My aviary is 8' x 6' x 3' and is outside in Southern California. It faces south and has a wall on the north side and a wall on the south side three feet from the end of it. I presently have five pair of adults and eleven adolescent Gouldians, a Normal Bourke and a male Canary.
Love my cornbread
I feed a Lady Gouldian blend from www.ladygouldianfinch.com, mixed with canary roller and egg food mix. I have available grit, charcoal, cuttlebone which is broken up (actually hammered) and mineral salt licks. For treats I provide millet sprays which they relish. Iíve just started sprouting the millet and sprinkling it with probiotics. I also add Daily Essentials 1 multivitamin in the water. I feed a mealworm (Feast Insectivorous) mix from lgf.com. I couldnít tell if my finches were eating this supplement so I incorporated it into a cornbread on which I sprinkle Bio Plus probiotic. Now they relish it. I also hardboil eggs and they eat the eggs and shells.
My Gouldians love to forage on the bottom of the aviary. Iím always tossing things into the aviary to keep life interesting for them-grass clippings, (I donít spray my yard), weeds from my garden with lots of dirt still clinging to the roots, branches from my Bottlebrush tree (leaves and all), grass hay and shredded coconuts. When the seeds from the feeder land on the ground and grow into seedlings, the Goulds love to eat them.
There is Creeping Fig on the wall surrounding the aviary that now it is growing inside. The young Goulds love landing on the thin branches and swinging on them and nibbling on the leaves. I also have a sword leaf plant that was tiny when put into the aviary but is now almost to the ceiling! They love chewing and landing on its leaves.
These waterers were designed for chicken farms but work well for the finches.
Love to eat from moving feeders
A silly little bird feeder, which I bought on sale on a whim always goes empty first! I hung it up and it has become the most favorite roosting spot in the aviary. The lip around the bottom of the feeder provides the perfect grip for sleeping birds and the movement of the feeder seems to provides a more natural feeling.
Cedar House most favored
I use- old-fashioned finch boxes and one deluxe cedar house, the most favored. These boxes are hung at about 5'. I used to have a pair of Owl finches in with my Goulds and I hung the Owl box at two feet. The Owls would use it but the young Goulds were always poking their heads into the box and upsetting the Owls. My pair of Owls managed to raise one single chick. A group of Goulds fledged at about the same time. Since the Owl was an only child, she took up with the baby Goulds. I have since moved my Owls into their own aviary and have had much more success.
When one bird lands or takes off from the swing, the other birds get a free ride. I also have an assortment of branches and a couple of square solid perches. The square solid perches are good for the males to use for their nuptial dance/hop. One of the natural branches is very thin and every group of fledglings likes to sleep on it for the first few weeks out of the nest. The perches are at either end of the aviary so that the birds have maximum flight.
Hazards fall on deaf ears
The other day I saw a hawk around my aviary. He somehow managed to get one of my young birds. I went out and saw where he had pulled him halfway through the wire. The other hazard I have is a neighbor who sprays insecticide. Asking her to stop falls on deaf ears. I can only pray that my precious little birds donít die from the insecticide.
Orange heads are striking
I have two Orange heads. The gene is carried by a 'normal' hen. I had no idea that I had a hen that carried that gene. I was surprised and then delighted to realize that I have two Orange heads. The color is really striking. The one Orange head is a great nest builder and father. He has chosen the large cedar nest box. His full brother is a little slower to develop but Iím confident that by next spring he will be as prolific as his precocious brother. Iím now anxious to add other colored mutations to my collection.
Things I am going to doÖ
This spring IĎm going to empty out the aviary and paint the wires black and the back of it a dark brown. The contrast will enable the birds to be seen more easily. Iím going to set up and assortment of nest boxes- the simple finch box, the Gouldian finch box and two more wild bird nest boxes as pictured.
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