Having a pest issue with your prized birds is not a pleasant experience. The risks around losing your birds is high if you do not ensure the threat is identified and a remediation plan put in place. Insecticides are not always a wise option especially when placed in the same environment as your birds, so you may need to get a little creative when it comes to solving some of the issues. Of course some threats are more pressing than others however long term exposure will make each threat a high risk for injury or death of your birds.
The most common threats to any outdoor aviary:
I have recently experienced what many would call a rodent attack on my aviary. The damage occurred after building my new aviary which was twice the size of my previous setup. Shortly thereafter it was clear that I had not followed my own advice on preventive measures for rodent control and by the time I had realised I had a serious rodent problem it was just ay too late. The rodents were getting into the aviary through tunnelling through the floor. The one area I was certain I had covered when building my aviary. But yet they were still getting in and were very aggressive and hungry. One of the reasons I did not realise I had such a problem was due to the fact that they were catching the finches and taking them into empty nest boxes and only feeding on them once inside. A terrible discovery for any finch breeder!
One of the best ways to identify if you have a rodent problem inside your aviary is to scope out the floor. Check corners, under bushes and grasses for any signs of entry and tunnelling. These guys are tricky and will amaze you with their methods of entering into the aviary. As rats and mice can flatten their rib cages to fit through gaps you have to be very vigilant in your investigations. Basically if a pencil can fit through a gap, more likely a mouse can too.
So I had to go back to the basics and check, check, check. Oh and a word of advice, make sure your furry little friends haven't taken up residence inside your aviary before you permanently block off their potential exits!
Most of your issues will come from the aviary floors by means of tunnelling.
There are many types of floors found in an aviary. Some have great advantages to health and maintenance as well as rodent control.
Concrete Floors: A very common floor type in larger and permeant aviaries/cages. These types of floors are easy to clean and disinfect and act as the perfect barrier to any potential tunnelling.
Mesh Floor: if your aviary of cage does not have a concrete slab for a floor, you may have to line the floor with a galvanised wire mesh. Doing th
is will prevent the rodents from entering throughout the floor. Ensure you cover the mesh with gravel, dirt of pavers.
Pavers: Another type of floor covering is to use pavers, They work well and are inexpensive. Even a few odd bricks lying around will act as good protection alongside the barriers of your aviary walls.
I have often used a combination of either options to cover my floors. But do not skimp out on this task as you will suffer in the long term should rodents start to tunnel their way through. Just remember to choose the right rodent free mesh for your aviary. Once you are happy with your floor covering, move on to proactive control measures.
TRAPS TRAPS TRAPS!
There are certainly a variety of brands and traps out in the market today. Choose one thats best works for you. But do remember that you are trying to catch rodents in and around your birds so be careful when using dusts, pellets, or anything that could potentially harm your birds. You may need to be creative in baiting methods and trapping.
Some common types of Rodent traps:
- Vertical Spring Trap
- Clean touch spring trap
- Live catch mouse / rat trap
- Nooski mouse / rat trap
If you find a rodent tunnel inside aviary, here's a little tip that works wonders for me. Find the hole and prepare your mouse / rat trap. Once baited place the trap near the tunnel. Once placed, grab the top half of a bird cage. (Any size) and place it on top of tunnel and trap. This will ensure the rodent is restricted to the area within the bird cage and is more likely to take the bait set in the trap. This method will also ensure you birds don't get a little adventurous and get caught in the vertical trap.
I also use live catch rodent traps as they can catch multiple rodents in one night. I have also found that once a mouse or rat is caught in this trap, more seem to follow him in. It's a safe trap that you can place anywhere in the aviary or surrounding without having to worry about injuring your birds or other pets.
Some baits that have good results; Peanut butter, Chocolate, Canola oil soaked in card and boiled egg.