Aviary buying guide

Aviary buying guide

Pauline, Self-taught DIYer, Leeds

Guide written by:

Pauline, Self-taught DIYer, Leeds

Designed to give your birds more space than a cage, aviaries come in a wide range of materials, shapes and sizes to match your space and the type of birds you keep. Any number of features may be included from bird feeders to pull out trays or even wheels for transport. Read on to find the perfect aviary for your birds.

Important features

  • Size
  • Materials
  • Types
  • Location
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Key factors for choosing an aviary

Aviaries are usually outdoor structures designed to provide your birds with the space to fly around. It's important to invest in an aviary rather than a cage if you're hoping to keep a large number of birds and/or larger species.

The size of your aviary should match the size and number of the birds you want to keep to ensure they can all spread their wings! It's always best to focus on length rather than height as birds generally prefer to fly horizontally in a confined space. That said, some species, such as budgies and parrots, do enjoy climbing and will need vertical space to do so.

In any case, the bigger the aviary, the happier your birds will be. The largest outdoor models may even be big enough for you to enter.

Available in different materials (usually aluminium, wood or PVC) and equipped withsolid meshor carefully space bars, aviaries may be designed exclusively for indoor or outdoor use, or both. They may also come with wheels for easy transportation. However, even if you go for a portable model, it's important to ensure your birds still have enough space to fly around.

You'll also have to think about the practical side of things. For example, all components should ideally be easy to remove and clean.

A pull-out tray at the base of the aviary allows you to remove droppings easily. Similarly, a pull-out tray for food is ideal for feeding your birds without having to enter the aviary. When it comes to accessories, you will need a range of equipment such as perches (or heated perches!), bird feeders, water dispensers and toys such as swings, ladders and mirrors.

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Different types of aviary

Indoor aviaries

Indoor aviaries are ideal for offering pets like parrots a home or a place to relax in the family home. These aviaries come in many different designs but will of course be smaller than outdoor varieties.

Outdoor aviaries

Outdoor aviaries can be set up in the garden or on a deck. They may be any size and the only real limit is the space you have available. These open-feel structures usually come in easy-to-install flatpack kits, but must be positioned and set up with a great deal of care.

Indoor/outdoor aviaries

The shape, material and roof of these aviaries lends them to both indoor and outdoor use. They may incorporate a warm, sheltered compartment that opens up to an 'outdoor' space.

Aviary materials

Whichever material you choose, it should be rust-resistant and easy to clean. You will be able to choose from a few common materials.

Wooden aviaries

Wood is a popular choice for outdoor aviaries as it is attractive and insulating. However, most birds enjoy scratching, pecking or playing with this material. For this reason, wood isn't the best option for birds with hooked beaks. Furthermore, the wood must be treated on a regular basis to stand up to the elements, if kept outdoors.

Aluminium or steel aviaries

Lightweight but strong and rust-resistant, aluminium aviaries come in a wide range of shapes. This material won't corrode, is fireproof and easy to clean.

Steel is also fireproof, rust-resistant and easy to maintain.

PVC aviaries

PVC is lightweight, rot-proof and temperature-proof. A cost-effective option, PVC is a little trickier to maintain than metal.

Aviary mesh and bars

The mesh or bars of your aviary must be strong enough to cope with interested beaks, especially hooked ones! If you have an outdoor aviary, it must be built to keep out predators.

It's important that the mesh or bars are not too far apart. As a general rule, your birds shouldn't be able to fit their heads through. This means about 1 to 1.5 cm for small birds like canaries, 2 cm for medium-sized birds like Senegal parrots and 2.5 to 3 cm for larger varieties.

Roof and flooring

For an outdoor aviary, a sloped roof will work best to prevent rain or snow build-up.

An aviary set up in the garden may not feature a base; in this case, it can simply be placed on the lawn. However, you will need to be very careful of predators as they can easily bury underneath the structure. To prevent any catastrophes, you can dig a trench of at least 20 cm around the aviary and insert some fine mesh around the perimeter. Otherwise, you can place your aviary over paving covered with a bed of sawdust or sand.

Picking the right spot for an aviary

Whether you've settled on an indoor or outdoor aviary, the temperature must never be too high or too low. Avoid south- or north-facing rooms or placing an indoor aviary too close to a heat source or air conditioner.

  • Outdoor aviaries must have a shaded area and a spot that is sheltered from the rain and wind. If your birds will be spending the winter outdoors, they should be provided with a space to shelter from the cold.

  • While birds do like the light, indoor aviaries should never be placed too close to the window as they may heat up quickly on warmer days. Beware of draughts but be sure to air out the room on a regular basis and keep your birds away from cooking fumes and cigarette smoke.

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Guide written by:

Pauline, Self-taught DIYer, Leeds

Pauline, Self-taught DIYer, Leeds

With a handyman-father, I grew up with the soft sound of the sander and hammer on weekends. I am both manual and cerebral, I learned the basics of DIY and the customisation of furniture because I was passionate. The salvage mentality is a true way of life that allowed me to know how to use all the tools and products needed to give something a second life, from a sander to varnish. I have two favourite activities: the transformation of old furniture and decoration tips. I am always ready to lend a helping hand to revamp a table or to restore a mirror that was intended for the tip that will become a friend’s centrepiece. I’m convinced that it’s possible to reinvent an interior by small, regular modifications and I constantly research low-cost ideas.

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