There seems to be lots of ideas about cages and aviaries. Most people we
talked to have different ideas and our local bird pet store has lots of
nice expensive cages and ready made aviaries.
We do not use cages as permanent bird homes, they are just too small for even the smallest lorikeet, we do use several cages for transporting birds and a most convenient cat carrier cage where the whole top hinges upwards, usually for visits to the vet.
Apart from that all birds live in spacious aviaries and have enough room to fly and get exercise. The first aviaries we built were like a house that gets lots of add-on rooms. It is a bit awkward as some aviaries can only be accessed from another aviary. The doors between them are odd sizes and it is necessary to stoop to enter an aviary. Not too human-comfortable or human-convenient although the birds do not seem to mind.
Another set of three aviaries were built to a slightly different plan.
This time the ground was almost level so after some shuffling of topsoil a layer of scoria (volcanic pumice type stones) was set over the topsoil and the block of three aviaries set on the scoria.
Because of the urgency to construct these aviaries they were an even more simplified design, this time 3.2 metres long, 1.2 metres wide and 2 metres high. Doors were made at the front end of each aviary and a wire covered walkway will soon be constructed in front of the block. In meantime the doors need some care to open as the birds could easily escape from the aviary.
Perches are where birds appear to spend most of their time. Therefore
providing suitable perches is quite important. This is quite easy and
a wide variety of suitable perch material is easily available.
In each aviary we like to have four or five perches roughly going from one side to the other, although perches range from horizontal to near vertical and are made from different materials.
We also use bamboo from a large ornamental bamboo growing in the garden. A single bamboo pole can simply push through the wire of three adjacent aviaries, we do this for near-the-ground perches which the birds use quite often. The greener bamboo shoots also get meticulous attention and it is not too long before the bamboo is stripped and destroyed. If the leaves are left on the bamboo, where they grow at the segment joints, then the lories all take great pleasure in pulling the leaves and slowly munching them into green mush. Overall the bamboo is not a perfect perch as it is a hard shiny surface offering little grip. Some lories make a game out of this and holding on to a bamboo will slip over and hang upside down for extended periods. I have actually seen one young Musk Lorikeet spinning around on a bamboo, hanging on with both feet and flying to gain momentum.Fruit tree branches, pear, apple, peach, nectarine, orange all make a special treat for a lory. Some will get excited with a fruit tree branch and gouge through the bark to the sap, young green branches are most popular. Once the branches dry up the lorys appear to lose interest.
Perches should be firmly attached to the aviary. Where possible the
end of a perch is drilled to take a wide thread screw. The perch is then
held up to the cage wire and from the outside the screw is used with a wide
plastic or steel washer to hold the perch in place. When the perch is replaced
the screw and washer can be reused with the new perch.
Nestboxes appear to serve two main purposes. Somewhere for the lories to
sleep when the weather is cold and a place to lay eggs and raise young.
A lot of experimentation can go into trying to find what a particular
pair of lories find is an acceptable nestbox.
Several types of nestboxes we have used are described below:
The traditional wooden lory nestbox is a simple retangular box with a hinged lid or flap, an entrance hole near the top of the box and a perch just below the entrance hole.
L shape wood nestbox
This style of nestbox has the opening placed in such a way that birds entering do not drop directly onto and eggs in the sleeping chamber. The entrance is at the top part of the L, the nest chamber at the right side bottom of the L.
hollowed out tree limb or trunk nestbox
These type of Lory nestboxes look really good in an aviary, giving that natural look to the nest site. Most of these types tend to be a length of tree trunk about 600mm to 900mm in length and at least 300mm in diameter. The top and bottom of the trunk are covered with a section of plywood usually sawn to match the end shape of the trunk. The top cover is removeable for access. The entrance hole is cut near the top of the trunk although any natural split opening in the wood if often used and maybe widened enough to suit the Lory.
In general these types of nestboxes can be quite expensive as there is a lot of effort involved in hollowing out the trunk. Otherwise they are not really too different to a similar sized restangular wood nestbox.
plastic bucket nestbox
We came across this idea for a nestbox and decided to try it and see if our lories wold be interested.
It seems a good idea for a low cost nestbox, quick to make and easy to install. The basis is a cheap one gallon plastic bucket - ours cost $2.
Lories and Lorikeets are very inquisitive and will inspect everything in their aviary. After a short time they will be very familiar with every square (cubic?) inch of space and will spend more time looking at the area outside the aviary.Very soon the lory wll get bored and this is where toys and other objects become important in making the aviary interesting for the inquisitive bird. We have found that the most simple toys tend to be the best. Although there are many excellent items available in per stores they do tend to be expensive when you need to have enough items for several aviaries.
Water dishes should be placed in such a way as to minimise the possibility
of the water being soiled by faecal material. This may mean placing above a
perch so the birds can access the container but not below other perching
positions. The stainless steel type bowls are ideal for this
Crockery dog and cat water dishes - may be used as a bath, kept on the aviary floor or on a shelf
Stainless steel round bowls in a wire ring that clips on aviary wire - these range in diameter from 80mm to 300mm.
Plastic water bottle water drip feeder, similar to type used by dogs and cats and use an old 1.5liter plastic coke bottle.
Every so often when cleaning up the trees and bushes in the garden, some
of the cut branches will be placed in an avaiary. Complete with leaves
and any flowers or fruit growing on the branch these are propped up
either by tying with small rope or nailing with 25mm or 35mm staples.
These branches will not wither for a week or so if the cut end is
placed in a container with water.
Lories will soon get into the branches and proceed to investigate everything, flowers and fruit get special attention although leaves will also be enjoyed.
We have found birds fast asleep,hanging upside down inside the foilage of cut branches. Games take on a whole new meaning when dense foilage is available, Lories will eagerly chase each other around the foilage and often hide from others then suddenly jump out when another Lory gets too close. The fun can get quite noisy.