Building My Second Block of Aviaries

"Goldcrest Drive"

After having good success last season in my aviaries I decided to build a new block  on the left of this path, this will also get rid of a large area of flowers that take up time and needs weeding regularly.

This block will be 40 ft long by 9ft wide it will have 6 - 6ft square aviaries work started on 16th May 

Once the area was clear it was time to draw up the plan of how to best build the unit with a few things in mind. How the unit would look, to add a feature to the garden Total cost of unit List of materials that would be required and most of all how best to incorporate the units that would prove most productive as a breeding unit.

The hedge at the back of the garden had to cut to get the full width, it was also decided as the shear size of this unit was so big only to clear one half of the area at a time, this will help the garden to look a bit less like a building site and build one half before starting the other.

Area cleared Friday 18th May and delivery of concrete posts and boards.

Saturday 19th May we started to erect the posts and barge boards, this took longer than we thought as we had to set out all the levels and carry the heavy posts etc a good way from the front of the house, also digging the post holes was very hard as the soil was hard and there were some large tree roots that proved to be a real problem.
Still When I took these photos Saturday evening I was pleased at how things were going.
Sunday morning it was all systems go,
You can now start to see the aviaries, with the safety walkway down the back where I am standing ( in the Blue shirt) using these concrete fence posts and barge boards is not cheap bout they should last a very long time at the bottom of the path you can see Hawfinch close, I was trying not to make to much noise as at this time  there are 4 pairs of Hawfinches sitting eggs, and 2 pair of chaffinches with young. and 2 more pairs of chaffinches on eggs.

In the three pictures left and above you can see the timber levels that have been temporarily fitted to show the size of the posts required for the second half of this structure, as the ground in my garden slopes down the aviaries will be tiered to keep the height down to 6ft 6ins.


From this angle you can clearly see the first two aviaries and the doorway into the walkway taking shape.

These photos  were taken on Sunday evening so a great first weekends work.

Again left and below looking up and down the garden, a closer look at the first 2 aviaries, only 4 more to go and then the real heavy work is done.

once the walkway is finished to the bottom end this will be paved  with 2ft x 2ft slabs

The aviaries will be gravelled for this year but hopefully next year we will concrete these to make them easy to clean.

As I called the last block of aviaries Hawfinch Close I think this block will be Goldcrest Drive, doubt I will ever keep Goldcrests, but I may be keeping some softbills, anyway its the only other street sign I have, unless anyone knows of  a chaffinch close or street that is being demolished and the sign is for sale?. Fitting this sign will be the last job when the block is completed.
Today is Friday the 23rd May exactly one week into the build and only 3 posts and 6 Barge boards  left to go,  most of the real heavy work is now done, using this building technique is not for the faint hearted you will need some very strong helpers more so when the ground is so uneven. As you can now see we have the frame of 6-6ft square aviaries with 6 ft 6ins height the total length of this unit including the posts is 40 ft, hopefully if the rain stays off, all the concrete will be completed tomorrow and all the side panels will be fitted.

Above: Looking up Goldcrest Drive;

Below: 3 18 day old Pied Greenfinches

I was really worried about working on these new flights today, as on Wednesday 2 pairs of Hawfinches chipped 9 youngsters and we were working very close to the aviaries that they were in hopefully they will be ok, but really a silly time to start a job like this. but as this is only May and we already have young Chaffinches,  Linnets,  pied Greenfinches, Redpoll mules, and 20 Irish fancy Canaries, and hopefully 9 Hawfinches that will be removed for hand rearing on Sunday a total of 53 young in the first round I will need the extra room so we must crack on.
Friday 23rd May as was hoped all the posts, panels and barge boards were completed this completes the real heavy work, so things get slightly easier now.

you can see the doorway to the walkway on the right of the garden seat, and the path up the front of the aviaries to the left, this will be called Goldcrest Drive, so when visiting this will be the bus stop to get of at, Lol"

In this picture you can see the top end of the walkway to the left of the structure and Goldcrest Drive to the right. also you can see the start of the roof structure made from 6" x 2".

The roof again will be covered with twinwall plastic sheeting like Hawfinch close. this is very expensive but should last a long time to cover this roof will take 18 sheets of 700mm x 3mtrs long, the large tree will stop these aviaries from getting to hot from the sun. the roof will be fully covered to stop any outside contamination.

Here you can see the full walkway at the backend of the Aviaries this area has yet to be slabbed also the roof of the aviaries will continue over this walkway and doors will be fitted at both ends.

We have left a small area of soil at both ends so plants can be grown up the structure to soften the structure. when the Hedge is trimmed there will be full access to the walkway but I cant do everything so that will have to wait a while yet.

As it is the bank holiday weekend we decided to have a well deserved rest, and the weather was also abysmal as it always is on a bank holiday.

Also it was time to regroup, there was a lot of work in the birdroom and the garden  that had been neglected over the last week to attend to but it is hoped to order the slabs on Wednesday to complete the walkway, and then we can concentrate on the roof and mesh panels.

Here you can see the top aviary measuring 6ft square you can the see 2 barge boards at the front this will carry a 1" x 1/2" mesh panel with a 2" x 2" framework. Behind this there is 1 barge board this will carry a mesh panel with a door and feeding station. Between this and the back panel will be the Paved walkway. You can also see the first roof support a 6" x 2" beam notched to sit in the posts, this will eventually have a facer board to hide the top of the concrete posts, this also secures the top of the posts from ground movement.
All in all I am very pleased with how the first week as gone, none of the Chaffinches or Hawfinches that were sitting in my other block of Aviaries seem to have been effected by the noise and activity,  during this week 2 pairs of Hawfinches hatched 9 young, these young have now been removed for hand rearing, so hopefully these 2 pairs will quickly go to nest for the second round and should have full clutches ready to hatch before I have reared there first rounds. if all goes well with the hand rearing.

Week 2:

Worked started slow this week we had a bank holiday Monday plus 3 bad days of  high winds and rain, still by Wednesday 28th May we had started again, first job was putting in the walkway there was a lot of digging and levelling out to do first then all the slab's to lay then a lot of cement filling to do also 2 ton of gravel to fill the aviary floors to be barrowed from the front, By  Friday all the heavy work was completed, Saturday & Sunday it was on to the roof framework me and my son Chris managed to finish 2 sections, and we ran out of 6" x 2" to complete the last section of roof so Chris cut all the front  frames for the front and back mesh section there are 24 mesh panels and 8 mesh doors to make this week weather allowing.

Above: Roof structure finished on first 4 - 6ft aviaries also framework cut read for meshing out.

Below: Baby Hawfinches being hand reared from 2 pairs of adults

Young Hawfinches at 7 Days old

 At 10 Days old

12 Days old

12 Days old

15 Day old hen

15 Day old Cock with a full crop

Week 3: commencing Monday 2nd June,

Friday 6th June, All the outside panels are now meshed and fitted, Facer board fitted, Roof  trusses and outside is completely finished, just two more mesh frames to complete inside, 2 outside doors to make and the 6 aviary doors to mesh and fit tomorrow.

My Son Chris fitting the facer board. we had a hard day today but we really got some work done.

Weather permitting all woodwork will be completed tomorrow, of course there will still be lots of small items to finish and tidy off   but we hope to be ready for the roof by next weekend. this week as been very difficult with workload trying to finish this block plus breeding season in full swing also hand rearing 5 Hawfinches and 8 Chaffinches the good news is we have 3 dark eyed white chaffinches to hand rear, and the White cock has now successfully mated with 2 agate hens that are now sitting so it is hoped for more to come, also one of the Hawfinch pairs that produced some of the youngsters above is now sitting her second clutch.

Outside is now finished, fitting the duplex roof sheets will be done once all the timber is treated with wood preserver.

In the Birdroom it wasn't all good this week, we lost 5 young Chaffinches at 2 days old Opals and Isabel's, 2 of the smaller weaker Hawfinches we were hand rearing died  and the Father killed his 3 young linnets once they had fledged at 16 days old, a very brutal unexpected attack. perhaps if we hadn't been so busy we could have saved a few of these losses.

The Dark Silver Mother of these young Chaffinches below chipped 5 youngsters only 3 were alive by day 4 so I removed them for hand rearing.

3 young Chaffinches being hand reared

8 Days old

Pure white chest

Father of these young

12 Days old

16 Days old

22 Day old Cock

22 Day old Hen

8 weeks old, Mystery solved, Young Chaffinches look like Opals, Young cock above

16th June, roof was the priority last week, as the weather has been stopping work, now this is on we can work inside on bad days, with all the off cuts of wood I have also made a new tree seat.

In the birdroom we have finished hand rearing 5 Hawfinches now and they are finally eating on there own, but today another nest of Hawfinches chipped out so in 4 days we will start all over again,

50 youngsters are now self supporting including 2 Redpoll mules, in the nest at various ages there are another 25 or so young that we can't count yet, also 1 pair of Hawfinches on eggs, 2 nests of Goldfinch mules full eggs, 3 Chaffinch hens on full eggs, 5 Greenfinch hens on eggs, and 3 pairs of Linnets on eggs so we desperately need the extra aviary space to house some of the young birds.

Chaffinch pair on eggs White cock & Dark Silver hen

2 weaned Redpoll mules

5 Weaned Hawfinches 2 on left from one pair, and 3 on right from different pair

Hen Greenfinch with her 5 young at 21 days old, 2 dark, 1 marked pied and 2 variegated.

4 weaned well marked Pieds

Young weaned Chaffinches

Roof completed,  next job is painting inside & out Inside the walkway just the feeding stations to make
Week ending 22nd June, My Children offered to paint the new Aviary block to give me a break as I hate painting, Sarah my daughter and my son in law Mark on the roof, Sarah And Christopher finished the painting later that week

Front of completed Aviaries

Back of Aviaries up the Safety covered walkway

Outside finished on 25th June

Back of Aviaries down the Safety covered walkway
Feeding Station in walkway tray on left for seed etc, Water compartment on the right hand side

Week 6:    Aviaries totally finished by Chris & me on Saturday 28th June.

Finally the street sign was added, then we built some small stone walls to use up some stone that used to retain the old flower beds, these areas will be planted up in the aviaries for softbills as they will not eat the plants unlike hardbills that will,

perches were added and now we can relax and start to fill  up the Aviaries with all this years youngsters for them to moult out quickly in the extra room and also make a bit of room in my birdroom. for this years last round youngsters.

Thanks for the present Kev, The Aviary Numbers look great, don't know about the door plaque? (below)

Below a few 2008 youngsters

Above: Pied Greenfinches     Below: Goldfinch Mules

Above: Cinnamon Pied Young, Below: Redpoll Mule

See our Softbills in Goldcrest drive  CLICK HERE