Aviary Design


T he design of an aviary is, in my opinion, a very personal thing. Each aviary is built for the same purpose: to house birds. At the same time each aviary is built to suit an individual person's needs and requirements. This is why an aviary is so personal in nature.

For the purpose of this discussion, I will be considering the various aspects of aviary design from a breeder's requirements. A person designing an aviary for their own enjoyment will probably consider an architecturally more pleasing structure than a breeder. However, most of the key points will still apply.

Consider some of the various factors which determine how your aviary should be designed. All of the following items (and in some cases more) need to be considered:


Size of Birds

Large birds obviously require considerably more room than their smaller counterparts. A decision regarding the number of pairs of large birds (as well as which type of bird) will have to be made so that enough room will be allowed for these birds. In addition to more room, larger birds also require heavier gauge, more costly wire for their cages. Considering the extra space and cost of both the cages and cost of buying larger birds, a person may be well advised to consider breeding smaller birds.

I am assuming that the breeder is trying to make a profit by breeding birds. This point alone could be a topic for a full discussion. How many of us try to be profitable but don't sincerely do everything possible to maximize our profits? I am probably as guilty as anyone here about overfeeding my birds.

An excellent paper was presented at the 1997 IAS Convention on how to properly set-up, manage, and operate an aviary for maximum profit. It is well worth reading.


The climate that the breeder lives in will determine to a large extent the type of aviary that will be built. A person living in Canada or the Northern United States must be able to heat their building and protect their flock from the harsh environment. Even those of us who live in the southern United States sometimes have cold weather and need to consider provisions for keeping our birds warm on occasions.

Some breeders I have visited in Southern Florida also consider the cold air that comes from the north. One person who had free standing individual pens for her birds, had planted a grove of trees on the north side of her


property to act as a windbreak. Another person whose birds were in a semi-enclosed building had the solid or enclosed part of his aviary facing north to block any cold wind.

Some of us live in states that are warm most of the year, but where it sometimes still snows in the winter. In this situation a breeder can wrap his breeding cages/pens with plastic during the cold months to keep the frigid air off the birds. another solution is to have an enclosed building with cages on the inside and larger flight cages on the outside of the building with an access hole through the wall which can be closed off in the winter.


Most people don't just decide to start breeding birds. They are like myself and somehow, unknowingly, let these wonderful creatures lure them into buying more, and more, and more. Sometimes I wonder if the sirens song that Ulysses heard from the rocks wasn't really a bunch of birds!!

Eventually you end up with more birds than you ever dreamed possible and now you begin worrying about your neighbors reporting you as a nuisance. Hopefully you live in an area that is zoned agricultural, or, perhaps, there aren't any zoning restrictions, or deed restrictions, or any neighbors.

Veta, my wife, and I visited a friend in Florida. She has written an article which was published in Bird Talk

magazine about the rigors involved in moving a large aviary to a new home because the flock outgrew its former location. Before your flock gets too big, you would be wise to consider moving if the zoning in your present location could become a problem.