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Bird Breeder Facility Regulations

These are the regulations put out by the Colorado Department of Agriculture. It includes rules and regulations for buying and selling birds but most importantly, it includes care of birds such as minimum cage size, cleaning and feeding frequency, and other important information. This document should be used as a guide for the MINIMUM amount of care required for keeping a canary. If you don't sell more than 30 birds a year this entire document doesn't directly apply to you since you don't need to be licensed. BUT even if you keep one canary in a single cage you should follow this as a guideline for care. I have highlighted sections in red print that I think are relevant to canary owners who do not need to be licensed and who don't really need to read the whole document.

One thing to keep in mind - rules and regulations for psittacine birds do not apply to canaries.
Psittacine birds are hook bills which include parrots, cockatiels, etc.


1. Bird Facility.
Any person engaged in the operation of breeding and raising birds who transfers more than 30 birds per year must hold a valid license issued by the Commissioner
pursuant to PACFA and Sections 2.00 and 3.00 of these rules and regulations. The twelve month license period shall commence the first working day of March and must be renewed on or before the first working day of March the following calendar year.

2. Licensure for Psittacine Bird Breeders.
There shall be two subclassifications for psittacine bird breeder licenses:

Psittacine Subclassification #1:
Common Psittacines: Budgerigars, Cockatiels, Love Birds

Psittacine Subclassification #2:
Uncommon Psittacines: All other psittacines not listed under Common Psittacines Persons who transfer more than 30 birds per year, whose total number of birds transferred represents only one classification or subclassification shall pay only the fee set for that specific classification or subclassification. Persons who transfer more than 30 birds per year, who transferred 10 or more birds from the uncommon psittacine subclassification shall pay the fee for psittacine subclassification #2.

3. Importing Birds.
Any person who imports or causes to be imported any bird for the purpose of sale or any other form of transfer must be licensed as a bird breeder or a pet animal dealership as required by PACFA §§ 35-80-108(2)(d).


1. Structural Plan Evaluation.
Detailed plans and specifications shall be submitted to the Department whenever it is proposed to erect or extensively remodel any bird breeding facility, specifically, any remodeling that requires a building permit and affects a minimum of 25% of the square footage of the existing facility. Plans pertaining to upgrades which are only electrical or plumbing in nature will not require a plan submission. Plans shall be approved or disapproved by the Department, typically within 10 working days of submission. Approval of plans and specifications is necessary before construction can begin and final approval of the constructed facility is necessary before operation can start. It is not necessary for plans and specifications to be professionally done, as long as they include specific dimensions.

2. Interior Surfaces.
Surfaces of rooms where birds are to be housed must be constructed and maintained in good repair with water resistant materials that can be readily cleaned and sanitized.
These surfaces need not extend more than 18 inches beyond the perimeter of any bird cage. Painted or sealed surfaces are considered water resistant.


1. Water.
Potable water shall be made available for the needs of birds.

2. Food.
Food shall be stored at least four inches off the floor or in waterproof, closed containers protecting against infestation or contamination by vermin or other pests.

3. Nutrition.
The basic diet of birds in the facility shall be based upon the natural needs of each species. Food and potable water shall be made available to the birds at all times.

4. Open food and water containers shall be accessible to the birds and located to minimize contamination by excreta. Self feeders or waterers may be used if cleaned regularly. Food and water dishes shall be cleaned DAILY or more often as necessary.

5. Sanitation.
Bird wastes shall be removed from cages WEEKLY or more frequently if necessary to reduce odors, contamination of birds, and disease hazards.
Birds shall be removed from the cage when water or chemical solution is used for cleaning. Cages and food and water containers shall be cleaned and sanitized before new birds are introduced and more frequently if necessary to maintain sanitary conditions. Cages, nests or nest boxes of birds incubating eggs or brooding chicks shall be cleaned and sanitized between breeding seasons or after all offspring have been permanently removed from the breeding cage.

6. A sink in good repair or a dishwasher shall be provided for washing and sanitizing. These need not be located in the bird room(s).

7. Ventilation.
Ventilation or air filtration of the bird facility air shall be achieved by either natural or artificial means in a manner which will control airborne dust, drafts, odors, and excessive moisture.

8. Heating, Cooling, and Humidity.
The ambient temperature and relative humidity shall be consistent with the requirements of the species of birds being housed.

9. Lighting.
During the day length phase of the light cycle of the bird facility, either natural or artificial lighting shall be provided to permit easy inspection and care of the birds. Cages shall be placed as to protect the birds from excessive illumination. Lighting may be adjusted to meet specific needs of breeding birds.

10. Quarantine.
A quarantine cage in a separate room shall be provided when necessary for the control of infectious disease or introduction of new birds into the facility.

11. Only the portions of the building or home designated as a bird breeder facility need meet the requirements set forth in the Subsection C.

12. Each bird shall be observed by the bird caretaker in charge, or by someone under the caretaker’s direct supervision, ON A DAILY BASIS. Sick, diseased or injured birds shall be provided with veterinary care or disposed of IN A HUMANE MANNER, pursuant to § 35- 80-102(7).


1. Cage Requirements.

Primary cages shall be maintained in good repair and constructed of metal or other water resistant material which can be cleaned and sanitized.

2. Minimum Requirements:

a. With emphasis on the word MINIMUM, the cage must be large enough to provide full body extension without contact with the confines. The cage must be wide enough in at least one direction to accommodate completely stretched wings.

b. A single, well-placed perch may be adequate for Psittacines. Well-placed means that the bird can stand completely upright on the perch without having any head contact with the ceiling of the cage and at the same time, the tail not touching the floor or grate of the cage. However, two perches, one at each end of the cage, must be provided for all species that prefer flying or jumping to climbing. Examples: Finches, Canaries, Robins, etc. Perches must be strategically placed to prevent droppings from contaminating other birds and the birds’ food and water supply and to also prevent the bird’s tail from having contact with the food and water.

c. Except for the specific needs of breeding pairs or of a specific bird because of its individual characteristics, the following are minimum space requirements for caging a single bird. Cage measurements are of the actual living space, and do not include stands, ornamental appendages or space below the grate. Bird measurements to be utilized are made from the tip of the tail to the top of the head.

Size of bird in inches: 8 or smaller
Minimum cage size: 1 cubic foot eg. 12x12x12

Examples: Finches, CANARIES, Budgerigars, Love Birds, Gray Cheeked Parkeets, Canary Winged Parakeets, Parrotlets, very small species of Lorikeets, Java Sparrow, small species of Fig Parrots, small species of Pygmy Parrots, Hanging Parrots, etc.

Size of bird in inches: 9-12
Minimum cage size: 3.3 cubic foot eg. 18x18x18

Examples: Pionus, small Conures, small species of Indian Ring-Necked Parakeets (lacking the long tails), Cockatiels, Lorikeets, Senegals, Meyers, red-bellied brown-headed, very small species of Amazons, small species of Rosellas, Elegant Grass Parakeets, Bourks, Scarlet-Breasted Parakeets, Turquosine Parakeets, Rock Parakeets, smaller species of Lories, Caiques, Quaker Parakeets, etc.

Size of bird in inches: 13-24
Minimum cage size: 5.4 cubic foot eg. 19x26x19

Examples: African Greys, small species of Minimacaws, larger species of Indian Ring Necks (with long tails), Alexandrines, Plum-headed Parakeets, Mustache Parakeets, small species of Cockatoos, Lories, Amazons, Conures, Eclectus, Rosellas, Rock Pebblars, Red-Rumped Parakeets, Hawk-Headed Parrots, etc.

Size of bird in inches: 25-35
Minimum cage size: 21 cubic foot eg. 24x42x36

Examples: Mini-Macaws, Macaws, Cockatoos, small species of Toucans, Toucanettes, etc.

Size of bird in inches: 35-45
Minimum cage size: 75 cubic foot eg. 36x60x60

Examples: Macaws, large species of Toucans (taking the beak into consideration), etc.

d. When birds are being housed more than one bird to a cage, minimum space requirements must be upgraded to meet the needs of all the birds. The cage should be large enough to allow for the individual bird(s) to sit comfortably on a perch, fan their tail and spread both wings without touching the sides of the cage or another bird in the enclosure. Only compatible species shall be housed in the same cage. (Ideally, the maximum amount of space available should be provided to allow Finches, Canaries, and other small seed eaters to exercise through flight. Perches placed at varying heights would also facilitate movement from perch to perch.)

e. Wooden Cage Accessories.
Unsealed wood accessories (perches, ladders, toys, etc.) shall be cleaned and sanitized WEEKLY or more often if necessary to maintain sanitary conditions. Perches, nests or nest boxes in cages where birds are incubating eggs or brooding chicks shall be cleaned and sanitized between breeding seasons or after all offspring have been permanently removed from the breeding cage.

f. Temporary Enclosures.
The following shall be considered temporary enclosures and shall be of a size, shape and design appropriate for the species of bird being housed:

(1) Show cages which are made or being used for the specific purpose of showing birds in a judged competition, including preparation for such competition.

(2) Breeding cages which are being used for the express purpose of breeding. Nests, nest boxes, or unweaned babies must be evident.

(3) Nests and nest boxes.

(4) Cages which contain sick or injured birds which need a more confined space to prevent further injury or to facilitate medical treatment.

(5) Brooders.

(6) Carriers used for safely transporting birds from location to location.

g. Indoor/Outdoor Flights and Aviaries.

Indoor/outdoor flights and aviaries must be cleaned weekly or more frequently if necessary to prevent excessive buildup of bird wastes and uneaten food. The size, shape, and design of the cages shall be appropriate for the species being housed and shall allow enough space for each of the birds to fly freely and exhibit normal behaviors. Flights must not be overcrowded and only compatible species shall be housed together. Flight cages shall be constructed to prevent injury to birds and commingling with noncaptive animals. A covered portion of a cage shall be provided where the birds can avoid direct sunlight or adverse weather conditions.


1. Authorized Bands.

In accordance with PACFA, § 35-80-108(1)(i), no person shall import or have in his possession for the purpose of selling, trading, giving or otherwise transferring any psittacine bird that has not been legally banded with a type of leg band authorized by the Commissioner applied during the prefeathered stage of development and appropriate to the size and species of the bird. The Commissioner authorizes the following bands: a traceable seamless or seamed Colorado leg band, a United States Department of Agriculture Quarantine Station leg band, or a band approved by any state. Seamed or split leg bands may only be applied when ordered through the Commissioner.

2. Leg Band Assignment.
No licensee shall use another licensee’s registered leg band nor shall licensee sell or transfer their registered leg band to another person.

3. Application for Band.
Application for a traceable seamed leg band must be made to the Commissioner. Necessary documentation to be provided includes all purchase, transfer, or breeding records, health certificates, or quarantine information.

4. Leg Band Removal.
A leg band that is causing injury to a bird may be removed provided the Department is notified. Upon sale, trade, or other means of transfer the bird must be accompanied with a traceable leg band approved by the Commissioner.

5. From time to time, the Commissioner may require other species of birds to be banded, in the Commissioner’s discretion. In such event, the Commissioner shall provide written notification to any licensee affected by mailing to the last address provided by the licensee to the Commissioner.


1. Bird Transfer Records.

Transfer records shall include: name, address, and phone number of both the seller and purchaser, date of transaction, the quantity of each species or type of bird sold, and the band number of each bird, if available. All records must be kept at the location designated on the facility license application for a period of two years following the transaction.

2. Yearly Reports.

The licensee shall report to the Commissioner on a yearly basis the number of transfers to accurately determine licensing status. These figures shall be reported as set forth in Section 5.00 of these rules and regulations.

3. Availability.
The above records shall be available to any inspector authorized by the Department at all reasonable times during business hours, or at other mutually agreeable times.

4. Transfer.
Birds withs signs of undisclosed disease or injury shall not be transferred, abandoned, or disposed of in an inhumane manner
, pursuant to PACFA § 35-80-102(7).

5. Psittacosis Warning.
Bird breeders selling psittacine birds shall furnish to each retail purchaser of one or more psittacine birds, a special Psittacine Bird Dealer Sales Record prescribed by the Department, giving the business name of the dealer, the name, address and phone number of the person purchasing the bird(s), and number, species, and leg band identification number for each bird sold. Printed on this sales record in type not less than 1/8 inch high shall be a warning to the purchaser of a possible psittacosis hazard. This warning shall include a description of the disease signs in birds, symptoms in humans and the critical need for prompt medical diagnosis and treatment.


1. Breeding Rooms.
If a separate breeding room is provided and there are birds in an active breeding cycle, only a visual inspection from a window or other non-invasive form of viewing will be conducted.

2. If entrance into the active breeding room is deemed necessary by the inspector designated by the Department, such entry will be conducted only if clean, unused protective clothing and footwear is used by the inspector and caution is taken to protect baby birds.

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