(based on the book "Feathered Rainbow" by E. Zherdev)
Before buying a bird, you need to prepare a suitable home for it.
It can be: cages, cages, shop windows or aviaries.
It all depends on what area you have. Whether you will buy a cage or make it yourself, it is necessary to take into account the size and nature of the birds, their habits and temperament. For the content of most astrida cages, there must be at least 80 X 40 X 50 cm. Of course, there are some deviations, but this will be said in recommendations for the content of the species.
The cells can be open type, i.e., entirely of metal mesh or rods, or box type, when the mesh or rods are only on the front side. The distance between the rods (or the side of the mesh cell) should not exceed 10 mm and only for large species is allowed 12 mm In the manufacture of cells it is best to use galvanized wire with a diameter of 1.2-1.5 mm. The shape of the cell should be rectangular. In such a cage, it is convenient for a bird to move around, and arranging rectangular cages indoors is much easier.
The cells are round, polygonal, in the form of Japanese and Chinese pagodas unsuitable for breeding. In order for the bird to look, do not paint the cage in bright colors. It is better to varnish well-planed boards or paint them in light brown tones. Any cage must have a retractable bottom. The cage must be with a mounted or extendable feeder. It can not be placed under the poles, on which birds rest, so that sewage does not get into the feed. The same requirements apply to drinkers. The poles should be so thick that the birds can almost grasp them with their fingers. It is best to make a perch from peeled shoots of soft tree species. For those species of birds that have claws growing very quickly, the poles are best made from bamboo or reed. Large washed river sand should be poured into the bottom of the cage or aviary. Sand is washed in order to clean it from dust and dirt. Some lovers cover the bottom of the cells with paper or cardboard to make it easier to clean. In such cases, care must be taken to ensure that pests do not start under the bedding. Sand should still be in the cage, since it plays a special role in digestion, being a kind of millstone for grinding food swallowed by birds. In the small cages, additional doors are made in the upper part of the side wall for hanging the nest houses from the outside. In large and spacious cages, where the nest houses are suspended inside, additional doors should not be done
For younger juveniles and for wintering birds, more spacious cells are used, called cages or span cells. Usually several pairs of birds are placed in them. In the manufacture of the cage, lateral walls 8-12 cm high from the bottom of the cage should be installed from wood or plexiglass around its perimeter to prevent birds from scattering feed residues around the room. Plywood cannot be used as a building material, because when disinfecting a cell and treating it with boiling water, plywood is highly warped and delaminated, even if it is varnished.
Collapsible cells consisting of a plastic (vinyl plastic, textolite) pallet (at least 12 cm high) and a lattice inserted into it are very convenient. Such cells are very convenient to use, easy to manufacture. They are very easy and convenient to wash. The cell grid must be blued, galvanized, nickel-plated or chrome-plated. In no case is the cell lathing or the presence of a copper wire in it – copper oxides are poisonous to birds. Some substances and elements contained in paints and varnishes are also poison for birds, therefore, wooden and metal parts of the cells are not stained from the inside (coating in several layers with oil varnish is acceptable).
Cells made of organic glass with a metal frame are very beautiful and hygienic, they let in a lot of light, which is important for birds. On the front wall of each cage there should be a side with a height of 10–12 cm made of plastic or plexiglass, at the bottom of which there is a slot for a pallet with a width of 1.5–2 cm. There are 2 doors measuring 15 x 10 cm above the side. At the top in the side walls Doors are also made, to which, during breeding, the nests are suspended. Retractable pallets are made in the form of a baking sheet with raised edges with a width of not more than 50 cm. In one cage, depending on its length, there can be 2 or more pallets. Every 50 cm, intermediate strips 5-6 cm high are attached to the bottom and sides. The strips reinforce the bottom cage structure, it is convenient to move the pallet between them. It must be pushed in tight so that debris does not fall to the bottom. It is very convenient to clean a cage with two pallets: one tray is pulled out and the garbage is sweeping out. Birds at this time quietly sit on the other side of the cage. After cleaning and pushing the pallet into place, put forward the second and remove the second half of the cage, and the birds fly to clean. With this design of the cage, the sequence of harvesting and feeding the birds almost do not feel anxiety. In the room, the bird cage is placed on a table or on a stand 1–1.2 m high in a well-lit place, but direct sunlight should be prevented, the cage should not be placed in a draft and near heating radiators. In good weather, the cage with the bird is taken out to the balcony, terrace or suspended, avoiding contact with the freely living bird, in order to avoid transmission of exoparasites. In hot weather, it is better to leave the bird in the room
Cells with glass walls or with one glazed side (front) are called showcases. These shallow, but usually tall, bird houses look very impressive, but are laborious to maintain. Most often, shop windows are made with at least one dark wall. This is usually the back. In this case, the side walls are not completely glazed to provide good ventilation. Most often, amateurs arrange window dressing, using various niches in the walls and closed doorways for these purposes, using spectacular illumination with fluorescent lamps. However, in any case, the display cases should not be less than 100 cm wide, 80 cm high and 40 cm deep. If the showcase is smaller, then it will look like an aquarium. Some lovers very skillfully decorate their windows. Near the back wall they place long narrow plates with good drainage and nutritious soil in which various plants are planted. Branches are placed higher, and in the corner they put a sheaf of reed or tall grass. Such shop windows look very good, and planted plants also have a reason, since they clean the air of dust and maintain humidity in the shop window, which plays an important role in the life of birds. I solved the issue with the display device in my own way. He built a showcase in the opening of a window overlooking a balcony covered with plexiglass. The width and height of the showcase were limited by the size of the window (140X140 cm), and achieved depths of up to 50 cm due to two window sills on both sides of the window opening. The front side, facing the room, glazed with a whole sheet of plexiglass, and the back, facing the balcony, tightened with a metal mesh. On the deaf side walls nesting houses were successfully located. The backlight is provided by a 40 W fluorescent lamp. This display case contains three pairs of birds: guild amadines, red-headed parrot amadines and amaranth.
These are large, tall and spacious rooms, providing birds greater freedom of movement compared to the cage. You need to arrange an aviary in the brightest part of the room. More often, such enclosures are built in the living corners of schools, pioneer palaces and at the stations of young naturalists. In living rooms, this is more difficult to do: you need to constantly monitor the cleanliness of the aviary, and, in addition, part of the usable area is lost. Aviaries are made to the ceiling or slightly lower. In the second case, the roof of the enclosure is also tightened with a net. The side walls are sutured with boards up to half a meter from the floor. In this case, there will be less work with a broom and a vacuum cleaner, and the birds will feel calmer on the floor. The floor in the enclosure is best covered with light shields so that during cleaning it can be easily removed and washed or cleaned. In addition, you can pour pyrethrum under the shields: it will protect the birds from parasites, and when they are moved it will not get into the air. On one of the walls, it is necessary to strengthen the shelf to place feeders and drinking bowls on it, and above them, strengthen the inclined visor so that the feed and water are less polluted. In the aviary, you can put a large branch or a small tree. For some species of Astrillidae, it is necessary that in one of the corners of the aviary there was a bunch of reed or a dense bush, and in any case, several horizontal poles should be placed in the upper part of the aviary so that the birds could sleep comfortably. It would be nice to place semi-decayed stumps or pieces of tree trunks inside the enclosure, as many birds like to climb on them, constantly searching for something. If the size of the aviary allows, then you can put several large flat stones in it. Then the birds, climbing the stones, will erase the tips of the fast-growing claws, and you will not have to deal with such unpleasant procedures as cutting them.
In the winter months it is necessary to provide additional lighting: for 3 m – one 40 W daylight or incandescent lamp When equipping electric lighting, safety rules must be observed so as not to get an electric shock and not cause a fire due to a short circuit of wires or heating and igniting the wooden parts of the cell from incandescent lamps. Besides light sources, infrared lamps are suspended in aviaries. Under such lamps in a cool room are heat-loving the birds are warming.
Open or garden enclosures
If you have free territory in the yard or in the garden, it is advisable to build an open-air cage. Although the construction of such an enclosure will require significant funds, it will always have fresh and clean air and greater freedom of movement for birds, and you will have the opportunity to observe birds in close to natural conditions. In such enclosures, birds begin to build nests with particular ease, reliably hatch and feed their chicks. The open-air cage for the astrid is significantly different from the indoor one. These are, if possible, large structures, consisting of several compartments: an open part, a warm room and a vestibule. The open part should be at least 2 m. All sides, with the exception of the adjacent to the insulated room, are tightened with a metal mesh, and the frame can be wooden or metal. An insulated room is a more fundamental structure. Its walls are made of bricks or from blocks on the foundation, which are deepened into the ground by half a meter. This is necessary so that rodents, who always strive to bite with grain or a bird, could not get into it. Openings are left in the front and side walls of this room, into which glazed frames are inserted. The side frame is fixed tightly, and the front one is hinged or removable, so that on warm days, through this opening, birds can fly to an open area. The door to this room is arranged in the rear wall with access to the vestibule. It is necessary so that the bird does not fly out the open door. In winter, the vestibule does not give free access to cold air in the bird’s room. In the vestibule you can place the necessary equipment, and boxes with growing flour worms, etc.
Particular attention should be paid to the equipment of such an aviary. In an insulated room, the walls should be bleached with lime, the floor is covered with a layer of clean sand from 5 to 10 cm, feeders and drinking bowls are placed on window sills or special shelves, nesting boxes are hung on the walls. In the roof, you can arrange a glazed sunroof, and tighten the hole with a metal mesh. Such a hatch is used for additional sunlight and ventilation. Slowly growing trees are planted on an open area: thawed, silver spruce, oak, beech, etc .; elderberry, lilac, spirea, currant, blackthorn, barberry or boxwood bushes. Hops can be planted along the south or southwest wall, and the rest of the area can be sown with different grass, which the birds will readily peck
.Depending on the area in the enclosures, they usually sow medium-sized asterisk, which has different names in different regions of our country (woodlice, woodlice, gulinka, bird duckweed, etc.), lanceolate spider, creeping clover, meadow clover, alfalfa, bluegrass, plantain big and other plants. On hot summer days, when watering plants in the aviary, the necessary moisture is retained. Some Czech amateur poultry farmers supply water through capillary tubes to the top of the enclosure. From there, water constantly drips onto a flat stone, splashes, moistens the air and, draining from the stone, gets into a dug in the ground: birds readily bathe in it, and the water is constantly updated. Open areas are usually located in the southern or southeastern part of the aviary, and the back walls are in the north or northwest. The mesh is best painted in soft colors