Most of the birds that we raise do not require large enclosures. We have found it possible to keep a larger number and variety of birds in several smaller enclosures instead of in one large one. By not keeping all of our birds togther we can separate species that may hybridize, and also keep better track of our bloodlines. We have found this particularly important in raising color mutations. The majority of our aviaries are about 20 ft by 20 ft with the smallest being about 12 ft by 12 ft. These enclosures can house anywhere from 1 to 15 pairs of birds depending on the size, temperment, and nesting habits of the species being kept.
Each of our small aviaries has it's own concrete pond and these differ in size, but most are about 5 ft by 5 ft and 1 to 2 feet in depth. Each pond has a drain line, and can be completely emptied and scrubbed out. Fresh water which is provided by a well, is continuously run through the ponds.
These ponds are connected to each other by 2" pipes. Water flows easily from one pond to the next because of the slope of the ground that these aviaries are built on. Pictured below is one of our smaller concrete ponds.
Because the dept of this pond is only about 10", the valve for the drain line is on the inside of the pond, in our deeper ponds these are on the outside. All of the water from these ponds collects at the bottom of the hill in a larger pond, where it is then pumped back to the top of the hill and re-circulated through the ponds in our large aviary.
The floors of our small aviaries and of our holding pens have a 2 inch layer of river gravel with another 2 to 4 inches of sand on top of that. This type of floor drains water very well and virtually eliminates any mud, this helps keep the enclosures much cleaner. Further more, dirty sand can be raked out, or removed from the pen. After it is able to sit for awhile it will naturally be cleaned out by sun and rain, and can then be reused. One disadvantage to using the sand and gravel is the difficulty to grow plants. In the smaller enclosure only a few shrubs can take the birds abuse combined with poor soil conditions. Our large aviary is the only one that can substain grass.
The large Aviary is 75' by 150', it has 3 natural bottom ponds the largest is about 25' by 25' and is 12' deep. Water from the ponds in our smaller enclosures is re-circulated via streams and waterfalls through the ponds in the large aviary. Here we only have gravel and sand along the perimater of the ponds, thus in this pen we can grow grass along with a variety of other plants.
Below are some pictures of our large aviary which was still under construction at the time these pictures were taken.
Below pictures take in early 2010, although some parts of the aviary are still under construction it is now complete enough to house birds and to be used in the 2010 breeding season.