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.