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HaydenThePirate 07-29-2018 08:49 PM

New England hazards?
Hello everyone, new member and fairly new bird owner here. My first bird, Chicken, a sulfur crested cockatoo, is my best friend and she has strongly bonded to me. I'm building an outside aviary in my back yard for her. I need to know what kinds of things I need to be cautious of in Massachusetts. Bugs? Certain plants? Right now I plan to build it around a living tree so that she has some natural perches and foliage to play with. All advice welcome.

Scott 07-29-2018 11:53 PM

Re: New England hazards?
Welcome to you and Chicken! Wish I had expert advice, but I haven't tackled an outdoor aviary! Hopefully members with knowledge will share!

A few items of potential concern: Is the outside aviary Chicken's permanent residence, or just during temperate times of the year? Ensure you use a quality mesh to keep her safe. Cockatoos are voracious chewers, so the gage must be sufficient and not galvanized, ie coated with toxic metals.

If the aviary is built around a tree, can you prevent her from chewing wood strategically to make an escape exit? They are also extreme escape artists, you'll need to make the exits foolproof and well guarded.

HaydenThePirate 07-30-2018 12:09 AM

Re: New England hazards?

So ive known chicken for close to 5 years, but have only taken her on as my own at home almost 2 months ago. I'm making the aviary out of an old car port tent frame. I'm bolting steel dog gates together as walls (something I aquired from a friend). The tree was topped at the aviary height so it fits inside, and it sprouted new branches with leaves, not really sure what kind of tree it is yet. I'm also going to build a deck platform using 24 so she can chew a bit, I can walk in and sweep it, and I can easily replace boards as it gets chewed. Of course there will be a metal barrier below that as well. I don't yet plan to make it anything but a day space right now. That could come later, but the facilities will include food, water, shade/rain shelter, toys, perches, fountain pool, and digging box. I want to leave her safely outside when I go to work during the day. Oh and the exits will be landlocked to keep all entities in and out.

ChristaNL 07-30-2018 04:48 AM

Re: New England hazards?
first and foremost: find out what species the tree is
(it might still be a killer)

second: Not sure what you have in your neighbourhood but stoats etc. are small, agile and ferocious killers, so if she is going to be out there - make sure no mice can get in - for size- because the ermines etc. can follow.
I would suggest a second outside layer to keep small creeps out.

Kiwibird 07-30-2018 06:21 AM

Re: New England hazards?
I second the concept of a fine outer mesh too. Not just for rodents but also to help keep bugs out too. I recall summers visiting family in upstate New York. I also recall giant biting flies, chiggers, ticks, bees, a gazillion mosquitos etc... Birds don't like these pests either and we need to do our best to protect them from things that bite and sting while they are enjoying the outdoors. And just a note, if you cover yourself in 'Off' or something similar like everyone else in that part of the country does come summer, DO NOT handle your parrot with that stuff on your hands or spray it on yourself near the bird.

I also wanted to mention that while an outdoor aviary is a fun summer hangout, in your climate there is no way it could ever be a year-round thing. You'll have to make sure that the temperature is warm enough on any given day. Parrots shouldn't be outside (save a quick trip to a warm car) in temps under 65 degrees and also should be brought in if there is some kind of in climate weather. Some people seem to have acclimated their birds to colder temps, but they aren't cold weather animals by nature and IMO, best to just keep them inside where it's warm when it's a little chilly outside. Also please don't ever leave her outside when you aren't around to check in every 10/15 minutes or there to hear her distress calls if something happens. Pet parrots are inside animals, outdoor activities need to be closely monitored even if they are in a safe enclosure like an aviary. Never leave her in there when you go to work for the day or go out to run errands etc...

GaleriaGila 07-30-2018 07:09 AM

Re: New England hazards?
Great advice above.
What a fun inspirstion!
I myself wouldn't leave her alone for one moment outside. Stoats ARE bad news, as are rats, rat snakes, mites and lice carried and spread by wild birds, by various methods...
I am the (a?) Queen of Paranoia, but I always choose safety, even over my bird's fun! :)
Good for you, for researching!

HaydenThePirate 07-30-2018 12:28 PM

Re: New England hazards?
So the tree is an ash tree. And I'll definitely put up a mosquito net because the mosquitoes come out in swarms.

HaydenThePirate 07-30-2018 12:30 PM

Re: New England hazards?
Chicken is definitely well adapted to colder weather. The people I got her from often had her in 50 degree conditions or less even. Not that I would want to put her through that on purpose, she has proven time after time to do okay in the cold.

bill_e 07-30-2018 12:44 PM

Re: New England hazards?
Up here the obvious pests are black flies, mosquitoes and tics. Most ground predator's aren't going to be around your back yard during the day but at night, everything from fox and coyote, fisher cats, racoons and various rodents.

Personally I would be most concerned about the insects even if you leave Chicken out only for a few hours. I got eaten alive this weekend by mosquitoes and plucked a few tics off as well.

EllenD 07-30-2018 01:15 PM

Re: New England hazards?

Originally Posted by HaydenThePirate (Post 744504)
Chicken is definitely well adapted to colder weather. The people I got her from often had her in 50 degree conditions or less even. Not that I would want to put her through that on purpose, she has proven time after time to do okay in the cold.

Um, you're in Massachusetts, correct? I live in central PA, and there is absolutely no way that I could ever leave one of my parrots outside at all between the months of November-March, just not possible. And that's me being conservative and using the average temperatures for those months...And MA isn't much different climate-wise than PA is, I'd think MA is actually a bit colder, especially since I'm in central PA and completely land-locked with no ocean wind/breeze...I just don't know how you could keep a parrot of any kind outside in weather like the Northeast US gets during the late fall through early spring, we're talking single-digit weather, often below-freezing weather. I don't know what the temperature cutoff is for a tropical bird (as Too's are from Australia) to be honest with you, as I've never thought about bringing mine outside when the ambient temperature is even below 50-60 degrees, unless they are in a covered travel carrier, and that's just for quick vet trips and such. But considering the average temperature here from late November through late mid-March is between 20 degrees F to 45 degrees F, I don't understand how this is going to work...

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what your plan is, if so I'm sorry. If you're only planning on having your 'Too outside in the aviary during the late spring through the late fall, or only when the temperature doesn't fall below a certain temp, then that makes sense...

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