How to Build a Fly Pen


For all birds, it's important to have adequate living and flying space. A birdcage or fly cage should give birds room to live, play, and exercise. A cage can be anything from a simple enclosure large enough to accommodate the bird's wingspan to a larger aviary, where the bird can actually roam at will. The term "fly pen" is more often used to describe the larger version, and is therefore usually built in an outdoor setting.

Things You'll Need

  • Fill dirt
  • Shovel
  • Measuring tape
  • Concrete mix
  • Water
  • 24 footer pipes (about 4 feet long)
  • 24 PVC pipes (Schedule 40, 2-inch size -- aprx 325 feet)
  • Saw
  • Fasteners
  • Ladder
  • Glue
  • 1,800 feet of 1-inch mesh poultry wire
  • 10,000 feet of 1-inch plastic netting

Instructions for Outdoor Fly Pen

Choose a well-drained site for your fly pen. Fill the area in until the soil surface is one to two feet higher than the surrounding area.

Dig holes. Twelve pairs of holes should be aligned in two rows, with a 15-foot distance separating the rows. Space the holes at 10-foot intervals along a row. Holes should be 2 to 2 1/2 feet deep.

Mix concrete and pour it into each hole. Insert a footer pipe into each hole. Leave around 2 feet of pipe above ground. Allow concrete to cure for several days.

Use PVC pipe to build the arches. Glue 1 1/2 pieces of PVC pipe together, end to end, to form a length of pipe for the arch. Slide one end of the PVC pipe over one of the footer pipes, and the other end over the corresponding footer pipe on the other side of the enclosure. The center of the arch should stand 12 feet off the ground.

Run mesh poultry wire around the outside of the pen, in 5-foot sections. Attach mesh to the PVC with fasteners of your choice, but never drill into the PVC as this will split the pipe. Run plastic netting over the arched framework.

Fill the flight cage with trees, plants and shelter for your birds.

Tips & Warnings

  • These plans are for an outdoor flight pen of 120 feet x 15 feet, with a maximum height of 12 feet in the arches. The total square footage is 21,600 feet. Utilities should be available within the flight cage (i.e., water for the birds). Add additional support to your enclosure by reinforcing the interior PVC framework with matching external framework. Free-standing doors can be opened in the sides of the cage.
  • This design will not hold up against extensive ice, snow or heavy weather. Birds should be moved indoors in case of such weather.

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