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Keeping Birds Outside

People choose to keep pet birds outdoors for a number of reasons. Large birds require a large amount of space. Breeders often find it easier to keep birds outdoors if they breed more than one type. Outdoor aviaries are also a way to keep multiple compatible species together but often require several square feet of space to accommodate. However, keeping birds outdoors does present some challenges that must be considered in order to keep your birds safe and healthy.

Shelter
Shelter must be provided for birds to come inside from the elements. It must be large enough for the birds to reasonably spend a significant amount of time. If you live in a temperate climate, a three-sided shed is typically sufficient. A fully enclosed shed with climate control attached to an outdoor aviary is optimal and necessary in locales where extreme temperature fluctuations are the norm.

Temperature
Climate control is necessary if extreme temperatures are present. Shade with proper airflow is appropriate to provide relief to extreme heat. A heat source and enclosed shelter is necessary when extreme cold is a factor. Consider natural shade when selecting the site for your outdoor enclosure. Large shade trees provide relief from summerís sun and some measure of wind break in the winter.

Predators
Perhaps one of the largest considerations when keeping exotic birds outdoors is the threat of predators. Proper screening is critical to the safety of your birds. Ideally, a poured concrete footer buried several inches into the ground to prevent tunneling predators will surround the entire enclosure. Small screen mesh from the footer to at least three feet above ground level, will provide a significant barrier to potential predators. However, the threat can never be totally eliminated. Therefore, diligence on the part of the owner becomes paramount. The enclosure should be examined for breeches when daily maintenance is performed and repaired immediately. Also, a watchful eye for predators such as foxes, snakes and raccoons will help keep your birds safe.

Maintenance
Daily maintenance for birds kept outdoors is very similar to birds kept indoors. Fresh food and water are required daily. The enclosure must be kept clean for the health of the birds and to prevent the attraction of unwanted pests such as mice, rats and ants. A double set of entrance doors will keep your birds from escaping into the wild. Enter the first set of doors, allow the door to close fully before proceeding into the enclosure through the second door. If birds are kept in separate cages, ensure a way to close the birds inside their indoor shelter to provide routine maintenance safely.

Housing birds outdoors may provide some conveniences but also requires thoughtful consideration and planning.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Heather Thomas. All rights reserved.
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