Over the years we have tried various aviary designs for our birds and have settled on the above arrangement. During the non-breeding season our birds are housed in 6 ft x 2ft x 4ft high outside flight aviaries, which are suspended 3ft off the floor. These are made from 2" x 1" tantalized timber to prevent rotting or 25mm aluminium box section. The roof and sides are covered in 1/2"x1/2" 16g galvanised welded mesh. The floor is covered with 3/4"x3/4" 16g weld mesh, which allows the birds dropping and old food to fall onto the slide out waste under-trays.
The suspended arrangement makes for a light and airy design and the slide out trays make for easy cleaning. The slide-out trays comprise of 2" x 1" timber standing on end or 25mm box section. To the bottom of this framework is screwed 1/2" mesh, which allows any rain water to drain through. Old news paper is then placed on this mesh and held down with old cage fronts to stop the paper from being blown away. The slide-out trays are symmetrical along the length, so they can be pulled out half way, papers changed, frame then removed and rotated 180 degrees, frame then inserted half way for the second side papers to be changed. This is all done at normal working height, no more bending to clean the floors.
The outside flights are accessed from the inside covered flights shown below via 15" x 15" openings in the building side wall. The suspended inside flights are 4ft x 2ft x 3ft high made from 21mm square planed timber. Again, the roof and sides are covered in 1/2"x1/2" 16g galvanised welded mesh. The floor is covered with 3/4"x3/4" 16g weld mesh, which allows the birds droppings to fall onto the slide out waste under-trays. Each of the 15" x 15" openings have slide down doors, operated by a pulley system for easy closure. All flights are made to be easily removed from the walls for cleaning and maintenance.
We utilize medium sized cat litter trays within the internal flights to hold the food / fruit dishes and water baths. These litter trays help keep the cages clean as they help stop the food and water from being scattered everywhere. The conures love to bathe to keep their plumage in top condition. We use large cat water dispensers made by Savic, which supplies enough water to allow them to be able to bathe whenever they want.
During the first three months after the young birds leave their parents, they tend to be very flighty. We utilise 6ftx2ftx3ft internal flight cages, for the youngsters. These cages tend to settle young birds prior to allowing them access to the outside flights, where they could be easily frightened by stray animals or garden birds. During this time period the youngsters get familiar with the feeding regime and start to be become more confident and calm. Given enough time and attention, most of the birds in our collection become tame enough to take seed from the hand, this translates to them becoming steady and unfazed by our intrusion during the breeding season.
Pyrrhura's will eat a wide variety of seeds, fruits and vegetables. We feed our birds a readily available cockatiel mix and parrot mix in a 50:50 ratio.
The birds also get Apple, Orange, Pare, Green Grapes on a daily basis.
As and when available, normally after our Sunday dinner, they will have a small amount of cabbage, sprouts, or broccoli, etc. They also like salad foods like lettuce, peppers, kale and cucumber. Certain foods are poisonous to Conures, especially Avocado, chocolate should also not be fed.
Larger sized mix for aviaries
We usually provide the same foods all year, although during breeding season we will also add EMP egg food to the soft-food mixture. When any chicks are about to hatch, we will add extra EMP for each pair. Over the last few years we have also added Petchef supplement to the breeding mix.
EMP egg-food added to soft-food mix.
We have used soaked seed for a number of years when the chicks are due to hatch, now we no longer use this as we have found it of little extra benefit for the effort required, as the above soft-food mix has proved more than adequate to produce large, strong and healthy young.
Millet spray are fed every other day to the flock in the aviaries. The breeding pairs each have a millet spray everyday when they have young. All the birds enjoy eating millet sprays, which will normally be stripped down to the centre stalk in quick time.
Millet spray bunches.
Water is supplied to the aviaries in cat water feeders and to the breeding cages in 500ml plastic drinkers. The water is changed daily to keep the water fresh. During very cold weather we allow the birds (and ourselves), enough artificial heat to prevent the water from freezing.
Frozen 500ml water dispense.
Mineralised grit, Cuttlefish and Iodine block are always available. The grit is used by the birds to grind the seeds in the crop down for easier digestion. We use the mineralised grit over the oyster shell grit since reading the oyster shell can produce thicker, harder shells in the breeding birds egg shells, resulting in dead-in-shell chicks. We do not use extra calcium supplements for the same reason.
The cuttlefish bone provides a good source of calcium for the birds. We add extra calcium to the breeding bird's diet, by scraping the cuttlebone over the soft food mix.
The iodine blocks are a source of Iodine, we use the larger aviary blocks in all the flights and breeding cages. We have found the smaller iodine blocks get destroyed pretty quickly, where the aviary sized blocks normally last the season.