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Tag Archives: Outdoor Aviaries

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The A&E Double Flight Cage: How Much Room Does a Finch Need? Part I

BullfinchIt seems to me that finches are often “short-changed” when it comes to cage space. Their small size, especially when compared to other pet birds, seems to pre-dispose hobbyists to providing equally tiny living quarters. But the facts that a bird “fits” in a cage, and can move about somewhat, does not necessarily mean that we are providing it with an ideal environment.

Cage Size…an Alternative View

Rather than using your pet’s size as a factor in cage choice, I propose instead that you carefully consider its habits and natural history. For example, finches do not climb about as do parrots, and hence cages offer to them much less “useable space”. Whereas a parrot might clamber over every inch of its home – roof included – finches use mainly flying and ground space.

Also, finches explore and will utilize toys, but not to the extent seen in most parrots. They spend more time foraging and otherwise moving about, and hence have little to “occupy themselves” in a small cage… space therefore is key to their well-being.

finchThen too, many finches tend to be high strung, and are ill at ease when closely confined. It is very hard to hand-tame finches, or to induce breeding in tight quarters. As most finches are not given outside flight time, cage size and complexity are important factors in their husbandry.

A Finch Mansion

At just over 5 feet x 2 feet x 5 feet, the A&E Double Flight Bird Cage is the ultimate in luxury housing for finches. Available in 6 colors, it can also be divided to allow for introductions or when separate facilities are otherwise needed.

The .5 inch bar spacing renders this cage ideal for even the smallest of finches, but its design also permits the accommodation of cockatiels, parrotlets, lovebirds and parakeets.

Large Finches and Mixed Species Groups

The Double Flight Cage is an excellent choice for those seeking to provide finches of any kind with additional room, and is perfect for housing larger species such as Gouldian finches, bull finches and Java rice birds.

You can also use this cage to create a striking mixed-species display for compatible birds such as cordon bleus, golden-breasts and painted finches.

Nesting and Breeding

Additional space always improves ones chances of breeding captive birds. Ample room is particularly important for shy finches, and for those that become lethargic in small cages and reproduce most reliably in group situations (i.e. yellow-rumped and gray-headed munias).

For many of the more sensitive finches, a large flight cage is the only reasonable alternative to an outdoor aviary if breeding efforts are to be successful.

The Double Flight Cage is equipped with 2 doors that allow for the installation of nest boxes. Nesting sites so situated are outside of the cage and therefore will not restrict available flight space.

My most memorable observations of captive finches have taken place before large cages and outdoor aviaries. If you are serious about your birds, please consider providing them with as much space as possible.


Further Reading

Working with mixed species collections is a favorite pastime of mine, and one that hooks most who give it a try. Click here for more information concerning finch species that forage together in the wild.

Image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Jason L. Buberel.

Outdoor Aviaries: Their Role in Promoting Breeding and Good Health – Part 2

Please see Part I of this article for basic information on our new line of Outdoor Aviaries.

The influence of natural light, weather cycles and the additional space provided by an Outdoor Aviary often promotes breeding in birds whose reproductive urges have lain dormant for years.

Exercise for Body and Brain

Outdoor aviaries can also serve as exercise areas for birds otherwise confined to cages, and may allow you to keep species which, while they “get by” in typical cages, really do best with more room, at least for part of the year.  Birds which fall into this category include mynahs, larger parrots, toucans, most doves, red-crested cardinals and turacos.

Your pets’ interest in what is going on around them will increase markedly as well – this is good for their well-being, especially as concerns parrots and other highly intelligent birds.

Pheasants, Wild Birds and Other Outdoor Species

Other species, some of which I will highlight in future articles, are nearly impossible to keep unless an outdoor aviary is available.  Included among these are the golden and other pheasants, most quail, fruit doves, ducks and fancy (or “plain”!) chickens.

If, like I, you are a licensed wild bird rehabilitator, an outdoor aviary will greatly expand the list of species with which you might become involved (I tried caring for owls, small herons and gulls indoors…trust me, it’s difficult!).

Along with the fun, there are some special considerations involved in keeping birds outdoors…please write in for details concerning the species in which you are interested.

Further Reading

Outdoor aviaries are indispensible to those who rehabilitate injured native birds, and, where legal, for keeping native birds.  Please see my article Rehabilitating Native Birds  for further details.


Outdoor Aviaries: Their Role in Promoting Breeding, Good Health and New Behaviors


Today I’d like to introduce a new option offered to serious aviculturists by That Pet Place – Outdoor Aviaries .  Early in my zoo career I noticed the vast differences in appearance and behavior between the birds I kept indoors and wild individuals of the same species.  At first I wrote this off to diet and exercise, but I soon noted that birds kept in outdoor exhibits, even for part of the year, were also more colorful and vigorous, and bred more regularly, than did those kept indoors.  You may note that in many of my articles I urge the use of large outdoor enclosures when possible…this strategy has worked well for me in zoos and at home.

Benefits for Your Birds

Our outdoor aviaries allow you to provide your pets with the well-documented benefits of fresh air, sunshine, exposure to natural light and weather cycles and an influx of nutritious insect food.  Available in 5 sizes ranging 3.5 x 4 feet to 9 x 5 feet, they are the ultimate warm weather or permanent homes for a wide variety of species.

Benefits for You

You will reap benefits as well, for your pets will no doubt reveal an astounding range of new behaviors once released into a large, outdoor aviary.  Many of my most memorable observations were garnered in front of outdoor bird exhibits in zoos and my own backyard aviary (which was home, at various times, to injured kestrels, crows, saw-whet owls, mourning doves and those “bird-wannabees”, flying squirrels).

Further Reading

For information on a charming species that makes an ideal introduction to outdoor bird keeping, please see my article on The Care and Natural History of the Chinese Painted or Button Quail.  

Next time I’ll cover some of the many situations in which outdoor aviaries are useful, and mention birds that do especially well in them.  

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