The First Light Store

A Happy Aviary - Part 2

Most animals domesticated by humans live within confined spaces and have their natural movement restricted by fencing or caging. Birds are no exception. Many bird species are kept for their colourful plumage, their song, acrobatics, ability to mimic noises, as breeding stock and for the pleasure people gain from having exotic birds in their back yard. Some birds such as hens are caged or free-range for the purpose of egg or meat production, while others such as pheasants can be farmed and bred for the purpose of being released for game hunting.

If choosing to keep birds in an outdoor aviary, one of the factors to consider is the size of the aviary. Whether the birds spend most of their time on the ground, like quail, or flying, like canaries and finches, an aviary which is as large as practicable allows for greater movement and the possibility of a more stimulating environment. Trees and plants can be part of this environment and food can be provided in such a way that requires the birds to forage for their nutritional needs. In the wild the greater part of the day is dedicated to finding food. Research needs to be done on what foods would be available to these birds were they to still be in their natural environment. Not only foods, but what temperatures and climate are the birds originally from? So attention to shelter, to freedom from draughts, ability to escape wind, rain, snow and extremes of cold and heat, even attention to daylight hours, need to be factored in to provide a suitable environment.

The companionship of other birds of the same species is preferable, but other species of bird may mix well in the same aviary space. We need to know which species do live in harmony together so that conflict and competition are not problems

Protection from predators is another consideration. Predators will vary depending upon what country you live in and may include wildcats, domestic cats, rats, dogs, foxes, ferrets and stoats. Should the presence of a predator alarm your birds, Crisis Support© or No 78 Akeake may be put in the drinking water and misted in and around the aviary, while the aviary itself needs to be safe and protective of the birds.

Providing all needs are attended to, most aviary birds will adapt to being relocated with minimal stress. If, however, this is not the case, essences No 25 Kowhai and No 78 Akeake can help with change and relocation.

For highly strung birds that experience extreme distress, panic or terror within an aviary setup, No 23 Lacebark can be given for courage along with No 3 Cook Strait Groundsel for self confidence and the protective energy of No 77 Clematis.

Essences which may assist with self-destructive or obsessive behaviours such as feather pulling include No 7 Mountain Parahebe, No 8 Matata, No 9 Koru and No 22 Manuka, No 23 Lacebark, No 24 Poroporo and No 70 Hen and Chickens Fern.

In ALL of the above cases, check what the causes of distress may be so they can be eliminated if possible and/or what changes can be made to improve the situation for your aviary bird/s. Boredom, competition, inadequate diet, pain, illness, feeling threatened or frightened are all reasons that birds exhibit signs of distress.

In some cases, birds may appear shutdown and depressed. If this is the result of grief from the loss of a loved companion (animal or human) or from an act of betrayal, which could be a form of abuse, then No 40 Silver Fern and No 47 Kauri can assist to turn things around. Kauri can help the bird expand its capacity to trust and form bonds again. Of course, any form of abuse needs to be discontinued.

Essence treatment bottles can be made by adding 20mls of spring water to 5mls of cider vinegar or 5mls brandy. Three drops of each essence from the stock bottle are then added. Up to 8 essences can be used in one treatment bottle or mister bottle. From here, 4 drops can be added to clean drinking water 2-3 times daily and the aviary can also be misted with the same blend. It does not matter if all the birds in the aviary ingest the drops as the energy will be dissipated if not needed.

— Marj Marks
Marj is a First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand registered practitioner and registered Veterinary Nurse. Marj can be contacted on 09 422 0177, 027 612 5256 or by email: