September 11, 2016 by janem213
So a 12×8 aviary and shelter for under £100…
The shelter is one of the most important parts. I’d seen one that used a 6×4 shed with no front to it with branches at half height for them to roost on. Great idea but a decent shed is hard to find for £200, with luck £100 for a good second hand one (no point in buying anything half rotten or so flimsy it won’t move well or last).
I didn’t just have luck but a great deal of luck! I saw a 6×4 shed on Gumtree for only £25 and secured a view. It was a pent shed rather than an apex one, i.e., the doors are on one of the long sides, which was perfect for what I wanted, and I bought it there and then.
The next trick was getting it in the car. It’s not a large car and cannot take things 4ft or more wide. Let alone 6ft long or tall! The back section was a triangular piece on top of two sections that were about 5ft high and 3ft wide. They came apart easily into sections that fitted easily into the car. The same with the doors and door surround. The roof literally folded in half. The two 4ft by approx 5ft sides though I, erm, sawed in half!! (And the floor too though I doubted I’d need it but reckoned I could always use it for something else.) Then all in the car, brushing off the spiders and cobwebs in a vain attempt to not take them too. He threw in some spare rolls of felt too. Bargain!
This is what a 6×4 shed looks like in a not large car…
Daryl helped me reassemble the sides and the back sections.
He was also an incredible help putting the wood frame together. Wood for the frame cost £32. Screws £5. I used some 6ft wide chicken wire I already had across the top to give it a bit of stability though ultimately it would have a lower roof of aviary mesh and as you can see was not the most solid of constructions(!)…
… but once attached to the shed and with the mesh around it it would be fine. Indeed, in the time since it was finished it has survived near gale-force winds, much helped by being in a very sheltered position. It took two days working into the night…
Paul and Simon came and helped to assemble the shed, most importantly putting on the roof which would have been impossible by myself, and then we did probably the most tricky bit of all, we moved the rather rickety frame to the shed …
… which was then firmly attached.
And suddenly it felt like it was really taking shape.
I used corrugated plastic sheeting I had lying around for the roof [free]. There was just enough. I have done it so the wind will go in between overlapping sheets rather than blow the whole roof off. The doors were part of all the ex-aviary bits I got with the ornamentals.
The aviary needed an ‘airlock’ to stop escapees. Instead of doing a small one I made the whole width/first 4 feet of the 12 foot length as the airlock so the resulting 6×4 space could be used as an extra run for the Lemon Millefleur Sablepoots which should have been on the field in the chainlink enclosure a long time ago but are still in the little coop with the run underneath and desperately needed more space. (More on that in a moment.)
My Mum helped me do the mesh lengths. 3ft width 1/2″ galvanised aviary mesh (cost £25 inc delivery and staples £5) done horizontally, giving the whole structure integrity.
I had a day off for my birthday and spent the whole day finishing the inner section for the Lady Amherst’s. I got a load of free bits of wood from a builders’ merchants which I used to cover any sharp edges etc. ………
Put some big branches in the shed and run……….
Painted the window and put mesh over it……..
and finally at 8pm was ready to release them!
Very happy birds!
One up on the branches in the shed. You can see traces of purple dye on its belly – one of the ones I hatched. Altogether there are 10. I plan to keep 1 boy unrelated to 2 girls.
Dad had helped me move the sablepoots coop alongside the aviary. I put mesh on their section (the airlock) …
…with the lower extra length temporarily fixed around their coop so that if ever it is moved the aviary can be made whole.
They too are very happy. Ultimately – soon hopefully – they’ll have a lot more room.
Every night they roost on the branches so I have to carry them one by one to bed. The coop does partly muffle Elton’s crowing in the morning!
Here it is from the end. I may replace this door with a narrower one as now they too have branches it’s a bit of squeeze to get in and shut the door comfortably.
The view from upstairs looking out the back.
A lot of hard work but worth it, most especially to see the birds so much happier – and all for under £100.