Bird owners love rope perches for their parrots because they help keep their feet healthy, are fun to chew on, and can be used to vary the setup of the cage easily and provide mental stimulation. However, the downside is that they can be expensive ($10-12 for a 1.5' perch) and if your parrot is like mine, they destroy them as fast as they can, which puts a dent in your wallet. Instead of throwing away the damaged/demolished perch, I repair mine and put them back in the cage. The only downside to the repair is that it takes a couple inches off the length of the perch each time it's fixed.
Disclaimer: This tutorial has questionable quality on the pictures. I'm kinda poor so my "best camera" is my cell phone, which does an admirable job most of the time but the pictures are sometimes iffy (like in low or high light). I apologize in advance for the poor quality of some of the photos, and when I get a better camera I'll remake this tutorial with some decent photos. For now, these will do.
Tools you will need:
- The damaged rope perch and parts
- Good scissors
- Hot glue
- Masking tape (medical/sports tape, electrical tape, duct tape or gaffer tape also work- I used medical tape since I was out of masking tape)
- Flathead screwdriver
Step 1: The Problem
Witness, the culprit- Aya the sun conure (wet from a bath and happily nomming a treat) and the damage- Two rope perches, chewed so badly on one end that they've parted company with the plastic bits holding them to the cage bars and now lay at the bottom of the cage.
Step 2: Cleanup
The two perches are pretty well damaged on one end, and frayed all over. The first thing to do with these is clean them up. Take a pair of good scissors and cut off as much of the frayed stuff as possible. Cut as close as you can to the rope itself. Loose rope bits can snag birds feet and injure them, so you want to remove as much as possible. Don't worry about cutting off the damaged ends yet, that comes later. Just clean up the areas of the perch that are still good. Still good areas are the areas that are still firm and tightly wrapped, not loose and unbound.
Then take the perches and get off as much of the grime that parrots tend to get on them. I used a toothbrush, my fingernails, and a damp washrag. I scratched off any bits caked on, then used the toothbrush to brush everything clean. Then I took the damp (not wet) washrag and wiped it down to get everything completely clean. If your perch is very dirty, you may need to wash and scrub it. Just make sure it's completely dry before doing step 4.
Step 3: Prep the Plastic Cage Connectors
The next step is kinda irritating. If anyone has a better way to do this, please let me know.
The connectors to the cage need to be cleaned next. We are going to glue the prepped ends of the rope perch back into the cage connectors, so all the old stuff needs to be taken out of the connectors. The connectors have bits of old rope glued in them. I use a flathead screwdriver to pry out all the old glued in bits and scrape out as much of the glue as possible. The glue is usually hot-glue so it can be mostly pried out with the screwdriver, but it takes some elbow grease.
Step 4: Prep the Ends
Next is to prep the ends of the rope perch so we can glue them back into the connectors. Take your tape* and cut off a strip that's about 1/2" wide and long enough to go around the perch twice. Then wrap it around the damaged end, right below where the perch starts to fray. This part of the perch should still be nice and firmly twisted together, not loose and fraying. The reason you wrap the perches here is that when you cut off the frayed ends, the tape will keep the perch from fraying further once the ends are cut off. It also makes it easier to fit into the connector and keeps the ends from splaying out when being shoved into the couplet.
*I suggest using masking or medical tape because they stick well, are flexible and will adhere to the hot glue we're using to re-attach the connectors. They're also thin. You might be able to use duct tape or electrical tape since they are flexible and stick well also but they might be too thick and make it hard to get the perch back into the connector. Make sure your tape isn't cut too wide. 1/2" should do it- You don't want tape showing past the connectors because your bird might chew on it.
Step 5: Cut Off the Frazzled Ends
Now cut off the frazzled ends as CLOSE to the tape as possible. It's ok if it's not flush with the tape, just get it as close as you can. I cut the sides (see how they kind look round) so that the sides don't spread and make it harder to get back into the connectors. Do a test run and shove the taped ends back into the connectors to make sure they fit. If not, trim some more until they fit.
Step 6: Finish
Last step is to squeeze hot glue into the connector- enough so that it will ooze around the end and up the tape and hold the rope in it, but not so much that it oozes out. Shove in the rope perch before it goes solid and give it a good twist with the direction of the twist of the rope so that you make sure it's seated well in the connector. Let cool. If you put in too much glue and it's leaked past the connector or any tape shoes, make sure to remove it or cut it away so that your bird can't chew on the excess.
Voila! Repaired rope perches ready for the cage!