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### Kili

Type: Senegal Parrot
Genus: Poicephalus
Species: Senegalus
Subspecies: Mesotypus
Sex: Female
Weight: 120 grams
Height: 9 inches
Age: 10 years, 9 months

### Truman

Type: Cape Parrot
Genus: Poicephalus
Species:Robustus
Subspecies: Fuscicollis
Sex: Male
Weight: 330 grams
Height: 13 inches
Age: 9 years
 Trick Training Guides
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 Treat Selection Evolution of Flight Clipping Wings How to Put Parrot In Cage Kili's Stroller Trick Camping Parrots Socialization Truman's Tree Parrot Wizard Seminar Kili on David Letterman Cape Parrot Review Roudybush Pellets

### List of Common Parrots:

Parakeets:
Budgerigar (Budgie)
Alexandrine Parakeet
African Ringneck
Indian Ringneck
Monk Parakeet (Quaker Parrot)

Parrotlets:
Mexican Parrotlet
Green Rumped Parrotlet
Blue Winged Parrotlet
Spectacled Parrotlet
Dusky Billed Parrotlet
Pacific Parrotlet
Yellow Faced Parrotlet

Lovebirds:
Peach Faced Lovebird
Fischer's Lovebird
Lilian's (Nyasa) Lovebird
Black Cheeked Lovebird
Abyssinian Lovebird
Red Faced Lovebird
Swindern's Lovebird

Lories and Lorikeets:
Rainbow Lorikeet

Conures:
Sun Conure
Jenday Conure
Blue Crowned Conure
Mitred Conure
Patagonian Conure
Green Cheeked Conure
Nanday Conure

Caiques:
White Bellied Caique

Poicephalus Parrots:
Senegal Parrot
Meyer's Parrot
Red Bellied Parrot
Jardine's Parrot
Cape Parrot
Ruppell's Parrot

Eclectus:
Eclectus Parrot

African Greys:
Congo African Grey (CAG)
Timneh African Grey (TAG)

Amazons:
Blue Fronted Amazon
Yellow Naped Amazon
Orange Winged Amazon
Yellow Crowned Amazon

Cockatoos:
Cockatiel
Galah (Rose Breasted) Cockatoo
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
Umbrella Cockatoo
Moluccan Cockatoo
Bare Eyed Cockatoo
Goffin's Cockatoo

Macaws:
Red Shouldered (Hahn's) Macaw
Severe Macaw
Blue And Gold Macaw
Blue Throated Macaw
Military Macaw
Red Fronted Macaw
Scarlet Macaw
Green Winged Macaw
Hyacinth Macaw

# Assembling Outdoor Aviary for My Parrots

### Foreword

Alternatively the title could be: Cages By Design, The Most Flawed Product I Have Ever Bought In My Life. I do realize that this article is very very long and so is the video. However, so much has happened and there was no way I could have shared the idiocy of what happened in anything shorter. I never planned for there to be so many problems or to hold back on publishing this article for so long. It just happened to be that this was the worst cage I have ever come across and the details of this article will sound like a riot! Really, if it weren't so frustrating it would just be funny.

This is a must read for anyone thinking of buying anything from the company Cages By Design, contemplating an outdoor aviary, has an outdoor aviary and might like to pick up a few suggestions, or is just in the mood to read the most outrageous product review of all time. I think once you get started, you won't be able to stop. Thanks for reading. Here is my misery for your reading entertainment...

### Deciding to Get An Aviary

Back in July, while having lunch with my mother, we talked about how great it would be for my parrots to spend more time outside. She suggested putting them outside in my backyard in a cage so they could get some sunlight and fresh air. I immediately knew that putting them outside in a regular cage was not an option but this got me thinking. I started researching ideas about building or buying an aviary to put in the backyard. I had not previously considered this because I used to have just one parrot and didn't particularly think the backyard suitable. However, now with two birds the concept has become much more appealing.

At first, I was looking into options of building a wire mesh enclosure myself. The main things that were discouraging me were that I would have to deal with zinc covered steel mesh (zinc is toxic to parrots) and that it would end up looking really bad. I looked into the cost of materials and decided that building an aviary vs. buying one was not that drastically different in price and that a manufactured one would not only be a major price saving but also hold up better in the long run. There are very few aviaries available on the market so my selection was quite limited. I do not have a lot of space available so I wanted to find the largest aviary that would conveniently fit my area. Having seen advertisements and heard things about Suncatcher aviaries made by Cages By Design in the past, I was keeping them in top consideration as I searched for an aviary manufacturer. I was in a hurry to order one as soon as possible so that I could get the birds into it before the summer ends. I decided that getting Truman used to being in an outdoor aviary while he is still young would be best and prepare him for spending lots of summers outdoors.

Initially I was looking at their smallest aviaries but decided that in the long run it's better to go all out and buy the largest one that I can fit up front. I only had Truman for a very brief time at the point that I was deciding to get an aviary. It was right around the time (or possibly just before) I introduced Kili to Truman so I was really uncertain if the two parrots could share an aviary space together. I really had no idea how they would ultimately get along so I wanted to play it safe. I found an 8'x5' walk in aviary with a divider. Essentially it is the same as a regular version but it provides a panel to divide the aviary into two and has an additional door for retrieving the second bird out of the other side. It would be very costly/difficult to add the divider to the regular aviary later so I decided to shell out up front to buy the one with the divider and extra door included.

### Beginning Assembly - The Problems Begin

Between the three of us, we lugged the aviary piece by piece through the building and into the backyard in no time. My brother and I continued preparations and assembly on our own beyond this point. The next thing to do was to move all of the gravel in the yard off the space where the aviary would go. It was my intention from the start to place the aviary below gravel level and then bury it into the yard. I wanted to move the gravel aside a day in advance but I did not have enough notice about the delivery to prepare in advance. It took a few hours to clean up the yard, pull any weeds, and move the gravel aside. Finally the space was prepared and I was hoping to complete the assembly of the aviary the same day. I tried to study the instructions but they were a mere two pages with nothing more than some primitive diagrams. I decided that I'll just refer to them and figure it out as I go.

Inaccurate and pretty unhelpful instructions for Suncatcher Aviary

We prepared to start assembling the aviary by bringing two panels together to form a corner. I attempted to bolt them together but the holes didn't line up. So I realized that one of the panels were upside down. We flipped it over and tried again. Still the holes wouldn't line up. We tried swapping with other panels and all sorts of methods to figure out how they could possibly come together. After half an hour of being stumped by this dilemma we concluded that it must be a manufacturer defect because there was absolutely no way that those panels could be joined with the holes so misplaced. Thus I called the manufacturer to bring this up and offered to send them digital photos demonstrating the discrepancy. I also voiced a displeasure with the fact that they had agreed to cancel the feeders but cut the holes for them anyway.

500 refund check: "Compensation in full for defects" ### Finally Raising The Roof Mounting the roof panels was fairly easy but then it took hours to get the caps onto them. The bolts for mounting those are just barely long enough but when you have to bolt in a bolt in the deepest part of the cage from the very top strictly by feel, a bit of extra length would have made it all the more possible. The roof is very thin and flimsy so standing on it is out of the question. I had to stand on the top most step of the ladder and hang over the aviary to try to get the bolts nearest the center into the blind hole. This was extremely difficult and probably one of the most dangerous parts of assembling the aviary. It also requires pressing down hard on the roof panels to get them low enough to get the barely reaching bolt in and then a lot of pressure is required on the wrench to get the bolt to thread inward. A longer bolt would have been a very relieving solution, but hey I don't think they have ever put one of these together on location so what would they know? ### Not So Friendly Feeders Next we made some alterations to the so called "friendly feeders" to make them a bit less friendly and instead more secure. Basically we used a drill press to put a lot of holes into it to zip tie things permanently shut. Originally I wanted to rivet the feeders into the aviary but I was worried about shattering the plastic. So instead we drilled holes and used a ton of zip ties in addition to the bolts that were sent to me in one of the follow up packages. As for the food bowl, I was absolutely not going to chance losing my birds to the security of a little flap on a flimsy screw holding the bowl from falling out. Considering my escape artist parrot had managed to get out of her cage when it wasn't double latched, I'm not going to take a remote chance of that outside. Once again it is also a theft concern as well because someone could remove the food bowl and reach an arm in through the feeder. We added many zip ties to make the friendly feeders more secure Since I was prepared to cancel the feeders all together, I was not concerned about the loss of convenience by locking the food bowls in permanently. We just added holes on all sides of the food bowls and zip tied them into the feeders. Not only does this prevent them from being able to slide, but it also eliminated the undesirable gap between the food bowl and the feeder. I do realize that my parrots could chew through the zip ties but I figure that quantity is on my side. I am likely to be able to catch that some are getting broken and replace them or come up with tougher solutions if it really becomes a problem. Recently I found a stainless steel equivalent to zip ties so I'm holding onto those in case I need such an upgrade. As for intrusion, I believe the same ideas apply. All of the reinforcements that I added increase the difficulty of a break in and thus make it less lucrative than a snatch and run. I seriously don't think that even with proper tools that it would be possible to break into that in cage in anything less than 10 minutes. Considering how much effort it took to build that aviary, I am certain it would take no less to take it apart. Cutting wire ties, unscrewing bolts, cutting the cage bars are all possibilities. However, these are all so numerous that it would require some heavy tooling and a big loud job to make it happen. Everything is protected multiple times. This is the best deterrent that is working on my side. I also plan to hang a security camera from a vantage point facing that way so I could keep an eye on the birds when I am not outside. ### Completion Finally by the 10th day the aviary was complete. Standing by completed aviary content to finally be finished Here is an approximate break up of the the time consumed on this project: -Unloading truck and moving all parts to the site: 30 minutes -Preparing the space for the aviary: 4 hours -Redrilling defective holes: 3.5 hours -Assembling cage and roof: 6 hours -Adding security measures including bottom mesh, stakes, wire ties: 3 hours -Calls/emails to manufacturer about problems: 2 hours -Making additional trips to the hardware store: 1.5 hours -Waiting twice for missing parts to arrive: 8 days ### Assembly Video ### Cages By Design Product Review So here is my overall review of the 8'x5' Suncatcher Aviary made by Cages By Design: Except for the inaccurately helpless instructions, incorrect hole alignments, useless allen key, bolts falling through, unsupplied long bolts, dangerously insecure friendly feeders, missing feeder bolts, missing roof supports, missing roof bolts, poorly thought through assembly, frequently chipped powder coat, often weak or broken welds, inaccurate and poor workmanship, long turn around time, and exorbitantly high price... excellent! You can see how the cage bars are wavy. It's difficult to show the broken welds. Just one of many examples of chipped powder coating. Honestly not sure if factory defect or caused in shipping Basically if you are not a handyman or planning on hiring one, you can forget about ordering this product (or probably any product at all from this company, I can only imagine how these quality control standards carry over to other cages). On the other hand if you are good enough to tackle this kind of project, then you can probably build one of these on your own from scratch in about the same amount of time. The simple truth is that I had absolutely no idea that this would turn out to be such a nightmare. Once I got started, I was just drawn into fixing endless problems with this aviary. For the kind of money they charge for this product (and even taking the500 refund into consideration), this is an absolute rip off. You would expect a high quality, professionally designed product that assembles easily for this kind of money but instead you get stuck with a tedious repair project.

I am convinced that the difficulties I had assembling this aviary are not an isolated incident but a complete design flaw. Online, I was surprised to read that other people had the exact same problems building this aviary. I also happened to meet some people who own this kind of aviary and they confirmed having much the same problems. For these reasons, I am quite certain that Cages By Design produces flawed products that are insanely overpriced. If they put have as much effort into design and quality control as they do marketing, they would have a more usable product.

Originally, I wanted to be able to promote outdoor aviaries for parrots by demonstrating how easily I build mine and then how much they enjoy it. Unfortunately I did not find this economical or easy at all. Furthermore in my search for a suitable aviary, I did not come across much competition. So I am disappointed that at this time there is not a single commercially built aviary that I can recommend to my readers. Perhaps some day when a quality aviary appears on the market, I will be able to suggest it to you but until that day, I am forced to say that outdoor aviaries will only be limited to parrot owners with extensive building abilities and budgets.

### Kili and Truman's First Time in Aviary

Finally I would like to share with you the first time I showed the parrots the aviary. I had discussed with the vet office manager about taking Truman outside and she agreed that sunlight and fresh air would be good for him. Originally I was contemplating putting his entire tub into the aviary but she was suggesting going with a small cage of some sort. This struck an idea with me that I still had Duke's cage sitting around. If only Truman would fit through the door, I'd be able to leave him in the cage inside the aviary. There is no way I would leave him outside strictly in that flimsy wire cage, but inside the greater aviary this was perfectly safe. The purpose of the small cage served more to keep Truman from flying around the aviary or falling down.

Truman easily fit through the door and had plenty of room to spare. Turns out that's a fairly large cage after all. I did not put any perches in because I think it's best for Truman to stay on the flat bottom. Unfortunately, moments after I had put him in he began climbing the cage bars. Most of all I was worried about him falling and injuring his leg again. I put him back down and then added clips to each door on the cage to reduce the likelihood of him getting out. I grabbed Kili firmly and took them both out to the aviary in the backyard.

Kili in my finally completed aviary

Truman inside of a cage in the aviary

I did not want to put Truman's cage on the ground but nor did I want to hang it from the aviary top. So I devised a provisional table with a set of saw horses, two by fours, and a sheet of plywood. I set Truman's cage down on it. He started climbing again but I waited to see what he would do. After a minute of hanging near the cage top he changed his mind and climbed back down. Thereafter he remained on the bottom and found no more need to climb. I left him outside like this for nearly two hours but I took Kili back inside with me. Later that evening was the first time in a week that Truman exhibited at least the slightest interest toward food. I plan to continue having him spend a bit of time outside each pleasant day in this manner until he fully recovers.

Part of: Housing, Toys, Accessories, and DIY, General Parrot Care, Indoor Freeflight, Outdoor Freeflight, Blog Announcements, Poicephalus, Cape Parrots, Senegal Parrots
Cages By Design Suncatcher Outdoor Aviary Assembly Product Review Problems Kili Truman
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Shonta

#### Posted on August 23, 2010 03:51AM

Great looking aviary! Are you going to put branches and toys in there too? What a friggin nightmare with the assembly though! You can figure out how to make it work but what about folks who need directions to be able to assemble something and well the correct parts too. Maybe you should post the manufacturer so such folks won't buy from them unless they are smart, creative, and patient to be able to basically put it together themselves! Lucky Kili & Truman though. Nice change from indoors in the summer. Do you own your place or do you rent and they gave you permission to put an aviary out there>?

Shonta

#### Posted on August 23, 2010 03:53AM

Nevermind, I just saw the name of the company. Cages by design is a good name for it. You design your own cage with what you are given!

kellybird

#### Posted on August 23, 2010 04:30AM

I am sorry you found out the hard way. I just finally sold my used cages by design cage it was huge and had the divider in it. I will never deal with that company again! worst customer service ever. Regarding the setting up process we finally know how to do that after taking down and assembling more than 3 times lol. I just read this quickly and had to respond but they are horrible!! I had so many problems with there cage. I spent around 2,500 on this cage about 6 yrs ago and only sold it for 500.00 because of all the things broken on it. The bars were definately NOT strong enough for a greenwing macaw and neither was the door frame. I do hope you get your together (dont remember if you said you did or not) If you need any assistance feel free to ask me!!! Kelly

kellybird

#### Posted on August 23, 2010 04:43AM

Okay didnt get to read all the blog but my cage was totally different as it was an inside cage and not an outdoor aviary but one thing I noticed right away was the friendly feeders. I did have them on my cage and there are many many bolts on each feeder which definatly does hold the feeder on tight ( i actually removed all but two for the fact it was a pain in the butt to thourougly clean) I noticed you put zip ties which I could see the birds chewing off very easily!! I hope you kept in the screws also because I am getting worried you may lose your birds if they decide to chew them. One other question, which again you may have mentioned but its late and I didnt get to read all of it yet but are you leaving your parrots outside at night? I probably am thinking no but just incase I warn you of the wild animals. I know you live in NY and so do I and a few years ago I lost several parrots and a cockatiel from raccoons. They did not get in the cage but pulled them through the bars and killed them. The birds would sleep on the side of the wire at night and the raccon just ripped there leg off and they died. I am sorry this is so harsh but I would not want this to happed to you or anyone else here! After this happened I sold my aviary cages and have not put another bird outside. I will never recover from there loss. It does look like a beautiful aviary and I hope your birds get to enjoy it finally!!! Good luck with it. Keep me posted about the zip tie thing!!! Kelly

thejoie

#### Posted on August 23, 2010 06:12AM

did you consider stainless steel? How is the aviary going to hold up in the winter and rain? The price of stainless steel is significantly more but the durablilty of it is appealing. I've been wanting to purchase an aviary to put on my deck for next spring/summer and have been looking at a lot of different ones as well. Thanks for the review!

HyperD

#### Posted on August 23, 2010 06:43AM

Wow that is a big aviary, m sure Kili and Truman will enjoy it thoroughly. It's unfortunate you paid a high price for such a flawed product but your determination has won the day (or is that 10?)! Thanks for making us aware of this company...

ginger

Rue

#### Posted on August 23, 2010 07:48PM

I'm very sorry you had such a bad time with the company... I've seen their ads for years now, you'd think if they're still in business they'd have better customer relations people...

skeetersunconure

#### Posted on August 23, 2010 08:11PM

wow thats terrible. kili and truman better like it then haha so wa\hat aviaries can you trust to buy i wonder

Natacha

#### Posted on August 27, 2010 01:44AM

That is quite the extensive review, to be honest, I kept it mostly to the videos for now, since I figured you would say most of what you had to say. Question - will you be adding perches, at least at the extremities (to provide plenty of flying space in between) for them to be able to perch on without having to perch to the cage sides?

kellybird

#### Posted on August 27, 2010 01:54AM

I have to agree with Mona that Corners Limited is a great company and I have also purchased from them in the past. I recently purchased two custom cage fronts for my indoor aviary we built and they came out great and fast. Customer service was execellent!!!

Michael

#### Posted on August 27, 2010 03:26AM

Yes, I will be adding perches/toys a bit later. Actually I'm thinking of putting a big Java tree up in there but probably not till next season as there isn't that much left of this one. I would put like a 5ft Java tree in the center and bury the base in the gravel so it would just be coming out of the ground. But for now I'm just going to hang some ladders, swings, and rope perches from the roof. I will not bolt a single perch up to the sides. I'm trying to encourage the birds to stay toward the middle where it is safer and away from the edges. Today I had Truman in the aviary for a while. Most of the time he was inside the budgie cage on a makeshift table. For part of the time thought I left him in the greater aviary on a training perch. He stayed put on it and really was just bored. He was much happier when I put him back into the little wire cage with food/toys. I plane to start keeping Truman in the greater aviary more starting in a few days. His leg is still not good enough for him to be climbing around in his big cage. I'm particularly worried about him falling and busting it again. But in the aviary there is enough room to fly so if he falls he can easily catch himself. I will hang a couple swings from the top and leave some training perches below so he has a place to land if he falls down.

Natacha

#### Posted on August 27, 2010 10:12PM

I'm looking forward to seeing it "complete" then, even if it has to wait until next year.

ginger

#### Posted on August 27, 2010 10:41PM

Seems like you have a great plan for your aviary, Michael. Good to know that Truman is healing and getting some fresh air and sunlight. Things can only get better!

TheNzJessie

#### Posted on September 6, 2010 04:55AM

im looking forward to next year when i get my own place and can set up an aviary. im aloud to set one up now but if im setting one up im going to set up a permanent one so i think its better to wait. im talking setting it in concrete with proper drainage for easy cleaning, safety door, covered den. the works.

Azure Hanyo

#### Posted on September 30, 2010 09:30PM

Wow! This is my first time reading this and I've got to say you certainly provide the absolute best for Kili and Truman. Companies like that overcharge because they are really the only ones out there who make such aviaries, and that is unfortunate. But great job on finally getting it done. I can see it now... Michael's Aviaries! Purchase these and get the training perches free!

skeetersunconure

#### Posted on October 1, 2010 12:00AM

how much are the corners unlimited aviaries? like one about 5x5 or 4x4?

sidech

#### Posted on October 1, 2010 01:11AM

[quote="Azure Hanyo":b8v6gtnz] I can see it now... Michael's Aviaries! Purchas these and get the training perches free! [/quote:b8v6gtnz] You have a good sense of humor, Azuro, and you're good with Facebook, too !

Azure Hanyo

#### Posted on October 1, 2010 01:57AM

[quote="sidech":1xlsi62r][quote="Azure Hanyo":1xlsi62r] I can see it now... Michael's Aviaries! Purchase these and get the training perches free! [/quote:1xlsi62r] You have a good sense of humor, Azuro, and you're good with Facebook, too ![/quote:1xlsi62r] AZURO?! So you...you know about... AZURO MONTOYA???!!! Bahahahahaha!!!!!! (Ok stupid inside joke...never mind. I hope no one knows what I am talking about... Heehee.)

karen

#### Posted on May 25, 2011 11:00PM

Hi Michael. Appreciate your review. I purchased the 6 ft stainless steal Suncatcher Aviary about 6 years ago from a company called Aviary Connections in San Antonio Tx. At that time the Stainless steel cage was $2500. As you are probably aware, these aviaries are manufactured in China and companies like CBD and the one I purchased from are just distributors so the manufacturing issues are going to be the same. However the distributors apparently handle complaints very differently. I was initially dissapointed that several of the connector pins were broken off (but found loose lying in the crate it came in). I had to take 4 of the panels to a welder that could weld stainless steel. Once they were fixed, however, the cage was easily assembled and my budgies have enjoyed it ever since. It dissassembled easily and the panels were easily transported 1000+ miles when I moved half way across the country. Aviary Connections (which is apparently no longer in business as I have not been able to find them on the internet) offered to pay the cost of the welding job and sent me some free bird toys to make up for the inconvenience. The welding only cost about$50 so I told them that was OK - they did not need to reimburse me. I'm now looking at big cages for my Senegal so she has room to fly indoors. I was going to order from CBD but after your review will look around a bit more. The nature of these cages and their source of manufacture obviously is the underlying problem. However, how the different distributors handle complaints is the issue. I was always under the impression that CBD was a reptuable company but the posts here make me suspect. Thanks for the info.

Bam Bam

#### Posted on April 10, 2013 12:28AM

Thank you so much, Michael, for your post. I was just ready to drop \$2500 for a new cage for my parrot. Cages by Design has such a professional looking website. I would have thought that they make a good product. I would not have been very patient with the kind of problems you had putting together your aviary. I guess it's back to the drawing board for me. Thanks again.