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How to Build an Aviary

By: April Metroulas

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Keeping birds is becoming a popular pastime. In fact, the days of the single cockatiel in a cage is quickly being replaced by aviaries. Aviaries can be beautiful and fun projects to plan. But, before jumping into this hobby, one should always do plenty of research ahead of time. You can avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes by asking questions of professionals.

There are two different types of aviaries that most fanciers build, the free standing full flight cage and the suspended aviary. The type of aviary that you choose to build depends on a couple of things. The climate where you are going to keep the aviary is the most important factor. If you live in an extreme climate that gets very cold or very hot, you may want to consider an indoor aviary. Mild climates can usually sustain an outdoor aviary. The suspended types are very good for ventilation and they also keep pests from making a home with your birds. However, the full flight style is roomy and easy to clean.

Another thing to consider is what exactly you want your aviary for. Some people keep birds for breeding purposes. In this case, your aviary will have to be partitioned because some birds can get aggressive during breeding and will need to be isolated. Full flight aviaries are usually best suited for breeders because they make it easier to access the birds. If you want to build your aviary for your pet birds, either type will work. It just depends on your taste.

When choosing what types of birds to place into your aviary, the best idea is to check with professionals. Certain types of birds are known to coexist well together, while others are known to fight. For example, society finches get along with most other birds, even going so far as to fostering other birds' young. On the other hand, exotic finches need to be separated from most other species. Asking your local professionals will make choosing a lot simpler as nothing beats personal experience.

With a little research and some elbow grease, your aviary can turn into a very gratifying hobby.

Building

When building your aviary, there are several things that need to be considered. Following is a basic list:

  • Maintenance. Maintenance is imperative when designing an aviary. Aviaries get dirty quickly; so daily cleaning is crucial for the health of your birds. Design your aviary to make it easy to clean. The easier you make it on yourself, the more likely you will be motivated to do it.

  • Construction. Materials for an aviary can vary. Most professionals recommend using uncoated galvanized steel. Some types of wood can be toxic to certain species of birds, and coated metals can chip causing problems for some birds. Professionals also recommend using concrete or brick for flooring. It makes cleaning a snap, and discourages burrowing vermin. All electrical cords should be well hidden.

  • Location. If you decide to build your aviary outside, location will be of utmost importance. Prevailing winds and storms can cause much damage to your cage as well as your stock. Your birds will need to be protected from these elements. Also, placing your aviary strategically will allow you to utilize the morning sun.

  • Size. Your aviary can be any size that you'd like, large or small. Most suspended structures measure at least 6 feet deep by 3 feet wide by 3 feet high. Full flight structures typically measure at least 6 feet deep by 3 feet wide by 6 feet high. These measurements are for small to medium sized birds. Also, you want to make plenty of room for all of the things that you may want to add to your aviary, such as waterfalls and multiple nests.

  • Cost. The cost of your aviary is going to be variable. You can go very basic or very elaborate. This is probably going to be the most expensive part of setting up your aviary. As with all other aspects of aviary building, this area needs to be researched well. Visit local hardware stores and pet stores to get advice from professionals.

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