How Not to Build Outdoor Aviaries for Large Macaw Parrots

How Not to Build Outdoor Aviaries for Large Macaw Parrots

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Lil M. writes,

We want to build an outside aviary for our macaw. I would like to have a secure structure, safe from predators.

Our location will be Clarksville, TN. I’m looking at ideas online but thought perhaps asking an authority on the subject would be the best way to start researching.

What materials do we avoid? If the area was spacious enough, can we use 12′ galvanized dog pen sections?

Our birds live in separate cages. We have two male Timnehs (19 and 26) and a male B&G (13). Could they safely be housed together in a spacious aviary, or will they fight?

They have never had physical interactions with each other, although they are in the same room and in close proximity to each other. I know I have more questions but I can’t think of everything right now.

Hi Lil – every once in a while this question comes up which is why I like to revisit the issue to see if anything is changed

Downside number one: galvanized wire

Galvanization – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Galvanization, or galvanization, (or galvanizing as it is most commonly called in that industry), is the process of applying a protective zinc coating to steel or iron, to prevent rusting. The most common method is hot-dip galvanizing, in which parts are submerged in a bath of molten zinc.

Zinc is highly toxic to birds thus galvanized wire is less than ideal. You’ll see it used for housing smaller birds like finches and budgies but because your macaw will be climbing on the wire he or she will be licking zinc.

There are two choices to keep metal from rusting out-of-doors – specialized hard-to-find powder coating that is also UV resistant that will not fade under sunlight – or stainless steel.

If you do find suitable wire, 10-gauge is more appropriate for macaw whereas 12-gauge is more suited for Amazons and African grays.

The floor should be concrete something you can hose down – dirt has too many parasites that can infect your bird.

Overall I’m not enchanted with homemade enclosures for birds the size of large macaws. While doing some research I came across this site. by Jack Taylor and I downloaded the full set of books for $27. After reading through them I found the entire package to be quite disappointing. 

He talks about different species requirements and has at least two pictures of macaws on the website – but there is no mention of how to build an outdoor aviary for a macaw. He frames his aviaries out of wood so the aviary frame that he advocates is lunch for any hookbill.

I signed the link to the books over to Lil – as we want no copyright issues and asked for her input as well which I may not receive by the time this goes to press (remember I’m from the last century).

Building a Parrot Aviary for a Galah (The Strawberry Patch).

Aviaries for small wax bills like finches and budgies can be designed from repurposed armoires as we found a couple of these really cool designs on Pinterest.

Remember aviaries are designed to allow birds to have flight making them much larger than bird cages.

Having revisited this question again we will reply with the same answer – you’re really better off with a commercial aviary for big birds – for the bird’s own safety.

It would need to be welded together using a metal substrate that doesn’t rust which is typically stainless steel. If you run some quick math you realize that an 8′ x 10′ aviary is going to require the welding of about 600 vertical rods (top middle & bottom and upwards of 150 feet of tubular steel to create the frame of the structure.

That just doesn’t sound like a money saver to me Lil.

Whether or not your birds will fight in a “spacious” aviary is anyone’s guess. I will never attempt to predict the outcome resulting from the social interactions of wild animals. 

I certainly would not leave the birds in any aviary alone for the first few weeks so you could be there to break up fights. I don’t know the data will back me up but I think that a large percentage of veterinarian bills or just plain injuries are the loss of a toe from the bite of another burger suddenly got territorial.

Written by Mitch Rezman
Approved by Catherine Tobsing.

Your zygodactyl foot note


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