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The Aviaries

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Outlines from the satellite image are enlarged to the right. The perimeter fence is chain link. Around the front it is also lined with oleanders. Around the back it is lined with cactus.

  • The parrot first aid center is by the window behind the pony wall at the front door.
  • Parrot sleeping and personal spaces are in light blue to include the living room, a bedroom, and the hen house.
  • The AZ Room is a 1/4" mesh-enclosed (Fencer Wire) porch area with perches overlooking the pool yard where the sulcata live.
  • The grey structure to the west of the AZ room is a barn. Between is a sulcata burrow. Another burrow is also in the sulcata house at the pool perimeter.
  • Anywhere tortoises are housed has at least a 1' no line of sight barrier. This includes the backup area of Duck Pen 2.
  • The hen house has AC with Heat, filtered water, and TV. The windows are left open enough for birds to come and go at will 24/7 except through storms.
  • The goat yard is actually two yards currently opened into one.
  • All outside doors lock and (except the front and AZ room) are spring loaded to automatically close.

Main Aviary Plan Profile


Floor Plan with Expansion


Material Tips

The roof of the expansion is 1" PVC coated steel mesh. The interior walls of the hen house are 1/2x4x8 cement boards with wood trimming for mounting things and sheet metal bases and corners. We cover damaged sections with sheet metal.

Alternative materials include 1/2" welded stainless steel and Riverdale's 1/2"x1" PVC coated also sold by WA Davidson. 48" x25' or 50' lengths are best. 100' rolls get wound too tight and can be damaged fighting them to flat. 6' wide easily becomes unmanageable.

Mesh type and aperture size depends on size of aviary and species. 1" PVC coated is great for a large enclosure (even budgies can't get through). Anything small enough to be played with or invite predators needs 1/2" apertures and either galvanized scrubbed safe or stainless.

For vertical framing we've used 2" plumbing pipe for the larger birds, and pressure-treated 4x4s for the budgies. Plumbing pipe is expensive but incredibly durable especially with a coat of enamel paint. We paint everything before we build or install. Wood going into the ground is coated with tar. If the enclosure is small and the wood a potential target, use untreated.

Horizontal framing is easily done with 2x4s, fencing rails, or 1-1/2" square tubing. The square tubing is affordable and durable at a local fencing company or steel mill. Be sure to drip any type of oil on your bits as you drill so they don't burn up going into metal. And space your framing with lots of overlap for the mesh.


Each aviary is seeded with multi-season grass, chicken scratch, and left over seeds from parrot mixes. They also have a variety of other plants like a Tina fig, grape vine, zuccini, broccoli, etc. All plants confirmed parrot safe (see Birdhism, Parrot Haven, Multiscope, etc.

Main Aviary Construction

Open Aviary

SE View

The entire aviary was first dug out with a tractor. The posts (actually steel plumbing pipe) were then painted, positioned, attached to the roof modulars, uprighted, leveled and cemented. Currogated sheet metal was set around the perimeter, chicken wire placed along the botom and buried about 2' deep.


Meshing the roof was a nightmare because we used 6'x100' rolls, we mounted to the top, and the roof frame is too widely spread to be load bearing. The walls and south perimeter were done last so we could drive a truck in and out. and before the wall was added, we installed the gazebo with pond. Cheyenne is seen supervising from the young Tina fig tree she would come to love. She died of a heart attack July 12, 2019. Henrietta is already living here.


The gazebo is simple 4x4 pillars with metal frame and an old fencing panel cut in half to form the roof. The weight of the slate with fountain eventually caused a crack in the pond repaired two years later. The slate split during repair. Combined with a block for support in the middle, the split improved water flow.



Wall Panels

The panels are lag bolted together and attached to cemented fence posts: 2 on the original aviary, 3 along the duck pen fence line, and one added in the exposed middle (west wall). The east wall is against the block pillars and footing of the wood fence. The front additionally has block partially burried, and west has currogated to block intruders.

Mesh burial did not stop prairie dog entry, so we didn't bother here. An African sumac was removed and set aside to be used for perches later. After construction we saw the spiral bean bushes were too invassive and removed them.


The original aviary had prefabricated modulars to give the roof its shape. We used a sledgehammer to initiate the bends on 1-1/2" steel tubing, then leverage to replicate those bends. Of course we painted all the new metal as we installed it. Each is attached by lag bolts to the outside of one side and the inside of the other.


Taking a cue from the budgie aviary, we used 4' wide PVC coated mesh attached from the inside to the frame on the outside. It was still hard-going because of the scale and height, but easier with helpers. The panels and roof all have 1-1/2" steel frame. The panels are welded. The roof is bolted.

When we went to transfer the face, we realized we were better off adding to the frame and using the new mesh. One entire side was opened and replaced by a 4' chaing link fence with gate for a variety of possible funcitons.

Hen House


The hen house is a proper building with degrees of overkill. We started with the idea of doing a block wall, but our block wasn't load bearing. We switched to a semi-conventional wood frame attached to the 2" steel pipe framing. The insulation wells are horizontal and significantly shorter than a standard wood frame.


The outer walls are exterior wood paneling, repaired with sheet metal where they are compromised by ambitious parrots. The interior walls are 1/2x4x8 cement sheets, painted, joined, and then the joints covered by boards we then mount toys and perches to. The bottom 2' and all the corners are covered with sheet metal to prevent parrot damage.


We assumed at least occasional pressure washing, so the floor is tiled to help with water flow. Pressure washing risks mold and mildew, so we seldom do it. Instead, as with inside perches and dishes, we are cautious about stacking so waste goes to the floor instead of a lower level.

Behind the camera in each picture is the door and utility wall where the AC and TV are mounted. The electrical and water are managed from the sally port. Only food, perches, toys, and sheets for covering the floor are stored in the hen house. Everything else is stored or managed in the sally port.


Budgie Aviary Construction



This spot was selected to share the hen house and provide natural shade. It had a thorny tree we took out after construction.



All the wood used for this was pressure treated. The bottom 3' of the 4x4x10 posts were coated in advance. The coating protects them from water damage and insects. A screw was added at the same height from the bottom of each post to align and level them.



Post holes were dug with an auger drill bit. Placement was done relative to the main aviary and entry door, adding a pseudo-frame for leveling and distribution.

Roof Framing

Roof Frame

Using 4x4x12 going one direction, 2x4x12 were installed the other direction as if load bearing. That was a mistake.



The mistake cost one very aggrevating day of failure to install roof 1/2" 16Ga.x4' mesh (adequate or ideal). The far wall installed perfectly. We just couldn't manage the corner.



We solved the problem by laying the boards flat, folding the mesh over the corner instead of frame, and attaching the mesh from the inside. A dead tree was cut to fit for the main perch arrangement. It would be installed as soon as the roof was complete.



The mesh was precut then rolled out in place using loose boards, attached to one side at a time, then stitched with the next run. Then the walls similarly.

Mounting the Tree


The dead tree is mounted to the frame of the aviary so the trunk is elevated over a foot from the ground. This reduces direct incursion by insects.

Base Boards


The bottom is layered with chicken wire on the inside for climbing and stability followed by currogated plastic and partially buried cement block around the perimeter. Seeded with chicken scratch, an electronic timer on a hose bib (NE interior corner regulates daily irrigation.

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