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dazzab
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Joined: 25 Jun 2014, 08:53
Location: Shoalhaven Heads NSW

Hi all

It's been a while since I have been in the forum. I'm hoping you might be able to steer me in a suitable direction with my birds.
Over the years I've tried a number of different species of finches in a mixed aviary with basically no success. I have had Painteds, Red and Blue FPF, RC cordons, stars, ruddies, orange breasts and gouldians. This has led me to give up on the mixed aviary. A few of years ago I went into a pet shop and bought 3 pairs of zebras, with no thought as to variations. I put them in my aviary and let them go. I bred about 20 birds. I got rid of the ones I didn't want, deciding I like the regular looking birds over the variations. I kept 3 pairs and bred roughly another 20 that season. I got rid of what I could, keeping the birds I liked the look of the most but I ended up with a handful of extra male birds. This meant being able to control what is breeding was impossible as I only have the one aviary. So, I didn't bother putting the nesting boxes back in for the last season. With spring coming up I still enjoy my birds but I'm unsure what to do. A couple of months ago I helped my in-laws by taking a few canaries off their hands as their little aviary got damaged and they decided best to not keep the birds.
So, I currently have 2 pairs of normal looking zebras (most likely split with something), 4 extra male zebras and 4 canaries of which I don't know their sexes. What to do??
My aviary setup is 2.5m wide by 3.8m long and 2m high. It was made to fit a space in the corner of my yard with left over steel and sheets of tin from old aviaries given to me. I originally hoped it would be a good size to house 3 or 4 pairs of mixed species of birds but that didn't work.
Some options I see are:
1. Put the nest boxes in and let them go.
2. Build a divider to split the aviary into 2 sections. Put the birds I want to breed in one side and all the others in the other. This shouldn't be too hard (apart from finding time to do it) as the back section of the aviary is already divided in half from the use of an old 2 section aviary.
3. Do nothing and keep them for the sake of having birds.
4. Try to get rid of everything and try a mixed aviary again.
5. Try to get rid of the birds and give the aviary to the chooks!!

What do you guys think? Do you have any other ideas or variations of one I have mentioned?
I think I am just trying to kick start myself into doing something with my birds that I will enjoy, and not just having them for the sake of having them.

Thanks for your time and ideas.
Daz
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finchbreeder
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I and 2 are both reasonable options given the size of the avairy.
I have 4 avairys and still find it hard not to have excess cock birds in them. Like you I prefer to select the pairs of Zebs that are together, but sometimes that works and sometimes it does not.
With the size of the avairy and the number of birds the mix of Canaries and Zebs should work because they will - mostly - use different types of nests. So put in 6 or 7 mixed finch and canary nests and just enjoy, as per 1.
Then over the next year get to work with the object of achieving 2. Next season - with or without extra hens - or no extra cocks.
But again - it is about enjoying your birds.
LML
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dazzab
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Joined: 25 Jun 2014, 08:53
Location: Shoalhaven Heads NSW

Thank you for your response. I will most likely go with option one.
I would love to one day have a mixed aviary but I won't be building any more so it would have to be in this aviary if I decide to try again.
For now I will stick with what I have. I wonder if I actually have a pair of canaries. The zebras wont take long to get started, I have found the odd egg lying around the aviary now. If I do eventually divide the aviary in half, how many pairs would you put in a side? What other species would suit that size? Painteds would be my first choice of any.
Thank you
Daz
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BrettB
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Hello Dazzab,

I have a "mixed" aviary of similar size and manage to breed them, but it does take an awareness of the limitations of different species.
No doubt you will get better results if you keep a single pair of each species / aviary.
Keep the species that are compatible and have similar food requirements
Avoid overcrowding

Realistically this means having a "holding cage" to place young birds or those waiting for sale.

Zebra's will out breed everything, so I do not think they are a good "mixed aviary" bird. Canaries tend to be problematic.
I would avoid birds with special dietary requirements, like live food.
Painteds , Stars and Gouldians should work.
I am currently running 2 pair of DB's, one pair of Mask and Stars and a couple of pairs of Gouldians.
These all seem to cohabit nicely and all have bred in the last twelve months.
You could swap one of these for a couple of pairs of Painteds.
I would avoid excess males, they usually just interfere with the breeding couple. If you have a non compatible pair, swap out the male for a different one.

Cheers
Brett
"We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are ." Anais Nin
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dazzab
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Joined: 25 Jun 2014, 08:53
Location: Shoalhaven Heads NSW

Thanks Brett

Due to limited time and my current set up, I put the nest boxes in this weekend and left the birds as they are.

Fingers crossed I can breed a few zebras. I might make the plan to build the division in the aviary next winter to have it ready for spring. That way I could either put the pairs I want to breed in one side and whatever is left in the other ….. or….. get rid of what don’t want, keep the zebras I do want in one side (probably not to breed) and get one or two pairs of painteds or gouldians for the other. If I manage to breed some of them they can go in the zebra side for holding.
When I built the aviary I nearly did make it 2 separate halves, but I liked the idea of the birds having more space better.

Cheers
Daz
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finchbreeder
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Spacious avairys are every finchos dream. But not always possible. :problem:
And as Brett has pointed out - we all wind up needing a 2nd avairy.
Now you have a couple of months to decide, look at what is available, and plan.
So when the time comes you will be more relaxed about it.
LML
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dazzab
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Since putting the boxes and nesting material in, here is where a pair of zebras decided to build. Right up in the front corner. The perches are only there so the birds can get the last of the afternoon sun before it sets.
Would you leave it or remove it? It is directly above the entry door. They have put some thicker twigs in to strengthen the base but I’m not sure it is a smart place to nest.
Cheers
Daz
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finchbreeder
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There is always an individual who has to do it their way. :whoa:
As long as you have a good safety door, I would let them have their way. If it does not work, then they will learn. If it does they will be happy. :whoohoo:
LML
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dazzab
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Joined: 25 Jun 2014, 08:53
Location: Shoalhaven Heads NSW

Since making my original post I have put some nest baskets in and let the birds go. I had instant action from the zebras, both pairs starting to nest. This had really sparked my keenness to ‘want’ to enjoy my birds again.
As I type this my ‘keenness’ has already started to subside as I have had the issues that led me to abandon a mixed aviary return. Over the past 15 years or so the number of birds I have lost far outnumbers the birds I have bred. The failures continue.
In this thread I posted some pictures of a nest that was in a weird spot, right up the front of the aviary. After sitting tight on eggs for nearly a week I came home to find the nest lying on the floor, fertile eggs broken or on the ground. Replacing the nest and possible ok eggs didn’t work so that one was lost.
This afternoon I returned home from basically a week away. Both pairs of zebs were on nests before I left. I came home for a night 3 days ago and all was well.
I have spent the last week getting really keen, planning how I will divide my aviary into 2 sides, which birds I might get and even thought about doing it soon rather than wait until next year.
Today I returned to the all too familiar site of one of the hens lying dead on the floor with no sign of what had happened.
So I instantly question myself with, is it now going to be worth the effort to fix my aviary up and get new birds again?? I would love to but I do not want to go down the same old pathway of getting new birds, lose the hen and all confidence in keeping any birds again. If I’m struggling with zebs then anything else isn’t worth it.

I suppose this post is a big ‘vent’ as it’s taken a couple of years to get keen again but all lost in an Instant. I know everyone says there are plenty of ups and downs in this hobby, but just one up for now would be really nice.

So at the moment I have 1 hen and 5 male zebras. 4 canary’s which are probably all female as there has been no nesting action and I’m yet to hear one sing either.

I hope everyone else is having luck with their birds. Keen to hear who is having success with painteds as they would have to be my favourite!
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