HAMILTON & DISTRICT BUDGERIGAR SOCIETY INC.


THE AVIARY

AVOID MISTAKES WHEN BUILDING YOUR AVIARY/BIRDROOM

by Brian Byles
Although the cold months of the year are not the best time to erect birdrooms, the time can be put to good use by planning buildings that are going to house your birds. Good sound planning when erecting a birdroom is very important, otherwise you may regret it for years to come. Unfortunately, I found this out at my own expense. I have made some mistakes over the years with the way my original birdroom and the extensions were put up. My first mistake was to buy a house on the side of a hill. Although it is not a very steep one, I had to level off the site on which I built the future home for my birds. That resulted in hours of work, both before the original building could be erected and on the occasions when I decided to expand. When moving house, planning for the birds is not usually the first thing you may think about, but it is worth giving it serious consideration. If it is necessary to lay foundations, you should discover in advance the conditions of the soil. I did not realize (until the spade went in for the first time) that the ground on which my home is built, is made up of heavy clay and is liberally sprinkled with large stones and rocks.

If you propose to build a birdroom on a sloping site, leveling it off is an obvious necessity. The problems which can come later, however, are not always so clear. When you level off the site, you should pay special attention to the end where the structure will be above original ground level. When I built my birdroom, soil from one end of the site was moved to the other. Large rocks, bricks and concrete blocks were used to make the foundations solid but, over the years, the birdroom above the built-up area slightly dropped - enough to be a cause for concern. On reflection it would have been sensible to sink piles into the site so they could take the full weight of the building.

The first section of my present birdroom was erected on piers. Trenches were dug out and filled with hardcore and concrete piles laid on top. It would have been more sensible to have laid a slab of hardcore and then concrete on top to erect the building. I recommend this plan of action even if you aim to have a birdroom with a timber floor. The type of floor you decide on does need serious consideration. If you don't intend to move for many years, a concrete base should be considered. For fanciers whose work is likely to move them from one locality to another. It can save a considerable amount of money to have a solidly made sectional timber floor (and birdroom) that can be taken up and re-laid at your new home.

I have described some of the pitfalls I experienced when I erected my Budgerigar birdroom and explained ways of overcoming such trials and tribulations. Here I look at the birdroom itself, its design and construction. My birdroom has served me well over the years, but with hindsight I would have designed it differently. For a start I feel that it was a mistake to have the roof sloping from back to front. The idea was that the extra height at the back would help me to fit in more cages. What I did not take into account was that rain now runs off the front and whoever opens and shuts the windows during or after a downpour can get wet. If the birdroom had been designed so that the slope was from front to back this would not happen. Additionally, more light would be able to get in. It is, of course, possible to overcome the problem of water running off the front of the birdroom by simply adding guttering and a pipe to carry the water away. However, even this needs to be even taken this into account at the design stage.

I discovered after the building had been erected that guttering would prevent me from opening the windows which run the length of the structure. There is a further complication, if the process is not thought through in advance. Take outside fights right up to the roof, and how do you accommodate gutters? Even if, theoretically, there is sufficient space for a gutter, fixing it in place after the fights have been erected can be extremely difficult, if not impossible. So design your birdroom so that the roof slopes from front to back, including guttering in the design, so that rain, when it comes off the roof at the rear, will not seep into the base of the birdroom. Also fix guttering in proximity to the flights before you erect them. Another important design feature which can mean extra expense if you do not get it right first time is providing sufficient space inside. My birdroom soon proved to be too small and I added extensions. Let us first consider the , layout you will have to start with. The size and shape of interior fights and the position of cages, working surfaces, cupboards and a sink unit, if you have the money and space for such "luxuries", are all important. When I planned my birdroom I thought the sensible thing to do was have my breeding cages along the back wall with 'The size and shape of interior flights and the position of cages, working surfaces, cupboards and a sink unit, if you have the money and space for such "luxuries", are all important' a sink and water supply at one end and flights at the front. If there was one thing wrong with this set up, it was the fact that the flights kept out more daylight than I would have liked. I should have planned larger windows along the front, however, after it was erected this was out of the question.

One answer has been to install roof lights but that creates another set of problems and is not recommended unless you have the necessary skills to make and install them properly. My flights, as already related, ran along the front of my birdroom, but they could not be more than 3ft wide and, as I had to walk past them each time I wanted to get from one end to the other, I disturbed the birds in the process. Fortunately, I was able to add an extension to one end, use it solely for inside flying space, and install cupboards and a work surface where the flights had been. The result is that the birdroom is much better to work in, the birds are less stressed because they are left to their own devices, and equipment, such as nest-boxes and show cages, do not have to be stored in the loft but is more freely available in the birdroom. But what if you are not able to extend your birdroom lengthways? The obvious answer is to have a wider structure. However, if you don't think about this seriously at the planning stage, changes at a later date could be very expensive. Large birdrooms can cost a great deal. However, newcomers can successfully use a garden shed, converted garage, coal shed or chicken house. The ideas that I am putting forward are aimed at the person who has found from experience that breeding Budgerigars is the hobby he can enjoy and would like a proper birdroom in which to breed his stock. Whatever your stage of development in the hobby, sit down and plan before you jump in with two feet. Poor planning, or a complete lack of it can be very expensive.




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E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca

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Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc.