Best Practices For Heating Outdoor Bird Aviaries

Best Practices For Heating Outdoor Bird Aviaries

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Hi. We’re installing an outdoor aviary on our screened & covered porch.
The size is 8x8x9 and it will house 2 blue and gold macaws.
I found the perfect rope perches at windy city parrot.
Now I hope you can help me select the right heat source.
We live in north Mississippi so extreme cold isn’t a problem; winter temps are 30s-40s most nights.
Do you recommend infrared heat lamps?
If so, how many for the space?
Hi Anne
150 watt no light ceramic bulb
Yes, I would recommend 2 – 3 Infra red heat elements placed every 2 – 3 feet at the top of the aviary.
The 10” reflectors with ceramic sockets would work best as they won’t poke out of the end of the reflectors and will provide more heat as it’s a larger diameter.
I would suspend these NO CLOSER than 18” from the top of the bird’s heads where they perch. Not from the perches but from the bird’s heads.
Hope this helps.
Gary’s small bird aviary for Finches & Canaries
How do I protect my floor with a walk-in aviary?

Our solution is a simple roll of sheet vinyl (usually sold in 6’6″ wide rolls at your local home improvement store).


Cut the vinyl about 12″ wider AND longer than the walk-in aviary. You may have to overlap a seam for the bigger units.


Place the oversized sheet in the aviary (before you put in the birds) and slit the four inside corners.


You should now have a covered floor and 6-inch high seed guards inside the aviary.


We’d appreciate a picture of your solution


Using an indoor walk-in aviary – out of doors

The arched roof of an old wooden bird aviary, in San Diego California.

Q: Can I use this as an outdoor aviary?

A: Sure-kind of maybe. Aviaries from AE are designed for indoor use. Outdoor aviaries have 2 features these do not1) A roof – Helps to protect the birds from harsh direct sunlight and the elements)


Galvanized Metal – Many of the outdoor aviaries on the market today use galvanized metal.


Galvanized metal has been coated with zinc oxide (prior to powder coating). The zinc is what prevents rust.


We’re not comfortable selling you a cage that has been coated with zinc.


Given that, there’s no reason you couldn’t place it outside and cover it with a tent or shed!


Questions about an outdoor budgie aviary

Hi there.


Hoping you can give me some insight.


I have an 8 ft round(ish) aviary (that I bought from you folks 10 years ago).


I live in No. Calif.


It is outdoors and sits on a deck. It is home to about 40+ English budgies.


During the winter, I keep it wrapped with a combination of clear vinyl, faux ivy with “windshield” backing and mini blinds.


I use ceramic heating elements at night.


The lamps are attached to the aviary walls, fairly close to the roof, aimed at the various perches.


When I originally purchased the bulbs from Avitech, they said they were: l) good for outdoor use, 2) didn’t heat the air, but was absorbed into the bird’s bodies and 3) number of lamps needed was based on the number of birds they were to warm.


BUT, no one could give me a definite answer as to how many were needed.


I used to use 2 lamps, and a space heater.


But I would often find lots of molted feathers and thought it might be too warm (and the heater cost a fortune to run).


So, now I am up to 5 of the 150-watt lamps when temps get in the 30s. Am I on the right track here?


Do I have enough lamps or too many?


The birds seem fine….always chirping and active. One last (perhaps) silly question… there a difference between the $29 Avitemp lamp and the much cheaper BYB lamps?


Thank you for any light you can shine on this query, Kathy


Hi Kathy,

First, Avitech is no longer in business.


They simply resold the heat lamps from a particular source.

We offer many infrared ceramic heat bulbs that are significantly lower in price.

I’m wondering aloud if the 150s might be putting out too much heat?

You may want to replace a couple with 50 watts or 75 watts, then go into the aviary and use your hands and body to ensure you are providing “pockets of heat” for the several clusters of budgies most likely forming around the walls of the aviary.

The heater should be close to one wall so as to reflect heat.

We have 10 budgies in an indoor aviary and offer perches and shelving lower in the cage for “me” time.

Hi Mitch,
Thank you so much for responding to me.
I am actually happy to hear I might be over-doing it.  Cutting back is easier than ramping up. 
I have 3 AviTemp bulbs and 2 “Brand X” bulbs. The AviTemp bulbs are a few years old now and will be needing replacement soon. Can you recommend some for me? 
I do feel some heat coming from the bulbs……when I am near them.  The lamps sit on metal shelves and there are always a few birds hunkered down under the lamps, either on the shelf or in nearby baskets. So, they seem to be enjoying the warmth. There is also a large (semi-covered) flight cage within the aviary that they use as a little hideaway.
The last reflector I purchased was an 8-1/2″….which I liked better than the 10-1/2″ ones I have, strictly because it took up less space.  But, I think I understood something in your write-up to say the larger (wider) reflectors allowed more heat to be released.  Did I understand that correctly?
I do have a little thermometer out in the aviary.  When the lamps are going, they do move the (Celsius) needle, just a bit.  I didn’t think I needed to be concerned, because the lamps are not intended to raise the ambient temperature.  Am I on the right track here?
I think seeing lots of feathers on the aviary floor in the mornings was an indication I had them too warm…..which is why I stopped using the (expensive) space heater. With the lamps, I am not seeing any molted feathers. I do vary the number of lamps I turn on, depending on just how low the temps will be. 
I’m not sure I understand about having the lamps face a wall.  This cage is round (more-or-less) with 10 panels. The lamps are on 5 of the panels facing the center of the aviary.  (Pics 1, 2 & 3)
I am involved with the NORCAL budgie club (I don’t exhibit) and would like to talk about these lamps at our next meeting. Thank you again for your time and help. 
Hi Kathy
Sorry about the confusion regarding the wall I was referring to the space heater no longer in use.
re: “the larger (wider) reflectors” tend to “shotgun” the heat more – less concentration.
We know that because of global warming, migratory birds are showing up to destinations one day later for every one-degree rise in temperature.
The warmer temperature with the space heater may have triggered the molts, part of their circadian rhythms – just conjecture.
You definitely have things solidly in hand.
best of luck

written by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing

Mitch Rezman

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