Ventilation is often the first portion of the environmental controls to have its carrying capacity exceeded. For me this one area is responsible for more aspects of the environment than any other. Ventilators do more than just ventilate. I have at least four objectives in mind when designing a ventilation program. Controlled air movement can help to regulate air quality (content), humidity, temperature and to bring in odors from the outside.
Stagnant and uncirculated air acquires additional gasses and dirt not found in clean air from the outside. Toxic gasses accumulate from many sources. By-products of the birds respiration, drains, radiation from the ground, feces, bird dust, decaying food, bacteria and fungi that grow on all surfaces, and by-products of electrical appliances like lights, fans and water heaters can contribute to poor air quality. When left in the birds environment these toxins can directly and/or indirectly cause health problems, lower production and increase maintenance time.
Just as we need water to survive, so do bacteria and fungus. By controlling the humidity level in the aviary we can keep the growth of these organisms to an acceptable level. A good ventilation system will exchange the air from every corner of the room. If high moisture levels are allowed to occur in corners and under cages, fungi and bacteria will grow to unacceptable levels and problems will eventually occur.
Moving air generally creates a cooler feeling. As summer time heat is removed from the aviary a cool breeze can he generated to make the birds feel more comfortable. Generally the birds are perching near the top of the room. This area is where the heat will collect in a room not properly ventilated. Periodically the temperature of the
room should be taken at the floor, half way up the wall and at the ceiling. If the temperature varies by more than 10 degrees in the summer it may indicate inadequate air movement in the room.
Many of the factors causing my birds to begin the reproduction process are a mystery to me. Since parrots in the wild tend to breed at the onset of the rainy season, I like to bring in fresh odor of air ionized by the early spring lightening. Many gasses are also given off by the ground as the winter thaw allows rejuvenated soil to begin the new season. Just as these smells cause us to take a deep breath of spring air, I sense a jubilation in the early morning raucous activity of my birds.
All of these factors are taken into account in determining the rate air is exchanged in each room. Because we have three different facilities we have different programs tailored to each situation.
Home Basement Ventilation System
Just as most aviculturalists, we have birds living in the house. In the house there is a ventilator fan operating continuously year round. This is done primarily to create a vacuum in the bird area to keep any air or dust from getting into the living area. There are additional blowers that will increase the rate of exchange as needed during the year.
The foundation of my home aviary ventilation system is an exhaust fan that operates 24 hours a day, year round. All birds in my home are living in three rooms that occupy 1/2 of the basement. The main exhaust blower is mounted on a wall that adjoins my garage. All exhausted air from the basement is deposited into the garage. An additional fan is located at the point where household air enters into the bird area. This blower operates on a timer as needed and pushes additional household air into the bird area increasing the efficiency of the main blower unit.
An advantage to exhausting air into the garage is a well ventilated and heated garage in the winter. Often I here of an aversion to exhausting air
that one has paid to heat or cool to the outside. The reality is that this ventilation program is very cost effective. Often this heated and cooled air is continuously lost at a similar rate though open doors and cracks in the house. This ventilation system creates a low pressure zone in the hird area. Household air is then drawn to this area and results in very little air loss though cracks and open doors.
Since air is drawn from the living quarters into the bird area there will he a great reduction of bird dust, dander and odor in the living quarters.
At the air's point of entry into the bird area there are two air intake vents, one near the ceiling and one near the floor. During warmer months, cooler air is allowed to enter from the lower floor vent and in the winter we utilize the warm air by the ceiling.
Air circulation from one room to the next is increased hy drawing warm air from the ceiling into a vent hy the ceiling, pulling it down though the wall and exhausting it though a vent onto the floor of the next room. This warmer air will then pick up humid air (dry the feces and dropped food) and rise to the ceiling before heing drawn into the exhaust vent at the ceiling of the far wall.