CONSTRUCTION OF SPECIAL FINCH CAGES
Wilmer J. Miller
I have settled on one size that seems to be suitable for breeding Zebra, Society, Canary, and even Lady Gouldian finches!
Welded wire mesh of 1 by 1/2 inch size is used. The inch opening must be vertical for later widening for the plastic mouth of water inserts (Lustar 8 inch glass tubes). [If 3 by 1/2 inch wire is used, the tall 3 inch part must be vertical also. Is 2 by 1/2 inch mesh , or 4 x 1/2 inch mesh available?] Placement of the perches also depends on the vertical placement of the long dimension.
The cage size is 14 x 14 x 24 inches. [Birds fly back and forth much more than up and down.] The door opening is centered in the side 4 inches up The door is 6 inches high by 8 inches wide. This size is necessary for the replacement of the nests and maneuvering the perches, as well as catching the birds.
The wire cuts are made long (about 3/4 inch) so that they can be bent back and crimped around the cross wire. This "rounded" wire side allows hand and arm contact to be safe from cuts. Cuts made as short as possible always seem to allow scratches! Three of the long upper door cuts are left slightly curved outward at the middle and near the ends of the door in order to accept the door itself. The door hangs vertically and swings shut automatically by gravity. Once the finches are used to their cage, no door fastener is necessary. Wooden clothes pins are used otherwise to secure the door.
The ends and sides can be cut from the wire so that there is only one vertical seam needs to be fastened by gage clips (or fastened by the long cut wire crimping). The three corners can be bent by placing a 2 x 4 wood piece crosswise at the exact line to be bent and shaped with a hammer at each wire crossing against the wood. Then the top and bottom, each 14 x 14 x 24 inches, can also be fastened in place with gage clips. Here also the long cuts and bending around the cross wire are necessary to prevent cuts. The wire mesh for the top and bottom has a natural slight bend. This bend should be flattened as much as is easily feasible, but will still "billow" out both for the top and bottom pieces. This "bulge" will flatten out by the weight of the cage for the bottom and the top will flatten similarly, if other cages are placed on top of it. The bulge should NOT be inward since the debris accumulates under it, hastening the need to clean the cage and cardboard setting.
I use cardboard bottoms with lips about 2 1/2 inch high to fit the cages closely. The finch droppings are so dry that cleaning is only necessary once a month! The cages and bottoms are interchangeable since the sizing is the same.
Experimenting with other size wire such as 2 x 1/2 inch may be useful to lessen the weight of the cages when moved for cleaning, removing birds in a dark room, etc.
Just now (February 99) I have had such cages made, and they work well!
Wilmer J. Miller, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org