Setting Up A Garden Aviary

I’ve been getting a lot of letters from individuals who have never raised budgies before, so I thought it may be a good idea to lay out the bare basics of an aviary.

If you just want an aviary in your yard full of wonderfully colored birds that you can sit and watch during the long summer nights and that will brighten up the boring winter days, then your birds only need dry and draught-free housing, perching, a flight, and unrestricted access to food and water.

You’ll need a shed that can be closed up at night depending on the size of your projected aviary and the number of birds you want to maintain. It must be rainproof, draughtproof, and have ample of perching space, as well as be readily cleaned. It should also include provisions for food and water. It’s a good idea to have a safety porch so your birds don’t fly past you and escape when you go in to clean or feed them. A padlock on the entrance is also a good idea to prevent malicious fingers from opening your aviary. Insulation may be put to the shed to keep it cool in the summer and keep the drinkers warm in the winter.

If you wish to breed, you may install a series of hooks on the walls from which to attach nesting boxes when the time comes. Make sure that when you set up the boxes, you offer twice as many as you have chickens. This prevents the chickens from fighting over a single box – they all seem to want the same one! When your breeding season is finished, remove the nest boxes and the birds will return to their normal lives. If colony breeding doesn’t work out, you might try putting up some breeding cages in the shed and separating the couples during the breeding time.

The flight should be attached to the shed. Make sure there are no holes where the wire meets the shed. It would be desirable if the flight was double-wired to prevent predators from snatching the birds via the wire. You should also ensure that the wire is put deep into the ground in concrete to prevent rats from tunneling underneath and entering the flight. To prevent wild bird droppings from introducing illness into your aviary, cover the top of the flight with corrugated plastic or another appropriate material. If your aviary is exposed to prevailing winds, you may want to install a wind break to protect it. Some people use a sprinkler to shower the birds in hot weather, but if you do, make sure it is turned off long before the birds go to roost at night so that they are completely dry.

The aviary’s floor might be concrete with a drainage grid in the center or end so that it can be hosed off and the water can be readily drained. I’ve seen flooring made of stones or bark that can be easily altered.

You may use willow or apple tree branches for perching, which will provide the chickens with something to munch on when they approach reproductive age.

You may combine the following techniques to create an intriguing and colorful element in your garden.

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