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Garden Aviary for Cockatiels

Inside the latest Parrots magazine

Providing the perfect garden aviary for Cockatiels

Pauline James

A garden aviary full of good quality, plump and glossy-feathered cockatiels has brought joy to many a bird lover. But, to maintain these parakeets at their very best, and get maximum enjoyment from them, a little thought and planning needs to go into their housing.

The ideal accommodation for cockatiels is a good-sized, covered outside flight, of around 2.75-3.75m (9-12ft) long, with an adjoining smaller inside flight, where they can roost and seek refuge in inclement weather conditions. The width of the flight depends on the number of birds you wish to keep. If you intend to breed from just a single pair, then 1-1.25m (3-4 ft) wide is perfectly adequate. But, if you wish to keep a colony of 3-4 pairs, then the flight needs to be around 2.75m (9ft) wide. Up to four pairs in a colony generally works very well - but, any more than this and problems can begin to occur.

It is important that these parakeets have good quality flying space, in order that they maintain a good level of fitness, but too much space can have a detrimental, rather than positive effect. Cockatiels are fast-flying birds, and a flight much longer than that recommended, will serve to encourage the occupants to go ‘wild.’ This particularly applies to newly-fledged chicks, where the opposite is usually strived for. Too big a flight also makes it very difficult to catch birds, when the time comes to move them to a new flight.

The inside flight where the birds should be encouraged to roost in the winter, and shelter in bad weather, should be a minimum of 1.25m x 1.25m (4ft x 4ft) with a servicing area provided beside it. This gives the keeper a place to store the birds’ seed and cleaning equipment, and also acts as an efficient ‘safety porch’ between the outside door and the door leading into the inside flight.

With this arrangement, an additional safety porch leading from the exterior into the outside flight is not necessary, and cleaning, nest-box management and furnishing the aviary can all be easily achieved by approaching the outside flight from the inside area.

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