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How not to build outdoor aviaries for large macaw parrots

How not to build outdoor aviaries for large macaw parrots

Lil Morgan – [email protected]

We want to build an outside aviary for our macaw. I would like to have a secure structure, safe from predators. Our location will be Clarksville, TN. I’m looking at ideas online but thought perhaps asking an authority on the subject would be the best way to start researching.

What materials do we avoid? If the area was spacious enough, can we use 12′ galvanized dog pen sections? Our birds live in separate cages. We have two male Timnehs (19 and 26) and a male B&G (13). Could they safely be housed together in a spacious aviary, or will they fight?

They have never had physical interactions with each other, although they are in the same room and in close proximity to each other. I know I have more questions but I can’t think of everything right now.

Hi Lil – every once in a while this question comes up which is why I like to revisit the issue to see if anything is changed

Downside number one: galvanized wire

Galvanization – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Galvanization, or galvanisation, (or galvanizing as it is most commonly called in that industry), is the process of applying a protective zinc coating to steel or iron, to prevent rusting. The most common method is hot-dip galvanizing, in which parts are submerged in a bath of molten zinc.

Zinc is highly toxic to birds thus galvanized wire is less than ideal. You’ll see it used for housing smaller birds like finches and budgies but because your macaw will be climbing on the wire he or she will be licking zinc

There are two choices to keep metal from rusting out-of-doors – specialized hard-to-find powder coating that is also UV resistant that will not fade under sunlight – or stainless steel

If you do find suitable wire 10-gauge is more appropriate for macaw whereas 12-gauge is more suited for Amazons and African grays

The floor should be concrete something you can hose down – dirt has too many parasites that can infect your bird

Overall I’m not enchanted with homemade enclosure for birds the size of large macaws. While doing some research I came across this site http://www.buildanaviary.com/ by Jack Taylor downloaded the full set of books for $27. After reading through them I found the entire package to be quite disappointing. 

Black Walk in Indoor Aviary for Small to Medium Birds AE-WI8561

Black Walk in Indoor Aviary for Small to Medium Birds


He talks about different species requirements and has at least two pictures of macaws on the website – but there is no mention on how to build an out door aviary for macaw. He frames his aviaries out of wood so the aviary frame that he advocates is lunch for any hook bill.

I signed the link to the books over to Lil – as we want no copyright issues and asked for her input as well which I may not received by the time this goes to press (remember I’m from the last century),

Building a Parrot Aviary for a Galah (The Strawberry Patch)

Aviaries for small wax bills like finches and budgies can be designed from repurposed armoires as we found a couple of these real cool designs on Pinterest

Here’s a pretty remedial wikiHow article – http://www.wikihow.com/Build-an-Aviary

Remember aviaries are designed to allow birds to have flight making them much larger than bird cages.

See All Our A&E Bird CagesBuy bird aviaries on WindyCityParrot.com

Having revisited this question again we will reply with the same answer – you’re really better off with a commercial aviary for big birds – for the birds own safety.

It would need to be welded together using a metal substrate that doesn’t rust which is typically stainless steel. If you run some quick math you realize that an 8′ x 10′ aviary is going to require the welding of about 600 vertical rods (top middle & bottom and upwards of 150 feet of tubular steel to create frame of the structure.

That just doesn’t sound like a money saver to me Lil

Whether or not your birds will fight in a “spacious” aviary is anyone’s guess. I will never attempt to predict the outcome resulting from social interactions of wild animals. 

I certainly would not leave the birds in any aviary alone for the first few weeks so you could be there to break up fights. I don’t know the data will back me up but I think that a large percentage of veterinarian bills or just plain injuries are the loss of a toe from the bite of another burger suddenly got territorial

written by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing
approved by nora caterino
approved by kerry (magic) gibbons
your zygodactyl foot note


Mitch Rezman

He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they visited monthly birdie brunches in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground.Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care.He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis.He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.

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