The Birdcage is a craftable Structure that allows the domestication of Birds (Redbirds, Crows, Snowbirds, Canaries, Parrots, Pirate Parrots, Toucans, Kingfishers, Pigeons, et cetera). It requires 6 Gold Nuggets, 2 Papyrus, and 2 Seeds to craft and an Alchemy Engine to prototype.
A Birdcage can only house one bird; however, it can be easily swapped with another at any time. As of yet, there is no functional difference between the four types of birds, other than the aesthetic appeal (with exception to Canaries in the caves when Toadstool is alive). Birds go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning or when offered an item. If offered an item, once the bird is done reacting to it (eating or refusing), it will go back to sleep.
Since the Reap What You Sow update, feeding a vegetable to the bird now yields one item of its corresponding crop seed. Additionally, the Birdcage now accepts Monster Meat but no longer accepts Cooked Eggs.
Additionally, birds will slowly starve in the Birdcage, lasting for roughly 20 Days before dying, depending on ambient temperature. Once the bird has died, the cage must be mucked out before a new bird is caged. Similar to dying in inventory or chest, a bird dying in a Birdcage will be changed into a Morsel, which will be fresh at the moment the bird dies, and will spoil at its normal spoiling rate. Leaving the dead bird in the birdcage will eventually turn it into a skeleton, mucking out which will yield one Rot. Unlike starving in inventory or being killed, a caged bird will never yield its Feather.
Examining the Birdcage when the captured bird is hungry or starving will make the character say different Quotes, and the hungry bird will have an additional animation, allowing the player to know when the bird needs to be fed. Any item the bird can eat (Seeds, Fruits, Vegetables, or Meat) will restore full hunger value to the bird.
Feeding a bird in a Birdcage a raw Fruit or Vegetable (except Berries, Mushrooms, Lichen, Cave Banana, Banana, Seaweed, and Mandrake) will make it drop 1–2 Crop Seeds of the same type, as well as having a 50% chance to drop an additional regular Seed (Note that in Don't Starve Together giving a fruit only yields one of the corresponding seed item). These specialized seeds can be planted on a Farm plot, enabling selective crops. The player can also feed the bird regular Seeds to get fresh Seeds in return.
If fed any kind of Meats (excluding eggs) or meat-based food in Any state of spoilage, the bird will produce a fresh Egg. Eggs can be eaten raw or cooked, as well as used in Crock Pot recipes such as Bacon and Eggs and Pierogi. Eggs can also be offered to the Pig King in exchange for Gold Nuggets. Misshapen Birds and Moonblind Crows can only produce Rotten Eggs or Rots.
- Spoiling Meats can be saved from turning into Rot or Rotten Eggs by converting them into fresh Eggs.
- The bird can be used to convert meats that are not accepted by the Pig King into Eggs, which are accepted in exchange for Gold Nuggets.
- Spoiling Eggs can be cooked and given to the bird in return for fresh eggs. In Don't Starve, normal spoiling seeds can be given to a caged bird to get fresh seeds in return, making it possible to keep seeds from ever spoiling.
- The Birdcage is good for Winter, when food resources are limited, as the player can feed the bird an easy-to-acquire Cooked Monster Meat or other Monster Meat-based items to get fresh Eggs in return, which can be eaten or further be used in Crock Pot recipes. In a situation where the player is playing as Webber and does not have the ingredients for Bacon and Eggs or Pierogi, this would not be a good decision.
- If the player is starving and there's no other food available, then the player can take the bird out of the cage to cook it for a quick morsel.
- In older versions of Don't Starve, the Birdcage cost 100 Research Points.
- Initially, only Crows were worth keeping in birdcages because Redbirds would die in Winter and Snowbirds would die in Summer. This was changed soon after.
- When Reign of Giants was released, caged birds needed to be fed to keep them alive just like if they were kept in the inventory. Because there was no "fuel" system to keep the birds fed for a few days, players had to manually feed them every day or return to an empty cage. Rather than add a feed tube, Klei removed the feeding requirement for caged birds.
- The image of a bird in a gilded cage as a metaphor for being trapped in a luxury prison was first popularised in the song A Bird in a Gilded Cage, published in 1900.
- Even though the Guano spawned by feeding Seeds in Don't Starve Together is much smaller than the usual one, the icon is still the same. However, the size returns to normal when the server is restarted. Laying a piece of the small Guano into a Chest will not change the size, but stacking small ones with big ones will.
- Imprisoning a Parrot Pirate will result in a normal parrot. This means that Pirate Parrots are impossible to keep around for sanity.
- If the player removes the bird from the cage but has no available slots, rather than the character holding onto it and remarking that there is no more space, the bird will either disappear or be freed.
- In a vanilla or Reign of Giants world without being compatible with Shipwrecked or Hamlet DLC, an imprisoned bird of any type may appear to be wearing a small pirate hat despite not being a Parrot Pirate.