Chicken 'Aviary'- questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Roanoke, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. Roanoke

    Roanoke Hatching

    Mar 3, 2015
    I'm hopefully going to be building an aviary (Yes, aviary, not coop) for my bantams this spring and have a couple questions.
    First let me detail why I'm interested in something like this:
    I study (recreationally) exhibit design and environmental enrichment and will probably be going into some sort of zoo-related career. Of course I want my avian housing to reflect this! My bantams are overcrowded in a dirty house and my single pigeon has no loft, no barriers. He's obviously a homer and never leaves the property, but I still worry about hawks. He sleeps in a big, abandoned chicken barn. I didn't feel bad about these situations at all until just recently, when I adopted a parrot. (Yes, I should have realized sooner)
    Basically, to me, ideal habitats should be VERY roomy, designed to emulate the animal's natural environment by use of plantings, etc., and visually appealing to human visitors. My current coop is none of those!

    Now, onto the questions.

    First of all, how messy would an 8' by 16' area get with 4 bantams? I will be adding mulch, leaf litter, pine needles, etc. regularly and expect the rain to help clean up as well. However there's no point even starting this aviary if there's going to be poop everywhere.

    Secondly; Would bantams get along with coturnix quail or bully them? Even with lots of cover, I don't want to risk any fighting.

    Last question, are there any other species that would do well in an aviary of that size? (8' x 16') I'll be using chicken wire unless I can find hardware cloth for the same price, so very small birds are a no-go. I'm thinking 4 bantams, 3 or so quail, 1 pigeon and in the future, a pheasant. I'd really like a flighted species, but cockatiels won't mix well with chickens, not to mention the heavy metal poisoning.. so if you know of any semi-exotic flighted species that can be contained with chicken wire, please tell me! (Diamond doves too small?)

    Thanks for reading, and don't worry about the construction/predator-proofing aspects of the aviary, I've got it all covered.
    Also, I wasn't sure if this should have been posted in the 'Quail' forum, 'Other Caged Birds' or somewhere else, so I hope you don't mind me putting it here...
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Your bantams won't make much mess but do need to be out of the wind for sleeping (no drafts), and are not so winter hardy as larger birds (don't know if you get snow and such). I am thinking of an aviary as having a lot of breezes?

    I only have chickens and don't know about the other birds like quail/pigeons.
  3. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    If you have a poop tray under their perch, then I think that 4 bantams would do well in that size area.

    However, I am not at all sure what would work well together, if you want a mixed habitat.

    I raised some jumbo quail with my bantams last year.

    They did fine together for the first 2 months.... I then separated them... nothing horrid happened, but I really felt that with sexual maturity that bad things were going to happen.

    I think that if you had a fat/sedentary bantam that it would more likely do well with something fast... like finches (which are too small for your wire), or something highly flighted like one of the Australian parakeets (budgies, or princess of wales).

    You could keep the feeders for the parakeets up high, and the feeders for the chickens on the ground.

    HOWEVER, you would always run the risk of the chickens catching and eating the smaller birds.

    Fancy pigeons might be the best choice, they are are a little sturdier and larger/less likely to be eaten by the chickens than parrots.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    First highlighted way, HC is much more expensive.

    Second highlighted text.....I am worried, if you are even considering using chicken wire.

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