In this article let’s look at aviaries and bird rooms. Although I have discussed aviaries in other articles, let’s look at the differences and how you too can have your own bird room.
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What Is The Difference Between Aviaries And Bird Rooms?
Aviaries and bird rooms are similar, but aviaries tend to be open outdoor enclosures, while bird rooms are more like enclosed aviaries that tend to look like a room full of bird cages.
To read more about building an aviary, you can visit this page.
Bird rooms are a little more complicated, but they can be made beautifully like the one below where the garden shed was converted into a bird room.
Although a basic aviary will suit most bird lovers, if you are interested in keeping the more delicate species, including various finches and softbills a bird room will probably be best.
Some of these species require warm indoor housing in winter and this is where the bird room becomes necessary.
As the name suggests, a bird room is an indoor area where birds are housed. If at all possible, purchase an integrated bird room and aviary at the outset. Often the bird room structure will connect with the aviary flight and will include the shelter. This is the most common type of setup.
As above you could adapt a large existing garden shed to use as a bird room, although this may mean having two separate buildings and you will be constantly moving back and forth between them, sometimes carrying birds which is not ideal.
In the perfect world, the aviary and bird room setup will be integrated. This allows for breeding or stock cages to be positioned down one side, while there may be an indoor flight opposite. There is also normally space for storage of food and other equipment like nesting boxes.
What Constitutes A Bird Room?
During winter in temperate places, the interior can be heated by means of a thermostatically controlled tubular heater. However, heating costs can be reduced by fitting draught excluders around the doors and windows and fitting insulation material into the walls and ceilings. Just beware of rodents who love warm and comfortable surroundings.
Artificial lighting can also be fitted and it is possible to operate bird room lighting automatically, using either a time switch or a light sensor.
Incorporating a dimming control in the circuitry allows birds to find their way back to the perches if they are feeding when the lights go off rather than plunging them into sudden darkness.
Light exposure should be restricted to no more than 12 hours in a day or you could start interfering with their breeding cycles.
Some birds, especially finches and some types of parrots can generate large amounts of feather dust which can cause allergic reactions.
Good hygiene will minimize this problem and you could try inserting an ionizer in the bird room which makes the dust fall to the floor where it can be wiped away with a damp cloth. An ionizer can also destroy potentially harmful microbes like the virus responsible for the French Moult.
The strength of the wire meshing will depend on what types of birds are being housed and the thinnest mesh used in aviary or bird room construction is 19 gauge (19G).
The plastic-coated mesh is only suitable for finches and softbills as parrots will simply chew off the protective coating.
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Make sure that any lighting and heaters are adequately protected from the birds. Cages can be put around them or the wiring to stop the birds gnawing on them or burning themselves.
What Type Of Birds Prefer Which Type Of Housing?
Finches are generally found in planted aviaries, either in a colony or as part of a mixed collection.
In temperate areas, they require heated wintertime accommodation, with extra lighting to extend the feeding time.
The size of the bird is often a good indicator of their relative hardiness.
The more delicate species will be most at home in a snug conservatory type aviary or a bird room that is well protected. Other more hardy species will be fine in large aviaries.
Some parakeets such as the budgerigar can be kept in a colony, but the majority need to be accommodated in individual pairs.
Their aviaries can be arranged in blocks, provided the sides of the adjoining flights are double wired.
Beware as these birds love to chew wood, so timber and wood must be suitably robust.
A brick-built shelter offers a more durable option than a wooden structure, with a metal framework being used for the aviary panels. For larger parrots, it is best to buy from specialist aviary manufacturers.
Pheasants and Quails:
Larger cages are required by pheasants and they can be housed in the company of larger softbills such as touracos.
A base that drains well is essential, as these birds spend much of their time on the floor.
Vegetation must be provided for them for cover, preferably with areas of grass. Gravel should be available and you could spread this around the perimeter of the cage.