Many of you have asked about building a cage / aviary for your feathered friends so that they can enjoy the outdoors. Well, we finally built one for Chico, my Blue Front Amazon, and this is how we did it!
Building an Outdoor Cage for Chico,
My Blue Front Amazon
Many of you have asked about building a cage / aviary for your feathered friends so that they can enjoy the outdoors. Well, we finally built one for Chico, my Blue Front Amazon, and I thought that you would be interested in seeing the results of our planning and labors, so here it is!
We decided that we wanted a cage that would require low maintenance, and yet at the same time would look attractive on our back deck. We also wanted it to be large enough so that we could hang several toys and perches to give Chico plenty of room to play in. We also wanted a large door for easy access to all parts of the cage. Lastly, but not least, we didn’t want it to cost a small fortune!
We decided not to go with any of the conventional cages for these reasons: powder coated paint (even textured finishes) eventually chip and need to be touched up, the pans tend to chip and rust over time, we wanted the bottom of the cage to be at least 2’ off of the ground, and we wanted a flat top so it could be covered for protection. So, we went to the drawing board, and here is what we came up with!
We settled on a PVC frame – it would be fairly light, would not need to be painted, would not fade or rust and would be easy to hose or wipe down. We used 4” x 4” posts with the dimensions of 4’ W. x 3’ D x 6’H. The bottom of the cage is 2’ off of the deck. The top four corners are capped and the bottom four corners have wood inserted into them so we could attach wheels for moving the cage around. We used galvanized wire (1/2” x 1”) which we spray painted black – it’s non-reflective, and makes the wire easy to wipe down. We attached the wire using washers (which we painted black) and screws. We used cross-supports of white aluminum strips – or edging – between the two front posts to keep them steady and the same distance apart. We placed them behind the top and lower cross posts of the door so that you cannot see them when the door is closed. (A note about the door: because of its weight, it drops down about an inch when you open it, so you have to lift it to close it – no big problem, though). Then we got white corrugated vinyl roofing to cover the top of the cage, and clear plastic corrugated roofing to put under the cage – it is easy to pick up and hose off and keeps our deck nice and clean. We used two bricks to hold the roofing down because it is so light and we didn’t want it to blow away. I move the roofing to cover all or less of the cage depending on the weather. Chico seems to prefer it covered – I believe she feels safer from predators and other things that may fall from the sky – such as pollen and leaves.
Now, you are probably wondering – how much did it costs? The biggies were the PVC frame ($371.00) and the wire ($103.00). The fencing company cut the posts according to our specifications and pre-drilled all of the holes for us – we had to put it together ourselves, which was a bit of a challenge, as it had to be malleted and hammered and pushed into place. It took a sizeable amount of effort to get it plumb and straight – I really thought that for the price, they should have assembled the frame for us ….. We had to get 30’ of wire because that’s what was on the roll, but we actually used 25’ of wire. The corrugated roofing was $25.00, the wheels were approx. $24.00 and the washers and nuts were $15.00. The paint came to approx. $15.00. We used spray paint for the wire, and brush on paint for the washers – they needed two applications of paint. I will say that the spray paint is thin, so it will definitely need a touch up brush job. (I have been informed that all paint sold in NJ is non-toxic – which is an absolute must). So, for about $550.00, we now have an attractive, weather-proof, easy-to-clean cage for Chico – she seems to be enjoying it as much as we are!