An avid breeder writes: "We have about 20 budgies in an outdoor aviary. The aviary is on a balcony with southern exposure. Each winter we bring the whole aviary indoors, and it is very inconvenient to have it inside all winter. Can budgies survive outdoors in winter? I have been told they can.
I have successfully kept budgerigars, Agapornis love birds, ring-necked parakeets and cockatiels outdoors for years, but they need special conditions. First of all, the aviary must be large enough for the birds to have room to move about.
The aviary must also not only have sunny exposure but must be absolutely dry. That means either the aviary or the entire balcony must be roofed.
These birds are not especially sensitive to cold but they are easily harmed by wind. Either the aviary itself or the area it's in must have walls to block the wind. If the wall is on the aviary, avoid using nylon sheeting, which the birds can tear. Solid sheeting with edges well protected from bird chewing is in order.
Needless to say, the birds must also have warm, wooden nesting boxes to which they can retreat for warmth.
In addition, we must realize that the metabolism of these small creatures goes into high gear when the weather is cold, so they need an even better diet than in summer. Food containers must never be empty, and their diet supplemented with hard-boiled eggs, cooked corn and the like.
Remember that almost all Psittacae, that is parrot-family birds, are very hardy and can endure almost any temperatures, but they do not endure excessive moisture or wind chill.
Protective conditions for parrots and parakeets are also adequate for finches. On the other hand, canaries do not do well in cold conditions, not even with the protections needed by parakeets.
We must, however, be sure that, before winter, our birds are in the pink of
health. All it takes is health and proper protection, and these birds can
successfully weather the winter.
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Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc.