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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Polly wants a cracker... » » BUILDING AN AVIARY...Aviary help, tips, suggestions please? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

haywire
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Philadelphia
760 Posts

Profile of haywire
I live in the city and so outdoor space is not really plentiful. I have a big "CELLAR" in my house. By that I mean its not a finished basement, just cement walls/floors. Its the whole length of my house, including under my outdoor porch in the front of my house...

Under my porch in the front of my house, that section of the cellar is in good shape and actually kind of sectioned off already. There is 3 walls, and one window and already some decent lighting on timers. There is also a drain for the cellar on the floor right in this area, so I thought it would be a good spot to build this. This area of the basement is where I already keep the birds in their many cages actually.
The cellar is heated, and though there is no air conditioning in the cellar, its always very cool in the summers down there.

Since the section of the basement already has 3 walls I will just be building the front wall frame/wire of the aviary, With a door for access. I figure it should be much easier to care for the birds if they all shared one big space, instead of cleaning many cages several times a week. I also think it will be much healthier for the birds since the space for the aviary will be 10 feet long by 14 feet wide, and about 7-1/2 feet high ceilings.

Has anyone here ever built an indoor aviary? What tips, tricks or suggestions can you offer? Since the floor will be cement, should I line the floor with pine shavings or newspaper or anything else, or just leave it a bare cement floor and sweep/hose it out a few times a week (or every day?)

I'd like to add some natural perches, tree branches and that sort of thing, any tips or suggestions on how many? Should I still have regular pet store type perches in the aviary?

What about food containers and water dishes? Obviously the cage ones will probably be too small, so any suggestions for what I can use?

What about one of those floor mounted plastic bird baths? I think there is sufficient room and that would be a nice thing to add for them to splash around in whenever they like.

Finally, does anyone here use white fan-tailed pigeons in their act? I do and I'm wondering if the pigeons and doves can share the same aviary. I have just two fantail pigeons. I put a couple of doves into the pigeon cage for awhile and they seemed fine together but I would like someone with more experience than me to tell me their thoughts on this subject.

What about giant runts? I don't have one now but I'd like to someday get one, can all these birds co-exist in the same aviary? What about parakeets? I guess I just figure the larger birds may bother the smaller birds, I'm not sure about this subject at all. I'm fine with leaving the aviary solely for the doves which of course I have the most of...But if all the birds can peacefully live in one aviary, that would be really cool. If this is possible, I may even build the aviary out of
the back of my basement, which would be twice the size of the space under my porch.
The whole cellar is really unused storage space, so I'm fine with dedicating a very large space to the aviary. I want my "co-stars" to be as happy as possible in their
new home/environment. I don't think they are unhappy now in cages since they are very well cared for, but I'm sure this would be better for them overall. The second advantage is it should take less time to clean, but again I'm assuming, what do you
guys who already have aviaries (indoor OR outdoor) think? How often do you sweep out
or clean your aviary?

How much light would be good, and what times should they be on/off? Are those "natural" lights used for plants better for the birds health than the
regular fluorescent lights? Also, since the aviary will be very large can I just
allow them to exercise themselves naturally in the aviary or should I still take
them out everyday for exercise and allow them to fly around the rest of the basement? This is something I do every day now. Can I perhaps just do this a few
times a weeks instead of every day after the aviary is built?

Also, what materials did you use, and for the wood portions, did you paint the wood or stain it? Anything else I should do with the wood portions of the frame for long life?

Finally, any tips, suggestions or advice you guys who already took this step for your
own "co-stars" would be greatly appreciated. Sorry to ramble on, I have many questions and concerns before taking this big step for my birds new home.

I would immensely appreciate all your help guys!

Thanks,

Steven
Dave Scribner
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Lake Hopatcong, NJ
5034 Posts

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Wow Steven. Sounds like you need to take a chill pill and slow down a bit. Smile just kidding, lots of questions.

When I first started using doves, I had exactly what you are describing in my basement. I had 31 birds in there. I just took normal pine 1x2 boards and built a frame that reached from floor to ceiling and wall to wall. I just framed in a door way. The door was built fro the same material. Just a rectangular frame. I hinged it to the main frame and put a small hook and eye on it to keep it closed.

I took chicken wire and stapled it to the framework. Perches were just long dowels. Because it was so wide, I taped two of them together. To fasten them up, I screwed a small block of wood to one end of the dowel and nailed it to the basement wall. The other end was screwed to my new framework. I put one at each end of aviary and slightly different heights and one across the middle of the cage up high. This gave them exercise flying from perch to perch. I put a 1x2 strip of wood on the side wall and put screw eyes in them to hold my perch cups which I use for nests. Along the back wall, I put a box on floor and got a water from the feed store. These are used for a variety of animals. It's a large bottle, about a gallon or so with a saucer and spout at the bottom. The birds can fly down for water and it stays clean. I got some feeders as well. These are just mason jars that screw into a base. The seed drops out of the jar into the base which has cutouts so the birds can dip into it for food. Finally, I got a roll of butcher bloc paper and lined the floor with it. For clean up, all I had to do was roll up the paper and put new down. It's easy to sand down the perches every now and then to get rid of the droppings.

As for exercise, I work with my birds everyday regardless of whether they get exercise in the cage or not.

I had a window in the aviary and would leave it open (with a screen on it of course). Doves need sun light so I bought one of the lights you are talking about. Mine was light a spotlight but there are different types. I still took them outsides as much as possible but the light was a good substitute during the week.

The down side was the dust. With that many birds, the dust went everywhere. I'm still cleaning it up and it's been years since I had that aviary.

Since I've never had parrots, runts or fan tailed so I'll that part of your question up to those that have.

Hope that helps you.
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magic mike
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Michael M.
88 Posts

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Hi Steven,
It is NOT a good idea to keep different species of birds in the same cage, especially with Runts. They will kill doves if put together with them. A friend of mine had a dove that got into the Runt's cage by accident and it almost killed the dove if it had been left in the cage longer. The runt was very aggressive and had pecked out many of the dove's feathers and caused bleeding. Because of the resulting scar tissue, the feathers never grew back.

I, also, have doves, fantails and parakeets but keep them in separate cages. Even if it appears that fantails get along with doves, fantail get very aggressive when they have eggs and bad things can happen to the doves. Also, fantails will fight over the food bowl.

Even though parakeets are small in relation to doves, because they have hooked bills, they can cause a lot of damage to a dove.

In short, it is not worth taking the chance that something will go wrong.

Good luck,

Mike
Channing Pollack is my idea of the perfect magician. For those of you that have not seen him perform, I recommend trying to get hold of a video of an old movie called "European Nights" made about 1959.
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haywire
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Philadelphia
760 Posts

Profile of haywire
Dave, yes your right many questions but I'd rather ask here and know more before going into it and thanks for your thoughts, suggestions and ideas. As always, your a great source of info and knowledge on all things dove magic. Are you still writing a dove magic book? I definitely want one if so. I'm going to get some of that butcher paper like you mentioned. Where do you buy that stuff?

Mike yes your probably right its probably best to just leave the fan-tailed pigeons in their own separate cage. I figured as much but I was still kind of
hoping it was possible. Much better to be safe than sorry, I can't sit and watch the birds in the aviary 24/7 so I'll sleep better knowing the doves are always safe. Same goes for the parakeets, better to be safe than sorry later, thanks for sharing the info on that Mike.

As far as the giant runt, I'm really glad you shared your friends experience with me. Thank you for saving me the heartache and hassle should one of my doves get hurt, I'd feel terrible.


Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions guys, anyone else?

Thank you all in advance for your advice and suggestions.

Steven
Dave Scribner
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Assistant Manager
Lake Hopatcong, NJ
5034 Posts

Profile of Dave Scribner
Steven, yeah I'm still working on the book. My wife says it's about time I stop working on it and get it done. I've just been putting it off.

The butcher block paper comes in white and brown and you can find some sources on the Internet. Google butcher block paper. It's pretty much the same as brown wrapping paper that you can get in the grocery store or craft stores but those rolls are much smaller.

I was lucky enough to work for a company that used about 25 rolls of it a month and they had no problem with me taking one of the rolls. It would last me about 3 months.
Where the magic begins
Gordon
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Chicago
692 Posts

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Make sure your HVAC system doesn't draw from that area, or you'll be sending bird dust throughout your home; which is a health concern.

Good luck with your project!
haywire
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Philadelphia
760 Posts

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It's an old house. The heat is radiators so there is no worries there. Today I start cleaning up the basement/cellar and getting the area ready for building.

I'm slow so this may take awhile.

Steven
RobertBloor
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Inner circle
The Socialist Republic of the USA.
1051 Posts

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Haywire,

maybe I'm missing something. you say you're putting it in your basement. This might sound odd but do you have windows or a good source of natural sunlight in your basement?

Robert
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,"
-The Declaration of Independence
haywire
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Philadelphia
760 Posts

Profile of haywire
Yes there is a very large glass block window right in the back wall of what will be the aviary is. Besides that, I will have florescant natural sunlight type lighting on timers.

I haven't gotten very far, still cleaning up and moving things around my basement to make room for this project, turning out to be harder than I thought just to clear the space and prep it, but I'm sure I'll have it done in the next few weeks I suppose. I'm working on some other things, this is a back burner type project for me right now.

Steven
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