The ideal cages for breeding birds are ones that cannot be purchased – those that you build yourself. I adore making cages as much as Dior enjoys creating clothing. It seems like every time I think I’ve found a really wonderful method to house our birds, another concept comes up and requires changes.
For many years, I have been pleased with the bump out breeder cage. In our spacious aviary, forty of them, ranging in size from Lories to Congo Greys, are neatly hanging from the ceiling in rows.
The nest boxes are securely mounted on the “bump out” part, needing just a piece of tie wire to fasten the box to the cage. They protect the food and water bowls from contamination caused by droppings from above. I create a wire enclosure around the top and three sides of the nest box to keep the persistent chewers safe. It is fastened by hinged on the bottom and held in place by a spring.
All of our cages are made of 1/2 inch by 1 inch galvanized wire after welding. It must be at least 16 gauge, or 14 gauge if available; 19 gauge is much too thin. (The smaller the gauge number, the thicker and stronger the wire.)
Although wire is pricey, settling for 1 x 1 or 1 x 2 wire is a bad investment. It seems to be a struggle for all kinds of birds to figure out how tiny a hole they can push their heads through. None appear to care about how to bring their heads back, resulting in significant injury. 1/2 x 1/2 hardware cloth is enough for tiny cages with frames, but it is not robust enough to hold itself.
Purchasing wire in two different widths saves the most work when making a cage. The top and bottom are 18 inches wide, while the sides, back, and lower fronts are 24 inches wide.
EQUIPMENT YOU WILL NEED
- A wire cutter set. Invest in a nice set, and if you intend on creating a lot of cages, electrical wire cutters will come in handy.
- J-clips These are little J-shaped metal clips that shut around the wire to secure it. They are also utilized to build the door hinges. They are readily accessible.
Most feed shops and several pet supply catalogues sell it. Each cage will need around one pound of size five clips.
- J Clip Pliers – pliers designed specifically for closing and fastening J clips. J clip removal pliers are also available to help with the removal of clips that have been lost or wrongly attached.
- a measuring tape
- A felt-tip black marking pen
- A short length of 2 x 4 – about two feet long
To secure cage doors, use wire loop latches or springs. These may also be purchased from feed shops or pet supply catalogs.
Birds of Prey (Budgies, Red Rumps, Grey Cheeks, etc.) 12 inch width, 18 inch height, and 24 inch length
Medium-Sized Birds ( Cockatiels, Conures, Lories, etc) 18 in. wide x 24 in. high x 48 in. long
Medium to Large Birds (Greys, Amazons, Pionus, Mini Macaws ) 48 inches long x 24 inches wide x 24 inches high
The measurements are approximate. It is easy to adapt the design to whatever size cage you want to build. We construct the majority of our cages in 18-inch widths since a wide range of birds may be comfortably kept in this size.
CONSTRUCTING THE CAGE
For a medium-sized cage, follow these steps:
Place the 24 inch wire on a flat surface, such as a big table, garage floor, or driveway. Cut a 132-inch-long piece of fabric. Mark the wire with the black felt marker as shown in the figure.
Save the cut pieces for doors by cutting off the 12 inch square portions labelled E and F.
Make a 90-degree bend (right angle bend) in the wire at locations B, C, and D. Finally, at point A, create a 90-degree curve. Use a 2 x 4 and a hammer to produce these bends. Lay the 2 x 4 along the line you drew and use the hammer to bend the wire around it. These few wire bends eliminate a lot of cutting and fixing.
Fasten side G to side H to complete the sides, front, and rear.
For the bottom, cut a 48-inch-long length of 18-inch-wide wire. Fasten it with J clips around all four sides, roughly one clip every four inches. This will square up your cage and make attaching the top simpler.
Cut a piece 48 inches long from the 18 inch wire for the top. Make a 12-inch line from one end and bend it down at a 90-degree angle. This will be the top of the cage as well as the upper part of the cage front.
Starting at the curve, fasten the top front to the bottom front. Then secure the remaining top to the sides and rear. It is simpler to do the tasks in this sequence.
All that remains is to create cut outs for the
doors. The feeding door aperture is four inches high and eight inches wide at the front of the cage. This is just large enough to get to the food and water dishes. If you are right-handed, you should hinge the door on the left.
The entrance in the top portion of the cage should be big enough to let a bird net and your hand through. A practical dimension is six inches broad by nine inches high. When the nest box is in position, the door is secured back against the cage, covering this entrance. When not in use, the door is firmly fastened to hide the entrance.
J hooks are used to attach wire loop or spring type locks.
To thwart our tiny escape artists, who can unhook practically any fastening given enough time, I build a little wire box on the inside of the cage near the latch.
Install two 18-inch perches in the cage, one in the rear and one near the front, about two inches from the huge entrance. These must be properly fixed for optimal breeding outcomes.
I can’t make these instructions as easy as the real procedure of making the cage. After gaining expertise with only one cage, you will be able to create more cages with ease. Hopefully, they will meet your requirements for ease of upkeep. Most importantly, they will assist your breeding couples in remaining happy and healthy.
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