When we first thought about keeping pheasants we knew we needed to build the aviary. With the cost of buying a chicken coop being expensive the only way we could manage a large enclosure for some pheasants was to do the work ourselves. This, although exciting, was a daunting task. Alan had done a little joinery work on the farm at times and felt we could manage but I hadn't done any sort of woodwork since making a kitchen roll holder at secondary school a good number of years before (not a lot of experience really). I was rather expecting the aviary to fall down until we were about half way through building it and I finally realised we were managing to do quite a decent job.
After the tedious task of gaining planning permission was finally over we started off by clearing about 540 square meters of land of grass and our heavy clay soil. Our aviary was to include 16 pens with a safety passage down the centre. Our garden with an existing hedge is in front of where we wanted to build but we decided the aviary would need some protection from the wind on all sides so we intended to surround the building with more hedging. We set about marking out where each pen would start and finish. Each shelter was the entire width of its pen (3.6m) and 2.15m high at the front and 2m at the back. The entrance (doorway) in each shelter was made 0.9m wide and 2m high. We had five fully enclosed shelters and 11 which were left open from the ground at the front up to 1.2m. We did not include a floor in the shelters opting to keep only a thick layer of sand. Our Divisions between each aviary were built with wooden boarding up to a height of 0.6m with the remaining 1.55m above being comprised of 25mm wire netting (16 gauge). Our entire aviary was covered with soft 25mm nylon netting. Below are a couple of plans showing the side elevation of our aviaries and the front of one of the shelters.
We thought it best to include a safety passage which runs the entire length of the aviary between the two rows of eight pens. The passageway is 1.2m wide. We have the gates into each aviary opening out into the passage but this is only personal preference. Corner posts were 2.15m high and 75mm squared. Rails used for aviary and shelter frames were 3.6m x 85mm x 35mm. Boarding used was 3.6m x 0.15m x 18mm. We used the boarding overlapped when constructing the shelters. Originally we had roofed shelters with boarding and roofing felt but would not recommend this as it did not last well. We now have box profile metal sheeting laid on top of our board roofs which is a big improvement. If anyone has further questions about building an aviary we will try our best to help so please feel free to ask.
See the photos of our progress when building our first aviaries.