Your parakeets' cage is fine for sleeping and eating, but they will benefit from a space to occasionally spread their little wings. Allowing them to fly free inside your house is a thoughtful gesture, but hazards are everywhere -- ceiling fans, open windows and doors, and other household pets who have natural predatory instincts are dangers for pet birds on the loose. The solution is to build your budgies a flight cage. It's much bigger than the cage they live in and is enclosed to keep them safe. It can occupy a large room indoors, or it can be outside if weather allows.
Things You'll Need
- 3 1-inch-by-2-inch-by-8-foot furring strips or pressure treated board
- 7 1-inch-by-2-inch-by-10-foot furring strips or pressure treated board
- 1 roll of hardware cloth, 5 feet wide by 25 feet long
- 16 L-shaped corner braces with grabber claws
- 1-1/2-inch nails
- 2 hinges
- 1 hook-and-eye latch
- Staple gun
- Tape measure
- Wire cutters
- 4-by-5-foot piece of plywood
- 4-by-5-foot remnant piece of vinyl flooring
- Vinyl flooring adhesive
Apply flooring adhesive to the 4-by-5-foot piece of plywood according to the adhesive directions and press the vinyl flooring onto it. Set the floor piece aside to dry while you build the cage.
Cut the 8-foot furring strips into six 3-foot, 8-inch lengths, using a tape measure and pencil to mark the lengths and a saw to cut them. Cut the 10-foot strips into four 4-foot, 8-inch lengths and four 5-foot lengths.
Lay the furring strips out to form three 4-by-5-foot frames and two 5-by-5 foot frames. Lay the pieces flat so a 2-inch side is facing up. Use the 5-foot pieces for the ends of the frames and use the 4-foot, 8-inch and the 3-foot, 8-inch pieces for the tops and bottoms of the frames, placing them in between two 5-foot pieces.
Pound the corner brackets into place in each of the four corners of each frame using the hammer. The grabber claws will hold the brackets in place.
Attach a piece of hardware cloth over each frame. Do this by unrolling a length and laying it over one frame at a time. Use the staple gun to affix the hardware cloth into place, stapling at 1- to 2-inch intervals starting at the corners. Staple over the seams where the wood pieces meet to further stabilize the frames. Use the wire cutters to cut the hardware cloth along the edge of the frame, and continue attaching and cutting until all five frames are covered.
Stand one 4-by-5-foot frame on its end so that the 5-foot length is vertical. Stand one 5-by-5-foot frame next to it so that the two pieces form an L shape. This is one first corner of your flight cage. The sides with the hardware cloth should be on the outside. With a hammer, pound nails through the corner bracket into the top inside and bottom inside corners to attach the two pieces together.
Stand another 4-by-5-foot frame next to the 5-by-5-foot side of the corner piece you just created so they form a three-sided box. Attach the new piece by pounding nails through another corner bracket into the top inside and bottom inside corners.
Put the final 5-by-5-foot frame into place to form the fourth side of the box. Nail a corner bracket into the top inside and bottom inside corners of both sides to affix it.
Set the vinyl-covered floor piece, vinyl side down, on top of the four-sided box and nail it into place using the hammer and nails. Pound a nail into each of the four corners and place four or five more nails along each side.
Turn the cage over so it's right side up.
Attach the hinges to the top of one of the 4-foot sides of the box. Place one hinge at each end of the side and use the screwdriver to insert the screws.
Place the final 4-by-5-foot frame on top of the cage and ensure that it's centered. Raise it as if you were opening the lid so that the only edge of the top piece meeting the edge of the cage is on the side with the hinges. This step is easier if you have someone hold the lid while you attach the hinges.
Attach the hinges to the top frame using the screwdriver and hinge hardware screws.
Close the top of the cage and attach the hook-and-eye latch on the outside of the cage, on the side opposite from the hinges.
Tips & Warnings
- Leave no gaps between the hardware cloth and the frame that would tempt a parakeet to try to squeeze through.
- This flight cage works well indoors. If you want to place it outside, put it in an area with at least partial shade so your parakeets can escape direct sunlight when they get hot.
- You can make your flight cage whatever dimensions you want. Making it large enough for you to walk into without having to hunch or bend over makes it easier to catch your parakeets at the end of play time. A larger flight cage is easier to clean if you can fit inside.
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