages Aluminum Travel Cage is the best travel cage on the market I could find appropriately sized for medium parrots such as African Grey, Cockatoo, Amazon, Eclectus, and Cape Parrot. It is not approved for air travel and I wouldn't recommend it for that anyway. A plastic carrier is still more suitable for short outings (under 3 hours), but this kind of travel cage has many uses. It's a nice cage for a parrot traveling by car frequently. A travel cage is great if you plan on spending overnight outings away from home with your parrot, but it can also be very convenient to have at home. At home it can serve as a temporary cage during cage cleaning and can also be used to cage the parrot in other rooms (like during cooking or in the presence of guests). This model definitely affords the most convenient feeding solution. The slide out poop pan and grate are nice but not really required in such a small cage. It would not be that much more difficult to clean through the door. However, since these features don't add any significant weight, it's great to have them. I would rate the cage 4 out of 5. Here's a quick summary of the pros and cons:
-Sturdy/reliable -Grate -Food doors -Aluminum (light and non-corrosive) -Carry handle -Fits on car seat -Adequate space for medium parrots -Safety door latch and magnet like on big cages -5/8" bar spacing -Selection of colors similar to cages -Looks very nice
-Expensive -Heavy -Plastic food cups -No secondary lock for food cups -Top handle perch not built in -Unsuitable notched perch -High pressure on bottom feet of cage can cause dents/scratches to surface
Stay tuned for more articles about this travel cage about how to train a parrot to go into carrier, the parrot's review of it, and videos of the travel cage in use.
I have a similar sort of cage which we got as an overnight/hotel cage for Scooter. I'll be curious to see if you think it is big enough for several days for Truman, as I have been contemplating whether to get another for Scotty or consider a bigger knockdown cage. If it is really good enough, I could use Scotty's new travel digs as a hotel cage for Scooter without needing to buy yet another thing! For actual car travel, I finally bit the bullet and decided we really need one per animal (the birds have been sharing with the cats for vet trips -- not at the same time, I hasten to add, and with plenty of disinfectant between species) so I just ordered one of those somewhat expensive transparent plastic carriers like this: http://www.windycityparrot.com/Merchant2/graphics/00000001/caitec_carrier.jpg[/img:39kr7nf4]
I liked the fact that it has height and width more appropriate for parrots, and also takes up less storage space, but it does cost about twice as much as one for cats and dogs. I'll let everyone know how we like it when it arrives.
Welcome to the dark side
[quote="zazanomore":3ji16sy6]I actually was watching a video featuring the same cage.
The person converted the travel cage into a full time cage for a lovebird.[/quote:3ji16sy6]
i think i know what video you're talking about. would that person happen to have an online bird supply store?
[quote="Natacha":2wqo5p19]Welcome to the dark side
[quote="zazanomore":2wqo5p19]I actually was watching a video featuring the same cage.
The person converted the travel cage into a full time cage for a lovebird.[/quote:2wqo5p19]
i think i know what video you're talking about. would that person happen to have an online bird supply store?[/quote:2wqo5p19]
I keep this travel cage in my classroom as a "school cage" for Sunshine.
http://www.amazon.com/Midwest-Avian-Adv ... B0018CFUKE
I ordered it from Drs. Foster and Smith, but it seems that they don't carry it anymore. Sunshine is a cockatiel, so he is clearly smaller than Kili and Truman. Most of the time he is out of the cage anyway, but it's a good enough size that when I do put him in the cage (for example, when I am on a prep and out of the classroom) he has plenty of space to be comfortable.
Edited to add, I have the cage in the grey and not the red.
http://www.birdexpressions.com/poquito- ... -cage.html
I have the aluminum one too, same size, for my Cape and we love it! For the size, I was actually very pleasantly surprised with how light it was. I had a stainless steel one (same size) custom built to be as light as possible and it is still MUCH heavier. I'm really happy with the quality and weight of the aluminum one. I just got a double-bolted perch made for it and replaced the plastic cups with the SS and am getting Lola acquainted to it for when we travel up to my mother's for Thanksgiving!
What's the difference between the Kings Aluminum Travel Cage and this one...
http://www.amazon.com/Diamond-Avian-ATM ... B004ZXTFV8
it appears to be the same specs, but is quite a bit cheaper. Anyone bought one of these diamond avians? Or do you know of any differences?
Michael, I soooo wish I knew you wrote a review about those alum. carriers, because I bought the small one. It came today and even though very pretty (my birds will travel first class now!), I found out that it does NOT have the bottom grate. Very dissapointing. I called their Customer Service to ask if they did not feel it was a safety issue because the tray can fall inside the cage rather easily creating an easy escape route for a bird. Their response was, "No. We sell a lot of those carries."
I am only hoping that my handy husband can think of something to keep the tray in place. Maybe placing the inside perch as close to the bottom as possible will help. But still, at this price (I paid $110 total) it should be made with more safety in mind.
I am pretty sure I am done with King's Cages brand for good.
Not long ago I bought a small parrot cage and when assembled, it looked just awful. It was small and narrow but the entire consturction of it looked like it was meant for a dangerous animal! LOL
Their customer service is not good as well. Not to mention that both the cage and the carrier came w/out any whatsoever instructions how to assemble them.
Thank you Michal for sharing your thoughts about the alum. carrier. I wish I saw it earlier.
Great review and photos. With this information, I both 2 aluminum bird cages (one large, one travel) directly from Kings Cages in February 2014. After only 18 WEEKS of use, all 3 feeder door locks cracked & broke on my aluminum cage and no longer lock. The bird can slide the lock open from the inside since the plastic parts no longer lock. The feeder door locks cannot be replaced because the company is out of these parts. Communication with Kings Cages has been frustrating so beware of the fragile plastic pieces that some with the aluminum cage. BEWARE of these cages and their fragile plastic parts.