Safe materials for outside cockatiel aviary

by Jim Schwartz
(Chandler, AZ)

Hi, We are going to build an outdoor aviary for our two cockatiels but are finding conflicting information on safe building materials. We were told by one individual not to use galvanized wire mesh to cover the aviary. The local building supply store also has a label on their wire mesh that states not to use it for pet bird cages. Other bloggers are saying they used galvanized materials and had no problem. One alternative is using stainless steel, but the cost is very high. What options do I have?

Thank you!


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Apr 30, 2012
Safe materials for outside cockatiel aviary
by: Linda

What the problem with galvanized wire is that birds can be poisoned by the zinc for one thing. If this material is made in China, then lead is also a problem. Zinc is as dangerous for birds as is lead.

The galvanized wire will not hold up very well, so if you are serious about this, I'd go with stainless steel and forget the galvanized wire. Galvanized wire does not weather very well and will rust out which is even more dangerous to the birds.

My honest opinion of outside aviaries is they are too much expense to be practical especially for just two birds. You have to have it wired for light and heat in the winter. It takes birds about 3 years to fully acclimate and even then, they have to have heat provided for the winter. They have to have an inside enclosure that provides heat in the winter along with full spectrum lights. The floor of both the outside and inside room has to be concrete with piping out done before concrete is poured. A drain system has to be installed so when it is washed down, the debris can be washed out. The pipes have to be on the surface where they come out of the building floor with mesh caps to keep mice, rats and snakes out of aviary.

Wire has to be buried in a concrete curb, and needs to be poured around wooden part of structure too to keep varmints out. Lastly, screen wire has to be put around outside of whatever hardware cloth is used for the outside part to keep bugs out. A roof has to be over the entire structure to keep wild birds from pooping in your bird's area as this brings disease.

So, to sum up, it's not worth all the money and time it will take to do it right. If you don't do it right, your birds will not last long, and they cannot be out there in the winter for the first 2-3 years and will still need supplemental heat even once they are acclimated.

Sorry to burst your bubble, and all the points I've covered have to be done or your birds will suffer.


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