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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know you can use wood from outside as toys and perches and bridges, but how do you actually prepare them for the cage? What types should be avoided, and do you have to peel off the bark or anything? Any tips in general would be useful, it seems like a really cool idea. :)
 

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Avoid anything softwood or fast growing, generally speaking if its got an edible nut or fruit then its probably ok (still worth checking out). You always want to be sure its entirely dried out (so not "green" wood), bearing in mind this can take a while for bigger branches. I once salvaged a good part of my old cherry tree, I left it in my shed after chopping it down over winter. In spring it promptly flowered, over 5 months since being chopped down. It was fully dried out after about 6 months, most small branches take a few weeks - 2 months though. You also want to give it a good scrub with something antibacterial, I tend to do this when I get it, then let it dry both in terms of the wood and the cleaning solution for at least 2 weeks, I'll then normally give it another spray and scrub.

I sometimes remove the bark, if its a wood that's a bit borderline in terms of safety (thick crusty bark can hide a lot) more often the rats remove it. In fact I once spent a lovely hour peeling the bark off one branch with my guy Luke sat on my knee peeling off bits to help me.

In terms of woods I've used safely, heres a few;
ash - nice and strong and springy, good for thin branches
oak
birch
beech
cherry - some species of cherry can be a bit dodgy, there leaves are not great for horses so make sure this is completely dried out.
apple
Pear
 

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I would suggest peeling off the bark of a completley dried branch, then boiling it. This gets rid of ANYTHINg live in on it. let it dry overnight then scrub with some soap.
 

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If you can't fit it in a pot or in the oven (some people bake instead of boil), then you can pour boiling hot water from a kettle or a pan over the branch.
 

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Generally, the driftwood I find is pretty clean and dry and soft-edged already. But I bake it to be sure. At the lowest temperature for a few hours. Though I'm liking the idea of pouring boiling water over it.
 
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