Tony Silva NEWS: Q & A “What aviary structure and components are best?”

October 22nd, 2015 | by Tony Silva
Tony Silva NEWS: Q & A “What aviary structure and components are best?”
Tony Silva NEWS

VIDEO IN – I recently requested questions from readers, so that I could respond to these in an open forum. From these questions two that would be of greatest interest to the readership were selected. The questions and answers are below:


QUESTION: What aviary structure and components are best?



The aviary design depends on the species being maintained and local conditions.

Parrots can be maintained in many parts of the world outdoors, where they benefit from the elements. With proper protection and a shelter they can be maintained outdoors even in many northern climates (such as parts of Europe) or in desert areas. The key for parrots to survive in low temperature is to provide access to a heated shelter, natural wooden perches that are large enough so that the birds can cover their toes with their breast feathers and prevent frostbite, insure the water does not freeze and provide continuous access to food, especially seeds and nuts whose fat content helps with thermic control.



In very warm weather, fine misters that cause a cooling effect and allow bathing and shade are important. In south Florida, where the climate is subtropical, we cover half the cage and have many trees all around to augment the shade. We also employ a misting system during very warm days.

Indoor bird rooms can work very well if hygiene is incorporated into the design and if broad-spectrum lighting that emulates the sun is employed. The lighting will have a short lifespan and will need frequent replacement. They are necessary for proper health and breeding. Adequate level of lighting is also important. A forest bird requires less intense lighting than a desert inhabitant but it will nonetheless need proper lighting. Ventilation is also important. Many parrots produce dander. When they molt, all species shed feathers, down and the waxi-like sheath that protects the incoming feathers. A filter should collect these. For many years I maintain my birds in an indoor bird room. My focus was then on adequate ventilation, proper filtration, sufficient lighting and hygiene t because a disease in an indoor environment can spread quickly.



Suspended aviaries are typical for countries with subtropical climate. (c) Lubomir Tomiska


When I had an indoor aviary, I used suspended cages. The droppings and waste would fall to the floor, which was finished concrete. This allowed quick cleaning. Smaller cages had trays that were lined with newspaper. Both allowed me to maintain the level of hygiene that I deemed was important.

Some parrots do best in suspended aviaries and others in the traditional walk in aviaries. In general terms, forest birds do exceptionally well in suspended cages, which allow feces and uneaten food to pass through, and terrestrial feeding parrots (mainly Australian parrots, parakeets and cockatoos) do very well in walk in aviaries. With the latter, hygiene is very important as the birds will wander the floor looking for food and then come in contact with feces and old, often spoiled food. Generally speaking birds housed in walk in aviaries will need to be prophylactically treated for internal parasites yearly.



Some species prefer to stay in shade for the most of day. (c) Lubomir Tomiska


Irrespective of how the birds are housed, I prefer a feeding hatch, which allows food and water (if the breeder does not have an automatic watering system) to be provided quickly. Entering the aviary can stress the birds, increases the risk of escape unless there is a double door or a passageway attached to the enclosure, and can result in a nasty bite from a hormonally active bird. I have seen more than one facial scar that resulted from an Amazon or macaw that was nesting and whose aviary was entered for servicing. Under such circumstances, always employ an open umbrella, which can be used to thwart an attack.


Title photo: (c) Lubomir Tomiska



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