Australian Lorikeets - Part 2
by Jude Vaughan
This article will probably open a lively discussion between members, since the general consensus is that Lorikeets need to be housed in suspendeds (and as anyone who has visited our aviaries recently can vouch, ours currently are) rather than the full height type.
Well, we’ve been there - done that, and to be quite honest both have their advantages and disadvantages, however, with hindsight (a wonderful thing), I personally feel that our full height, concrete floored aviaries were actually easier to clean with a high pressure hose than our suspendeds.
The original aviaries in which we housed Lorikeets were 4.2m long, 1.2m wide and 2.1m high, partially roofed and with a shelter at the southern end and a concrete floor. This bank also has a shadecloth covered pergola over it but no insulated roof. I have to say, these were not hard to clean and the liquid droppings which had dried on the floor, just dissolved into the water from the hose and washed off. The only extra that we added was a piece of stainless steel attached to the wall behind the nectar and dry mix bowls.
The internal walls of the enclosure were lined with Versalux and finished with acrylic paint and more than six years later don’t look other than like new. The advantages are easy access for cleaning and catching birds. One disadvantage I suppose is the extra cost for the concrete floor. We happily kept Rainbows and Red Collareds in these aviaries.
About the time we became hooked on the smaller Lorikeets, we were building a bank of suspendeds and with the thought of a future move in mind, this time we took into account how to construct with ease of dismantling and reassembly.
The sizes of these suspendeds vary from 3m long x 1.2m wide x .9m high to 2.1m long x .9m wide x .9m high and 2.1 m long x 1.2m wide x .9m high with a safety walkway running the length of the back wall. We have used an insulated roof (Equinox brand) which is great, since some Lorikeets quite successfully breed through the hottest months of the year providing they feel comfortable. That, along with opening clear perspex windows on the back wall of the walkway make a huge difference in our hot climate. These are attached to window winders for ease of opening and of course the openings themselves are covered in 25mm x 12mm wire mesh for safety.
These aviaries were constructed in multiples of two or three and Tek screwed together. Each multiple is fully wired so that even if you moved to temporary accommodation, you could quickly set the banks up on legs or trestles within a garage, carport or shed and the birds would not be inconvenienced. You would not have to refit the roofing since each aviary has a wire roof already in place and is self-sufficient and the roof of the building provides protection from rain etc. On final relocation, you would reassemble the entire complex complete with roof and safety walkway.
When you are building any aviaries, not just for Lorikeets, don’t skimp by not double wiring between the aviaries. If they are double wired with 25 mm gap between, you don’t ever have to worry about moving birds, which species are side by side, and which ones are going to fight and chew feet etc. It’s easy to do when you build the aviaries in the first place - a pain to add later on.
The advantages of suspendeds are no bending and ease of servicing, however, they can be harder to clean (more wire surfaces) and it’s harder to catch birds unless you have a safety walkway.
Another thing to consider if you haven’t got an insulated roof would be the use of shadecloth - not directly on top of the aviary wire because the birds can chew the shadecloth and there have been deaths caused by a ball of fibres causing a blockage, but supported say, 100mm above the wire, providing shade and an airflow mechanism to cool the aviary. Likewise, a sprinkler system, where the birds can’t chew it, is appreciated. Lorikeets are just mad on water be it rain, your sprinkler system or their water bowl - they drench themselves.
Also consider incorporating branches into your aviary. Don’t think that real live trees are going to last the distance, however, if you use a length of 50mm PVC pipe approx. 300mm long with the ends angled and screw it to the wall or frame of the aviary, you can place Gum, Grevillea and other branches/ flowers into it very easily. Lorikeets will play in it for hours, chewing the flowers, leaves, bark and nuts and when it looks terrible, you just throw it out and replace with fresh. This saves trying to wire branches onto the aviary each time and keeps the greenery up where it should be not down on the floor where it is going to get contaminated with faeces etc. If you haven’t already gathered, I’m a great one for "if there is an easier way - use it", that way things are regularly done and both you and the birds benefit.