Kamis, 31 Maret 2011

How to Build a Nest Front

How to Build a Nest Front

Nest boxes can be purchased at retail stores, but building a homemade nest box can express creativity and provide the birds in the area with a customized nesting place. Nest fronts are the front panels of nesting boxes, which can be made to swivel for easy cleaning and generally have a hole in the front. This hole allows birds to enter the nest and avoid predators that may attack the birds that nest on perches or tree branches.

Instructions

    1

    Measure and cut your 6mm plywood to 9 1/2-by-7 1/2 inches to make a standard nest front. This can be done using a standard saw or a power saw.

    2

    Cut a hole in the piece of plywood using a tank cutter or a circular saw. For a standard nest front, the diameter of the hole should be about 2 1/4 inches. The hole can be made larger or smaller to accommodate the types of birds that frequent your area.

    3

    Make the plywood smooth by sanding the wood down with sand paper or an electric sander. Make the inside of the hole and both sides of the nest front smooth and free of splinters.

    4

    Decide whether you would like the front panel of the nest to be movable so you can open it and clean the nest. If you desire, you can make another panel, such as the top panel, adjustable instead. If you desire to have the nest front fixed, attach the panel to the rest of your nest using nail-free wood glue.

    5

    Insert one screw into the top left part of the nest front, and another screw in the top right, so the panel is mobile and can swing in and out for cleaning if you desire. The screws can be substituted for hinges. Attach a latch to the bottom of the nest front so you can latch it closed when you are not cleaning it.

    6

    Paint or varnish the nest front as you desire. You can also paint designs onto it if you please. Choose non-toxic paint or varnish so you do not harm the birds housed in your nest. Let the paint or varnish dry completely before setting up your bird's nest.

How to Build a Bird Cage out of Wood

How to Build a Bird Cage out of Wood

Metal and plastic bird cages are readily available in most pet stores but lack the charm of a handmade wooden cage. Use heavy plywood for the top and base, and wood dowels for the bars to create a completely wooden enclosure for your fine feathered friend. Create a lockable door in the top of the cage to secure the bird, and leave the wood bare to make sure your bird is not affected by stains or paints.

Instructions

Making Parts

    1

    Cut two 14-inch squares from 3/4-inch plywood. Mark a line with a pencil 1 inch inside each edge. Make a mark at every 3/4 inch along the lines. Do this on both squares.

    2

    Using a carpenter's square, mark a square 8-inches across in the center of one square on the reverse face from the first square and marks. Cut along one edge of this square with a circular saw.

    3

    Position one hinge 1 inch in from each corner of the cut with the hinge pins centered on the cut. Attach the hinges with a 1/2-inch wood screw through every hole in each hinge, using a cordless drill to drive the screws.

    4

    Cut the remaining three sides of the door. Position a 2-inch barrel bolt on the edge opposite the hinges, so that the bolt slides onto the door. Attach the bolt to the face of the plywood, so that the bolt extends onto the door, using a 1/2-inch screw in each hole. Attach the "eye" of the bolt latch on the lid in the same way.

    5

    Using a miter saw, cut a 1/4-inch-diameter wooden dowel 16 inches long to fit each hole in one of the squares (the number should be equal). Bore a 1/4-inch diameter hole 1/2-inch deep in each marked location, and at each corner of the square on both plywood squares.

Assembly

    6

    Put three or four drops of wood glue in each hole on one square. Stand a dowel in each hole, fit snugly into the bottom of the hole, so that the tops of all dowels are level with each other.

    7

    Apply glue to the holes in the second square and fit it on top fitting the top ends of the dowels into the corresponding holes in the piece.

    8

    Clamp this assembly together and allow the glue to set completely.

How to Build a Wooden Bird Cage

It is relaxing to listen to the chirping and fluttering of a cage full of finches, a pair of lovebirds, or a couple of parrots. Wooden birdcages need to be large enough for the birds to move around the cage comfortably, and stretch their wings full length without touching the cage sides or top. The cage should be at least four times your bird's height, to encourage climbing, and should have at least one perch across the width of the cage. There should also be room for toys, as well as food and watering basins.

Instructions

    1

    This will be the wood for the cage frame:
    Use a carpenter's square, miter box and back saw to cut the 1-inch by 1-inch stock wood into 6 pieces 24 inches long, 6 pieces 22 inches long, and 10 pieces 12 inches long, making sure the cuts are at 90 degree angles. Make sure that all angles of the 24-inch by 24 inch plywood have been cut to 90 degrees as well.
    Make three squares from the 1-inch by 1-inch stock wood by placing two of the 22-inch lengths inside two of the 24-inch lengths. Drill 1/8-inch pilot holes at each end of each of the longer sides of each square. Countersink all the holes. Screw each square frame together using 1-1/2 inch brass Phillip's head screws. Sand all wood pieces using coarse, medium, fine and extra fine sandpaper, including the plywood top and the cage door. Round all sharp corners. Seal all the wood pieces, including the cage top and cage door, with clear acrylic wood treatment.

    2

    Apply carpenter's glue to each of the square ends of four of the 1-foot long pieces, and position them at the corners of one of the 24-inch squares, making sure the corners are flush. Top with a second 24-inch square. Decide which side of the cage will be the front. Apply glue to each end of two additional 1-foot long pieces. Center the pieces about 4 inches apart to make the door frame. Allow glue to dry for one hour. Drill 1/8-inch pilot holes through the top and bottom squares, into the uprights of the cage. Countersink all holes. Screw frame together using 1-1/2 inch brass Phillip's head screws.

    3

    Apply carpenter's glue to each of the ends of four of the 1-foot long pieces, and position them at the corners of the top square of the partial bird cage frame, making sure the pieces are flush with the corners of the frame. Top with the third frame square and allow glue to dry. Drill 1/8-inch diameter pilot holes at a 45 degree angle, through the uprights and into each of the three frame squares. Secure with 1-1/2 inch long brass Phillip's head wood screws.

    4

    Beginning at one corner of the inside of the cage, attach the wire mesh using a staple gun. Overlap the mesh slightly once you have stapled all the way around the inside, and then staple along the overlap, against one of the corner rails. Attach mesh to the bottom of the cage using the staple gun. Screw two dowel rods between the front and back of the cage, through the center frame square, for perches. Hang water and food troughs from the sides of the cage.

    5

    Top the cage with the 24-inch by 24-inch by 1/2-inch plywood sheet, and then attach using 1-1/2 inch long brass Phillip's head wood screws. Find the center point of the top of the cage. Drill a 1/4-inch diameter hole for the eye bolt. Put one brass fender washer on the eye bolt, and then stick the bolt through the hole in the cage top. Place the second fender washer, lock washer and hex nut on the eye bolt and tighten completely. Attach the cage door using two brass hinges. Attach a hook style door latch so that the door will stay closed. Hang your cage from the ceiling or a cage stand. You can also hang it outside from a tree in pleasant weather.

Selasa, 29 Maret 2011

How to Make Cockatiel Toys

Cockatiels need stimulation and creative toys help keep their minds and beaks busy. Giving your bird a variety of toys helps avoid having a depressed, destructive or disruptive bird, according to Busy Bird Inc. Purchasing new toys for your bird to destroy may be expensive, especially when the pet lives approximately 15 to 20 years. Making your own toys helps reduce the cost without depriving your bird of play time.

Instructions

    1

    Select only safe materials for making your cockatiel toys. Unbleached cotton rope, non-toxic dyes, untreated wood and stainless steel make safe toy parts, suggests Busy Bird Inc. Contact pet supply stores and online sites offer kits containing parts, plastic beads, mineral pieces, leather laces and cords for making toys. Check craft stores for items such as wooden spools and cotton rope. Consider other items, such as paper towel rolls and solid wood clothespins, to make into toys, advises veterinarian Vanessa Rolfe, The Bird and Exotic Hospital, Green Acres, FL. Evaluate older toys to use safe parts for making new toys, suggests Birds Just Wanna Have Fun.

    2

    Select items for the toys that give a variety of objects for the cockatiel to chew and shred in order to help keep its beak trimmed. Use different colors, thickness of cord, shapes and textures to make the toys interesting and stimulating. Include edible and mineral parts as well as pieces intended for shredding and indestructible parts such as stainless large steel bolts and washers. Use food dye and staining foods, including blue berries, beet juice and grape juice to color the cords and wooden pieces.

    3

    Use a drill, hole puncher or other tools to put holes in toy parts and foods, such as apple or carrot chunks. Put a cord through the holes of the parts, tying small knots between them for spacing. Create different shapes, such as circles by tying the ends together then hanging with another cord or tying several knotted cords onto the main cord to hang down like legs. String indestructible stainless steel items and beads with cord or leather laces and tie into balls to create foot toys for your cockatiel to kick and manipulate.

    4

    Create cheap paper toys by putting food or treats into a paper cup, paper towel holder, envelop or small box. Crush the item into a ball or flat shape, put a hole in it and hang on the cage with a cotton cord. String several items on a cotton cord, placing knots between, and hang across the cage to provide the bird with more challenges. Hide food inside dried corn husks by tying the ends with cords, suggests Birds Just Wanna Have Fun.

How to Set Up a Cage for a Lovebird

A happy, well-cared-for lovebird is one that has a roomy, clean cage, places to exercise and rest, and toys to play with. Without these simple things, your bird might become bored and develop behavioral problems such as feather-plucking or screaming.

Instructions

    1

    Purchase a square or rectangular cage that is at least 2 feet wide by 2 feet long and at least 2 feet high. Bars should be horizontal and no more than inch to 5/8 inch apart so the bird's head won't get stuck. If you opt for a smaller cage, you must let your lovebird out every day to fly around. The cage should be made out of materials that are durable and easy to clean.

    2

    Provide a variety of perches of different heights and diameters. Try to include perches made of cement or sand, wood branches, rope or wooden dowels. Lovebirds love to move around, and using a variety of textures and diameters allows them to exercise their feet and muscles.

    3

    Care for your lovebird by giving it plenty of toys. Preening toys made of rope or string can prevent feather-plucking; puzzle toys and knots can promote problem-solving skills; and snuggle tubes are helpful when your bird needs some quiet time or a nap.

    4

    Set up a spot for food and water bowls. Take care to provide clean and fresh water; bowls should be cleaned daily. Lovebirds tend to put their food pellets in their water or take baths in the bowls, so frequent water changes might be necessary.

    5

    Clean and disinfect the cage weekly once it is set up. When perches and toys become dirty, wash and dry them.

Jumat, 25 Maret 2011

Can You Use a Metal Wire Mesh for a Bird Cage?

Can You Use a Metal Wire Mesh for a Bird Cage?

Many bird enthusiasts are now realizing that the more space a bird has the happier it is. While large bird aviaries and flight cages can be purchased at most pet supply stores, they can also be constructed at home. Not all wire mesh is made of bird-safe materials, just as not all bar spacing is appropriate for all birds. In short, if the wire mesh is made of bird-safe metal and of the appropriate spacing, then, yes -- you can.

Cage Materials

    The material used in making the wire mesh is important for the safety of the bird. Stainless steel is the safest material to use and is also the easiest to keep clean. Powdered, coated stainless steel can also be used. Galvanized steel, nickel, zinc, lead and stainless steel blends and alloys are fatally toxic to all birds. Birds use their beaks and tongue to climb on them, thus the exposure rate is extremely high for these creatures.

Bar Spacing

    Bar spacing is the next concern for bird safety. Good ventilation, with a high visibility rate is optimal. However, no matter what species of bird the cage is housing, the spacing should prevent the smallest bird in the cage from poking its head through the bars. Chicken wire allows small birds to climb through the holes and for larger birds to become stuck or to suffer fatal neck injuries.

Fixtures, Clasps and Latches

    Use only bird-safe fixtures and clasps to hold the wire mesh in place. Stainless steel clasps do not break or rust, which is fatally toxic to birds. Bird supply stores carry bird-safe latches for doors, which are ideal and relatively inexpensive. Make shift latches, or pad and combination locks are not safe, as they may contain metal alloys, which are toxic to birds.

Considerations

    Never use damaged or rusted wire, and disinfect previously used clean wire mesh, with a bird-safe disinfectant to kill bacteria and to prevent disease. Before purchasing wire mesh at home and garden stores, inquire about the materials used in making the wire. Never leave snags or sharp edges exposed, as they can fatally stab a fluttering or a playful bird. Instead, clip off any extending pieces of metal, and file them down. Before allowing the bird access to the wire mesh, wash with warm soapy water, then rinse and dry the mesh.

Kamis, 24 Maret 2011

How to Build an Indoor Finch Aviary

How to Build an Indoor Finch Aviary

Commercially made aviaries (sometimes called flights) are pricey, but you can build one for far less money that serves your birds needs and is still designed to please your eye. Building an economical indoor aviary is not hard to do using these basic instructions, and you can alter the design to build one as fancy as you like.

Instructions

Building the Aviary

    1

    Decide how large your aviary needs to be. You want to allow about 3 to 4 feet of floor space for each pair of birds to be housed in the finch aviary.

    2

    Assemble panels by screwing together the panel frames and covering them with hardware cloth or netting. Attach the hardware cloth securely to the frame so no gaps exist to allow finches to escape the enclosure. Use screws with wide, flat heads to attach the hardware cloth to the framing material.

    3

    Attach hinges and the door latch to one panel built slightly smaller than the other panels so it can swing open. This will allow you to reach or walk into the aviary to clean and service it.

    4

    Assemble a roof panel to close the top of the aviary and attach it by screwing it into the top of the side panels. Assemble a floor by cutting the plywood to the proper size and by mounting Masonite on the top for easy cleaning. Screw the floor into the side panels to complete the aviary.

    5

    Install perches by mounting small branches or dowels to the panel edges, or construct a free-standing perch tree if you prefer.

    6

    Add a fountain and birdbath to the aviary.

Rabu, 23 Maret 2011

How to Remove a Bird Band

Bird bands corrode and wear over time and can develop sharp edges that can injure the bird or snag on passing objects while walking or flying. Once the band numbers become illegible, they must be removed and replaced or re-etched. Removing bird bands requires caution and a steady hand to prevent possible injury to the bird.

Instructions

    1

    Have the assistant gently hold the bird still.

    2

    Support the band and the leg of the bird, also called the tarsus, with your thumb and finger for added support. Insert the tips of the pliers into the bottom of the band, positioned on each side of the seam.

    3

    Slowly squeeze the pliers and spread the band, constantly readjusting placement of the tips of the pliers to prevent slippage and injury to the bird.

    4

    Continue spreading the band until it has opened enough to allow it to slide off the tarsus.

Senin, 21 Maret 2011

Ideas for Pet Swings

Ideas for Pet Swings

Many different types of pets use swings, from birds to small rodents, like rats and rabbits. A pet swing may serve as a piece of play or exercise equipment for pets that live indoors or in cages. Some pets need exercise swings to increase physical activity and reduce stress. Other swings mimic habitats in the wild or may be part of a pet's home environment for sleeping needs. For the invested pet owner, there are many ideas for pet swings.

Exercise Swings

    For owners of cockatiels, lovebirds, small parrots and other caged birds, a swing offers a great way to allow the bird to exercise. Some owners have even added double exercise swings to the cage if they have more than one bird. Exercise swings can help reduce anxiety and promote health in your feathered friends. These types of swings, often colorful to encourage the bird's playfulness, range from simple rope construction to novelty swings that look like airplanes or other objects.

Natural Swings

    Because birds often perch on branches in the wild and peck at buds and bark on those branches, some swings are designed to move like branches would in the wind. These swings sometimes feature parts that your pet bird can easily nibble. These swings will help your bird feel more comfortable, as if in his natural environment.

Sleeping Swings

    Some swings are designed to help pets sleep better, much like rockers and cradles lull human babies to sleep. These swings provide a safe and comfortable environment for the pet to sleep in. Some are even large enough to accommodate pet rodents, like rabbits, ferrets and chinchillas. For the birds, swings are constructed with tubes that allow your pet to be partially enclosed so it can sleepily perch without fear of falling.

Perching Swings

    Rats and chinchillas enjoy perching almost as much as birds do. Enter the perching swing, which gives your pet to a spot for jumping, perching and balancing. Some of these swings even have a small holder for treats to reinforce their active, playful behavior.

Sabtu, 19 Maret 2011

How to Build a Birdhouse for Finches

How to Build a Birdhouse for Finches

Creating the best environment for families is not only important for humans, but also for finches. If you want to build a birdhouse for finches, you must create a safe environment offering plenty of finch-friendly resources to help a family of finches thrive. You can offer neighborly assistance, according to The National Audubon Society, by "supplying some of the materials they seek, such as twigs; short lengths of string, yarn, and thread; cotton; hair brushed from a pet; and sphagnum moss. Leave the offerings in a tray or in an onion net bag hung from a tree." Finches are enthusiastic singers that will add plenty of entertainment to a backyard.

Instructions

    1

    Select -inch roughly cut redwood, cedar or even plywood. Rough-cut wood will allow finches to grasp the birdhouse. According to BirdHouses 101, "The ideal Finch birdhouse should have a 6-inch by 6-inch floor, 6-inch inside ceiling and a 1-inch diameter entrance hole located 4 inches above the floor and ventilation opening."

    2
    Birdhouse for finches.
    Birdhouse for finches.

    Secure with corrosion-resistant screws the right 6-inch panel to the larger back panel. Attach the floor of the birdhouse to the right and back panel. Add the left 6-inch panel to the back panel and the birdhouse floor. Fasten the front panel with a 1-inch diameter entry hole 4-inch above the floor of the birdhouse. Before putting the roof on your finch birdhouse, consider attaching hinges to the roof and then secure it to the back panel. A roof with hinges will allow easy access to your finch birdhouse for cleaning purposes. Add shutter hooks to the roof and side panels in order to secure it.

    3

    Make sure your finch birdhouse has enough ventilation with -inch drainage holes at each corner of the floor. Drill -inch holes at the top of each side panel.

    4

    Add a security system to your new finch birdhouse by securing a small piece of wood near the entrance to make it difficult for predatory birds and other animals to access.

    5

    Mount the finch birdhouse on to a high metal pole. Choose a location that is cool and away from a birdfeeder.

    6

    Attract finches to a new birdhouse by adding a favorite food such as sunflower seeds to a birdfeeder. Fruits such as mulberries and cherries are another appetizing treat for a finch. Plant sunflowers, marigolds, birch trees and zinneas.

Rabu, 16 Maret 2011

How to Build a Domestic Egg Incubator

How to Build a Domestic Egg Incubator

If you have ever had fresh eggs from a farm, you know why many people are starting to raise their own chickens. The eggs that you buy in the grocery store are older, and don't taste as good as eggs from a farm. Most farm eggs come from chickens that are well fed and are allowed to move around instead of sitting in a tiny cage their whole life. If you are ready to raise chickens, it's easy to get started. Make a domestic egg incubator to begin hatching your eggs.

Instructions

    1

    Place the 24-inch-by-24-inch-by-1-inch piece of wood on a flat surface, so the side is facing upward, to create the bottom of the incubator.

    2

    Label each of the 1-inch sides with a letter: A," "B," "C," and "D."

    3

    Place one of the 24-by-18-by-1-inch wood pieces against side A. The 24-inch side should line up against the bottom of the incubator. The 1-inch-by-24-inch side will be what you see on top if you are looking down on the incubator. Nail the bottom into place. Use at least 4 nails, so the incubator will be sturdy enough to last a long time.

    4

    Repeat step 3 on side C.

    5

    Place one of the 26 inch by 18 inch by 1 inch wood pieces on side B. The 18 inch side will go up from the bottom. Make sure that you line up the edges of the 26 inch side, so it touches the corner of side A and C. Nail the piece into place. Put at least 4 nails in the bottom, and 4 nails in each side.

    6

    Repeat step 5 on side D.

    7

    Push the 24 inch by 24 inch Styrofoam sheeting into the bottom of the incubator. It should be a tight fit. Push the 1 of the 24 inch by 18 inch by 1/2 inch Styrofoam sheeting flat against the wall on side A, and repeat the procedure with the other 24 inch by 18 inch by 1/2 inch piece of styrofoam on side C. Push the 1 of the 23 inch by 18 inch by 1 inch Styrofoam sheeting flat against the walls on side B, and repeat the procedure with the other 24 inch by 18 inch by 1/2 inch piece of Styrofoam on side D. Nail the Styrofoam into place. Use 1 nail in each corner of the pieces of Styrofoam.

    8

    Line the walls with aluminum foil. Tape the foil in place with metal tape.

    9

    Sand the incubator on the outside. Make sure you remove all of the rough edges.

    10

    Paint the incubator. It will protect the wood, and make it last longer.

    11

    Place a clip light on top of the incubator box. Put a 75 watt bulb in the clip light.

    12

    Place an egg carton in the box.

    13

    Monitor the heat. It should stay between 95 to 100 degrees in the incubator. If it gets too cold, get a higher wattage light bulb. If it gets too hot, get a lower wattage light bulb. Once the heat is right, you are ready to put your eggs in the egg carton inside the incubator.

Selasa, 15 Maret 2011

How to Make Perches For Cockatiels

Cockatiels, like all bird need a place in their cage where they can sit up and watch the world pass them by, they need to have a perch. When you are raising a cockatiel, it is best if they have a minimum of two perches in their birdcage.

Instructions

    1

    Drill a hole in either end of the piece of wood. Drill large enough holes that the bolt will fit, but not such large holes that the bolts slip out when your cockatiel lands on the perch.

    2

    Insert the hanger bolt into the hole you have just drilled.

    3

    Once the bolt is in place, slide a washer onto the end of the exposed bolt; use a wing nut to secure the washer. Now youre ready to mount the perch into the birdcage.

    4

    Once you have the perch positioned where you want it, use a second washer and nut to attach it to the birdcage.

    5

    If at any point you notice that your cockatiel perch is starting to develop small cracks, take care of the problem before the birds toes became caught and your bird is injured. The best way to fill in the small cracks is to use Elmers glue, which isnt toxic to birds. Just squirt a little into the crack.

How to Get a New Cage for a Cockatiel

How to Get a New Cage for a Cockatiel

There are many reasons to purchase a new cage for a cockatiel. A new cockatiel from a pet store or breeder will need a cage to go home to, or the cockatiels current cage is too small or could be potentially dangerous to the bird and must be replaced. You should keep many factors in mind when you buy a new cage. For example, the cage should be as large as possible with appropriate bar spacing. A cockatiel can be introduced to a new cage slowly, but the cage should be completely set up before you bring a new bird home.

Instructions

    1

    Determine an area of the house where the bird will get attention and foot traffic, but will be safe from drafts and away from loud noises. The cage should be away from windows and TVs. Take note of what size of cage can fit in the space, and try to get a cage as large as possible.

    2

    Buy a cage no smaller than 2 feet by 2 feet by 30 inches tall, since the cockatiel will need room to spread his wings and have his tail hang without touching the cage bars. Cage bars should be spaced no more than 1/2-inch to 3/4-inches apart to prevent the cockatiels head from getting stuck.

    3

    Remove the bird's favorite perches, toys and cups from the old cage to put into the new cage. The new cage should contain various sizes of perches made of pine and manzanita, two to three toys, three cups (one neutral color food dish, one treat dish, one water dish), and one water bottle.

    4

    Install the perches at different heights and angles in the cage, place the cups and water bottle near the perches so the bird can easily access them and hang the toys from the bars of the cage. Let the cockatiel watch the cage setup from the old cage or from a play gym in the same room; get the bird as close as possible to the new cage if he is frightened.

    5

    Put the cockatiel in the new cage, unless he is very scared, in which case he should be introduced to the cage slowly. Start moving the new cage closer to the bird every day or allow him to explore the new cage during play times.

How to Build a Small Pigeon House

How to Build a Small Pigeon House

If you enjoy watching pigeons gather and play around your yard, you can make the pigeons feel more at home by putting out a birdhouse specifically designed to suit a pigeon. Pigeons require smaller spaces that are completely enclosed, which can be accomplished by making a small pigeon bird house out of paper mache. Once finished, you can customize the bird house using non-toxic acrylic paint that can be purchased from an art supply store.

Instructions

    1

    Inflate a balloon, and tie the end.

    2

    Fill a bowl with warm water.

    3

    Cut paper mache strips 12 inches long.

    4

    Dip the strips into the water, and drape them around the balloon. Cover the balloon with four layers.

    5

    Let the balloon dry completely.

    6

    Pop the balloon with a straight pin.

    7

    Cut out a 3-inch hole from the paper mache shell using a pen knife.

    8

    Cut out two small holes on either side of the paper mache shell.

    9

    Paint the shell as you prefer using acrylic paint. Let the paint dry.

    10

    Knot a 12 inch piece of twine through the small holes to hang up the pigeon house on a tree.

Senin, 14 Maret 2011

How to Set Up a Bird Cage

Your bird's cage is his home, and he will most likely spend a great deal of time inside it. It is important to set up your bird's cage properly to create an interesting and safe home for your bird. A barren or overcrowded cage will not make a happy home for a pet bird, and improperly aligned perches and food dishes can create a health hazard. By following these steps, you can set up your bird's cage in a way that gives him a safe and enjoyable habitat to live in.

Instructions

    1

    Hang toys from the top of the cage, leaving adequate space between them so that your bird can access each toy. Be careful not to place them too far apart; all of the toys should be accessible from the top center of the cage, where you will place one of the perches.

    2

    Mount one perch along the top center line of the cage, so that your bird can access all of his toys while standing on it. Be sure to allow adequate space between the top of the cage and the perch, so your bird will not have to "slouch" while standing on it.

    3

    Mount a small perch near the top of the cage, in a back corner. This is a roosting perch, where your bird will sleep. Choose the corner of the cage that faces the quietest part of the room, rather than one near a window or door. Again, be sure there is enough room between the top of the cage and the perch to allow your bird to stand upright.

    4

    Mount food dishes in the cage. Some cages come with food dishes and feeding doors, but unless you have a very high-quality cage, these are probably poorly constructed and difficult to clean. Stainless steel coop cups and hard plastic lock-on cups are usually the best choices, since they are very easy to clean and can be removed and replaced in the cage easily. Whichever type of food dishes you choose, be sure not to mount them directly under perches to avoid the food being soiled by droppings. In general, you should mount the dishes in the lower third of the cage, one on each side of the main door. This will make them easier to access when you feed your bird each day.

    5

    Install a perch near the food dishes. Many, if not most, birds prefer to sit on the bowls while eating, but this perch gives them a place to rest before and after eating. This can be very useful when you are feeding your bird and the food bowls are out of the cage. It will also provide an area to stand on while drinking water, especially if you use a water bottle.

    6

    Mount the water bottle or water dish. Be sure that the bird can access his water from the "feeding perch" you installed in Step 5. Take special care to choose the placement of the water bottle or bowl so that it will not be soiled by droppings.

    7

    Add old newspapers, cage liners or nontoxic substrate to the bottom of the cage. You should only use substrate if your cage has a bottom grate installed, since even nontoxic materials such as corncob and walnut husks can cause crop impactions if consumed in large quantities.

    8

    Secure the doors of the cage. Many parrots are escape artists and can easily defeat most locking mechanisms. If you are placing a large parrot in a cage that does not have an excellent built-in lock, you should install keyed padlocks on every door. When securing cage doors, don't forget feeding doors and nest box doors, which are often very easy for a bird to open.

Rabu, 09 Maret 2011

Homemade Incubator Using a 10 Gallon Aquarium for Chicks

Homemade Incubator Using a 10 Gallon Aquarium for Chicks

To safely brood newly hatched chicks, you need a warm, draft-free environment. By recycling an old 10-gallon aquarium you can provide a place to raise baby chicks safely, without having to invest in a lot of expensive equipment.

Preparing the Environment

    Before you bring home your newly hatched baby chicks you will want to be sure to have the incubator all set up and ready for brooding them correctly. The glass walls of your aquarium will provide draft-free walls for the enclosure, so you'll want to have a wire top to allow air ventilation. You can use an old screen covered in chicken wire to allow the heat to regulate itself.

    As the chicks develop feathers and grow stronger, it is not uncommon for them to try to hop out of their brooder. Having a top across the opening will prevent accidental falls and injuries. A solid top would allow the heat to build up very quickly inside the glass walls and risk overheating your chicks, so a wire top is the best solution for an aquarium chick cage.

Regulating the Heat

    Your heat lamp should be at least 6 inches above the top of the enclosure, and with such a small space you'll want to monitor the temperature carefully. The brooder should never get above 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

    By watching your baby chicks carefully and keeping an eye on the thermometer, you can prevent them from getting chilled or overheated. You should never see your chicks huddled together for warmth or scattered to the farthest edges of the incubator as though trying to escape the heat. Ideally, you should see your chicks moving throughout the entire enclosure.

    Position your heat lamp suspended from the ceiling so it is above the incubator. Keep it to one side or the other, creating a temperature variance throughout the cage. This will allow the chicks the chance to regulate their own temperature by moving from warmer to cooler areas of the cage as needed.

Other Supplies

    Provide a clean bedding material such as wood shavings or newspaper shreds for your baby chicks. To ensure the best health of your chicks, you'll want to remove soiled bedding at least once a day. It would be best to spot-check twice a day and remove any debris because a 10-gallon aquarium doesn't provide a large floor surface. Chicks will be forced to walk through their feces if you do not clean it up, and are likely to track it into their food and water.

    For feeding, be sure to provide a chick starter feed in a chick feeder. If you use a flat plate or kitchen bowl, the chicks will climb inside and soil their food very quickly. A chick feeder or creep feeder as they are sometimes called, will have small openings in the lid to allow the chicks to reach their beaks through, but not allow them to climb in and track dirt into the food.

    One of the most important considerations for new baby chicks is constant access to clean, fresh water. Your water dish will either have to be very shallow, or a specially made chick waterer. A large bowl of water will soon have a baby chick inside, creating a situation where the wet chick either drowns himself, or becomes chilled and dies. A chick waterer with a bottle in the center will allow a constant supply of water for the chicks, but the dish part will still need to be cleaned out on a regular basis.

How to Build Pens for Geese

Geese are common in zoos, parks and near lakes, and they can even be found in backyards as pets. Even if you don't live on a farm, you may find that geese are a rewarding pet to have and breed. Like a dog, geese also need a house or pen to stay in. Read on to learn more.

Instructions

    1

    Reserve enough area to be devoted to the geese because they tend to be a little larger than other fowl and need additional room. If you have male and female birds, you will need to have separate pens to put them in during mating season.

    2

    Decide what fencing material to use for the pen. Some of the most common are barbed wire, wire mesh alone or with a combination of spit rail. The wire must be run at least a foot deep into the ground and there must be some type of covering for the entire top of the pen to ensure that predators cannot enter.

    3

    Use bedding for the geese that is appropriate for the climate you live in. The bedding will also double as nesting sites in the pen during breeding. Straw is a common material but it should be changed often to prevent mold.

    4

    Ensure that the pen is large enough for a growing flock. If the geese are being raised from goslings, plan for how big the birds will be when fully grown and make sure the pen will be large enough. Some breeds of geese can get quite large and can become aggressive if penned too close together.

    5

    Give the geese plenty of shade in the pen for summer months and be sure to provide heat in winter months. Depending on where you live, the shelter should face away from the winds and snow drifts. Be sure to brush up on the specific needs of the breed you're raising because some geese are more heat and cold tolerant than others.

Minggu, 06 Maret 2011

How to Build a Birdhouse for Blue Jays

How to Build a Birdhouse for Blue Jays

Blue jays are colorful, loud birds that can make a welcome addition to your backyard bird habitat. According to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, blue jays build cup-shaped nests from twigs, grass and mud, and line them with rootlets. Blue jays also typically make their nests in the crotch of a tree, between 10 and 25 feet above ground. If you would like to attract these birds to your yard, you will need to build an open birdhouse, or nesting platform, to simulate their natural nesting place.

Instructions

    1

    Lay the first piece of 8-inch-square wood down and place a thin line of wood glue along the top edge. This will be the back of the blue jay birdhouse.

    2

    Place the second piece of 8-inch-square wood at a 90-degree angle on the glue line of the first piece of wood and wait for it to dry. This will be the roof of the birdhouse. It will provide shade and protection for the blue jays.

    3

    Screw three 1-inch wood screws into the roof from the back of the first piece and lay birdhouse back down, with the roof sticking up.

    4

    Place the two 8-inch-by-4-inch pieces of wood together, edge to edge, to form a shallow "V" shape at the bottom of the back piece. Their edges should be resting on the face of the back piece, with the bottom of the "V" even with the bottom edge of the back piece. This is the nesting platform, where the birds will build their nest. Draw a line along the top of each of the two pieces that form the "V" with the pencil.

    5

    Run a small strip of wood glue just below each pencil line, attach the nesting platform pieces to the back piece and wait until they are dry.

    6

    Screw two 1-inch wood screws into each piece of the V-shaped nesting platform from the back to secure them in place.

    7

    Lay the birdhouse on its back, with the roof and V-shaped nesting platform sticking up. Run a strip of wood glue along the front edge of the V-shaped pieces of wood. Place the 8-inch trim piece flat on top of the front so that it covers the "V" shape and is parallel to the back piece. The bottom edge of the trim piece should be level with the bottom edge of the back piece. This creates a front wall for the nesting platform so the blue jays' nest will be secure.

    8

    Screw 4 finishing screws into the trim piece to finish off the feeder.

The Best Way to Heat Bird Cages

The Best Way to Heat Bird Cages

The most popular pet birds, from parrots and parakeets to canaries, come from tropical climates and are used to much warmer temperatures than those experienced during a northern winter. Gregory Burkett, a bird veterinarian from North Carolina, says, "In my experience, most pet birds' comfort range is between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They can withstand a much broader range, however, of 40 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit." Most homes maintain temperatures within these ranges year-round, but individual circumstances may indicate a need for supplemental heat.

Instructions

    1

    Select a location for your bird cage away from direct sunlight and any heating or cooling vents; drafts and temperature extremes can be very detrimental to bird health.

    2

    Use a thermometer to accurately monitor the temperature of your bird cage and determine if and when supplemental heat is necessary.

    3

    Decide which style of heater to use. While many different types have been used successfully, the most foolproof option is to buy a heater specifically designed for birds. Within this category you have the option of a heat lamp, a heat panel or even a heated perch.

    4

    Use only an infrared bulb if using a heat lamp. While incandescent bulbs can be used, the light interferes with the bird's natural sleep cycle.

    5

    Install the heater according to manufacturer instructions, typically within a few inches of the cage. You want it installed in such a way that the cage has several heat zones; the warmest close to the lamp getting gradually cooler as the bird moves away from it. In this way the bird can choose where it is most comfortable.

    6

    Continue to monitor the temperature using your thermometer, and watch your pet for signs of heat stress such as panting and keeping its wings away from its body.

Sabtu, 05 Maret 2011

How to Hang Birdhouses With Rope

How to Hang Birdhouses With Rope

Placing a birdhouse on your property is a way to observe birds up close without infringing on their freedom. A birdhouse also gives the birds a safe haven from the elements. Birdhouses are generally made of wood, but they can also be made from plastic or other weather-resistant materials. A birdhouse can be placed on a standalone post or hung in a tree, either on a nail driven into the tree's trunk or hung from a branch. Hanging a birdhouse with rope can be done in a couple of steps.

Instructions

    1

    Attach two eye screws to the roof of the birdhouse, about 1 inch in on each side and centered on top. Use four eye screws, placed on the corners of the birdhouse roof and about 1 inch from the edge, to create more stability or for a large birdhouse.

    2

    Cut enough rope with a knife or scissors to allow the birdhouse to hang about 5 feet from the ground on a low-hanging branch. Use weather-resistant rope, if possible.

    3

    Tie a large knot on one end of the rope. Burn the end of the rope with a flame from a lighter or match to fuse the cut rope fibers together. Repeat for the other end of the rope. Slip the rope through the eye of one of the eye screws.

    4

    Place the birdhouse on the branch. Choose a location that has a notch or set of branches growing out of it so that the rope can sit securely on the branch. Loop the rope around the branch and secure it with a square knot to hold it in place, if necessary. Slip the other end (or ends) of the rope through the remaining eye screw (or screws) to hang the birdhouse.

How and Where to Hang Bluebird Nesting Boxes

How and Where to Hang Bluebird Nesting Boxes

The bluebird naturally nests inside tree cavities that have decayed over time. According to the Michigan Bluebird Society, due to habitat loss and the introduction of non-native species, bluebirds have a difficult time finding a natural place to nest.

Bluebird nesting boxes are especially made to give bluebirds a safe place to nest and raise their young. Where and how the nest boxes are mounted is also important to the bird's continued survival.

Instructions

    1

    Mount the bluebird nesting box on a free-standing, metal, 6 to 6 1/2 ft tall pole with two pipe clamps; wood poles are not encouraged because predators can easily climb them. Lay the nesting box with the front facing down on a table or bench. Lay the pole over it, the top of the pole flush with the roof of the box. Mark the box just below the roof and just above the base where you will attach the pipe clamps. Lay the pipe clamps over the pole on the marks and mark where the holes line up. Remove the pole and clamps, drill out all four holes. Lay the pole back over the nest box. Place the pipe clamps to line up with the drilled holes. Screw in the bolts until they are through the wood. Turn the pole over so the nest box front is facing you. Open up the access door and place the nuts on the bolts, using a wrench to tighten them until secure.

    2

    Place the bluebird nest box in an open area away from trees, fences, houses or barns to avoid predators, nesting wrens or house sparrows. Turn the entrance hole of the nest box to the south or east to keep the weather from summer storms out of the box. Keep the nest box away from dense cover such as thickets or scrub to discourage hiding predators.

    3

    Bury the pole with a shovel at least 12 to 18 inches deep into the ground, leaving the nest box about 5 feet high after it is fully installed. Straighten the pole when needed; it will lean a small amount on occasion due to rain and wind.

    (See reference 1)

    4

    Place nesting boxes at least 250 to 300 feet apart if you are mounting more than one since nesting birds are territorial and will chase away other bluebirds. Mount boxes within areas of at least 1 1/2 to 2 acres of suitable habitat to enable them to find plenty of food.

Rabu, 02 Maret 2011

How to Make Budgie Perches

How to Make Budgie Perches

Budgies, as they are called in Europe, are better known to Americans as the common parakeet. Budgies make beloved pets for young children and adults alike because of their friendly disposition and bright colors. One of the most critical supplies you need to keep your pet parakeet healthy and happy is a perch. Wooden perches give birds a surface to cull their beaks and a place to perch while sleeping. Making your own perches at home is a worthwhile project that requires only a few basic tools.

Instructions

    1

    Measure your bird's cage with a tape measure to determine the width of branch that you need. Then, measure the distance between two of the cage's bars.

    2

    Search your neighborhood for spare branches that are the same width or slightly longer than your bird's cage and about the right diameter to fit between two of the bars. Manzanita, elm, beech and birch are all common varieties of trees with wood that is safe for parakeets.

    3

    Saw the branches down to the correct size. Whittle the ends of the branch so they are thin enough to slide between the bars of the cage.

    4

    Wash your branches under hot running water and scrub them with a brush to remove any debris.

    5

    Turn your oven on to 225 degrees. Place the cleaned branches in the oven for about 25 minutes to dry the wood out.

    6

    Slide a branch between two of the bars of the bird's cage. Replace the perch when it gets worn down.