Cockatiels are ideal birds for aviaries, as they are attractive as well as sociable. Their musical calls are also unlikely to upset the neighbors.
You will still need to plan the building of your aviary carefully. Don’t build your aviary too close to the road, or your birds may get stollen.
Choose a sheltered spot for your aviary. It should be shielded from the wind, and be in a reasonably sunny spot with not too many trees that can loose leaves in the cage. Droppings from wild birds in the trees may contaminate your aviary, or branches could fall off and damage the aviary.
A good place for an aviary is at the edge of a piece of lawn, and in this way you can sit on the grass and enjoy watching the birds. Make sure that the spot you choose allows you to keep an eye on the birds from inside the house. You will then be able to keep your eye on it for things like neighborhood cats.
If the aviary is well sheltered from the elements, there will be little need for artificial lighting or heating. Keep the lighting natural, unless you want to make a visual display of your aviary.
Having an aviary is quite addictive, so when building your aviary, keep this in mind, as you may want to expand it at a later date.
The size of your aviary will depend on whether you keep lots of cockatiels or just a breeding pair. For more birds you will need a bigger aviary. Cockatiels will enjoy a flight of 3.6m (12ft) in length, although slightly less will be adequate if you are short of space. The height of the aviary should not be under 1.8m, so that you can get easy access to clean the cage and catch the birds when you need to without the risk of scalping yourself. If you are tall, make the cage higher.
The width of the aviary is not as critical. A useful guide, is to keep the cage to 90cm square per breeding pair.
When building your aviary, you will need to decide on a floor covering. Grass and gravel are both very unsuitable, as they are difficult to clean and can harbor germs and parasites. A concrete floor works well if it is sloped and smooth so that the water runs off and doesn’t leave puddles, which will become stale as they stand. Paving stones also work well, as long as they are also sloped for excess water to drain off. Make sure that you have a drainage hole for the water to run down.
Although an aviary is a lot of work to maintain, the enjoyment that you will get out of it as an avid bird lover will be well worth the effort.
Michel Maling enjoys owning birds of the parrot family. Visit her blog at http://cockatielsaspets.com
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