Keeping birds as pets, especially indoors, can be a messy affair. Issues of cleanliness result from moulting and the need for waste removal. Daily upkeep is necessary to keep food and water containers, perches and the cage itself clean. A solution is to build your own outdoor aviary.
The type and number of birds you are housing will dictate the size of your aviary. An average outdoor aviary size is 8 feet tall, 8 feet long and 4 feet wide. You can alter these measurements to meet the needs of your specific birds, but you will need to have a size and design in mind before purchasing your supplies.
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Construct a frame with two inch by four inch wooden boards. Set the boards on their edges in a rectangular form and secure the corners with nails -- at least two at each of the four corners. Separate a large, rectangular frame into two squares if you are building a hefty-sized outdoor aviary.
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Fill the frame with wet concrete, at least 12 inches think and level. This will serve as the base for the bird aviary and it will be easy to clean after it hardens. Remove the boards after the concrete has set firmly but do not wait until it is 100 per cent dry. The boards will be difficult to remove if they are allowed to firmly secure themselves to the dry base.
Sink at least four untreated wooden posts, measuring four inches by four inches, into the wet concrete at the four corners. Sink another post close enough to one of the corner posts in order to attach a door. Measure your gate or door beforehand to guarantee that you space the posts correctly.
Brace each post by loosely nailing two inch by four inch boards at an angle reaching from half way up the pole to the ground. Remove the boards when the concrete hardens around the poles and they can stand on their own.
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Attach a gate between the pre-positioned poles with hinges and screws. Either purchase a pre-made gate or construct a simple wooden one with two inch by four inch boards. Do so by lying the boards on a flat surface so their edges are flush. Nail additional planks down the row of boards to hold them together.
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Unroll and attach galvanised wire mesh around the four walls and across the top of the outdoor bird aviary. Use galvanised staples and a staple gun to fasten them to the posts. Ensure the mesh will be flush with the top of the door when it is closed. If this poses a problem, add a two inch by four inch plank across the top of the two posts serving as the door frame.
Protect your birds from rain by securing a corrugated plastic sheet over at least 1/3 of the aviary's top. This is best accomplished on an end, not across the middle, of the aviary. Fasten the wooden posts at two corners Allow a couple inches of plastic to overhang each edge, and consider bending the edge that runs across the middle of the aviary upward. This will keep rain from running down into the bird cage.
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Secure perches inside the bird aviary. A basic way to accomplish this is to run an untreated wooden pole across the width of the cage and connect it to two parallel posts. At an angle, drill pilot holes through the ends of the pole and into the posts. Make sure your screw is long enough to reach through the pole and deep into the post. Secure it tightly.
- Create a natural environment inside the bird aviary by leaving holes in the concrete foundation into which you can add plant materials. Cover the concrete floor with sand and approach cleaning as if you were emptying a litter box. Sifting the debris from the sand will keep the aviary floor clean for weeks. However, it will need to be replaced with new sand periodically.
- If you live in colder climates, this bird aviary will not be substantial enough to protect against freezing or snow. Insulation, solid walls and a heating system will be required.
- Be aware of potential dangers such as snakes, raccoons and possums. Use a wire mesh with gaps small enough to keep predators out, or double wrap larger mesh so that holes overlap and create a sort of screen.