Wishing your bird could enjoy the great outdoors? Consider building an outdoor bird cage to give your pet bird a taste of nature in a safe and secure setting. An outdoor bird cage is fairly easy and inexpensive to construct, though this project will require some basic carpentry skills. But the pay-off is tremendous, as the bird owner can enjoy time outside in nature with that favourite feathered friend.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- Lumber (two-by-fours: 4 10-foot pieces and 8 6-foot pieces)
- Tape measure
- Wire mesh or chicken wire
- Wire snips
- Dowel Mounting Brackets
- Staple gun
- Potted plants (bird-safe)
- Door hinge hardware
- Door lock hardware
- Door handle hardware
- Food and water bowl
Find a location for your outdoor bird cage and determine an approximate size. Do you want to place it up against the house? Using the house exterior as one wall for the outdoor bird cage makes for a more stable structure.
Think about what you want your bird cage to look like. How large would you like your outdoor bird cage to be? Will the outdoor bird cage rest on a wooden porch or deck? Would you like a roof on your bird cage? Don't forget to include a human-sized door to allow for cleaning and inspection of the cage. A metal mesh or chicken wire floor is best, as it allows for cleaning.
Draw up some basic carpentry plans for the bird cage frame, which will be a rectangular cube with crossbeams serving to stabilise and support the structure. When designing your basic carpentry plans, be sure to make notations on the length of each two-by-four. Most outdoor bird cages are fairly large. Good dimensions for your bird cage are 10 feet tall by 6 feet wide by 6 feet deep.
Draw plans for your door, measuring about 2.5 feet wide by about 7.5 feet tall. The door will be a basic rectangular frame with two cross supports, a miniature version of one of the panels that make up one of the bird cage walls. (See the related photograph for plans.)
Get your supplies from your local home improvement store or hardware store (see the "Things You'll Need section). For tips on purchasing lumber, see step 5.
When purchasing lumber, refer to your plans for the outdoor bird cage. If purchasing lumber (two-by-fours) for a bird cage that's the approximate size mentioned in Step 3, you will need four pieces of wood approximately 10 feet long, and 16 pieces of wood approximately 6 feet long for the actual bird cage frame. You will also need a door, measuring about 2.5 feet wide by 7.5 feet tall. For this, you'll need 4 pieces of wood measuring 2.5 feet and two pieces of wood measuring 7.5 feet long. You will need one additional piece of wood measuring about eight feet in length to form the door frame.
Construct the wooden cube that will serve as the frame for your outdoor bird cage. One simple way is to create two panels (see photo) that will serve as two opposing walls of the outdoor bird cage. Then, going by the plans detailed in Step 3, screw the horizontal beams (four on each side, as you can see in the accompanying image) between the two finished panels to create the other two walls.
Once you construct the wooden frame for the outdoor bird cage and the door is constructed, you must make a small alteration to one of the wall panels. Then, you can mount the door. For a 2.5-foot-wide door, you will remove a two-foot, eight-inch section of the lower support cross bar using a saw. Use a drill to withdraw any screws that are still holding the excess piece of wood to the structure.
Then, create a frame for the door by installing the eight-foot piece of lumber (about 7.5 feet tall) from the upper support to the lower rail of the frame. Cut the lumber to size after you screw it in place. This door frame piece must intersect with the lower cross support that was cut in Step 8. See the image for plans.
If your plans include a roof, you'll want to create that in this step. For an outdoor bird cage of the dimensions mentioned in Step 3--10 feet tall, six feet wide and six feet deep--you will want a plywood square approximately eight feet by eight feet. A slightly larger square will provide more roof overhang, whereas a slightly smaller square will have less roof overhang. Use screws to attach the plywood roof to the frame.
Using wire snips, cut sections of wire mesh or chicken wire (depending on the bird's size) to serve as the walls of the bird cage. Use a staple gun to affix wire mesh or chicken wire on the interior of your bird cage frame and door. One staple every two inches will ensure the cage is escape-proof.
Mount the wooden dowels to serve as perches in the outdoor bird cage. The crossbeams can double as attachment points for the wooden dowels. Dowel mounting brackets are available at home improvement stores. They look like half-circle metal pieces that the dowel rests in at each end.
Install the door handle and door lock hardware. The door lock should be sturdy and equipped with a padlock or other secure locking device to deter thieves, who may be tempted to steal a valuable exotic bird.
Install bird cage accessories, including potted plants (bird safe, non-toxic), food and water bowl, bird toys and other fun accessories.
Bring your bird outside into his new outdoor bird cage to enjoy the great outdoors.
Inspect the cage for any defects, sharp edges, loose staples, etc. on a weekly basis to ensure the bird's safety while spending time in the outdoor cage.
Tips and warnings
- For added safety, purchase some plain wood moulding and cut into sections to cover the board where the wire mesh or chicken wire is stapled to the frame. Some mouthy birds like to pick at staples, which can injure their beak or tongue, so screwing some plain moulding wood strips over the point where the wire attaches to the wood frame can prevent injury or escape.
- You can situate the outdoor bird cage so that it's positioned up against the house, with one of the home's windows opening out into the cage. The window can be used as an entrance and exit for the bird, though a human-sized door should always be included to allow for cleaning and safety inspection.
- Be sure that all plants near and inside the bird cage are non-toxic.
- Always purchase lumber that's a bit larger than you think you will need. You will use your saw to cut it down to size, whereas a two-by-four that's too short is useless.
- Never bring a bird outside unless his wings have been clipped properly! You will risk losing your bird.
- Always supervise a bird when in an outdoor bird cage. Dogs, cats and other predators could injure or even kill a pet bird.
- Never leave your bird outside during rainy, windy weather, or if the temperature is excessively hot or cold.
- To determine the maximum height of your bird cage door, measure the distance from the bottom edge of the upper cross support to the top of lower rail of the frame.