Seeking Suggestions for Outdoor Walk-in Bird Cage Design (Predator-Proof) in Florida

Nintendo

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Oct 12, 2023
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0
Parrots
Sun Conure
I'm embarking on a project to create an outdoor walk-in bird cage for my beloved parrot in sunny Florida, and I could really use your insights and suggestions. The goal is to provide a safe and enjoyable outdoor space for my feathered friend to spread her wings and interact with me. As we all know, safety is paramount, so I'm particularly concerned about making it predator-proof. Here's what I have in mind:

Location: I'm situated in Florida, so I need to consider the local wildlife and climate. Any tips for dealing with the specific challenges of this region?

Design: I'm planning to build a wooden frame with wire mesh for the enclosure, but I'm open to design suggestions. What materials and design elements should I prioritize to ensure my parrot's comfort and security?

Predator Protection: What are your recommendations for predator-proofing the cage? I've heard about burying wire mesh to prevent digging predators, but are there other considerations I should be aware of?

Shade and Ventilation: Florida can get pretty hot, so I want to provide shade and good ventilation. Any advice on incorporating these elements into the design?

Size and Features: I want my parrot to have enough room to fly and enjoy her time outdoors. What should I keep in mind regarding size and features like perches, swings, or enrichment activities?

Construction Tips: I'm no DIY expert, so any construction tips, advice, or warnings are highly appreciated. How can I ensure the cage is sturdy and long-lasting?

Cost Estimate: I'm planning for a 15x15 enclosure. If you have experience with a similar project, could you provide a rough cost estimate? I'd also like to create a diagram of the project to better visualize it. Any recommendations for apps or websites that can help me design and cost out the project would be immensely helpful.

Local Regulations: Are there any local regulations in Florida or your area that I should be aware of when building an outdoor bird enclosure?

Share Your Experience: If you've built a similar outdoor bird cage, I'd love to hear about your experience and any lessons learned.

Feel free to share any insights, tips, or recommendations you have. Your expertise will be invaluable in making this project a success and ensuring my parrot's safety and happiness.

Thank you in advance for your help!
 

Jcas

Supporting Member
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Jan 9, 2023
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Although I’ve never built an outdoor aviary, I have built a lot of outdoor pens for my chickens and quail 🙂. A few thoughts:

Wood and wire will obviously be your biggest costs and will vary a bit by state and region. Galvanized wire is cheapest but the coating is toxic to birds who chew on it ( like parrots and budgies) so your best bet is probably stainless steel, or plastic coated, both of which are a little harder to find and a bit more pricey.

With a 15’ x15’ structure, I would recommend sinking 4x4 posts 2-3 feet into the ground as your corner posts and using 2x4s for the rest of your framing. Although it’s time consuming, I recommend using poultry staples at least along the bottom wire ( rather than staples from a mechanical staple gun) as they last longer and are not easily ripped out by predators. If you have a pneumatic staple gun, those staples would work too.

As far as predator- proofing; burying wire or cinder blocks around the perimeter can help discourage digging predators. Make sure your locks are sturdy and not too easy to manipulate ( raccoons are smart little guys). Either make sure the wire has tiny holes or add a layer of metal window screening over top of it. I had something ( likely either a coon or hawk) get its claws through the 1/2 inch hardware cloth on my quail run and kill a quail who was sleeping close to the wire. It couldn’t pull her through, but it tore her up enough to kill her. I now have metal window screen over of the wire so nothing can reach through.

Give your birds hiding places. If a predator can see your birds, it will try to get at them and can scare them to death, through shock or through your birds crashing around in fright. Having a safe place where your birds can hide will help prevent this. A solid roof will help with this too, as well as adding shade.

For shade, shade cloth like they sell for dog kennels can be nice to help block the sun while still allowing ventilation.

Lastly, keep a close eye on your birds outside to monitor how they are doing, and perform periodic checks on the aviary to look for damage or wear and tear.

Sounds like a fun project! Good luck!
 

DonnaBudgie

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2023
3,213
3,965
Windham, Maine
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Budgies. Lotsa Budgies.
Although I’ve never built an outdoor aviary, I have built a lot of outdoor pens for my chickens and quail 🙂. A few thoughts:

Wood and wire will obviously be your biggest costs and will vary a bit by state and region. Galvanized wire is cheapest but the coating is toxic to birds who chew on it ( like parrots and budgies) so your best bet is probably stainless steel, or plastic coated, both of which are a little harder to find and a bit more pricey.

With a 15’ x15’ structure, I would recommend sinking 4x4 posts 2-3 feet into the ground as your corner posts and using 2x4s for the rest of your framing. Although it’s time consuming, I recommend using poultry staples at least along the bottom wire ( rather than staples from a mechanical staple gun) as they last longer and are not easily ripped out by predators. If you have a pneumatic staple gun, those staples would work too.

As far as predator- proofing; burying wire or cinder blocks around the perimeter can help discourage digging predators. Make sure your locks are sturdy and not too easy to manipulate ( raccoons are smart little guys). Either make sure the wire has tiny holes or add a layer of metal window screening over top of it. I had something ( likely either a coon or hawk) get its claws through the 1/2 inch hardware cloth on my quail run and kill a quail who was sleeping close to the wire. It couldn’t pull her through, but it tore her up enough to kill her. I now have metal window screen over of the wire so nothing can reach through.

Give your birds hiding places. If a predator can see your birds, it will try to get at them and can scare them to death, through shock or through your birds crashing around in fright. Having a safe place where your birds can hide will help prevent this. A solid roof will help with this too, as well as adding shade.

For shade, shade cloth like they sell for dog kennels can be nice to help block the sun while still allowing ventilation.

Lastly, keep a close eye on your birds outside to monitor how they are doing, and perform periodic checks on the aviary to look for damage or wear and tear.

Sounds like a fun project! Good luck!
I would pour a concrete floor that I could hose off to clean it. Keeps digging predators out.
I would put on a partial metal roof to protect from weather and sun.
 

SailBoat

Supporting Member
Jul 10, 2015
17,687
10,139
Western, Michigan
Parrots
DYH Amazon
Your location opens you up to some of the largest and most aggressive pretors in North America From Large cats (puma), Engles (America and Bald), Huge Invasive Snakes down to smaller ones, Wild Pigs to name the most aggressive. The list continues on to over twenty+ known pretors in Florida. And, remember that your building this Aviary is an open invitation to your back yard.

Construction in Florida requires the use of very expensive materials as cheap and quick, quickly degrades in Florida. Starting with a crushed rock underlayment limited the diggers. A concrete pad locks the structure in place and halts ground access, which acts as a cleanable base!

Prior to beginning, you should strongly consider bring water to the side of the structure and fully accessible within it. Not doing so will require that the doors have to be left open to bring the water inside for cleaning. Bringing electricity to the site is very important because you will want to light the area around the structure for everyone's safety with waterproof outlets at each side.

Why lights: When not if, you forget to bring your Parrot(s) inside prior to Sunset. You will want the lights automatically turning on with a timer, light sensitive switch or motion sensitive switch and/or switching them on before you bring your Parrot(s) inside. You Need to Know What Is Out There With You!!

In Florida you have limited structural choices because of the environment from powder-coated aluminum or stainless steel. Note: all fastener must be stainless steel. Do right once and not have to redo it again and again.

The structures need to stand against Hurricane force winds and the force of a puma or huge snake forcing its way in! Also remember that Humans can be drawn to such a structure. Commonly this starts with 2" heavy wall pipe and possible 3" heavy wall pipe for corners, upper cross-members, etc. Likewise, strong double door with self locking system, with a safe space between the outside and inside of the structure.

Money is a huge problem as we haven't even gotten to the side walls and roof covering. At this point, we have eaten though 25 - 30 thousand dollars. Yes, you can build it for less, but that has to do with your abilities to complete soil removal, plumbing, electrical, presetting the structural members and set the crushed rock in place. Then there is concert work. placing the doors and installing everything else.

The easy stuff is the Sunshades, perches, feeding stations, etc..

Local code varies widely as to whether you are in a city or out is the country side.
 
Last edited:

Keet_Krazy

Well-known member
Feb 19, 2023
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705
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Budgies:
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Quail and Chickens
First part is a copy/paste from a different comment of mine on materials.

Treated wood should not be used if the bird has access to it, but even if they do not have access to it I believe I've heard about how the chemicals can leak out of the wood if wet or something so not something I'd risk.
As for the Galvanised you will hear a lot about the zinc toxicity. Stainless Steel is one of the safest options (though it will likely rust as most metal will when outside), but Gal isn't as bad as some say (still has risks but there are way to reduce these risks). Galvanised wire and metal has been used in aviaries for a very long time. Galvanised mesh should always be weathered! This can be done artificially by scrubbing it down with a stiff brush and vinegar or naturally by leaving out in the elements. This removes a lot of surface zinc. In addition your aviary should be big enough and set up so that your bird does not ever need to climb on the mesh. An aviary is very different to an indoor cage, they shouldn't need to be climbing on it.


Other safety things.
A good concrete base will deal with a good chunk of digging predators.
If your bird is going to be outside for long unsupervised periods of time, consider doing double mesh. Do two layers of mesh with a space in between, this will prevent your bird being grabbed by anything. Make sure you mesh size is suitable not only for you bird but also to keep things out such as rats, they're a danger to your bird.
A safety door is necessary.


When setting up your aviary there are many reasons to set it up to keep your bird away from the mesh. If using gal mesh, you want to limit or eliminate climbing on the mesh. And also safety, if perched by the mesh your bird can be grabbed through it.
 

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