Preparing Your Outdoor Aviary For Winter

With the end of summer rapidly approaching and the beginning of autumn and winter round the corner it is time to begin preparing your aviary and your birds for winter. There are a few amendments that you can make to ensure the safety, security and health of your birds during the harsher weather.

Keeping Your Aviary Warm

Many pet birds within the UK are tropical birds, meaning that they are not acclimatised to the British weather.

Birds can be extremely sensitive to sudden temperature changes, so it is important to be prepared all year round for weather changes. 

If it is not possible to move your birds indoors, then you should take measures to ensure that your aviary stays heated throughout the winter months to keep your birds comfortable. There are several products available to measure and maintain the temperature inside your aviary.

Bird in winter snow on branch

Having an indoor section or birdhouse within your aviary is essential. This not only offers shelter and warmth against cold winters and nights, but also keeps your birds safe from predators when you are not around to keep an eye on them.

Your aviary can be prepared for winter all year round by using a thermostat system often used for reptile habitats. These systems continuously measure and maintain the temperature within an enclosed space using bulb heaters or heating mats. This tubular heater also has a built in thermostat helping it to sense and regulate the temperature accordingly. You should also make sure you purchase the guard for this build to prevent your birds from injuring themselves.

Structural Winter Tips

You should plan for different weather changes when designing your aviary as there are structural amendments you can make to keep your birds warm during the winter.

Adding a roof to your aviary can help to keep the rain and snow out of your aviary, however this can also trap heat in during summer, so building your aviary in a shaded area would be best when considering a roof.

When installed tightly enough, ClearMesh is extremely effective at holding snow, preventing it from getting inside your aviary during the winter. If the mesh is installed loosely  however, the snow can cause the mesh to bow.

Installing insulation in the indoor section of the aviary can help to keep heat inside. There are also ‘bird tents‘ that you can purchase the the indoor area of your aviary to help keep your birds warm. 

Snow on top of aviary

ClearMesh is made from stainless steel, making it anti-corrosive and all weather resistant, the perfect material for outdoor aviaries. Stainless is also non-toxic for birds, unlike galvanised steel which most welded meshes are made from. ClearMesh can protect your aviary from the harsh rain of winter and the strong rays of summer. You can order free samples to find which ClearMesh product you would need to use and contact us for a quotation.

Why to Build Your Own Aviary

Why to build your own aviary banner

There are different options for pre-made aviaries of different shapes and sizes, however these can be quite limiting in terms of shapes and sizes. Building your own aviary allows you to be creative, and you can build an aviary that meets all of your requirements rather than trying to find a pre-built aviary that is exactly right.

Get Creative

Being able to build your own aviary to the exact size and shape that you require or desire is a huge advantage over pre-built aviaries. 

You can build an aviary to any shape, size and style that you want and decorate however you like. It also gives you the chance to ensure that your aviary is suitable for the species that you have. 

Macaw aviary using ClearMesh aviary mesh

Security

Outdoor budgie aviary

Building your own aviary also helps you to ensure that your materials are safe for your birds or animals. Some metal types are poisonous to specific animals, such as galvanised wire being toxic to some bird species.

You will also be able to ensure that there are no sharp edges or nails sticking out of anywhere, and ensure that predators and pests cannot enter into the enclosure.

Long Lasting

Being able to choose your own building materials can help you to ensure a long lasting structure. 

Opting for metal poles instead of wood, or stainless steel mesh instead of galvanised, can have an impact on the lifetime of your enclosure.

Depending upon your location, your aviary may need to be weather resistant, withstanding high or cold temperatures, snow, wind or harsh environmental elements near the seaside. You can ensure that your aviary is weather proof through the materials that you choose to build with.

aviary mesh covering garden

Build Your Own Aviary With ClearMesh

Bird Aviary mesh over back garden with African grey parrots

ClearMesh will cover all of the above points for your aviary. Our aviary mesh is flexible and easy to work with, allowing you to get creative with your design.

ClearMesh is robust against pests and predators, and is slash resistant.

Being made from stainless steel means that our mesh is completely safe for all bird species and is resistant against harsh weather and environments. 

Order your FREE samples today, or contact us for a quotation.

ClearMesh Zoo Visits

ClearMesh zoo customer visits banner

ClearMesh has been used in zoo’s not only across the country, but across the world for a number of different species including the likes of birds, primates, reptiles and mammals. Our ClearMesh zoo customer visits are extremely important to us to ensure the safety and security of our mesh for new species and to ensure that the mesh is performing as the zoo needs it to. 

Last week we did two customer visits to WILD Zoological Park and Old Tree Nursery / Sensory Park

WILD Zoological Park

We began the day at Wild Zoological Park speaking with Zachery, the zoo’s director. Zachery purchased three of our our ClearMesh25 rolls to cover the roof of their latest enclosure ‘Lorikeet Lagoon’ as part of the wild Australia habitat. 

WILD are a small zoo located in Stourbridge.

Wild Zoological Park Logo

Upon arrival we were pleasantly surprised to find that WILD have actually purchased from us several times, and that half of the enclosures within the zoo are using ClearMesh! The mesh has been used for iris’, hornbills, lorikeets, marmosets and owls. 

The lorikeet lagoon enclosure is the only habitat within the zoo to use ClearMesh to cover a large area of roof. To achieve this, the zoo has used hog rings to join the mesh edges together.

The joins have been made close enough together to ensure that the birds can not squeeze through any gaps and escape.

Lorikeet lagoon is a walkthrough enclosure in which guests can feed the birds and have them land on you. 

ClearMesh roof being used at zoo with lorikeets

We hereby declare WILD Zoological Park to be named the official ‘ClearMesh Zoo’, if you are wanting to see our ClearMesh products in action then this is the perfect place to go!

Old Tree Nursery / Sensory Park

Old Tree Nursery is our latest ClearMesh partnership! OTN is a animal sanctuary and SEN learning centre in which people with complex learning difficulties can spend the day caring for the animals that find themselves in their care. 

Knitwire have gifted 3 rolls of our ClearMesh25 product to the sanctuary to help them with building a new aviary for some ring-tailed lemurs that they are expecting.

The aviary will also feature other suitable animals that the sanctuary takes in such as birds and other small primates.

Company director and service user stood outside of Old Tree Nursery reception

Old Tree Nursery are soon to be featured on the Channel 5 show Milkshake, in which a service user will be working at the sanctuary for a day to see how it is run and the amount of work that goes in to caring for the animals.

The centre, owned by Wolverhampton Council and managed by Greensquare Accord Housing association and Sensory Park, both of whom deal with vulnerable adults and children (social and vulnerable adults), was born out of a derelict garden centre during the first national lockdown, during which time the service users were isolating, and has since been transformed into a spacious sanctuary for animals from both a domestic and wild environment that are in need of care.

Old Tree Nursery has a huge variety of animals including the likes of goats, pigs, sheep, chickens, parrots, ducks and meerkats, all of which have been sent to them by local authorities and animal rescue centres.

The in situ management team and service users are hard at work rebuilding the enclosures to ensure that the animals have all the space and enrichment that they need. Upon taking over the property, GSA and Sensory Park were left with mountains of chicken wire, which they are eager to replace as they finds it unsuitable for the animals.

Service users of Old Tree Nursery installing ClearMesh onto poly tunnel

We are excited to see the growth of Old Tree Nursery animal sanctuary and the wonderful work that they do. 

Do you want to be our next ClearMesh zoo customer visit?

If you have used any of our ClearMesh products at your zoo or sanctuary then please let us know! We would love to set up a visit and see what you have done with the product.

5 Tips For Building an Aviary

backyard poly tunnel aviary

There are a few important factors to consider when building an aviary, such as the bird species, your location, local predators, etc. We’ve put together some top tips for building a beautiful and safe aviary that both you and your birds can enjoy. 

1). Aviary Structure

The material being used for your structure can be a determining factor in how long your aviary will last, wood rots and metal rusts. There are ways to improve the longevity of wood to ensure a sound structure for longer. If you plan on painting a wooden structure or any part of your aviary then you should always remember to use an animal friendly paint that will not poison your birds.

When using metal poles it is worthwhile investing in the likes of stainless steel which will last much longer outdoors and need replacing less often than most other metals. Some may be tempted to use copper as this is also anti-corrosive, however copper tends to oxidise and turn green which can lead to a less appealing appearance.

Bird Aviary Mesh outdoor enclosure in garden
outdoor square shaped aviary

2). Flooring

Flooring is often a hindsight when building an aviary, many people don’t even consider it until it is too late. Birds can be messy creatures, with bird food and droppings landing on the floor, your aviary could quickly become messy.

It is a good idea to consider using an easy to clean flooring, avid DIYers could even consider installing a drainage system to make cleaning even easier. Surfaces such as grass and stones are pleasing to the eyes, however these make extremely difficult surfaces to clean. Considering using tiles, bricks or concrete flags could give a nice appearance and offer easy cleaning.

3). Predator and Pest Proofing Your Aviary

You should always be wary of predators and pests when building an aviary, birds are the natural prey of many other animals across the world, the most common being cats, foxes and even other birds. Doing research into the natural predators for your local area is a must.

Building an indoor space for your aviary is ideal for nighttime when you and your birds are sleeping as this will protect your birds against nocturnal predators. Reinforcing your flooring is also a good idea to prevent rodents from digging underneath the enclosure.

4). Plants and Decorations

You should be wary of what plants and other decorations you put in your aviary, ensure that they are not toxic to your bird and that they will not try to chew anything that they shouldn’t be. Do research into which plants you can use around your birds and which ones to avoid.

Fountains and other water features are a safe and stunning addition to any aviary, but ensure that you keep them clean as the birds will also use these for drinking.

wooden well with birds perched

5). Aviary Mesh

Choosing the right aviary mesh is dependent upon your decisions on the above points, i.e. what structure you want, local predators, what birds you are keeping etc.

You should choose a mesh that is going to hold its own against the weather, protect your birds and also be pleasing to look at.

ClearMesh is lightweight, flexible and easy to work with. Being made from stainless steel means that it is anti-corrosive and all weather resistant.

Bird Aviary Mesh with African Grey Parrots

Using ClearMesh will allow you to get creative and build your aviary to any shape and size that you wish. It is also resistant against rodents and other birds, protecting your birds against local predators. When selecting a ClearMesh product you should consider what predators you have in your local area and consult with us.

In the meantime you can order your FREE samples to see for yourself, or you can have a look at our gallery to see how our customers have utilised ClearMesh for their aviaries.

UK Birds of Prey | Hen Harrier

Hen harrier landing in field

The hen harrier is currently one of the most endangered bird of prey species due to its hunting habits finding it in conflict with gamekeepers. Hen harrier numbers have seen a decline, and conservation efforts have been implemented to help increase numbers.

Hen Harrier Statistics

Length: 48 – 55cm.

Wingspan: 1.1m.

Weight: 350 – 500g.

Average lifespan: 7 years.

Number of eggs: 4 – 6.

Incubation time: 29 – 31 days.

Fledgling time: 37 – 42 days.

hen harrier flying through the sky

Conservation

During the Victorian era, hen harrier numbers were in decline, however legal protection helped to put a stop to their numbers from reducing further, and pairs returned to breeding in the uplands of eastern Scotland, northern England and Wales, and the Isle of Wight.

Legal protection seemed to be going well, but their numbers still remained lower than what would be expected from the amount of habitat available.  Research shows that hen harriers continue to be illegally killed by gamekeepers. Conservation efforts such as the LIFE project have been set up to give hen harriers the safety and security that they need to increase their numbers.

When and Where to Find Hen Harriers

During the breeding season, March to August, hen harriers can be found on the upland moorlands of Wales, Northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland. During winter they will move toward the lowland farmland and coasts

Male hen harriers are black, grey and white in colouration, whereas the females are black, brown and white. They both have a short hooked beak and yellow legs.

 

Hen harrier perched in bush

Are you making a hen harrier aviary?...

Whether you’re a falconer or a conservationist, we can supply you with our ClearMesh to make a great looking and practical hen harrier aviary. ClearMesh has been used in previous conservation efforts because of its resistance against rodents and it’s anti-slash properties. Contact us today or order your FREE samples!

Rodent Pest Control Aviary Mesh

Pest control for aviaries rat banner

When keeping birds outside, it is important to consider what form of rodent pest control you will use to keep your birds safe and healthy. Rodents are known for spreading disease and chewing through just about anything that will fit between their teeth.

ClearMesh makes an effective barrier between your birds and rodents, among other pests such as wasps, bee’s and other large insects, so you can house your birds without the added costs of pest control.

Over in South Africa, our ClearMesh35 product was tested against a Cape dune mole rat and tested against corrosion underground to find the most effective and cost efficient material to be used as a mole rat barrier. In order to be efficient, the material would need to be resistant against a mole rat attack whilst also being resistant against corrosion after being buried underground.

The Mole Rat Test

The mole rat test was conducted using a fake perspex burrowing system wherein the mole rat would be starved for 6 hours and then separated from its food via our ClearMesh35 barrier. 2 mole rats were used during the experiment to ensure a conclusive result. 

The Cape dune mole rat is the largest of the species, and has considerably large and sharp teeth. They are considered a pest in South Africa as they chew on roots of trees and plants, destroying gardens and farms.

The underground tunnels that they create can also cause the ground to become unstable. This is especially dangerous around areas such as airport runways and roads.

cape dune mole rat showing its teeth

The test found that both of the mole rats could not penetrate the mesh, giving conclusive evidence to show that ClearMesh is an ideal rodent pest control product.

Rodent Pest Control Underground

The mesh was also tested for its anti-corrosive properties and eco-friendliness as it was placed underground to create a barrier against burrowing mole rats. 

The experiment was a test of the overall efficiency of ClearMesh as a long term pest control product. Efficiency was graded in regards to life cycle cost, environmental friendliness, mole penetration resistance, constructibility and commercial availability.

Installation times were much quicker in comparison to other materials, the mesh did not interrupt the natural underground movement of water, preventing the ground from becoming waterlogged.

rodent pest control mesh being installed into the ground

Whilst underground, the mesh still has not rusted or eroded, due to the anti-corrosive and weather resistant properties of stainless steel. The product was scored a 4.4 out of 5 for overall efficiency.

Predator Proof Enclosures

One of the greatest benefits of using ClearMesh is its ability to protect against rodents, predators and some insects. One of our customers noted that since using ClearMesh they noticed that they were no longer finding maggots in their falcon aviary. 

Plastic nettings or welded meshes are either weak enough for predators to chew through, or the holes are large enough for them to pass through. With the correct ClearMesh product, you can protect your birds/animals against local predators and pests.

A perfect example of this is the RSPB Gough Island project, where our mesh is currently being used to protect vulnerable sea chicks from mice.

You can download the results of our South Africa Cape Dune Mole Rat test here.

UK Birds of Prey | Sparrowhawk

Sparrowhawk perched on branch

The Sparrowhawk is one of the smallest Birds of Prey, and are skilled at hunting smaller bird species. Sparrowhawks are now a widespread species, however this was not always the case, and since their bounce back they have been blamed for the decline of several different songbird species due to their hunting habits.

Sparrowhawk Statistics

Length: 33cm.

Wingspan: 62cm.

Weight: 150 – 260g.

Average lifespan: 4 years.

Number of eggs: 3 – 6.

Incubation: 32 – 35 days.

Fledgling time: Around 4 weeks.

Sparrowhawk flying

Conservation

Sparrowhawks currently have a conservation status of least concern, and are one of the most wide spread falcon species in the UK with an estimated 35,000 pairs. Up until 1961, when they were granted legal protection, Sparrowhawks were at risk of extinction due to deforestation, gamekeepers and pesticides. 

Sparrowhawks are currently experiencing a high morality rate in both adults and fledglings due to food shortages. Just over half of their nests produce any young during breeding seasons. Harsh and prolonged winter weather is believed to cause a decrease in breeding population. 

When and Where to Find Sparrowhawks.

Sparrowhawks can be distinguished by their long and narrow tails and reddish cheeks. Males are smaller, with a blue/grey back and red/brown barred underparts, whereas females appear more brown above, and more grey below.

They tend to breed more in woodland areas, however they can be found almost anywhere within the UK, even your own back garden! 

Sparrowhawks can be found at any time of the year and can sometimes be seen displaying to each other in early spring. This will appear as the males flying up high and then plummeting back down in an attempt to impress the female.

Are you building an aviary?...

ClearMesh has been used by many falconers to build aviaries/mews and flights. You can learn more about this by contacting us or you can order some FREE samples.

UK UV Testing Results

ClearMesh UK UV Testing Results

A couple of weeks ago we shared our UV testing results from the US, and we have just received back our UK UV testing results from Mark (thanks Mark!). The main bulk of our customers are based either in the UK or the US, and so we wanted to have the mesh tested in both of these places. We also wanted to see if the amount of UV allowed into an enclosure would be affected by different environments.

The UK UV Testing Results

ClearMesh 25

The UK UV testing results of the ClearMesh 25 results show a decrease of 26 microwatts, giving an overall decrease of 11.9%.

ClearMesh25 is knit with a 0.265mm wire, making it our thinest wire mesh available in regards to our ClearMesh products.

This products is more suited towards tortoises.

UK UV testing ClearMesh 25 result

ClearMesh 35

The result for ClearMesh35 shows an increase in the outside UV levels, and shows a decrease of 80 microwatts, meaning an overall decrease of 36%.

ClearMesh35 is knit with a 0.35mm wire, a slightly thicker wire than CM25. 

CM35 is best suited to tortoises and other small reptiles.

ClearMesh 35 UV testing results

ClearMesh HT

These UK UV testing results show a decrease in natural UV levels, and a decrease of 76 Microwatts, making the overall decrease at 37%

ClearMesh is our only twin knit CM product available, knit with a 0.265mm wire and a high tensile wire, and was designed to withstand up to 250kg of weight.

This mesh is best suited to medium sized reptiles, and potentially some larger reptiles.

ClearMesh HT UV testing results

The Conclusion

The UK UV testing results show that our standard ClearMesh25 allows more UV into an enclosure, as it is knit from a thinner wire, making the gaps in the mesh larger. You should research your reptile and its UV needs before deciding upon a ClearMesh product.

Our next step is to have our ClearMesh tested against against different reptile species, small to large, to gain a better understanding of what our different products are able to withstand.

If you would be interested in testing our mesh against your reptiles, or know someone who would be interested, then please feel free to contact us. Alternatively, you can order FREE samples to see the product for yourself.

UK Birds of Prey | Buzzard

Buzzard with wings open

The buzzard is now the most common and widespread bird of prey found across the UK. Their numbers have quadrupled since 1970, but they have had a troubling past. Buzzards have a very close appearance to that of the golden eagle, and are often referred to as the ‘tourist eagle’ due to the common confusion between the two species.

According to www.jacobijayne.co.uk, “Buzzards have never been popular with falconers, as they tend to be far too lazy to be taught to fly at live quarry.”

Buzzard Statistics

Length: 51 – 57cm

Wingspan: 113 – 128cm

Weight: 550 – 1,000g (male), 700 – 1,300g (female)

Average lifespan: 8 years.

Number of eggs: 2 – 4

Incubation: 33 – 35 days.

Fledgling time: 50 – 55 days.

Buzzard flying

Conservation

Up until 1970, buzzard numbers were quite low, and buzzard sitings were not as common. Due to gamekeepers and pesticide usage, protection laws were implemented to help increase the number of buzzards. It is now estimated that there may be over 70,000 breeding pairs across the UK, and there is currently no need for conservation efforts other than habitat management to prevent any further threats.

When and Where to Find Buzzards

Buzzards can be found widespread in every country within the UK. They can also be found all year round, but they fly, display and call most often in spring.

The best habitats in which to find them include; woodland, moorland, marshland, villages and sometimes even cities. 

Buzzards are typically brown with a white necklace, white undersides to their wings, a hooked beak and large feet.

Buzzard perched on branch

Are you thinking about building an aviary for your buzzard or another falcon? You can order your FREE samples of our ClearMesh aviary mesh here.

UV Testing Results

ClearMesh UV Testing results

As many of you may know, we have sent samples of our ClearMesh products off to be tested to see how much UV they would allow into a reptile enclosure. We have been seeing some of you in our comments section on FaceBook eagerly awaiting the results of the UV testing, and now the wait is over!

Please note: These tests results are from the US, however we are also having the mesh tested in the UK, more results to follow shortly!

The UV Testing Method

We have sent samples of each of our ClearMesh products to a kind gentleman called Chris over in the US (thanks Chris!), who has then attached these to a wooden frame and used a Solarmeter UV index meter to measure the amount of UV above and underneath the mesh screen. This process was then repeated for each ClearMesh product.

Chris is a reptile keeper and understands the importance of good UV access for the species.

ClearMesh stretched across wooden frame

UV Test Results

ClearMesh 25

The first of the samples to get tested was our standard ClearMesh25, which is single knit with stainless steel 0.25mm wire.

The UV testing results showed the natural UVB levels without the mesh to be 8.1 and 6.7 underneath the mesh.

ClearMesh25 is the finest mesh that we offer and is suitable for tortoises and other floor-bound reptiles, but is not suitable for larger reptiles or reptiles that are prone to climbing.

solar meter reading for ClearMesh 25

ClearMesh 35

ClearMesh35 is also a single knit with a stainless steel 0.35mm wire. This product was created as a stronger alternative to CM25 for birds who have a tendency to bite and pull at the mesh.

The results for this mesh show that the natural UV rose from 8.1 to 8.4, and the level of UV allowed through the mesh is 6.1.

ClearMesh35 is suitable for small reptiles both grounded and climbing.

UV test results for ClearMesh 35

ClearMesh HT

ClearMeshHT is our strongest and most durable ClearMesh product. It is a double knit product with both a 0.25mm wire and a high tensile wire and how been known to hold up to 250kg!

The results for HT show another increase in natural UV, and a level of 5.9 underneath the mesh.

ClearMesh HT is suitable for floor-bound medium to large reptiles, but has not yet been tested against climbing for medium to large reptiles.

UV test results for ClearMesh HT

Conclusion

It goes without saying, that the thicker the wire diameter, the less UV is allowed to pass through. When selecting a mesh to use for your reptile, you should consider both the strength of the mesh and the level of UV that is allowed to pass through.

You should do research into your species to discover how much UV they would need if kept in an outdoor enclosure.

Would you like to test the mesh for yourself? You can order free samples here. We would love for you to contact us with your results!