We have decided to convert a spare bedroom into a complete aviary room. No cages. The 8 keets we have will just live in the room. I have lots of plans on how to construct and decorate it. But there are some more technical things I just don't know how to do. Namely.....
Lighting: I have used one of those avian full spectrum lights in the past, when the days are cloudy. But ideally, I would like to install a fixture or two on the ceiling for more well-rounded, reliable lighting (as opposed to a fixture that only spot-lights a small area). What kind of lighting should we install? I was thinking fluorescent fixtures because that's what the local bird store uses. But maybe there's a better idea? The room does have a large bay window, but it faces north so it doesn't get a lot of natural light in the colder months.
Flooring: We're ripping out the carpet in that room and will install a more suitable floor for easy sweeping/cleanup. I was thinking vinyl flooring, either by the foot or the peel-n-stick kind. Thoughts?
Plants: I have a grand vision of a tropical jungle-like environment, so that the budgies can hop around from one plant/tree to another as they would in the wild, thereby mimicking a natural climate. If anyone has done this before, what plants did you use and/or would recommend? Pictures would be great too.
Thank you. This project makes me very happy. I'm amused that my hubby is on board, but he knows how much they mean to me. And since the budgies we have are all rescues, and we want to give them as much happy life as we can and one that they deserve
Welcome to talk budgies. Exciting project you are contemplating and you won't be sorry. Possibilities are endless. I built one a couple years ago so I will share what little I learned. First off, bird's that fly free in a room do some incredible "Poo Slinging"....
Because of that, I would recommend wall paint that will be easy to clean. Flat paint looks nice but does not wipe up as easy, and after a few wipes ends up having a non flat sheen to it anyway, so I would use a semi gloss if I were doing it again. I think your on the right track with vinyl flooring, that is what I used and it is great when it comes to clean up. A hardwood laminate would also clean up well.
In regard's to the avian lighting, because too much exposure is problematic, and actually unhealthy, I would pick an area for an evening perch or mid-day hangout area, and mount a single about 18 inches above it and either put it on a timer or turn it on daily for no more than 1-2 hour's.
Can't really speak to the plant's, but research will show you what is "safe" and you can take it from there, again endless possibilities. Check out the DIY and other section's here, and hopefully some other's will add in some info here on their experiences. Would love to see some pic's of your feathered friend's and your bird room project too....
He came down from Heaven unto this earth below
He came down from glory and praises untold
He came down to man fashioned in their way
He came down to rescue, He came down to save
So you think the lighting I had considered might be overkill? I'm glad to hear that, because it will be much easier to simply install a "spot" avian light than switch out the ceiling fixture (we don't have recessed lighting in that room and now that it will be an aviary room I'm not sure it's worth installing them).
Vinyl tile floor it is. I wish I could install a drain, but going to the cost and trouble of tearing into the slab is not something I would even consider this project. I'll be sure to spend some more time reading the plant-related threads. Oh, and excellent point on the wall paint! Semi gloss is much easier to clean. Being a long-time chicken owner, I'm all too familiar with impressive-distance poop slinging! lol
If anyone else has done something similar, I welcome any other input. This is a BIG job, it's going to be expensive and I want to put good thought and research behind it before we begin.
One concern I would have is them chewing on woodwork. Even if you repaint it, they can go through the new paint to the old paint.
Another is what happens when you open the door. Can you have some kind of secondary barrier so that you don't have a mass budgie breakout?
Re the plants: it was pointed out in another thread to make sure that the plants have been grown organically, the soil you use is organic, and that fertilizer is organic. Another thing to think about is how to keep the plants and soil reasonably hygienic. That is what has stopped me from leaving plants in the cages. I'm worried about bacteria growth from the droppings. Perhaps I don't need to be, but I am!
I don't have any wood in that room. There's no crown molding, so that won't be an issue. And I can't imagine a hook bill trying to nibble on a simple wall. There is still furniture in there, but I'll be taking it out when we start converting it into an aviary. And the birds free-fly around the room all day long. They only go back into their cages to eat and sleep. They haven't chewed on anything they're not supposed to yet. They seem more preoccupied with themselves and each other! lol
As for the door problem, I have that licked. It's an old, weird-shaped house. There are two doors to enter the room. I never use the main door. Instead, I enter the room through a bathroom that also has a second door to the room. They've never even tried to get past me when I walk in. But if they did, they wouldn't get far.
Yeah, I hear you about the organic soil, plants, etc. I'm known as the "food nazi" in my family. We don't allow GMOs or processed food in our home. Even my chickens are fed 100% organic grains, fruits and veggies. I grow and propagate most of our own plants and edibles, so I have organic soil and organic fertilizer. But where in the world does one get organic indoor plants? I can't say I've scoured the web for them yet, but I'm sure they are not easy to find!
How exciting that you're converting that room into an aviary! It sounds like a great project and you've already received some excellent advice with regards to materials and precautions.
Although you're not new to budgies, the links FaeryBee posted will still be very helpful in staying posted on the best budgie care practices, for now and in the future. If you have any questions on anything after you read through things, please be sure to ask!
I look forward to staying updated on your project, and meeting your budgies sometime, too
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic
What about molding around the window and the door frames? I think it might have been my cockatiel who considered trying to dig into the wall one day, but I haven't seen him do it again. My experience with small children and animals is that given more time with a potential danger, the chances of them discovering it increases exponentially. However, I would think that you would see evidence before they had really harmed themselves.
You can grow a lot of the plants yourself. I put out herb plants for my budgies sometimes, for example. Ferns you could propagate from outside ones (if they are safe--I haven't checked). You can grab a spider plant baby from a friend who hasn't put anything on them. I swap potted plants around for them--give the plants more light for a while and them put them in the budgie area for a while.
Ah, molding around the door frame. Didn't think of that. But they've been free-flying in that room for over a year now and haven't gone near it yet. Maybe because I keep them entertained enough the door frame doesn't stack up to all their other toys?? No trim around the window in that room, so no problem.
Oh yeah, spider plants! Why didn't I think of that?! They're super easy too.
Initially, the idea was to build an outdoor aviary. But I tend to panic about my pets -- are they too hot? are they too cold? is it too windy? are raccoons trying to get in?..... The stress isn't worth it. If I want peace of mind, the aviary is just going to have to be built indoors.