An outdoor bird aviary is a wonderful addition to any garden and can provide much pleasure for all family members. It also provides a semi-natural environment to house your birds and allows them free flight and sunshine access, which are conducive to healthy, happy birds. However, when building outdoor bird aviaries, a certain amount of planning is necessary to avoid common pitfalls.
What Size Avairy?
Firstly, you need to determine how big you want your aviary to be. The main purpose of building a large outdoor bird aviary is to give your birds the freedom to fly around and enjoy themselves in as close to a natural environment as possible. To get the most out of your aviary, you should try to provide your birds with as much space as you can afford. Ensure that you make a double entry in that you have the external door going into a safety flight area. Apart from the birds’ security, preventing escape, this area can be to store cleaning products. If you are using a metal feed storage, this can also be housed here before entering the aviary proper where the birds are.
Where to site it?
Where possible, try and position your bird aviary so that it is within view of your house. This will allow you to enjoy your birds whilst working or relaxing around the house, and you will be more aware of predators upsetting your birds if they are situated nearby. Try to avoid building your bird aviary under a tree. If wild birds roost in the overhanging branches above your aviary, their droppings will fall into the aviary and may contaminate food and water bowls. Disease could easily be transmitted from wild bird populations to the birds in your aviary.
What sort of birds to buy
You will need to provide a protected area for them to shelter away from sun, rain and wind, and as the wind must not drive into this sheltered area, positioning is critical. At least one third to half of an outdoor bird aviary should have a roof covering and enclosed on one or two sides, depending on the prevailing wind direction. Avoid having an area of the garden that gets excessively hot. Try to plan your aviary so that it gets the morning sun for your birds to enjoy. To achieve this, your aviary should be facing in south, south-easterly or easterly direction.
In Victoria, while there are 41 varieties of birds you can keep without a wildlife license – some (such as all Rosella varieties) you do need a license to keep certain birds.
Substrate, Soil type & Drainage
A safe option for the floor, if not concreting, is to lay a sterilized sand-floor by covering the ground with a four-inch layer of pre-sterilized play sand suitable for children’s sandboxes.
Alternatively, use builders’ sand mixed with a bit of agricultural lime to prevent bacteria and absorb odours, sifted from time to time, to remove accumulated food and droppings, and completely replaced every couple of years, or when necessary for optimum hygiene. A sand or gravel floor should have chicken wire or mice/snake-proof wire laid on the base underneath to prevent vermin such as rats, mice, and snakes from burrowing into the aviary.
Don’t just dash out and buy the materials to construct an outdoor bird aviary, rather take some time to plan your aviary first. Decide where is the best place in your garden to position it, what substrate you will opt for, how many birds, and what type of birds you plan to house in it; before you rush headlong into your project and make decisions that you may regret later.
An aviary is worth the effort of spending time researching, building and placing items in your cage. The birds, especially parrots, love toys. Enjoy spending time with your birds. Training young birds is a fun thing to do.