A guide to help with installing an aviary, including aviary costs and how to install one correctly following building regulation.
This article will outline the work needed to install an aviary in your home garden and will look at how to make it both secure and pleasant home for your exotic birds. While aviaries can be built inside your home, this article will concentrate on an outside aviary as they are considered healthier for your birds and will give them more room.
The cost of an aviary can vary enormously; you can purchase one for as low as £100 or as expensive as £1,400. The price is mostly down to size and what aviary is constructed from.
Building an aviary is like building a small, secure shed in your garden. It’ll have two fundamental elements – an enclosed, inside area that will provide a safe, warm and dry home, and a wired-in outside area that will give them room to fly. This will typically be built from seasoned wood and wire mesh on a frame.
If you are putting your aviary outside, you will need to clear an appropriate area and put down paving slabs for a solid base. This is an ideal time to generally clear and tidy whole sections, or even the entirety of your garden.
There are many plans available on the internet that show you plans for building an aviary, and give you a list of all the materials that you will need. It’s suggested that you download one of these that suits your needs and use the materials suggested as the basis of your aviary. You should always place your aviary on a hard standing, which not only prevents flooding in wet weather but also inhibits pests such as mice and rats from burrowing into your aviary.
You will need to create this hard standing by using a purpose-built concrete area, or a fully-rendered series of paving slabs. Alternatively, you could use the cheaper option of a soft foundation, where you would fit a wire mesh at the bottom of the aviary as this will stop predators such as foxes and rats from tunnelling into the aviary. Then on top of the wire mesh floor, you would put gravel.
This gravel typically is the size of small stone pebbles, but not small enough for the birds to feed on and choke. The main advantage of gravel is that water will be able to drain straight through and into the earth. Make sure that you place your flooring in a nice, sunny spot in your garden, but allow the birds to have some shade too. Ensure that they are not exposed to too many draughts and wind.
The plans that you download will be for either wooden or metal structures, and you should pick the most appropriate for your needs. As a rule, the wooden versions will be both easier to make and cheaper to build, and the remainder of this article will focus on these.
You’ll have a cutting list, which will give you the sectional sizes and lengths of wood and wire sizes that you will need to obtain to create your aviary. As a rule, follow the wire spacings and sizes as per the table below, with regard to your bird’s size.
|Extra Large Birds
|5/8″ to 3/4″
|3/4″ to 1″
|1″ to 1-1/4″
The plans available usually call for you to build flat sides for your structure and then fix them together using angle brackets. This is the simplest way of creating your aviary structure. Once you have built the frameworks for your aviary, you need to attach the wire. Fitting the aviary wire mesh to the frame is reasonably simple. First, size out the wire mesh to the aviary panel. Anything over the size can be cut using a wire cutter. The mesh can then be joined to the panel with stout metal staples and a hammer. If the wire mesh is not big enough, then two different pieces of it can be joined together using wire clips and a plier set. Also, make sure that the wire mesh covers the top section of the frame so that the birds do not have access to the roofing.
The plans should include a door which will need a stout latch or even a hasp and staple for a padlock to prevent unauthorized entry. It is also a good idea to fit wheels to a smaller aviary so that it can be moved around.
Here is a list of commonly asked questions regarding installing an aviary.
Generally not, though that depends on how big you are going to make it. If you make a normal-sized budgie aviary, it is unlikely that you will need any kind of permission, though you need to check through your deeds to ensure that it is permissible. If you are building something larger, such as for doves, then you may need to seek the advice of your Local Authority.
Yes, if you obtain written authorization from your Housing Officer and subject to the subsequent conditions: The aviary must not be less than 1.8m (6 feet) from any domestic property and 1m from any dividing or boundary fence. The size of the aviary shouldn’t surpass 3.6m (12 feet) by 1.8m (6 feet) in size. The aviary must be constructed properly and blend into the nearby environment. You’ll be in charge of maintaining the structure to the approval of the Council.
You can, but you should purchase specialist bird-safe paints to do so. You should also steer clear of woods that have been treated with any type of pesticides or herbicides will be classified as toxic to birds if they chew it. Similarly, you shouldn’t paint any metals parts and be careful what types of screw you use as some – such as galvanized zinc screws - are considered unsafe and should not be used.
The ultimate size of your aviary will dictate the maximum number of birds you can accommodate comfortably, though that depends on the size of the bird that you intend keeping. As a rule, you require a minimum of 13cm aviary length per budgie, with a width measuring at least half the length. So, in a cage measuring 130cm x 130cm x 65cm, you can house ten budgies. Scaling up, an aviary of 650cm x 650cm x 325cm will accommodate fifty budgies comfortably. For other birds, you will need to build correspondingly larger aviaries. You should consult plans to understand sizes for bird sizes and population densities.
The covered, internal part of the aviary should be entirely weatherproof (you can insulate the interior too). Following the same principle as house insulation, build walls with a gap between the interior and exterior. This cavity can be stuffed with polystyrene, bubble-wrap or a similar insulating material. Polystyrene sheets covered with plywood work very well too. Birds dislike draughts, so this double-skin approach will stop those too.