There are some items that are essential for the safe efficient running of a
productive aviary. Some are listed below:
- Phone numbers - of one or more avian
or local veterinarian. Local police in case of theft or attempted theft of
your birds. Someone who can help out with the care of the birds in an
emergency, e.g. if you are injured or have a family emergency. Local
tradespeople such as plumber and electrician.
- Phone - Remember, in a power black out, the
cordless phone will NOT work. Access to a "regular" phone may be
- Supermarket location - Know the location of
the nearest 24 hour supermarket for emergency supplies including first aid
items and batteries.
- Hardware supplier location - Know the location of
the nearest 24 hour hardware supplier (e.g. K-Mart) for emergency supplies including first aid
items, batteries, small hardware items, electrical items.
- Cupboards - cupboards are essential
to store the dozens of small items we use on a regular basis.
Cupboards help keep the items clean and less likely to be damaged. If
a bird escapes in the birdroom, quarantine area or store area they tend to
fly to the highest point in the room. Often this is on a high shelf
and it is difficult to catch them safely in that situation. Cupboards
that reach to the ceiling giving no space for the birds to land on are best.
Cupboards should be flush against the wall so escapee birds cannot get
behind the cupboards.
- Lighting - adequate light levels
must be provided over work areas. Lighting fixtures should be recessed
or flush mounted to the ceiling to avoid escapee birds landing on the
lights. It is usually dangerous for the bird and the keeper to try and
catch a bird on or in light fittings. A desk lamp should be available
for additional spot lighting.
- Power outlets - don't under estimate
the need for electrical power in a well equipped birdroom. An ever
increasing number of "labour saving" items are electrical. E.g.
incubators, heaters, fridges, freezers, microwave ovens, food warmers,
drills, lights, microscopes, security systems, electronic scales,
thermostats, timers, battery rechargers, data loggers, small
air-conditioner/cooler unit, computer monitor and printer and the list goes
- Clock - for good time management.
- Torch and spare fresh batteries - for after dark emergencies or black
outs. It is hard to hand feed baby birds in the dark.
- Net/s for catching birds - if you have
different size birds e.g. finches and large parrots it is good to have more
than one size net. A good net will have padding around the wire rim and top
of the handle.
- Finch traps - Refer to "Finch aviary" page.
- Note paper, pens, pencils, chalk, chalkboard,
whiteboard etc - to record all those facts we try to commit to memory
but forget by the time we get inside the house.
- Gloves for handling larger parrots - a pair
of comfortable leather gloves can protect fingers and hands from the beak of
an aggressive parrot.
- Disposable gloves for use when handling
medicines, cleaning products or you have cuts or injuries to your hands.
- Disposable gloves - for those times when
you have sick or birds you suspect may be sick or contaminated with
- Disposable face masks - for dusty cleaning
- Full face masks - for people with allergies
or when handling powdered insecticides or medicines. Large cleaning jobs.
- First aid kit - For use on the birds as
well as the bird keepers.
- Cleaning products - Examples are -
detergents, soap, disinfectants, cleaning sponges and cloths, clean towels,
paper towels, scrubbing brushes, broom/s, scrapers, bottle brushes, dish
rack drainer, shower caddy (handy around the wash up area).
- Plastic bags - for the safe hygienic
disposal of soiled items, dead bodies, broken items etc.
- Rubbish bin/s - with securely fitting lids.
- Vermin, rodent and pest control items -
rodent traps, pest strips, rodent baits, mouse proof wire, snake proof wire,
- Seed bins or containers - need to be rodent and vermin
proof. If possible, keep the seed in a cool place out of direct sunlight.
- Tool for repairs - a range of handyman
tools should be available for basic emergency repairs. This can include
spare washers for the watering system. Pegboard and "shadow board" can
be an efficient method of hanging often used items.
- Electrical extension cords - always needed
when you do not have a spare one.
- Power boards - always needed when you do
not have a spare one.
- Nest boxes - have some spare nest boxes in
reserve for emergency replacements. Dispose of old dirty nest boxes as they
are a possible reservoir of disease pathogens and parasites.
- Nesting materials - Have spare stocks of
nest materials for finches as well as parrots, on hand at all times. Birds
can decide to nest at the most inconvenient times or decide to have an
additional clutch at the end of the breeding season. Have a good supply of
nest materials ready well before the "normal" start of the breeding season.
Some birds may start to build nests early and if the materials are not
available you may loose a clutch of eggs.
- Carry boxes - Carry boxes for transporting
birds birds are essential. Have a variety of sizes to cater for different
size birds. Finches may be safer in a smaller carry box than those
used by parrot breeders. Parrot carry boxes may have wire mesh that
would allow small finches to escape or get their head stuck in the wire. Have a carry box that is only used when purchasing birds and do
not use that box for birds that have gone through the quarantine
requirements of your aviary. Quail carry boxes can have some padding
attached to the interior roof surface to minimize the damage to the head of
nervous flighty birds. Replace old or badly soiled carry boxes to minimize
the recontamination of each lot of birds that have to be carried in that
box. A new clean carry box is cheap compared to the risks of the old carry
box being a vector for repeat contamination. Expensive or rare birds ideally
should have a box allocated for their exclusive use.
A piece of wooden dowel can be attached to the floor of the carry cage that
mimics a perch for finches.
If you bring a new bird home, do not allow the foods or other materials in
that cage to get into your aviaries. Wrap this potentially
contaminated material securely and remove it off your property in the normal
- Transportation boxes - Boxes for the
transport of birds by transport carriers e.g. air-freight, road, rail, will
have to be strong and tamper proof. Get advice from experienced
breeders. Many regular breeders who freight birds frequently will sell
boxes designed to transport specific sizes of birds.
- Hospital cage - A hospital cage can be
fairly basic design yet be able to help keep a bird alive long enough to get
a sick or injured bird to veterinary care.
- Humidistat - A humidistat records or
measures the humidity or moisture levels in the air. The humidity is
recorded as a %RH or relative humidity. Controlled environment rooms
should have a humidistat, especially in summer when the room can become very
dry. Battery operated combination thermostat/humidistat can be
purchased for about $50.
- Thermostats - always keep a spare
thermostat. They usually only break down when you don't have a spare.
- Thermometers - A good mercury or alcohol
thermometer is necessary to calibrate the battery operated temperature
recording devices. Thermostats can have an accuracy of plus or minus 2
degrees. That means the device could have a variation of up to 4
- Data recording devices - Also called data
loggers. Data recording devices are like mini computers and record a
wide range of environmental factors. They are relatively inexpensive
if used to record information for rare or expensive birds. Modern
computers can download and analyse vast amounts of data.
- Light globes - Have spare light globes.
Have a range of wattage globes on hand.
- Heat globes / elements - Have spares
- Timers - Have at least one spare
- Refrigerator - a separate refrigerator that
is only used for bird foods, medicines, veterinary products etc. This
prevents any cross contamination with normal family/household refrigerated
foods or medicines. A small bar fridge (60 - 120 litre) should be sufficient
for most aviary requirements.
- Freezer - Small freezers can be purchased
for about $200 and can store foods such as frozen vegetables, berries,
fruits, seeding grasses. Keep household supplies separate from the
aviary requirements. Keep a few trays of ice available. Placing
a few cubes of ice in the water bowl in the hotter months may be beneficial.
- Air-conditioner/cooler unit - May
need a small air-conditioner/cooler unit for comfortable working conditions
in summer in a bird room or enclosed work area.
- Spare cage or aviary - for the young birds
after they have been removed from their parents. Spare cage for injured or
recovering birds that do not need to be placed in a hospital cage. Temporary
accommodation for birds that need relief from an overly aggressive partner.
- Microwave oven - A microwave oven is handy
for quickly heating or reheating foods and fluids.
- Trolley or wheelbarrow - is helpful to move
heavy bags of seed, large logs. heavy nest boxes etc.
- Locks and security devices, security monitoring
systems - sadly, every
cage and aviary now needs a range of security devices to minimize the risks
- Scales/weighing devices - accurate
electronic scales are now inexpensive and essential to accurately weigh
birds, medicines, food additives, eggs, foods etc. Battery operated
scales are convenient and easy to move between rooms.
- Vernier callipers - Vernier callipers are a
measuring more accurate than a ruler. An accurate method of measuring
the length of eggs, baby birds, leg rings etc. Vernier callipers are
usually used by mechanics, engineers, and in many laboratories.
Inexpensive versions are usually available from hardware stores.
Electronic callipers with digital readout can be purchased from many of the
larger electronics and hardware shops. Read
the instructions or seek advice to learn how to accurately read internal and
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