Tailor Make Your Aviary

Each aviary is designed and constructed to satisfy a unique set of needs. Available space, potential sites, budgetary constraints, the quantity and kind of birds to be kept, if breeding facilities are necessary, and local climate are only a few of the unique needs of each owner. If standard sizes and blueprints could be found, some entrepreneurial manufacturer would have long ago provided pre-built aviaries for sale as cages. Each aviary is as unique to you as your fingerprints because of the infinite variances.

The significance of detailed planning becomes paramount. Before putting pen to paper, make as firm a decision as possible on how many and what kinds of birds will be housed. Because it is a rare bird enthusiast who does not add to his collection on a regular basis, it is prudent to prepare for more space than seems necessary, or at least plan for prospective future additions. Many people begin humbly with a tiny, cramped aviary, only to discover quickly that it is absolutely insufficient for a growing collection. Overcrowding and insufficient space undermine the project’s primary goal of providing facilities for the health and wellbeing of our birds.

Before getting too immersed in the specifics of your plan, it’s a good idea to look into your community’s zoning requirements and other municipal laws that may limit the number of birds you may keep.

It is also important to consider your neighbors’ tolerance for noise. A swarm of Budgies may make quite a ruckus at times. A somewhat shaded area is preferable when picking a site, especially towards south or east for morning sun and shelter from chilly north west winds in the winter. It is also ideal not to keep your birds visible from the street, not only to deter larceny and damage, but also to prevent passing automobiles’ bright lights upsetting the birds at night. Having your birds near enough to the home for viewing from your patio or a window is fun if your family’s tolerance for noise allows.

Rain and sun are both beneficial, but birds, like humans, need the ability to escape from both when they so wish. Secure shelter homes are essential in northern regions. These are often used as feeding stations to shield the food and water from rain and to entice birds to come.

We discovered that placing shrubs and trees around the exterior perimeters of our aviaries provides shade and solitude while preventing them being chewed, devoured, and soiled by droppings and dust. Although the great majority of birds harm plants while in flight, Finches and other soft billed birds like having access to grass and bushes without being disruptive. Large potted plants mounted on platforms on wheels for ease of movement might be used to maintain both the shrubbery and the space underneath clean.

A broad variety of plants are suited for the aviary, with the choice determined by the climate and the necessity to avoid any known harmful species. We prefer blooming hibiscus in the south, and our clipped branches are fed to the birds to nibble on. Climbing vines take over quickly, offering not only beauty but also dappled shade in the hot months.

The kind of flooring used in the aviary is an important aspect. Of course, a dirt floor is the least cheapest option, but since droppings and uneaten food accumulate so quickly, cleanliness becomes an issue. A layer of sand or stones helps, but raking is a regular task.

A concrete floor is the simplest to maintain, needing just periodic hosing and the odd cleaning with a light bleach solution. When using concrete, care must be taken to provide appropriate drainage. The floor may be poured with high outside borders sloping toward a central drain, preferably of enough size and equipped with a detachable wire basket to help in cleaning.

A high center with two sides descending to the exterior may be employed. Another option would be to slant the whole floor to one side, with a trough conveying the water to a drain. Good drainage demands careful design if a very unpleasant condition of damp ground and ugly debris collecting is not to ensue.

It is advisable to provide power for both heating and lighting. Electric heating is the only safe option. We discovered that having a low-light environment at night protects the birds from damage if they are frightened. Another benefit is having access to clean, flowing water. During the summer, if the sole supply of water is a garden hose, an ideal substrate for bacteria growth is supplied. The hose must be replaced at regular intervals, and enough water must be let to flow through before each usage to fully clean the inside. Many disease outbreaks in aviaries have been linked to a polluted garden hose.

Vermin are naturally drawn to the food source that is always available in an aviary. They not only spread illness and like eating eggs and young babies, but they are also natural adversaries, and their presence may surprise and terrify a flock of birds to the point of damage. Burrowing beneath to obtain access to the cage is prevented by flaring the cage wire outward while burying it to a depth of two feet. The installation of eighteen inches of 1/4 inch wire around the bottom of the cages stops mice from entering. Traps and poison are only used in regions where birds and household pets cannot get them.

The selection of wire suited for your bird collection is a vital decision to make when designing your aviary. 1/2 inch 19 gauge wire will enough for the smaller seed eaters. 1 inch 16 gauge wire is preferred for bigger soft bills. Most bird species need 16 gauge wire, with the exception of bigger macaws and cockatoos, which require 12 gauge wire.

In all gauges, 1 x 1 1/2 inches gives the finest rodent protection. We only utilize welded, galvanized wire. Wire mesh, sometimes known as “chicken wire,” is unsuitable because even little finches may get caught in the irregularly shaped apertures. The square or rectangular apertures in the welded wire allow for a clean cut without the multiple protruding ends that may occur when dealing with mesh. It is best to design your construction in multiples of the wire’s width. Typically, widths of 2, 3, 4, and 6 feet are available.

Many of the bigger species may remove staples and “break out.” The edges will be kept out of reach if the wire is attached to the inner surface and then extended to the neighboring face at the top and bottom of the frame. Before exposing birds to fresh wire, it should be carefully cleansed with warm soapy water and completely rinsed to eliminate any acids or oil present. Spraying with a strong solution of vinegar and warm water helps to neutralize the galvanizing components.

A safety porch at the aviary’s entrance will protect your prized birds from harm. It comprises of a tiny booth that allows the exterior door to be closed before opening the interior door. Because birds often fly over the heads of those who enter, it is better to keep all doors open.

Indoor aviaries are used across the nation. An aviary may be easily transformed from a basement, attic, garage, or additional bedroom. The setup may be similar to that of an outdoor aviary, with specific care paid to ventilation and lighting. A wire screen must be installed over all windows and an entry vestibule created for free flying birds. Daily cleaning schedules must be meticulously planned. In an indoor aviary, this task is frequently considerably more difficult.

We deviated from the typical two-section aviary, which normally comprises of a wired in flight and a roofed over permanent construction, in developing our southern style outdoor aviaries, which are appropriate to our location in southern Florida. We built structure on a cement foundation to support a peaked roof eight feet in the middle. The corrugated fiber glass sheets were affixed to the 2 x 2’s at three foot intervals to form the roof. This material screens the majority of the sun’s rays while yet allowing for enough light. It is appealing and quite simple to deal with. The final twelve inches of the roof were left exposed save for wire to enable the birds to enjoy the rain at the edges of their cages or to withdraw toward the center if they prefer to keep dry.

The sides were totally covered with 1/2 x 1 inch 16 gauge wire, which was simply framed by the 4 × 4 poles that supported the roof. To keep rats out, the wire was tightly connected to the cement foundation.

Breeding cages were arranged on racks 36 inches from the floor on each side. All nest boxes and feeding entrances face the main isle, making them readily accessible and dry. Within the building, we also offer walk-in flights for our mature and resting birds.

A width of 18 feet allows for enough room between the cages for comfortable maintenance and storage, as well as the installation of a few smaller cages in the middle when our 80 foot aviary quickly became too small. The 16 x 18-foot aviary has 14 cockatiel breeding cages and two walk-in flights. The 18 x 80 foot aviary holds the majority of our diverse collection of over 400 birds, which are organized by species. Finches and Bourkes fly free, while Button and Pharo quail run about the floor, filling up on leftover food and whatever insects dare to enter.

We utilize corrugated fiber glass panels tied to the outer wire using Bunje cords to offer a windbreak during our brief periods of colder weather. Climbing vines and lush shrubs give summer shade and an appealing natural ambience. A circular metal shop light with a clamp, put above the cages, supplied enough heat for even the coldest time.

These aviaries, designed after 10 years of trial and error, perfectly meet our requirements. They are not ideal for colder areas or for individuals who are not interested in breeding. It’s certainly “to each his own” when it comes to creating aviaries.

Make your own to suit your specific requirements.

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