It’s amazing how many fanciers don’t bother with an aviary for their pigeons given their simplicity and the advantages of having one.
In this quick read we’ll go over a few of the benefits and a few things to consider before building an aviary.
The typical aviary for pigeons (and other birds) usually consists of a square wooden framework with wire mesh around the sides and sometimes on the top (open-top aviary – see below).
Most aviaries for racing pigeons are positioned to the side of the loft which they usually have access to via a hatch or door.
While most are fixed in place, occasionally you will see aviaries on wheels that can be positioned in front or to the side of different sections of the pigeon loft.
Benefits of an aviary
It’s definitely no secret that pigeons require a good amount of oxygen to develop properly, stay healthy and build natural immunity to diseases.
Sunshine provides vitamin D and is absolutely essential for bone formation and structure, healthy egg shells. An aviary is a great for letting the pigeons relax and soak up some rays without having them sitting on the loft roof (not ideal).
An aviary provides (stock) birds that have been bred and raced from another loft – and therefore can not be let out into the open – a place to stretch their wings and get a good look at their surroundings.
Safe from predators
An aviary gives the pigeons a safe place to enjoy all of the above without you having to worry about predators.
While aviaries are pretty straightforward little structures compared to lofts, there are a few little details you need to think about before you go ahead and build one.
Open or closed top
An open top aviary is generally preferred as it allows rain and sunshine to enter from directly above the birds, great for when they are sun or rain-bathing.
The downside of open top is that you may sometimes get droppings from wild birds “dropping” into the aviary, though depending on where your aviary is going to be situated this may not be a problem. However, if you do get a lot of wild birds passing over a closed top aviary may be the best option.
Additionally, closed top aviaries can be good for widowhood hens. The hens can be shut in their boxes out of sight when the cocks are out flying and then let out into the aviary for the rest of the time while the cocks are in the loft.
The aviary should be raised off ground level, you may choose to build on top of a cement pad, bricks or paving flagstones.
A wood floor is easy to scrape and comfortable for the pigeons to walk on but you can run into problems if it gets too damp.
If you’ve built on top of cement or paving stones you may decide to just leave it as is and just hose it down to clear any droppings if the rain doesn’t do it for you.
Another option is to cover the floor in washed rock, also known as “drainage rock”. This won’t hurt the pigeons feet and is easy to maintain with a quick rake and hosedown here and there.
The aviary should have a good amount of perches so birds can sit and chill without being disturbed by other birds flying around.
The best perches in aviaries are straight bars which can be made from simple 2 by 4.