Aviary Design: a first person singular "How I Did it."


I am going to describe in prose my two aviaries. The first is for seed eaters and the second for lories. I love to build and rearrange things, so I am constantly tearing out my aviaries and rebuilding them. If I were wealthy, I would have large wrought iron Victorian aviaries. But, alas, I have had to compromise.

I began by building traditional aviaries as outlined in the books and magazines. I soon found myself mired in a never ending task of maintenance, cleaning and pest elimination. I came to my first conclusion. Whatever next aviary I constructed, even though I live in Florida, it had to be indoors, it had to be constructed of inert materials, it had to be quickly cleaned, and everything would be standardized.

My 20 by 20 foot two car garage became _my seed eating aviary. I already parked my cars outside; so, I stripped it of everything and placed all lawn and garden items in a separate utility storage building. Only the washer and dryer remained. I added a sink and simple shelf to attend to food and water.

The rest of the garage was stripped of the doors, all wood molding, all crevices filled and the entire room painted. There was no place for roaches to live. Fluorescent lights were installed on the ceiling. The floor was covered with ceramic tile. Since cost was a factor, I was not fussy about color. I chose an inexpensive not par. ticularly slippery tan color. The garage doors were replaced with two pair of 30 inch French steel doors and glass blocks, allowing as much light into the room as possible and allowing two 60 inch openings to roll cages outside.

Attached to the outside of the garage I added a simple 10 x 16 foot

screen room for escaped bird safety. I can open all four doors for fresh air for my birds and I can roll all my cages out to be hosed down, while I mop and clean the entire garage. I use all manufactured cages on casters. I slanted the tile towards the thresholds and poured a very small concrete ramp outside so that rolling the cages would be easy. It is attractive, easy to clean and has virtually no material that water can damage. I also installed a mister on a hose so I can spray all my birds each morning. Overall, it was expensive but I was tired of the alternative. About $2500 for the materials and I provided the labor.

For my lories, I chose the screen room hehind my house. I wanted something that could be hosed down daily. This room evolved over several re-buildings until I finally decided it needed to be varmint and weather proof.

I discovered quite by accident that there is a shift in home remodeling in America. People are replacing their glass sliding doors with more decorative double doors. These old glass doors can be found in the trash, for sale in the newspaper, and so forth. At first I paid about $10 to $20 each for them, As word got around, I located about 60 of them, mostly for free. Then guess what? I learned the glass within the frame is tempered and no matter who the manufacturer, they are all exactly the same size. If I recall, 34" by 78" for a three foot door for example.

So my new screen porch is glass enclosed. I used two glass panes sandwiched together about an inch apart. I simply stripped all the aluminum


frames off, since each one was different (and recycled them for the money too). I huilt walls out of pressure treated 2 x 6s; and used 1 x 2s to frame each panel. Construction was very rapid. Surprisingly, I get no heat build up, and the appearance is like a modern mountain cahin. The roof is a conventional truss and shingle, hut anything would work. I have a few doors and openings for ventilation.

The floor is loose brick laid on the dirt ground. Then, I purchased grout used for Mexican tile, swept it into the cracks, sprayed it down with a hose, and the next day had a solid picturesque floor. This is a highly technical process I carefully developed over a period of 15 or 20 minutes.

Next, I ran all my plumbing and electrical on the ceiling. All outlets, switches and so forth are on the ceiling. No water can get into it. And ugly piping doesn't cross in front of windows and cages.

Now that I had a lory aviary that was indestructihle, I moved on to the cages. I liked the idea of suspended cages, but I found a major drawback. The posts were always in my way and dehris would collect around them when I hosed. I tried a few suspended from the ceiling, and found plumbing, electrical, and logical obstacles.

Finally I settled on something that did not appear to work on paper. In appropriate places I drilled and installed four inch bolts protruding from the 2 x 6s. Then using large fender washers and extra nuts, attached the rear wire panel of each cage sticking out from the wall.