Types of Bird Enclosures

There are basically five types of housing available for birds. These are as follows:

1. Large Open Aviary

All birds except, the canary or the budgerigar (which seem to cope easily with small cages) should have room not only to stretch their wings but also to fly. If you have the space available, it is best to build a large aviary - 2 meters wide, 2 meters high and upto 2.5 meters long. The bottom of the aviary should be rodent-proofed with galvanized sheeting of about a meter long. Bury one end of the sheets 70 centimeters into the ground, so that rodents are discouraged from digging their way into the aviary. Ensure that 30 centimeters of the sheeting protrudes above the ground. Overlap any joins in the sheeting with corrugated iron. The iron should be nailed or screwed to each corner post and to the timber frame.

The floor of the aviary should be soil in which grasses and small shrubs should be grown. Some dry grass, hay or twigs should be made available on the floor for nesting material. Use wire netting (chicken mesh) for the walls including the roof. This gives an open netted area to the birds, which is very close to their environment in the wild. Ensure that small birds are not able to fly through the wire mesh.

One end of the aviary should be enclosed with solid walls and roofed, with a door that can be shut during cold or windy weather. Any building material is satisfactory provided it provides adequate protection.

During the breeding season, those birds, which prefer secluded nest sites may be confined to the indoor sections. In hot weather, aviaries can be cooled with a sprinkler system on the roof.

2. Large Enclosed Aviary

Tropical birds kept in temperate climates require special conditions. Instead of having an open netted flying area, birds should be totally housed, with suitably placed windows for ventilation, if necessary. In the southern hemisphere, large windows should be placed in the northern and western walls to catch the morning and afternoon sun. Suitable bird-proof air vents should be placed in the aviary, to provide ventilation when the windows are closed during very cold weather.

3. Small Aviary

Where space is a problem and only a few small birds are to be kept, a small aviary is quite satisfactory. Because of the smaller space, hygiene becomes more important and it is advisable to have the aviary raised off the ground, with a removal metal floor tray to collect the faeces for disposal. The floor of the aviary should be 60-80 centimeters above the ground to make them rodent proof.

4. Small Indoor Cages

These cages are very small, usually 50x50x30 centimeters and provider accommodation for only one or two small birds such as budgerigars or canaries. These cages are readily and cheaply available at any pet store. They should have separate cups for food and water and must have removable floor trays.

Since these cages are so small, they must be placed where there is plenty of action, so that the bird does not become bored. Once the bird has been domesticated, it can be let out to fly in a closed room for some time.

5. Breeding Cages

Single breeding cages can be made by the owners or can be purchased from the pet stores. These are small cages and must have a removable floor tray with feed and water utensils attached to the outside. This prevents water and feed from spilling on the cage floor. Also, this allows easier cleaning and discourages the bird from eating off the floor.

Large aviaries will have all that is needed to meet the requirements of most birds, such as running water, an earthen floor, twigs and shrubs to perch and nesting materials. It is in the smaller aviaries and cages that owners must pay particular attention to, ensuring that the birds have everything necessary to make them feel at home in their small environment.