Update: I gave up. With two birds, who didn’t live in a dedicated bird room, the Roomba didn’t stand a chance. The 1.5 gallon Shop-Vac is my MVP when it comes to trying to control the seeds, dander, toy parts, etc that inevitable scatter across the floor 24/7. Best vacuum cleaner for my birds’ mess:

Bonus: Because I also shed hair like crazy, it’s nice that the Shop-Vac doesn’t have a rolling brush because hair tends to wrap around those and cause issues. I just need to vacuum daily, because a bird’s job (spreading seeds to replant the entire rainforest!) is never done!


I’ve been doing some research on vacuum cleaners because my floors are always a mess now (because of the bird, d’oh). The challenge is that it needs to pick up all the crap Stewie throws on the floor (seed hulls, seeds, whole nuts, pieces of fruit) as well as hair; however, my whole apartment is less than 600 square feet. The size of my apartment means 1) something really powerful and expensive is overkill and 2) I have no room to store a big vacuum cleaner (none at all!).

After some research on BirdBoard and getting some input, I put in an order for a small (1.5 gallon) ShopVac. But then someone mentioned the iRobot Dirt Dog. The Dirt Dog is like the Roomba but designed for garage workshops. If it can pick up bolts and pieces of wood, it can handle the detritus of Stewie’s eating and playing, I figured. And I have hardwood floors, so it seemed like exactly the right machine for me. It’s so small, I can store it under Stewie’s cage and it easily goes under the couch, too.

So I got one, and it arrived this week. Tonight is the first time I’ve set it loose and let me tell you… this thing is hilarious. It’s like a big toy that you watch rolling around the house running into things, but it cleans at the same time! At first, of course, Stewie was wigged out! But I put him in his cage and gave him a treat and then showed him that I wasn’t afraid of it. I followed the robot around like I thought it was fun and soon Stewie calmed down about it.

I’ve only used it once (in fact, it’s still running right now) but so far I’m liking it. It does take a lot longer to vacuum this way than with a regular vacuum cleaner, but that’s no problem since it runs itself. So if it can hold up to heavy use, this thing will have been well worth it!

Two thumbs up for the iRobot Dirt Dog!

Update: I’ve discovered a drawback. Unlike the regular Roomba, the Dirt Dog doesn’t have a spot clean setting. That means there’s no efficient way to clean just around Stewie’s cage and underneath the playstand – where the majority of his mess is concentrated. For this, it seems I still want a small handheld vacuu — or I keep using the dustpan.