raised on a farm has its advantages. In order to survive, most farmers
and ranchers learn to do things themselves. They become jack-of-all-trades.
They are carpenters, plumbers, electricians, painters, fence builders,
etc., as well as animal caretakers all rolled into one. I consider
myself fortunate to have been raised on a farm where we did practically
everything ourselves. In fact, I cannot ever remember when we hired
anyone to do any of the above type chores when I was living on the
farm. We simply did it all ourselves.
When we started our bird business in 1975, the thought never occurred
to my wife and I to hire someone to build our aviary. If it had occurred,
it wouldn’t have done any good, because we couldn’t have
afforded it. We had to start our business on a shoestring budget,
and the shoestring was short; I mean short.
I had thoroughly researched the bird business and felt that we could
make a go of it. I had visited a number of bird farms, all of them
in Texas, and patterned my first building after one of those. I was
fortunate. In the beginning, I succeeded in spite of, not because
of, those buildings. As
we expanded, we went to much larger buildings. Again, I patterned
the first of the larger buildings after another bird breeder’s
aviary. Through the years, I remodeled those buildings several different
times in order to make them as efficient as possible, finally constructing
the last building correctly. Although the bird breeders that I patterned
my buildings after were making money, their profits could have been
so much greater if they would have had the right type of buildings.
My profits, also, could have been much greater if I had built the
buildings correctly from the beginning. Remodeling takes more time
and expense than doing it right the first time, not to mention that
it disrupts your birds’ production cycle.
During the past 29 years, I have had the opportunity to visit some
of the most successful bird farms from Florida to California and exchange
ideas. I have learned from other peoples’ mistakes as well as
my own, and the designs included in these pages have proven track
records. While the hobbyist raising a few birds may get by with doing
things exactly like it was done 50 years ago, the bird breeders who
wish to derive a profit from their bird breeding operations need the
most up to date information that is available. Cage breeding has replaced
colony breeding for many types of exotic birds. Bird watering equipment
has dramatically improved. Convenience as well
as the comfort of both the birds and yourself should be a factor in
designing and equipping both commercial and hobbyist aviaries.
This book was written as a practical guide for both the hobbyist and
commercial breeders who want to save startup cost by building their
own aviary and equipment. A great deal of money can be saved by doing
it yourself. For example, the parakeet breeding cage described later
in this book that holds two breeding pairs of birds, complete with
tray, cost me $10.20 to build. Manufactured cages of similar size
and quality run from $50 to $70 each, plus freight. It doesn’t
take a mathematician to figure out that you can build 5 to 7 cages
for the same price that you would pay for a single store bought cage.
A little more math will reveal that if you build your own cages, you
can probably save enough money to purchase top of the line breed stock
to put in those cages and still have money
left over, resulting in what would seem like getting your birds for
While there are some skills needed to build practically anything,
you certainly don’t need to be a construction engineer in order
to build the things included in this book. Almost anyone with basic
carpentry skills can build a suitable building that can be used for
an aviary, and practically everyone can build the cages, nest boxes,
etc. that are covered in this book. It’s not even necessary
to have a well-equipped home workshop. The things included in this
book were built with hand tools and simple power tools such as a power
saw, jigsaw, and drill.