1A: New Finch Aviary Design: Aviary Front with Doors.
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1B: New Finch Aviary Design: Aviary Front without Doors.
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2: New Finch Aviary Floor Plan
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3: New Aviary Hood Design
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4: New Aviary Vertical Splice.
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started drawing my plans on graph paper. I found myself constantly
erasing and throwing away drafts, then starting all over again.
It was much more complicated to come up with a feasible design
than I thought it would be there were always issues of
one sort or another. In the end, I decided to use software to
architect the aviary. I wanted a tool that had the CAD capability
of sizing components to the appropriate dimensions based on
a scaling factor and to properly label the dimensions so my
husband knew what to build. I didnt want to spend money
on a new tool or learn a complicated tool, so rather than use
something like Visio that didnt meet all of my requirements,
I decided to write a quick-and-dirty design program.
the actual drawings are rather large, to the left you find scaled
down images that link to the plans. Click on a picture to bring
up the details of the design. Note that because I work at high
resolutions, even the enlarged plans have lost some detail in
order to fit better on the screen at lower resolutions.
1A and Drawing
1B illustrate the front of the aviary, with and without
doors attached. This front will be made of oak and stained red
oak to match our living room decor.
2 illustrates the floor plan of the aviary, detailing the
original intended locations of the fold-down platforms that
will support the aviary accessories. When the aviary was actually
built, the locations of the platforms were moved around abit.
3 illustrates the hood design, including full-spectrum lighting,
night lights, and ceramic heat lamps when additional warmth
may be needed. NOTE: In the end, we did not install the ceramic
heat lamps or the red light night light because of concerns
they would run too hot and be a fire hazard. Instead we plugged
night lights into wall outlets outside the aviary and use a
radiator-style oil-filled space heater outside the aviary when
it is a little cool in the house.
4 illustrates a vertical splice indicating at what height
various elements of the aviary will be.
first generation of aviary drafts envisioned a depth of 4 ft.
This would have involved us moving an air vent on the floor
of our living room. While I liked the idea of such a deep aviary
and of the ability to walk inside the aviary for cleaning, in
the end I decided things would move along much faster if we
didnt need to move the air vent.
left me with a maximum depth of almost 3 ft (1 inch shy, actually).
This depth would no longer allow me to comfortably walk inside
the aviary, since the perches will be sticking out taking up
some of that space. Plus, we had to leave some space behind
the aviary for the electrical equipment to plug into the outlet
there. The frame structure of the aviary would also take up
space. We finally decided on an inside depth of 2.5 ft (30)
(total width greater by the thickness of the aviary frame and
front). An inside width of 30 was convenient because Kraft
paper is available in rolls with 30 widths and I use Kraft
paper to line the floor of the aviary.
length of the aviary was intended to run as close to the width
of our living room as we could get. The final dimensions of
the aviary were 12 ft 8 in long by 2 ft 6 in deep (plus the
thickness of the frame and front) by 7 ft high.
aviary is divided into three sections for a pleasing appearance
and so that we would be able to install mesh dividers to block
off any section should we need to separate birds for any reason.
Shades will also divide each section to keep birds out of the
section currently being cleaned. Each section contains a pair
of doors that open for aviary cleaning. See Drawing
1A. Originally, we intended to build the doors ourselves
and include a bottom row of "food" doors about a foot
high. However, I found a cabinet door manufacturer online that
would build the doors (unfinished) for us (WoodCabinetDoors.com).
Because the doors are the most difficult to construct, needing
mitered edges and nice joints as well as removable Plexiglas
panels, we thought it was worth the expense to purchase the
doors, built to our specifications (all six doors combined totalled
$700.00 and shipping was free). We found it was too costly to
also have feed doors built (which weren't truly necessary anyway),
so the design was changed to remove these.
decided that the entire aviary would be viewed through doors
rather than creating a larger stationary panel (picture window)
in the center, so that we would have easy access to all areas
of the aviary when cleaning. This approach limits the contiguous
viewable area, however. First of all, the doors must have space
in front of them to swing open - the larger the door, the more
space you will need in front of it. More importantly, glass
and Plexiglas panel doors are subject to "warping."
When this occurs, the corners of the doors will bend outward
a little, leaving a gap between the frame and the door when
closed. The degree of warping is greater the larger the door.
Thus, a width of greater than two feet is not really feasible.
However, maintainability was my number one concern. The easier
it is to clean, the easier my life will be. And more importantly,
the cleaner the birds environment will be.
the lightsmust plug into an outlet that is behind the aviary
and because the aviary spans the entire length of the wall making
it impossible to get behind it, I designed a small door on the
back wall of the aviary that would allow us access to that outlet
aviary is designed so that mesh dividers can be installed to
separate each section in case birds need to be separated. NOTE:
Mesh dividers have not been necessary. There is little squabbling
in the new aviary. I attribute this largely to the fact that
the aviary is so large and we are careful to stay well below
are installed where each section meets. The shades can be pulled
down when cleaning to keep the birds out of the section I am
currently working in. This makes my job easier and doesnt
stress out the birds as much.
2) are installed no more than 1 above the floor (Drawing
4). The aviary baseboard rises another 3" above the
platforms to help keep seed, husks, and debris inside the aviary.
The platforms are mounted with hinges and can be folded up when
not needed so that they do not collect droppings. When in use,
they support the feeders and waterers and quail sand and sleep
areas. The use of these platforms allows me to slide off the
top layer of paper without removing the accessories that would
otherwise be sitting on the floor. Because the platforms fold
up on hinges, I can easily clean the floor underneath without
worrying about debris and droppings collecting there. The platforms
are only 1 above the floor because the quails need access
to the accessories located on the platforms and the quails do
When the aviary was actually built, we decided we only needed
a few of the platforms. The others could be added at a later
time if a need arose. The feeding station platform was also
moved from the front baseboard to the back wall in order to
better keep seed hulls and debris inside the aviary. Because
the birds were more likely to perch above the food if it was
placed against the back wall, a Plexiglas shield was added above
the feeding station to keep droppings out.
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