If you have the space and a passion for birds, setting up an outdoor aviary is a delight. Looking after a number of different birds who are able to enjoy their lives outside is highly rewarding. Although learning about keeping an aviary and bird husbandry is a must, we know that picking what will live in your aviary is extremely exciting. However, there are some birds that are better suited to beginners than others.
One of the most popular bird breeds, and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful, is the lovebird. These colourful and gentle birds are best suited to aviaries that have ample shelter and areas to stay warm in if the weather takes a turn for the worst. Those who have outdoor aviaries in the south of England will have no problems keeping lovebirds outside, those further north or living in Scotland will likely have to move their lovebirds inside during the winter months as the cold can harm them.
Despite their hatred of the cold, lovebirds are intelligent and affectionate. They are often said to have the bold character of parrots and will often climb all over their owners if they enter the aviary.
If you think pet bird, you automatically think budgie. Coveted worldwide, budgies come in a variety of colours and are one of the easiest aviary birds to breed, should the mood strike right. Budgies need a large aviary as they enjoy nothing better than flying from perch to perch. A permanent indoor space built in to your aviary is something budgies need and they are particularly fond of small nesting boxes that they can snuggle down into. Don’t be surprised if you hear the cheep of budgie babies though!
Budgies are hardy, despite their small size, and are considered the easiest aviary birds to look after. These feathered friends are more than happy as long as they have ample food, fresh water, somewhere to snooze, and ample perches and toys.
Also known as lorries, lorikeets are small to medium-sized parrots. They have bright royal blue heads, which gives way to a body feathered in the brightest oranges, yellows and greens. Looked after correctly, lorikeets can be companions for up to 30 years. Many owners end up having multiple lorries; fascinated by their comical antics and affable personalities. Like lovebirds, lorikeets are affectionate birds and are not shy when it comes to handling.
One thing to remember with lorikeets is that they don’t like living alone. Furthermore, they are one of the noisiest and messiest aviary birds. They are extremely vocal (less so when surrounded by friends) and do have a tendency to squirt faeces. This is no problem if you keep the aviary clean and don’t have neighbours too close!
Hardy and relatively easy to care for, the pint-sized zebra finch is a staple addition to many beginner’s aviaries. Aside from the odd chirp here and there they are relatively quiet birds but are very active and their quirky antics are fun to watch. You should always keep zebra finches in pairs at the very least, but it is likely your aviary will be home to a number of other birds too.
Zebra finches can live between five and 15 years. The life span is so fast due to environmental factors that can affect them significantly. Diet is especially important when it comes to zebra finch husbandry. They should be fed a seed-based diet which is supplemented with a range of fruits to ensure they are receiving the correct nutrition.
Chinese Painted Quails
The smallest of the quail family, Chinese painted quails are actually referred to as poultry and are part of the grouse and guineafowl family. However, the floor dwelling bird is an ideal addition to the aviaries of newbie owners.
Many people refer to them as aviary hoovers. Because the Chinese painted quail doesn’t have a set diet, they tend to forage the floor of the aviary as they would in the wild. This tends to man they tend to eat the spilt food from the flying birds above. Talking of other birds, quails are very friendly and rarely act aggressively to aviary companions. They have even been known to shelter fallen fledglings until help is at hand.