Well the birds have been in the Aviary for nearly two weeks now and seem quite happy. Only a few minor changes have been made, such as putting the water feeder on the floor, as we accidently spilt it a few times reaching up to attach it to the top of the aviary.  We also had to replace and thin out the wood chippings on the floor, as it had gotten to damp from spilling water and giving the birds excessive baths, and couldn’t dry out so started to smell. That happened within the first week, and there have not been any issues since.

The aviary is cleaned each weekend (which is surprisingly easy and does not take very long) and the wood chippings will be replaced every other week. We also got a short hand held snow shovel for scooping up the wood chippings.

So far, hardly anyone has shown interest in the nests, mostly sleeping on the artificial fern and the vine wrapped perch. However, one couple (Theodore and Peppi) have been interested, and have occupied the far left one.  We have been checking the nest for eggs and so far retrieved five eggs in total. While we do like chicks, we don’t want Theodore and Peppi breeding, as they are related and so would end up with genetically weaker chicks.

Our two new female Fawn Cherry Finches are doing well, and will be grouped with our other Cherries in about a weeks time.
Today is a sad day, our favourite finch died this morning. For the last 4 days Celestine had been looking unwell and at first we thought it was minor. Originally we put her in the medical cage, given the heat lamp during the day and medicine in her drink.  She perked up soon into the first day while we were getting the aviary ready, and as she was to live in the aviary with the Bengalese as an honouree finch, we had transferred her back with her friends. But we had to take her back out after we noticed her health had deteriorated again. Yesterday she had perked up again and was eating fine, and at night she was sleeping soundly on a perch with her head tucked over to her back. This morning, we found her dead on her back, still worm, implying we had missed her by less than 30minutes.

 Celestine had always acted a bit funny ever since we got her mid April 2012, and seeing as she was picked on by other birds at the shop when we bought her, we now wonder if she had had an internal defect.

Celestine was a lovely Penguin Zebra finch. She was friendly and polite, letting over finches go first and coming over to us when we spoke to her. Celestine was very young when we got her, and was most likely only about 7 months old when

R.I.P Celestine

Celestine. When we first got her, she had no tail, but it grew back into a beautiful tail
Celestine was so cute
celestine eating seed
Celestine used to enjoy baths
Celestine got on well with the Bengalese finches
Celestine hanging out with her best friend, Aquila
So this morning we kitted out the new aviary with brand new items:

1. To start, we fitted bamboo branches, one reaching the full length of the aviary at the front, and one crossing the width of the aviary on either side (of which one slots into the perch hole in the front of the middle finch nest box).

2. Next, plastic perches with slots were added to the left front corner next to the door, to allow weaker/tired finches to climb the aviary without having to do large flying runs in one go to the top.

3. Just like the previous homes, the back is lined with silk artificial foliage, but instead of fixing silk vines to perch on, an extra-long and thin one was coiled tightly round one of the bamboo perches. The silk foliage was attached by screwing in small hooks into the wooden slats, so that they can be easily removed and cleaned later.

4. Due to the mini board inside the aviary (which creates the secret sleeping zone behind it), we decided to kit the right side of it as a small play zone, with a long slim hanging ladder, a cotton spiral perch and a hanging cotton bundle.

5. Larger plastic coated hooks were attached to the roof beams to attach hanging feeders and millet sprays. While we decided to try the finches with small hanging feeders basically designed to chickens (though the feeder does have a perch round for the finches to stand on while they eat), we also put in an extra-long transparent seed trough in to allow the finches to eat from what they are more used to. It is also important to have multiple feeding stations when there are more birds, so that there is less tension and squabbling.

6. The floor was covered in bird safe wood chippings. An artificial and very bushy fern was attached to the top left corner at the front so that it flops down over some of the bamboo perches, creating a zone behind it for finches to hide if necessary. An artificial plant was also added to the bottom right corner at the back to finish it off.

The Bengalese finches and Celestine (because she had partnered up with Aquila in the flight cages) have now been moved into the aviary. Pictures updated to the Gallery.

The finch aviary with its perches and feeders
The aviaries long seed trough
Silk foliage under the finch nest boxes
So the aviary turned up earlier this week, and we have been quite busy modifying it for our requirements. To start, we bought a 6' x 3' x 6' aviary which was described as 'executive' high quality. The panels were constructed from 40mm beams of wood (not sawn cut) and uses standard 19 gauge galvanised wire with 0.5" x 1" rectangular hole spacing. Some of the panels have wood slats attached instead of wire and an extra internal mini panel so that a private sleeping zone can be created.

Making the Aviary

First some of the panels had to be cut down and modified as we wanted the aviary indoors and we had a nice spot at the back of the house as long as it was no longer than 5'6". This was a simple process of disassembling some of the panels, cutting parts down and reassembling them.

The base supplied was a normal wire mesh panel, which was unsuitable for an internal aviary, so we bought a thick pieceof chip board. Though chip board is not good against water, we found it to be sturdier than MDF, and we wanted it to take our weight when we enter to clean the aviary. Support beams were attached to the underside in a figure of 8 (the digital block type), and 8 caster wheels were attached, one in each corner, one in the middle of each long side, and 2 in the middle. The base was then covered in vinyl tiles, as they are scratch and water resistant, and compensate for the chip boards poor water skills.

With the base complete and it easily surviving several weight and impact tests (i.e. us jumping on it!), we were able to attach the panels. Each panel was attached with 2x 5mm thick screws to the base, 2 screws to the roof panel and 4 screws to each of the adjacent panels. Each panel was prepared beforehand, by drilling and countersinking screw holes in appropriate places, and wiping everything with bird safe disinfectant cleaning spray.

5” x 5” x 5” square finch nest boxes were bought and attached into the sleeping zone, and some extra beams added to allow us to add hooks to hang extra features later on. Finally a wooded skirt was added round the bottom of the aviary to make it look better for indoors, but to also hold in any mess the birds make in the bottom (we plan on covering the bottom with bird safe wood chippings).

The aviary itself looks quite different from its intended build,
as we wanted to arrange most the panels in different orientations. Luckily most normal aviaries built from panels only use panels which are 6’ x 3’ and swopping differently designed panels does not impact on the structure or stability of the final product.

Tomorrow we plan on kitting the new aviary out with new perches and feeders, and hopefully the Bengalese Finches can migrate to their new home.
Other side panel and internal mini panel attached
Roof panel attached before final front panel. The Roof panel needed alot of hits from a wooden mallet
Floor panel, built from scratch
Attaching the door and side panel. Make sure to use a spirit level to check everything is straight!
Attaching back panels. Left panel given extra wooden beams to hold finch nest boxes
Finch nest boxes attached. They better use them!
Finally skirt attached. These had to be custom cut due to us re-arranging the aviary panels so that it looked different to how the supplier intended
With the new house, an order placed for a 6' x 3' x 6' aviary, its immanent arrival and a reshuffle of which birds are in which cages, the 4 Cherry Finches will end up with a flight cage designed comfortably for 6 finches, so we decided we would buy 2 female Cherry Finches for Petra and Cassie. Luckily our local store had some female Fawn Cherry Finches so we bought 2 of them, and they look gorge
Female Fawn Cherry Finch 1
Female Fawn Cherry Finch 2
Female Fawn Cherry Finches together
Luckily both Fawn Cherry Finches already have leg bands (one is white while the other is white and yellow), so hopefully we will give them names and have their profiles on the website soon.