Senin, 30 Mei 2011

How to Dry Branches to Use As Bird Perches

How to Dry Branches to Use As Bird Perches

Birds have a natural instinct to chew on wood, and this is not limited to their toys. It is not uncommon for birds to quickly destroy their natural wood perches. Replacing commercially produced perches can become expensive and frustrating. If you have access to natural bird-safe woods, it is possible to create your own perches. Wood can be harvested from unsprayed trees in your local neighborhood. Common woods uses for perches include pine, birch and apple.

Instructions

    1

    Locate some unsprayed trees that are bird safe. From the trees, cut down some branches that would serve as good sturdy perches for your bird.

    2

    Trim the perch down to size using your pruning shears. Remove any small branch offshoots that are growing from the part of the branch that will serve as the perch.

    3

    Disinfect the perch using hot soap and water. Scrub thoroughly using a stiff bristled brush. This will remove any surface dirt, sap and bugs.

    4

    Set your oven to 200 degrees. Carefully place the perch into the oven and bake for 200 hours to dry the perch. This will kill any residual germs or bugs that may live on the wood.

    5

    Turn the oven off and crack the door to release the hot air. Allow the wood to dry completely. Repeat Step 4 until the wood is thoroughly dry.

Minggu, 29 Mei 2011

Is Oak Safe for Bird Perches?

Is Oak Safe for Bird Perches?

Pet stores sell plenty of perches for use in aviaries, wooden and otherwise, but you can fit your pet's cage with branches you've gathered, under the right circumstances. Many trees' wood makes safe bird perches, but oak is not among them. Avoid exposing your pet to oak.

Oak Safety

    Oak appears on lists of plants toxic to birds, which is reason enough to avoid it as perch wood. The tannins found in oak are considered toxins; they can adversely affect bird digestion and food intake. Animals that consume a diet containing more than 5 percent tannin content may die; for poultry, levels of 3 percent to 7 percent can prove lethal. Since leaves, acorns and wood of oak contain these tannins, avoid using any form of oak in the aviary.

Oak Identification

    Oak leaves' distinctive shape can help you avoid these trees. The leaves typically have rounded or blunt-tooth edges. The shiny green leaves turn shades of red, brown, yellow and orange in the autumn. Oak bark is generally ridged with vertical lines or with vertical and horizontal lines. Oaks feature acorns. Learn to identify the types of oaks that grow near you to avoid placing their branches in your aviary.

Safe Woods

    Safe hardwoods include apple, ash, beech, bamboo, crab apple, crape myrtle, dogwood, elm, lilac and magnolia. If you're uncertain whether a tree is sprayed or chemically treated, avoid its wood to be safe. Choose hard woods since they are sturdier than soft woods, and only take wood from a source you know to be safe. If you intend to bring outside wood into your aviary, soak the wood for one hour in a solution of 3 gallons of water and 1 tablespoon of bleach. Dry the wood in the sun or in an oven set to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. After it's cool, place the dry wood in the aviary.

Unsafe Woods

    Softwood -- wood that has a soft middle that you can dent with a fingernail -- isn't dangerous, but it's not a good choice for perches. A bird can chew through it quickly. Oak is not the only wood considered toxic to birds. Other woods to avoid include alder, apricot, avocado, cedar, elderberry, hemlock, holly, horse chestnut, juniper, sumac, walnut, wisteria and yew. If you are not sure whether a piece of wood is on the safe or unsafe list, avoid it.

Sabtu, 28 Mei 2011

How to Make a Bird Sleep Tent

How to Make a Bird Sleep Tent

Bird sleep tents are plush tepee-like structures. Birds, such as lovebirds and parrots, snuggle inside their tent to sleep and have their own private space. Most birds are active in the wild. When captive, toys like tents are essential for their emotional and psychological health. According to Avian Rescue, birds who are bored can develop destructive habits such as biting and screaming. You can make your own bird sleep tent by sewing together fleece material.

Instructions

    1

    Fold the larger piece of polar fleece in half, lengthwise. This will become the main area of the sleep tent.

    2

    Place the plastic underneath the polar fleece. The plastic can be cut from an old plastic tub or food saver.

    3

    Put the smaller piece of fleece underneath the plastic piece and sew it to the larger piece of fabric, keeping the plastic inside. You are sewing it to keep the tent structure with the plastic inside. The plastic will help keep the tent clean and hold its shape.

    4

    Loop the cords and pin to the top of the sleep tent. Place them side-by-side. They should be separate enough to keep the tent's shape while hung in the cage.

    5

    Sew the lopped cords in place and attach the quick links to the loops. Quick links can be purchased at most pet stores. Attach the links to the inside top of the bird's cage.

Rabu, 25 Mei 2011

Wild Bird Nesting Box Measurement Requirements

Wild Bird Nesting Box Measurement Requirements

Erecting nest boxes is a great way to attract birds to your garden. These boxes offer wild birds the opportunity to not only shelter, but to incubate their eggs and raise their chicks as well. Avoid painted or stained wood however, as the fumes from painted nest boxes are toxic to birds and the wood loses its insulating properties when its pores are filled with paint. Redwood and cedar are good woods to choose for your nest box construction, but 5/8-inch thick plywood is also acceptable.

Specific Dimensions

    Many wild bird species accept a variety of nests, but you have more success in attracting specific bird types if you put up nesting boxes of the correct dimensions. Larger species, such as kestrels and screech owls, need a floor space of at least 8 square inches, while smaller types of birds, such as the flycatcher, require a floor space of only 6 square inches. Woodpecker species, such as the red-bellied and red-headed woodpecker, are also comfortable with a floor space of 6 square inches. A height of 12 to 15 inches is suitable for red-bellied, red-headed woodpeckers, kestrels and screech owls, while an 8 to 12-inch-high box suits smaller species such as the flycatcher.

Preferred Height

    Always position nesting boxes for screech owls and kestrels between 10 and 30 feet above the ground. Different species of woodpeckers also prefer to nest high; boxes for the red-bellied and red-headed woodpecker should be in the region of 20 feet from the ground. Position a nest box for the pileated woodpecker a little higher, at 30 feet above ground level. Purple martins prefer to nest between 10 and 15 feet from the ground, while you can place the best box for flycatchers slightly closer to the ground, at a height of between 5 to 15 feet.

Entrance Size

    The size of the entrance hole is vitally important. An entrance hole that is too small is of no value to the species for which you built the nesting box, while an entrance hole that is too large allows predators and aggressive bird species access to the box. Entrance holes with a diameter of between 2 and 2 1/2 inches are suitable for red-bellied and red-headed woodpeckers, while kestrels and screech owls require an entrance hole of at least 3 inches. An additional piece of wood around the entrance hole adds depth to the area around the entrance, and prevents some predators from reaching into the box. Perches at the entrance hole are not necessary and benefit predators more than the resident birds.

Important Considerations

    Provide ventilation for the nesting birds by drilling -inch holes along the top section of both sides of your box. Another option is to leave a gap between the sides of the box and the roof. This gap must not be too large, or it will let unnecessary amounts of cold air. A -inch gap is quite sufficient.

Senin, 23 Mei 2011

How to Build a Fly Pen

For all birds, it's important to have adequate living and flying space. A birdcage or fly cage should give birds room to live, play, and exercise. A cage can be anything from a simple enclosure large enough to accommodate the bird's wingspan to a larger aviary, where the bird can actually roam at will. The term "fly pen" is more often used to describe the larger version, and is therefore usually built in an outdoor setting.

Instructions

Instructions for Outdoor Fly Pen

    1

    Choose a well-drained site for your fly pen. Fill the area in until the soil surface is one to two feet higher than the surrounding area.

    2

    Dig holes. Twelve pairs of holes should be aligned in two rows, with a 15-foot distance separating the rows. Space the holes at 10-foot intervals along a row. Holes should be 2 to 2 1/2 feet deep.

    3

    Mix concrete and pour it into each hole. Insert a footer pipe into each hole. Leave around 2 feet of pipe above ground. Allow concrete to cure for several days.

    4

    Use PVC pipe to build the arches. Glue 1 1/2 pieces of PVC pipe together, end to end, to form a length of pipe for the arch. Slide one end of the PVC pipe over one of the footer pipes, and the other end over the corresponding footer pipe on the other side of the enclosure. The center of the arch should stand 12 feet off the ground.

    5

    Run mesh poultry wire around the outside of the pen, in 5-foot sections. Attach mesh to the PVC with fasteners of your choice, but never drill into the PVC as this will split the pipe. Run plastic netting over the arched framework.

    6

    Fill the flight cage with trees, plants and shelter for your birds.

How to Build a Trap for a Small Bird

You may be considering trapping a small bird to keep as a pet, save it from a predator, or heal its injuries. Before you build your trap you need to know where you'll put it. You can catch a small bird in the backyard of your home, or even out in the woods.

Instructions

Build a Bird Trap

    1

    Search the area for any signs of smaller birds. Usually birds look for barren trees or clear poles to use as resting places.

    2

    Prepare the large stick. First use the knife to sharpen the ends into points. Then drill a small hole through the stick, close to one end.

    3

    Search for a smaller stick, at least five inches long, that can be inserted into the drilled hole. Set aside.

    4

    Secure the rock tightly by tying a knot around it. Lace the free end through the hole you drilled in the bigger stick. Now tie a slip loop about the size of your fist at the end of the string you passed through the hole.

    5

    Tie an overhand knot in the string right where it falls in front of the hole on the noose side. This will prevent the noose from slipping through the hole.

    6

    Slide the smaller stick into the hole you have made, but ensure that the stick does not go all the way through it. Rest the noose on the smaller stick. The idea is that when a bird lands here this stick will fall and the noose will close around the feet of the bird and trap it.

    7

    Plant the stick firmly into the ground and wait for a bird to land on it.

How to Build a Companion Bird Playhouse

Birds, by nature, are intelligent and curious creatures. The intelligence of some of these animals has been compared with that of a young human child. Birds have the capacity to learn complex skills, patterns of speech and basic problem solving. It is this very characteristic that makes keeping them happy one of the more difficult aspects of bird keeping. Building him a playhouse can help.

Instructions

    1

    Cut the plywood down to an acceptable size for your application. Keep in mind this will be for the base of your structure and should be as large as possible to accommodate the size of your bird and as many play stations as possible. A recommended size would be 3-foot square. Sand the edges down so that there are no sharp corners or edges for your bird to get hurt on.

    2

    Begin building individual play stations by adding a toy to a specific area of the board. Start with building a jungle gym out of the wooden ladders and affixing it to the center of the board. Create the jungle gym by gluing the ladders together to form a climbing structure for your bird. With leftover pieces of plywood, glue in walls for your bird to navigate through, though make sure all the corners and edges are sanded. Add a mirror station by affixing the bird mirror to a plywood wall. Add a bell station by affixing the bells to a string and hanging them from a wooden platform.

    3

    Add several floors to your playhouse, with stairs and hanging ropes to help your bird move from one floor to the next. Each floor should have several activities available for the bird to engage in. Be creative. Make a station that rewards the bird for a specific behavior, such as pulling a cotton rope. The rope can be attached to a container hidden on the other side of a barrier that contains seeds or another favorite treat. The bird will quickly master the task in order to receive the treat.

Senin, 16 Mei 2011

Happy Hut Instructions

The Happy Hut is designed for use by birds in cages. Essentially, Happy Hut provides birds a place of refuge when they are tired or anxious. This helps reduce the bird's stress level. Although the device is easy to install and use, it is important that the Happy Hut is hung level. A crooked Happy Hut will prevent the bird from being able to fully enter it and rest. Also, the Hut must be monitored for wear and tear to prevent injury to the bird.

Instructions

    1

    Hang the Happy Hut from the top of the bird's cage by attaching the two snap hooks on the Happy Hut to the cage bars.

    2

    Ensure that the Happy Hut is hanging evenly by putting the digital level inside the Happy Hut and turning it on. The bubble on the level should be directly between the two black lines and the angle measurement should read 180 degrees, or a straight line.

    3

    Perform weekly inspections for loose thread inside and outside that Happy Hut that may snag on your bird's toenails.

Minggu, 15 Mei 2011

How to Refinish Bird Cages

How to Refinish Bird Cages

Birds, especially parrots and other large birds, will chew at their cages and use cage wires to climb. Paint can chip off and make the cage unattractive. You can refinish your bird's cage to enhance its appearance, but care must be taken to prevent harming your bird.

Instructions

    1

    Remove the bird from its cage and move it to another room. Be sure to work in a well-ventilated area.

    2

    Scrub the cage with wire brush to remove any loose paint.

    3

    Dip a wire wool pad in white vinegar and scrub the rusted spots. Rust needs to be completely removed because it is toxic to birds. If wire wool won't remove all of the rust, spray pump-style hairspray on the rusted areas. Let it soak for a couple of minutes, then wipe it off. Repeat the process again, if necessary to remove all rust.

    4

    Sand the cage by hand, smoothing all of the surfaces.

    5

    Spray the entire cage with fish oil. Let it dry. Fish oil will make the surface tacky, and will also prevent further rusting.

    6

    Select a bird-safe paint. The paint should not contain lead, chromate or zinc. It should be a high-adhesion paint, in order to bond with the cage metal. It should be fast-drying and hard-wearing also. Look for paint deemed safe for use around children. When in doubt, check with the paint manufacturer to determine if the paint is bird-safe. Avianweb.com also has a list of non-toxic paints for birds.

    7

    Apply spray paint in a thin coat. Use cardboard as a backdrop, to prevent paint spray-off.

    8

    Wait at least a week for the paint to dry and release the solvents, before returning your bird to the refinished cage.

Senin, 02 Mei 2011

How to Install Bird Netting to a Pen

How to Install Bird Netting to a Pen

Bird netting can be installed to a bird pen using wire ties or staples. The netting must be installed firmly against the pen to keep it stretched out tight. The material of which your bird pen is built will determine what type of fastener you will use to install it. The safety of the birds is the most important consideration when installing this netting. Netting can be used on the top and sides of the pen.

Instructions

    1

    Measure the dimensions of the bird pen with a tape measure. Find the lengths and heights of the walls by measuring from side to side and from top to bottom. Add all of the sides together to find the length of the netting. If the pen has four sides that are each 4 feet long, multiply four sides by 4 feet to get 16 feet. If the pen is 4 feet high then you will need a piece of netting that is 4 feet high and 16 feet long.

    2

    Attach one end of the netting along the length of one of the corners from top to bottom. Use a staple gun if the pen is made of wood or twisty ties if the pen is made of metal or plastic. Place a staple or twisty tie every inch along the length of this corner. Unroll the netting until you get to the next corner of the pen. Set the excess netting down on the ground and go back to the fastened corner.

    3

    Raise the netting up to the top crossing bar or board of the pen and stretch out the netting. Staple or tie this netting to every inch of this upper portion until you get to the next corner of the pen. Go back and do the same along the base of the bird pen until you get to the next unfastened corner.

    4

    Pull the netting tight and staple or tie it to the second vertical corner of the bird pen. Do this until the netting has been wrapped and stapled or tied to all of the sides of the pen. Inspect the the vertical and horizontal braces after the netting has been attached to ensure the netting is secure and that it's tight.

    5

    Measure the sides of the pen to determine the size of the piece of netting needed to cover the top. Cut a piece of bird netting to these dimensions using a pair of scissors. Staple or tie this piece of netting to the top structural braces of the bird pen and pull the netting tight after each fastener has been attached.