Building Your Own Outdoor Aviary
Despite his personal reserve, Leonardo was the exemplary Renaissance man. By reputation, he was gentle and generous, and he was an accomplished musician and a pleasant, witty conversationalist. Leonardo developed a philosophy akin to St. Francis of Assisi's early in his life. He had a reverence for all living things and frequently bought caged birds just so he could set them free. He became a vegetarian because he did not believe one should ever kill a living creature. It is a paradox that Leonardo, who was reputed to be unable to harm a fly, nevertheless expended considerable amounts of his genius designing engines of war. In the course of his career, he invented some of the most gruesome devices to grind and rend the flesh of enemy soldiers. Without the faintest moral compunction, he solicited employment from the infamous Cesare Borgia and left his post as Borgia's military engineer only when he discovered that a fellow worker of his, also in Borgia's employ, had been strangled to...
Some bird keepers, especially those with extensive collections, utilize large brick-built buildings or sheds. The building is subdivided into smaller aviary units and each one provides the housed birds with access to an outdoor flight. Adjoining aviaries should have double wire partitions to prevent the birds from pecking their neighbours (Fig. 33.18).
Good health and performance is achieved by providing a balanced palatable diet that is appropriate to the species. This is vital in the bird, as the shape of the beak is designed to cope with a certain type of food and if the wrong food is provided the bird may be physically unable to eat it (see Ch. 15). As in reptiles, there is little scientific analysis of the nutritional needs of caged birds. Proprietary foods have been tested 'in house' with little scrutiny from outside bodies and until there is sufficient knowledge and research on the dietary needs of companion birds it is of primary importance for all bird owners to encourage their birds to eat a variety of foodstuffs. When feeding caged birds, some consideration must be given to their different feeding, social, and migratory behaviours and the limitations of their accommodation.
As most birds spend most of their time above human eye-level, i.e. in aviaries or on cage perches, it makes sense to accommodate these birds in the veterinary surgery at high levels, e.g. on high shelves or in hanging cages, which will make the bird feel less threatened and reduces stress. They should be accommodated away from predator animals and excessive noise and kept in subdued light.
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