We decided to start breeding birds once upon a time. We were offered the wonderful chance to purchase another bird breeder’s stock of 28 parrots, which we added to our existing collection of finches, parakeets, cockatiels, and conures.
Previously, we housed all of our birds in our laundry room and spread them over the house. Adding a big number of large cases would be impractical, therefore we needed to construct a separate aviary. We had no one to discuss with, so we basically threw it together as best we could. We decided to construct another structure on our property to accommodate our aviary.
We made severe blunders and spent the next many years improving our building to fix them. We now have a very efficient and simple-to-maintain configuration.
So here’s a very broad notion of what you’ll need to do if you want to build a huge indoor bird aviary. I won’t be able to cover all circumstance in this limited amount of time, but I will make essential points that must be incorporated in your ideas. If you have any queries, please leave them in the space below.
You won’t be able to throw a number of different birds into a single area and expect them to get along. Our first blunder was realising that certain birds do not get along with other breeds and must be separated unless they can be kept in different rooms.
We had two pairs of Macaws in cages close to each other in one case. We couldn’t get them to procreate since the female in one cage was more interested in the guy in the other. We had to relocate them far apart, which required us to alter our whole aviary arrangement.
We later observed that Electus Parrots do not breed successfully in the presence of Conures. And we had enough of them! As a result, further changes to our floor layout were necessary.
Lesson learned: Understand the many concerns with your birds and how other birds might influence their breeding patterns.
A building full of giant parrots creates a lot of noise. If you live in a residential area, be prepared to get a few complaints. Yes, we got a few. But there were a lot more folks who like the jungle environment we created.
We gave this a great deal of thinking. We had a lot of tiny birds that needed cages with breeding boxes on the side. The arrangement was inefficient in terms of space. As a result, we designed several bespoke breeding boxes that stacked on top of each other. The top box would house the left side cage, while the lower box would house the right side cage. This lowered the amount of space required and allowed us to add another row of cages. It worked out well, and the birds performed admirably in this setting.
Our Macaws, on the other hand, were a different story! A large cage is required for breeding Macaws. We opted against using a cage and instead constructed our breeding couples their own space. It was the size of a closet (4’x6’x8′) and had a huge breeding box as well as several perches. The box was designed to be easily accessible so that we could monitor them.
Some birds do not like being near to the ground and want to be as far up as possible. Other birds are more gregarious and don’t mind who their neighbours are… Others are just finicky! Constant testing was required to fix all of these concerns, but we are now settled and satisfied.
It is critical to keep an eye on the lighting in the space. If your aviary is in a location with no windows, you must provide them with artificial sunshine (full spectrum lighting). Because our aviary had few windows, we supplemented with a large number of fluorescent lamps and, in certain instances, cage-top lighting. In an ideal world, these would be linked to timers to provide about 12 hours of light every day. If the interval is too short, the bird’s reproductive impulses would be suppressed.
Regular illumination does not provide enough UV light to the birds, which is unhealthy for breeding birds. Do not ignore this problem!
Cleaning your aviary is a never-ending task. Every cage is cleaned on a daily basis. Weekly, every surface is cleaned and disinfected. If a disease affects your facility, failure to practise thorough cleaning might result in the loss of your whole aviary. This task may be made quite easy if you prepare properly.
Moving cages is perilous for birds that are sitting on eggs, and any disruptions might result in lost offspring. However, you must be able to clean inside and outside the cage. We tackled this problem utilising a variety of approaches.
We utilised cage stands with wheels wherever practical. We could then take the stand away from the walls to clean it and sweep beneath it. We may remove the cage for extra cleaning if a single case was not full with breeding birds.
Many of our cages were displayed on wire shelves. These are available at most hardware shops. They may be up to 12 feet long and 20 inches broad. They are not at all pricey! By removing the cages from the shelf, you can simply clean the shelf and the wall. Furthermore, since the bottom row is several inches above the floor, you may sweep and clean without disturbing them.
When it comes to walls…
Bird crap and wall paint do not get along! Choose wall coverings that are simple to clean and disinfect. Yes, it will cost you more money, but the convenience will be worth it.
Install a pair of laundry sinks (if possible). We also installed a long hose in our aviary that could be used to fill bird baths and plates. The sinks were huge, making cleaning cages up to 24″ in size a breeze.
It will be quite difficult to maintain your aviary clean if you do not have a sink.
Keeping dander out of the air is definitely our greatest failing. It almost cost us our birds. The furnace went out one chilly winter. Fortunately, we had installed burglar alarms and a temperature alarm in our aviary to notify us if the temperature became too high or low. We received a call from the alarm company regarding the temperature and found that our furnace had been turned off. It was because the filter was completely clogged with dander!
After considerable deliberation, we devised a homemade filter comprised of an old furnace fan, a wood box, and multiple air filters. The fan merely drew air into the box, past the filters, and out the bottom, where it was reticulated through the aviary. Theirs worked, but we supplemented it with a simple box fan with a filter attached to the rear. This helped to circulate the air while also filtering it (for summer months). We used a washable filter and cleaned it out twice a week since it would get completely clogged in a short period of time.
CONTROL OF INSECTS/RODENTS
It is a sad reality that having animals in a facility with exposed food and water containers attracts unwelcome visitors. Mice are a regular concern, so you should plan ahead of time.
You will acquire insect troubles if you have a lot of seed in our aviary. Because seed is not thoroughly cleansed, eggs and larva will grow and infest your aviary. Create a method for storing all of your food. We were lucky to acquire a plentiful supply of 5 gallon pails with lids, and we kept the majority of our food locked within. The larva would be killed off during the winter months, but during the summer months, we had to be extremely careful and not have too much food on hand.
This room had a counter where we could work on our birds, such as giving them medical treatment, cutting their wings and toes, or hand feeding youngsters. It was where we kept our brooders, hospitalisation units, and supplies. We also packed a hand cart stocked with all of the various meals and supplies we’d need for our daily feedings. Each bird had a unique diet. Some are fed pellets, while others are fed seeds. We required containers of fruits and vegetables, cuttlebones, vitamins, and other various delights to hand out. Having everything under one roof proved to be really handy.
BELLS AND WHISTLES
We also installed a television (on a high shelf in a corner) and a radio with surround speakers in our aviary. Then we upgraded to wireless headphones (so we could actually hear the radio in a room full of extremely loud parrots!). It was simply another omission that we didn’t consider while putting up our aviary.
I had cabling built to enable us to attach closed circuit cameras to watch our birds from inside the home…
But we never got there. I also proposed installing a Web-Cam to share our experiences with the rest of the globe. That was another notion that never materialised. But at least the wiring was there in case anything went wrong!
We didn’t have the funds to instal a skylight when we constructed our aviary. In hindsight, we should have done that. The extra illumination would have been fantastic, and it would have reduced some of our electricity expenditures.
No, we didn’t forget about the birds. There was space for a tiny popcorn machine (one of those small air-popper types). We’d prepare a bucket of popcorn and distribute it to the birds (who loved it).
HOME MADE CAGES
During this time, we experimented with a number of home made cage and stand ideas. It started out using PVC pipes and wire fabric. The advantage was they were lightweight and easy to move around. They were inexpensive to make, as PVC pipes are cheap to buy. But we had difficulty finding a good source for half inch fabric, as most fencing stores and hardware stores do not carry it unless the wire gauge is very small (not good for medium size birds). This style of case proved to be a little difficult to clean.
We were then told about a company that sold plastic inserts so you could use square aluminum poles, similar to those used in construction porch awnings. This worked very well but got to be very costly.
We finally just decided to get commercial cages and developed a wire shelf system. It was much easier to clean, not too expensive, and easy to customize for our aviary.
By now you can plainly see that we are not the normal bird owners…
we are very dedicated to our birds and our hobby. But we were also very successful breeders, and by putting the time, money, and effort into our aviary it made our work very enjoyable, and our birds very safe and healthy. I hope I gave you some ideas on building your own aviary.
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