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Predator-proof aviaries?

Small to Medium size Birds. Hawks, Owls, Chicken, Ducks, Finches, Parrots Etc.

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TexasYankee
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Predator-proof aviaries?

Postby TexasYankee » Mon Nov 21, 2016 2:11 pm

One of the great things about living in Texas is that building codes are mostly up to the cities. The state doesn't have many and counties aren't allowed to pass them, which means that if you have land in an unincorporated are you can build pretty much whatever you want. So while I don't have land yet I'm fantasizing about the outdoor aviaries I will build.

One issue that occurs to me is that I've heard too many stories of cats and weasels killing birds, and I know that rats like to eat eggs and chicks. I haven't heard stories about mice, but I wouldn't be surprised if they eat the eggs and chicks of smaller birds, though mice are so small I'm not sure how I'd keep them out.

So I'm wondering if anybody has strategies for building fully predator-proof aviaries? My intuition would be to build an aviary as follows:

  1. Remove grass from a flat area slightly larger than I want the aviary to be, a few inches deep.
  2. Plant metal or wooden posts. Measure between where doors will go and plant two posts on either side, attach door between them.
  3. Lay out metal posts along the top to connect posts and nail or sauter them together.
  4. Wrap chain-ling fence around the entire outside enclosure. Attach to posts.
  5. Pour concrete around posts until it comes up to the bottom of the door frame and covers the bottom parts of the fence.
  6. When concrete is dry, build roof and put chainlink fence or a solid roof depending on whether it's a field or woodland species.
  7. Cover the inside with aviary mesh.
It seems expensive and time-consuming, and I'm not sure it would work. I found another site suggesting that a single layer of tin wire with gaps too narrow for a rat's head (or coon's paw) to fit through might work, which suggests that my idea might be overkill.

Anyone have experience building predator-proof aviaries?
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TamanduaGirl
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Re: Predator-proof aviaries?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Nov 21, 2016 4:35 pm

Sounds good. Another thing you could do is wrap the bottom 2-3 feet with sheet metal. This would make it slick and nothing for rodents and snakes to climb on.
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Or have the whole thing elevated a few feet off the ground with metal posts to be harder to climb.
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TexasYankee
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Re: Predator-proof aviaries?

Postby TexasYankee » Mon Nov 21, 2016 5:53 pm

Both of those are neat ideas, thanks! I've actually seen aviaries on posts like that at a bird store in Florida. Posts like that wouldn't stop a squirrel for a minute, but rats might be weaker climbers and I'd be amazed if weasels, cats, or coons could scale it. Martens might but we don't have those in Texas.

I hadn't even thought about snakes!
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Re: Predator-proof aviaries?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:41 pm

Snakes are a problem with chicken coops so am sure they would find their way into a smaller bird aviary as well without protection, can slip in via just a small space at the door. Could maybe put disk barriers on the legs. I remember someone using buckets but can't find an example. I'd think the best way would be part way up the leg and upside down so anything climbing the leg winds up stopped inside the bucket and has to climb back down. Squirrels are super smart about figuring out these sorts of puzzles though.
TexasYankee
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Re: Predator-proof aviaries?

Postby TexasYankee » Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:23 pm

I've never heard of squirrels killing birds. I'm sure they do (or at least they would eat eggs and chicks), but they seem to be less omnivorous than rats are.
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Kagney
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Re: Predator-proof aviaries?

Postby Kagney » Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:43 am

One tactic that my family used for rabbits when I was a kid: Place the enclosure inside the dog run. The rabbit hutch was elevated also, and even being being pretty far from the house and waaaaay out in the country to-boot, they never had any problems; nothing wanted to go near the dogs.
Down-side: you'd need to get a dog, and (this would be the kicker for me) it would need to sleep outside at night. Some breeds are literally born for that though, I'm thinking drovers in particular.
TexasYankee
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Re: Predator-proof aviaries?

Postby TexasYankee » Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:58 am

For me that problem founders on having dogs. I'm not a fan of dogs; particularly not the larger breeds. On the other hand, I could try it with geese.

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