Building a new bird-room to my own specifications is a task I look forward to and dread in equal measure. Whilst it provides the perfect opportunity for you to pour all Newley gained knowledge into creatively customising a new set up that improves on the last set up, it can be a mammoth task that isn’t all plain sailing from start to finish. If there is one piece of advice, I would like give about building a new Gouldian Bird room or indeed and new bird room, it is to take your time to perfect your new build just how you envision it. After all, it won’t be just your birds living in there so make it a space you enjoy spending your time in. Our new Gouldian Aviarium is one of two new builds for housing our birds. The buildings are both just under 30sqm in size and almost identical from the exterior apart from the position of the main entrance. The sister building is our African Waxbill Aviarium, which we will provide information & pictures on in the future. Both buildings have been designed to replace our old set-up made up of 3 separate builds.
One of the main goals for the new Gouldian finch bird room was to have the indoor aviaries and the cage breeding room all under one roof with its own water supply and storage space. With the old Gouldian set up being divided into 2 separate buildings, and only one water supply (In the breeding room), the new set up allows for more convenience, and although larger in size, the running cost is cheaper in the new build when compared to that of the 2 separate rooms in the old set up. When designing the new build, the foundations of what I wanted to create were built on five main pillars which were taken into consideration as every step of the design and building process:
- Hygiene. Is it hygienic and easy to keep that way?
- Convenience. Is the building efficient, accessible and as practical as possible?
- Wellbeing of the birds. Do the birds have enough space to exercise, and access to proper lighting, ventilation & heating?
- Space: Do I have enough room for storing, being able to clean and move around inside the building?
- Aesthetics: Does the building create a pleasing environment for both the birds and myself?
For the layout itself, I wanted to keep the 32-breeding cage system (8 quads that are 8ft in length). The breeding cages are situated in the front half of the building, forming what we have come to call the left & right bank of cages. They are situated opposite the main entrance and the sink and preparation area. Between the cage banks is a walk way leading to the back half of the bird room where the 3 aviary flights are positioned.
The first aviary flight, on the left of the building is “L” shaped, running 10ft in length at the longest end whilst the third aviary mirrors the first and is on the righthand side in a reversed “L” shaped. The second aviary flight lies between these 2 flights at the back of the room and measures 11ft in length by 3.6ft wide. The outside walls of all three aviaries are lined with self-adhesive wall murals of our own custom created forest imagery. The wall murals are printed on good quality vinyl, which makes them very easy to wipe down with a damp cloth for cleaning. We have however purposely left at least a 6” gap between the closest perch and the vinyl walls as this does seem to prevent the vast majority of droppings from finding a spot on the wall, which makes the walls much easier to maintain.
For the aviary panels, we used a white aluminium frames, switching to black aluminium at the bottom of all the panels. Encompassed between the black aluminium frame are PVC board partitions that help to help keep the aviary litter inside the flightsFor the white sections of aluminium frame, we used black aviary mesh which creates a great contrast with the wonderfully coloured Gouldian finches and forest wall murals. This was a part of the project that took much more time to create than standard wooden frames and a lick of paint on the walls instead of murals, however the aluminium frames do not need as much maintenance as wooden frames, are much more hygienic and easier to clean, and the same goes for the vinyl walls as opposed to painted wooden walls.
For the perching, we built our own plastic frames that are fixed to the wall. The perches themselves simply clip into the perch cups on either end of the frame, making them really easy to remove for cleaning purposes. We also have a selection of hanging wooden swinging, which we built ourselves, that are 6ft in height and run nearly to the floor. This can be very handy for fledglings should we colony breed.
The feeding station is kept sperate from the water station and this discourages seed/supplements becoming damp and encouraging bacteria. We use PVC lined shelves for our seed hoppers to sit on at waste height inside the flights. The water stations are again waste height but are positioned on top of a single legged platform, much like a garden water fountain for the wild birds. The PVC surface for the water lanterns to sit on is easily cleaned and takes 20 seconds to do so each day with a quick spray and wipe down.
There is a 2-way lighting system in operation within the aviaries. Firstly, and most importantly we have the arcadia full spectrum Prot5 & Pure sun bird lighting kits. These new lighting systems are very easy to install and unlike the old units no separate power unit is needed. Another bonus is the fact you can join additional units to the same circuit but running an extension cable from the previous unit to the next unit. The second part of the lighting system is an LED automatic dimmer lighting system, which is there for the sole purposes of adding a little extra light to the flights and to mimic the sunrise and sunset effects which really does help in reducing stress for the birds by any sudden changes like the lights suddenly switching off and onto a night light.
For heating, the new build is fitted with 2 Eco heaters capable of maintaining temperatures up to 25oc during the coldest of winter nights. With 50mm Celotex floor insulation, 70mm roof insulation and 100mm wall insulation, the building is extremely well insulated and air tight thanks to the PVC fitted windows and doors and vents that can be closed if necessary. Any window that is inside a flight has had the jig reversed so that the inside of the flight is meshed, and the windows can be opened from the outside. All the electrical wires are hidden inside trunking to give a clean and tidy finish to the inside of the room. We hope you hope you enjoyed a peek into our new Gouldian Aviarium.