Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 2:58 am Post subject: Holidays, business trips, weekends away, ...
I have a small issue relocating for a new job at a 5 hr. driving distance from home and aviaries... and then reviewing some posts, I came accross one in which Steptoe tells that he had to relocate to a 1:30 driving distance from his aviaries, so I sent him a private to ask for some of his tips / hints.
I think it can be interesting that we publish here some of the useful tricks, hints and automation systems we use to both reduce the daily chores and making life easier for the people that is in charge of the birds when we are away.
I start with Steptoe's advice pasting his pm, so he doesn't have to write it over again:
little by little I'm reviewing the forum (which has loads of info.), and I came accross a post in which you say that you relocated to a new city, Cambridge, which is 1:30 drive from Auckland...
I don't mean to be gosip, but... how do you manage to feed the birds and keep them ok?
We have moved a 4 flight avairy down here, and Our Daughter and her husband are renting the house in Auckland...so they are looking after the rest
I have somewhat an aviary location problem as well. Although normally it's not a problem going everyday or at least every other day, I'm working at a "far far away" place (5hr driving) from home. Obviously... my grandpa and girlfriend help me a lot keeping the birds, but stilll wanted to ask you if you had any hints, or any useful tips for the "occasional keeper", or some advice for myself.
u need to have things set up with very little work...
eg auto watering each day, and drain holes underneath....seed trays that just need topping up once a week, veggie feeders on the outside and canbe accessed from the outside (somewhere there are pics of the ones I made)
Floors that only need cleaning once a fortnight (concret with pumice sand, quick rake up the crap and a few handfulls of new sand only)
And show them the easyway to chop veggies, and explain to watch how much and what the feed each day...the more waste the more work they have to do
And tell them that u know there is only a total of 3 to 4 hrs work per fortnight
And offer them 1/2 of whatever is produced/sold.
and IF it is not done, u are not asking a lot, and have due coarse to spit a few tacks
By the way... if you prefer, I can post it public, as maybe is a general interest issue, but first I wanted to check with you.
Thanks a lot in advance!
Crap just got to this part signlol...yeah post in public you have a point about ppl looking after on holidays etc etc
Yeah the secret is work hard at being lazy...or put another way work hard at settng everything up so the 'chore' parts are quick and simple.
Regarding me... my grandpa (who doesn't distinguish a cockatiel to a chicken ) feeds them every other day, and my girlfriend (she keeps a small collection of hookbills at home) comes twice a week for supervision.
My grandpa feeds the birds every other day, and puts fresh water. I have turning feeding bowls in the 4 aviaries and feeding trays in the 4 cages that can be easily serviced from the exterior.
For water I used bowls, but they get too dirty after 2 days, so in the aviaries I decided to install 4 rabbit bottles. I was looking for heavy duty rabbit bottles, but hadn't found anything cheaper than 40€ each, so I decided to install bottles with a small bowl in the end (3€ each!). I have been looking carefully during this holidays, and water isn't too dirty after 2 days. Still I will try pouring down some lemon or apple cider vinegar [ (C) Steptoe ], as they are desinfectant and non-toxic.
I feed them pellets and a parakeet seed mix without sunflower (only added 1/2kg. of small white sunflower for this winter to 25kg of mix). I have a hard time getting my helpers to feed veggies and fruit, and I'm scared of feeding them spoiled sprouts, so I don't sprout at all. Bad side of pellets is that after 1 or 2 days they get soft and are not crunchy anymore, so birds don't eat it.
Regarding cleaning... floors are made of concrete, and cages are suspended, or have a tray. I was thinking about adding a layer of river sand (used in construction), or either try pumice sand [(C) Steptoe], but my grandpa wasn't keen on the idea. Anyway floors are soon covered of seed shells, leaves and so, and poops are concentrated in a small spot. Cleaning is made once a week or two.
Water is critical...
We use the outside garden tap with adapter with 2 outlets with little taps
1 is connected to the hose for normal use..like washing the car
the other has a battery powered timer...set at a time that will fill a water tray (about 7 liters) plus about 50%
Over flow goes into a 20l bucket n a hole under the water tray dug into the concret base
The timer automatically turns on about 1/2 hr after dawn.
From the tme we use 12mm polyethelene garden irrigation hose, buried a couple inches under the lawn..out to and acroos the front of the avairies.
From this we use 5mm capilaary hose with a smaall irrigation tap to adjust flow so is even between flights and avairies
These are monted outside the flights to squirt thru the mesh holes into the water trays.
Treys are cleaned once a week..most of the water trown into the bucket underneath, a household hand brush to scrub out, tip out the rest of the water...clean them all then turn on the automatic timer to refill
Seed is in a tray on the floor inside, holds about 5, gets filled to about 3/4, and this sits in a larger tray which collects most of the stuff thats tossed out of the seed tray. We supply enough see to last a week.
Floors..sand, preverably light bulding sand/pumice sand at about 2 to 3mm deep stops droppings etc sticking to the floors.
A kitchen plastic shovel and a small hand left rake thu the sand takes out all the crap..seed , old veggies etc...and a few hand fulls top 'top up the bare patchs on the floors..
Work hard at beng lazy...take the time to setup, and on the long term less work, a better heathier cage, better happier birds. _________________ My Spelling is Not Incorrect...It's 'Creative'
Steptoe, thanks for the explanation about your water system.
I read a while ago an article about building suspended aviaries at http://aviarioelsexmo.com/ , in which a good water system is explained. He installs big water bowls, and a metallic tube pointing to it. The metallic tube is bended inwards in the end, so it makes a kind of nozzle, and expels water at high pressure. Then, the system has a timer too, and when it turns on, water is poured down to the bowl, and due to the pressure, the "old" water in the bowl is dumped.
I didn't believe this was true, so I got a bowl myself, and directed a jet with the hose to see if the dirty water was dumped, and it proved to be useful. Obviously, once in a while you have to clean and disinfect the bowls, but it's a good way of renewing water a few times a day.
Now the issue... my aviaries weren't made with much planning. I'm not very good at DIY, but my granpa offered me some space and the expertise to build a humble 2x4 aviary, with the help of a carpenter friend.
So... aviaries weren't built with much planning or room for automatic systems or similar "frills". I even insisted of making a small hole in all aviaries to allow for water to go out, but "water will never make it inside the aviary", and "to clean the concrete with scraping is enough". Installing a light for the odd day something happens at night was rejected too. Honestly, I don't want to imagine the face and reaction of my grandpa when I tell him that I'll connect a POWERED timer to the water system, I'll install hoses around the place, and I'll be wasting a lot of water for those "flying colorful chicken"! He had never installed even a small nozzle to irrigate the garden/orchard, and always hand-hosed all the fields, so try to explain him about an auto-drinking system.
Obviously when the time comes to build my own house, I'll set up the most comfortable and hygienic automatic water system I can.
Now regarding food...
I didn't know that it was ok to leave seed at open air for a week. I thought they could get too soft (like for instance bread or even pellets) or spoil, and I kinda see the birds pooping right into the bowl!!!
Regarding the bowl on the floor... don't you have problems mice accesing the clean seed? I tell you because I have 3 mice eating some of the leftovers of my birds, and I think they'll access the bowls with the clean seed. They are really small (they get through 2.5 cm chicken wire).
I have been reading about mice-fighting here in the forum, but I still have to buy the poison, and see if it works.
By the way... I finally tried today pouring a few drops of cider vinegar on the drinking water. I guess it will help delaying the growth of bacteria (water is more acid) and at the same time being beneficial for the birds. Do you think it's dangerous to renew water only each other day?
Do you think it's dangerous to renew water only each other day?
Depends...Summer stuff grows fasrer, the water gets cloudy by the end of the day..
Winter not so bad
Mice etc are an issue no matter what u do with the seed. as mentiined in other posts ..it is a regular maintainance thing
Seed left out..dont put seed or water under a perch...and the birds dont poo in their food...ever noticed that the whole floor is not covered?
but they only poo in the one or couple places? _________________ My Spelling is Not Incorrect...It's 'Creative'
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