I recall when my first cage was made of some piece of cardboard put together with masking tapes. Then things developed further when I come across an empty wooden box for transporting fruits that was going to be thrown away. I just needed to add a net on front of it so as to have it as a cozy place for my first pair of pigeons that I bred when I was 10.
Since then I had been expanding my bird housing projects mainly by allocating a part of the rooftop of our house as an aviary where different types of birds were housed. However, I realized that I needed few partitions within the aviary itself to keep more aggressive birds or weaker ones separated from the rest as well as to control different species from cross breeding.
May be I could not materialized my plans to have a perfect bird room right away since I had to leave my hobby for some time studying abroad but upon coming back after about 10 years I began my first step by purchasing a metal breeding cage that was 50x50x80 cm in dimension. Soon after the number increased to 10 with many pairs of Australian and other African finches housed in. However, this was still far away from what I always wished to have; a breeding room which many species can thrive and breed freely mimicking natural habitat if possible. This was easier said than done since difference species needed different habitat which was almost impossible to accommodate all at one place. Furthermore, our climate here in Bahrain with temperature soaring to 58 C° in summers made any such attempt a difficult task if not impossible at all.
This is where my second steps started by locating the cages in air conditioned room, however, this was not enough as well and in long term it was proved that birds need more than a breeding cage to thrive the way it should.
Further to this I had to accommodate special cages for sick and weak birds (hospital cages) each equipped with its lighting and or heat control mechanism, flight cages for exercising (at least 5 feet long) quarantine cages for sick or new birds which I obtained. I also added air purifying systems. However, the most dramatic changes that I made was to shift from using the standard metal cages to custom designed fiber cages that had many advantages which out weigh its initial higher cost.
In the last 8 years I have had almost 1000 pairs of Gouldians and other Australian finches and statistically have recorded many things regarding their breeding, health, performance and other living condition. I have noticed that most of the finches preferred cages where there had been less exposed side and the nest boxes which were more concealed. In fact the breeding increased by up to 50% simply by housing them in fiber cages or modifying the existing cages so as to give them the comfort of more privacy.
I had many birds injured in metal cages when the birds’ nails get caught in the metal bars in this case many birds lost legs and nails which I have shown below.
I have therefore, had redesigned my cages many times to accommodate what I thought was best condition to each species’ need. In fact I have custom designed over 25 different cages until I come to this one that I use as the standard cage at present. In fact I am still working to improve this as each time I found some areas that needed to improve. I have come to a size at which I thought was best and the lighting arrangement, nest location, perches and water feeders, hopers and many other aspects that can not be observed easily have been incorporated in these types of cages. The trays was deep enough so I had to cleans the cages once each two months compared to once a week for the standard breeding cage. So at the end I have concluded that cage design is an important factor in the way my breeding project can proceed and be successful. I have included many types of cages that I have used since the very begging and have also shown how it evolved. Perhaps I will not have the time to explain all the details at this moment but I hope the pictures can give you some idea as how my cages look like. Please do not hesitate contacting me for further details if you need any.
Further to this I have made few aviaries ranging from 7x3x3 ft to 18x8x8 ft in dimension. I built the aviaries for species that like such environments such as my parrot finches, Star finches, mask Finches, etc. I also house my Gouldians after and before breeding season (but not while molting) for exercising. The inclusion of aviaries will surely add to the beauty of any bird room and you will never appreciate the beauty of the birds until they have little more freedom to fly and act freely in a much bigger space than the little breeding cages.