Birds are resilient little creatures, and they must be highly adaptable by nature to have survived out in the "wilds of nature" all the years before humans began keeping them in cages.
Caged birds will benefit from your having a clear and predictable routine when caring for them. They will get to know you, as you get to know them. The process will be easier for everyone involved if you figure out a birdcare routine for your birds and then resolve to stick to it. Faithfully.
Your bird's experience of day and night should begin for them on the same schedule as the sunrise and sunset where you live. Check your local sunrise and sunset times and adjust your lamp timers at least 4 times per year on evenly spaced dates such as Jan 1 / Apr 1 / Jul 1 / Oct 1 on the official time keeping site for the United States http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneYear.php Enter your own State first, then City and press the calculate table. Once you have calculated your local sunrise and sunset times, print out your yearly chart and put it in your Bird Journal for easy reference. See Lighting
Keeping your bird's experience of day and night in sync with the actual sunrise and sunset times will allow them to work on growth, bone health, feather production and eventually, reproduction, if you decide to let them mate and raise offspring. All on a similiar schedule to how it would occur in nature. Going "with" nature instead of trying to bend nature to fit your convenience will be a good rule of thumb when learning the art and practice of birdkeeping.
Some folks choose to force their birds to raise more than a few clutches of offspring a year, can and do succeed at it by altering the bird's perception of day and night hours with artificial lighting routines, but they do so at a drastic reduction of the bird's natural life cycle. We do not support that style of avian management, it is our choice to raise our birds on as close to a natural day and night light cycle as possible.
Clean your indoor bird cages as often as you can reliably work into your schedule.The less time birds are exposed to aging waste from themselves and their nesting activities, the less time pathogens can develop in their environment. This is more important in a caged environment than if you are raising them in a large outdoor flight aviary.
This does not mean you must keep them in a sterile environment, just keep their living conditions reasonably clean on a regular basis UNLESS they are nesting and raising young, either before or after hatching. Leave their nests or nestboxes alone if they are trying to build a nest, sitting on eggs already or having just recently hatched chicks. Some people only rarely clean their birds' cages and insist that their birds are as healthy as other birds. Our experience with raising finches has proven that keeping their environment reasonably clean on a regular periodic basis results in healthier and longer living birds.
Every day near the end of their day (if you can arrange your schedule to work this way)place their new dry food and clean water in the cage before the birds are roosted for the night. The will ensure that when they wake up at the crack of dawn hungry, they can eat immediately without waiting for it to be convenient for you to get up and feed them.
Our birds usually eat first thing in the morning as soon as they are awake, then bathe after eating. They love to splash in the water and will do it as many times as there is enough water to allow throughout the day. If you feed them eggfood or fresh food (fruits, veggies etc. (not dry seed or dry pellets) do not leave the fresh out in their cage all night, offer fresh foods only during the day when someone will be there to remove any leftovers before it can spoil. See our frozen logs how-to.