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Protecting Your Small Pet Birds From the Cold Winter

Updated on October 15, 2017
Cockatiel | Source
Zebra finch
Zebra finch | Source

Pet bird protection from the freezing cold

So how do you protect your small tropical pet birds who live in an exposed outdoor aviary from the freezing winter conditions that will soon be here?

They are 'tropical' birds and are meant for warmer climates right! Well many pet birds originate from Australia and it can get mighty cold at night in places over there but they survive alright.

Have you ever noticed that even when the temperature is well below zero outdoors you still feel quite comfortable as long as it's not windy and you're dry? Your so called 'tropical' pet aviay birds are exactly the same; they can live with the freezing cold as long as they are dry and free from draughts.

Last winter we recorded some of the lowest temperatures of all time in the UK. Was I worried about my aviary birds? Yes, but they all survived the winter fine and came through it unscathed. This is because I made damn sure that they had adequate shelter from the worst that winter could throw at us.

My aviary birds night-shelter is nothing more than a standard garden shed, but with a few little added extras to help protect them. I boarded out the entire interior of the shed with plywood and insulated between the plywood boarding and the shed exterior with old carpet underlay. I also made sure that the roof was fully covered with strong shed felt to keep out the rain and snow. I have no artificial heating in there whatsoever; you can add artificial heating if you like but don't go for anything that burns fossil fuels, we don't want our pet birds to die from fume poisoning do we? Oh and make sure your birds cannot come into contact with any heating appliance.

I have some small finches amongst my aviary birds and because of their small size these are more vulnerable to the cold but this can be resolved easily. Your small pet birds will only eat if it is light enough for them to see. Small birds like finches should not be allowed to go for more than 8 hours without food; because of their small size and active nature they need to eat regularly to build up their strength and fat reserves. This is easily resolved by fitting a light inside your pet bird night shelter and a cheap electronic timer will help to ensure that they get no more than 8 hours of darkness. Fit your light so that your pet birds cannot come into contact with the hot bulb and burn themselves, even if this means just surrounding it with aviary mesh. But make sure they've got plenty of food.No heating, but a dry and draft free shelter with timed artificial lighting is what my birds have. Casualties during winter? Never!

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      Hector Sanchez 4 years ago

      I built several winter shelters for wild birds but they don't go inside. What can I do to encourage them to go inside? My address: