Keeping the Dirt Clean

My totally unrealistic dream is to have the majority of the birds in nice aviaries outside. Part of the reason is because the cleaning would be so much easier. I have one large aviary right now, with four cockatiels and a button quail. I have two breeding cages that are across the air lock from the aviary, with a pair of budgies in one and a pair of proven violet mutation peach face lovebirds in the other. To clean the aviary, I just need a bucket and a shovel. About three or four times a year, I scoop up the dropped seed and haul it away.

When we had more button quail, the layer of seed on the ground keep them well fed. Still, in the rainly season (in Southern California, that’s a week or two in March) the ground that’s not under the roof gets damp, and soon gets moldy. Bad news for birds. So I shovel it out as soon as I can. If we have a little more rain after that, sometimes the seeds will sprout, which is better news. My birds love greens.

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After that, I just have to keep the food and water dishes clean, and it’s good. I put armfuls of greens on a swinging perch in the aviary, and some of those things end up on the floor. These are not so bad in any way. The birds chew on them and then they degrade into little or nothing.

The “outrigger” breeding cages are high off the ground. The lovebirds and the budgies manage to poop between the bottom grid. So their cage stays clean, but the patio under it builds up over time. I have a shovel and a hoe that I use a couple times a year to scrape it all clean.

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The doves’ cage is off the ground but there is no tray for it. And it’s not very high off the ground, so unlike the outriggers, it’s pretty hard to clean under it. Fortunately, I have many plastic trays that normally go in the bottom of utility cages. Two of those, side by side, catch all the debris that falls through. Unlike the budgies and lovebirds, the doves make cute little stalagmites in the cage floor.

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One reason I rehomed most of my budgies was because they were the messiest birds outside. Their cage had a tray, and they scattered tons of seed and husks all over the patio. It just wasn’t a good set-up for keeping clean. If my population of budgies grows from two pair, I will have to set up a better aviary out on the grass if possible. They are, after all, grass parakeets.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.

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