Outdoor Aviary Heating
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Outdoor Aviary Heating Expand / Collapse
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Posted 9/16/2008 3:20:09 PM
Fledgling

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My question has to do with heating.
 
I live in Scottsdale, Arizona.  I have two Macaws [Red Front, age 13 months; Greenwing, age 5 months) and two Caiques (ages 13 months and 48 months).  They are kept in an outdoor courtyard - caged at night and part of the day.  The courtyard is 25' x 18' and is protected on 4-sides by 15' walls.  The top is completely open to the elements.  We have an automatic awning that covers 80% of the courtyard.  It's main purpose is to provide shade from the sun in the summer. 
 
The winters in Scottsdale can see temperatures as low as 25-30 F at night.  The average is probably 30-40 at night and an average of 50-65 F during the day. 
 
Questions:
 
Aside from protecting the birds from the elements (rain and wind etc) which we do,
 
1.  What can I do to provide sufficient warmth during the winter nights?
2.  If I provide heat, what should be the target minimum temperature for good health?
3.  To achieve the targeted minimum temperature, my plan is to provide individual heat sources for each cage vs. attempting to heat the entire open area.  In this regard, what do you recommend? Electric Infrared Spot Heaters?  Heat lights of a different type?  Something else?  Please let me know (if you know) where I can purchase the products you recommend.  While budgets always exist, please don't make recommendations based only on economy or cost.  Operating efficiency is reasonably important, but I am more concerned with getting the correct heat supply versus saving a few dollars.
 
Thanks, 
Joe and Kelly
Post #179874
Posted 9/16/2008 10:41:59 PM


Big Talker

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I'm sure some of the other members will have more info for you I only have two ideas/experience's. First- provide them with a nesting box with a good supply of hay or newspaper (or both) in it for them to sleep in or retreat to when cold. Second-heat lamps, they don't have to be fancy just warm. Just make sure they can't touch them, if you don't want them running during the day (if it warms up in the sun) you can put them on timers so they turn on at dusk then off in the late morning. Also make sure they have a perch to go to if it gets too hot and they need to get away.

This has nothing to do with heating but I was wondering, do you have problems with rodents or squirrels getting in the cages to snack on the food? At my old job we had a toucan killed and eaten by a raccoon, he was able to reach in and grab the bird and pull him through the cage. This was in the winter when the food supply got lower. After this of course the cages were changed (bottoms reinforced) to prevent this from happening again but you know it was too late for that bird! Just something to think about and learn from other people mistakes trust me it is a site you dont want to walk up to.

The difference between parrots and kids is that it's cute when a parrot talks back.

www.macawsandmore.com

Post #179934
Posted 9/17/2008 7:55:19 AM
Feather Fanatic

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Living in Wisconsin, I have never even SEEN an outdoor aviary for companion or tropical birds! But I would think that you will need to have a wind break, as well.
Post #179966
Posted 9/17/2008 4:14:31 PM
Fledgling

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Thank you for your comments.

In answer to some of your questions:

1.  We actually live in an urban area of Scottsdale so our worry about raccoons, cayotes etc. mixing-it-up with our birds is minimal.  Additionally, the courtyard is completely enclosed (in the center of our home).  An animal would have to scale a 15-18 foot roof line to gain entrance.  It's possible, but not very probable.

2.  Since the courtyard is only open on the top, wind is rarely a problem.  The 15-18 foot walls provide good protection.

I think I'll install the nesting boxes to provide added shelter and infrared heat lamps (at a safe distance from the birds) at night to provide some added warmth....with, as you suggested, a way for them to move away from the heat source, if they choose.

Thanks again for the input.  

Post #180048
Posted 9/17/2008 8:57:57 PM


Big Talker

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Glad to help, I've been to AZ about 7 yrs ago, stopped in Scottsdale, nice town and sounds like you have a very nice set up there in the courtyard for your birds. Would love to see it, post us a photo when you have time...we love pictures.

The difference between parrots and kids is that it's cute when a parrot talks back.

www.macawsandmore.com

Post #180104
Posted 11/12/2008 6:41:37 AM
Big Talker

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Exposed heat lamps are a no-no with birds.  They are too dangerous and they will end up damaging their sight.  You will need something like baseboard heating to keep it an even temperature throughout the entire area.   Tropical birds are not mentally wired for staying close to a lamp in order to get enough heat, they were created to bask in the sunlight and warmth all year round.  It's totally unnatural and cruel to do that to them.  They should also not get nest boxes all year round.     

Bea & Birds

beatriz@newyorkbirds.net
Post #189264
Posted 11/12/2008 8:06:57 AM


Fully Fledged

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When my mom use to raise puppies she had this large heavy duty plastic mat that had a thermostat to control the temperature (24" x 36") I wonder if you could place that in bottom of a box with a grate over the top of it to prevent anybody chewing on it.  The cord is protected with heavy duty wire.  I know it worked great for the puppies and I know it can get quite warm.  I use to love laying on that with the puppies when I was little.  I believe Drs. Foster & Smith has them, at least they use to.  If you insulated the box I would think that would help quite a bit.

Nicole 
(Tucker's Mom)
The Goodenough Gang:
Tucker (Congo African Grey)
Golden Retrievers (Madisen, Daisy, Zachary)
Mix breed dog (Lil' Man)
Cats (Nicholas, Nike, Rebock)
 
 
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