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Australian Aviary

Discussion in 'Private Collections & Pets' started by The Vegan, 6 Feb 2013.

  1. The Vegan

    The Vegan Well-Known Member

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    Hey everyone!

    I'm planning a 150 square-foot Australian aviary for Cockatiels, Budgerigars, Bourke's Parakeets, Zebra Finches, and/or Corellas. The Aviary will be acrylic or glass, with aluminum framing and a concrete floor. Solar Panels will eventually be added to the roof to produce electricity, to heat the aviary and provide light when needed. This is the first time I attempt a project on this scale, so if anyone has recommendations, please tell me!

    One issue I've encountered is the unavailability of Outback species in North America-there are no Acacias, Spinifex, Bottle Trees, or Eucalyptus! If anyone knows where to find these in the US, please help me out!

    I'm looking forward to your responses!

    Thanks,
    -TV
     
  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    don't put corellas with the other birds. They are nasty things. In Australia cockatoos are often kept in mixed collections but that is just because of easy availability. The others on your list are all compatible.
     
  3. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    Do you mean 150 foot square, or 150 square feet? There's a big difference.
     
  4. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Definitely not corollas in an aviary that size with those other species. Might also consider diamond doves if they're available over there?
     
  5. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    Eucalyptus must be available in the US, or what do zoos feed their Koalas on? If a bottle tree is what we know as a Bottle-brush here in the UK, they are a common garden plant over here, so would be surprised if you don't have them.
    Where are you in the US? Most of those species are pretty cold-resistant; you might have problems with overheating in a glass structure, also [in a really big aviary] with birds getting up speed, flying into the glass & killing themselves.
    You might like to consider some of the lovely Australian Pigeons which are well established aviary subjects. Diamond doves are very nice, but both Common & Crested Bronzewings come to mind. Some of the larger parrakeets should fit in well, any of the Polytelis, or perhaps Kings. Definitely none of the Rosella group.
     
  6. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    Agree with everyone on the corellas - leave them out. If you put live plants in the avaiary the parrots will probably end up killing them. One exception would be an Australian native called Lomandra longifolia - very hardy and the parrots don't like it too much. However, it will kill Diamond Doves. If you don't get Lomandra I would also strongly recommend Dimaond Doves as they are easy to look after and breed fairly easily too (although they can be a pain at night - easily spooked and can cause panic among the other birds).

    As for Bottle Trees - I can't get them here in Australia, at least, not cheaply. Eucalyptus and Callistemon should be easy to get - I saw plenty when I was last in California.

    You might also look at other Outback species of finches - Doublebars, Longtails, Stars, Painteds, Diamond Firetails and Gouldians (but Gouldians are very susceptible to cold and draughts).

    :p

    Hix
     
  7. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I have read that Bourke's parakeets can spook other birds because they are often active after dark when the other birds are trying to sleep. I never had this problem myself when I kept them, but I have read it in avicultural books.
     
  8. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    I never had that trouble with Bourke's either, they'd be active at dusk and by the time it was dark they were normally roosting. But the Diamonds, in the middle of the night, would suddenly get startled and fly around madly, and other birds would get anxious. Those in nestboxes usually stayed there, but anthing roosting might get spooked if a Diamond flew into them. I've read they can cause wholesale panic.

    :p

    Hix
     
  9. The Vegan

    The Vegan Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone!

    I never knew Corellas were incompatible-are they territorial or simply aggressive?

    The aviary will be 150 feet square - 15 by 10. Step two will add an adjacent building with viewing space, holding, and a small kitchen. The glass won’t be an issue. It will either be translucent or feature patterned window films. I can also install some netting/mesh an inch or so from the glass if it becomes a problem. Overheating will be avoided due to the presence of deciduous trees, which will shade the structure in the summer but expose it to the sunlight in winter. A few of the windows will also be open-able, and a tarp system will be used to shade the aviary when needed and as a nighttime cover.

    I'm not really concerned about the collection. My goal is to provide an uncommon home for the species that commonly end up in shelters.

    As for plants, I think I've hit the jackpot! A site called Seedman.com has a variety of suitable plants, though I'm still researching if they distribute in the US. I'm not worried about the plants, for I've kept parrot and plant together successfully before.

    Once again, thank you!
     
  10. The Vegan

    The Vegan Well-Known Member

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    Seedman.com does distribute to all 50 states! I've settled on the species below:

    • Whipstick Wattle Acacia adsurgens
    • Earleaf Acacia Acacia auriculiformis
    • Feathery Cassia Cassia artemisioides
    • Desert Cassia Cassia nemophila
    • Orange Urchin Diplolaena angustifolia

    And a species of Eucalyptus-I haven't yet decided which species. Does anyone know if any of these species are toxic? I know the Acacias aren't.

    Though the aviary will be built in 2 years, I want to start cultivating the plants soon so they'll be well established.

    Thanks!
    -TV
     
  11. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

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    In an aviary of 15 x 10 feet forget to keep corellas or any cockatoo (exchept cockatiels), they will kill the rest of your birds. Also forget about planting. In an aviary of that size they will destroy it all. If you leave budgies out and just keep bourkes and cockatiels they could survive. You might have been lucky last time.
     
  12. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    Nope - Cockatiels will defoliate any Eucalyptus, no matter how well established. At the base of the leaves is an oil they relish, so they nip the leaves off at the stem, give it a chew, and drop the leaves on the floor.

    Acacia adsurgens appears to be a desert species and will probably only thrive in a very hot, dry climate.

    :p

    Hix
     
  13. FWC

    FWC Well-Known Member

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    I've had cockteils in a cage of about 8x8 with some ficus trees and they never chew them.
     
  14. The Vegan

    The Vegan Well-Known Member

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    That's fascinating. Have you observed this in the wild? I'd like to hear more about it. In that case, I'll try raising Eucalyptus in my greenhouse to supply the aviary with browse-I wouldn't want my birds loading up oil anyway. Are there any particular species of Eucalyptus that they feed on?

    The Aviary's climate can be controlled to a degree, so I'm sure the desert species will do well.

    I'm planning on a dry riverbed or spring theme, so the aviary will be relatively lush (For a desert theme). I've kept Spider Plants in cages in my bird room, and my Cockatiels and Budgerigars never did much damage. Balance foliage with enrichment, and damage is minimalized.

    Are Rose-breasted and Major Mitchell's Cockatoos similarly difficult to keep in mixed habitats?

    Thanks everyone,
    -TV
     
  15. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Galahs and Major Mitchell's are as big as corellas. In a small aviary like this even the most friendly individual is going to negatively affect the smaller birds because of the size differential.

    Imagine being in a small room, forever, with someone 10 times your size with a possible tendency towards aggression. That's the scenario for the small species and they will be intimidated constantly even without any nasty behaviour from the cockatoo.

    If you want cockatoos forget the finches, doves and budgies. Or have a much larger aviary.
     
    Last edited: 14 Feb 2013
  16. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    They make 'em very big down your way!

    :p

    Hix
     
  17. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Well ok, if you want to be pedantic they're a bit smaller. But in the context of an aviary the size that Vegan plans, they're still too big for the other proposed inhabitants.

    Edit: just re-read my post and spotted the typo. Your comment doesn't seem so pedantic now. :D
     
  18. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    :p :p :p .........
     
  19. The Vegan

    The Vegan Well-Known Member

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    No need to worry; It was simply a question. I have never tried to house such species together, and I have heard of other aviculturists doing so, so I was curious about the possibility. I have no intentions of overcrowding an aviary simply to house the maximum number of species. The aviary is going to function as a haven, so I will adopt accordingly. :)

    Unfortunately, I lack the funds to create a larger aviary. It's sad that many people who keep pets have good intentions but little knowledge pertaining to their welfare. Whenever I see the species that need advanced care in pet stores or shelters, I can't help but think that that animal-whether African Grey, Chinchilla, or Weather Loach-will live in a habitat too small, a house too loud, or in a room too bright or too dark.

    So, we'll see what will live in the aviary. Cockatiels are confirmed, for I already keep the species. Perhaps I'll go for the smaller ones, whom I can house more of but which are kept in less severe conditions by most; Perhaps I'll keep the larger, rarer species, which I would house less of but which are kept in comparably unsuitable conditions. Time will tell.


    P.S.

    I would prefer to build a larger aviary, but 150 square feet is many times larger than the average birdcage, and I am doing my best to provide for my animals. Could you, please, call it an aviary or habitat?
     
  20. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Sorry mate, I was only sticking to my analogy of a human with someone 10 times the size. No offence intended.

    Having said that - even a 15x10 aviary is smallish for cockatoos. That's not a criticism (it's clearly bigger than any house cage) but its not like they would have a great flight range. Just a reality of keeping birds, for everyone.

    FWIW I also harbour dreams of a flight aviary with a mix of Australian parrots and cockatoos. But my aviary will take much longer than a couple of years to come to fruition, as I want one day to have an aviary sort of like my parents had before I was born. It was 40x40x15 - I'd probably prefer longer and narrower to allow a longer flight range, but similar floor space.