How to keep lories and lorikeets

All none breeders will say, birds don't belong in aviaries but in the wild. But they forget their habitat is being destroyed, there is not very much space left for many species because of palmoil industries, ricefield, ..., also many on small islands are being treathened by invasive rats, which eat the eggs and chicks.

Also many are being taken from the wild for the local markets, which keep them as pets and don't breed with them.

In Europe and probably elsewere also is already an importban many years. Only in Asia they can do what they want.

So the birds we have here are already here many generations.

And to keep them in aviculture we must do our best, to give the birds the best we can.

As lorikeets and lories are different then other parrots and parakeets because they are nectar and fruit eaters, (none seed eaters) they need a different aviary.

I have seen many breeders start with lories/keets, but only a few survive the first year, most stop in the first 6 month's. Their big mistake is putting lories/keets in aviaries for Parrots/keets. Certainly when also the aviaries made of wood.

And yes I do agree it is a big financial cost to make avairies for birds you never had, and you first want to try with this species. But if you do, look at the character, the activity they have, the tameness when you work with them. And forget the bad parts, the feeding and the cleaning for a moment.  There is no other bird where you get so much joy seeing them in your avairy. When you realise this, then think of the bad parts, the feeding is nothing you can do about it, but for the cleaning you can make it easier!

You can solve this by making your avairy more practical. But when you start , you want more of them, so better make enough aviaries. :-)

How should you make your aviary?

This is a question with many answers, depending, which weather you have in your country, if there are many predators( as snakes), as pair or as colony , how many, which species,  ...

But I think a few are important.

  1. easy to clean.
  2. environmental enrichment.
  3. rest
  4. temperature (depending on which species)
  5. light
  6. nestbox

I maybe have forgotten a few, which I will at later.

1. easy to clean.

The main thing is, that you build your aviary, with material which doesn't rot or rust, so not made of wood or iron,..., the most used here are made from aluminium profiles, which is easy to make decent aviaries.

You can build aviaries starting form the ground (traditional aviary), or hanging / standing on legs. So called suspended avairy.

A suspended aviary is a wired box made of welded wire.

Both types have their benefits .

One of the benefits of a traditional aviary , that you can enter the aviary, which allow you to get more contact with the birds. Also the birds have more space, which they sure will use, as they are very active birds.

Some say it is more stressful when you clean the aviary, certainly when breeding.

I agree for new birds it is stressful, but after some time they get used of it, and don't give any problem, also when breeding, some birds stay in the nestbox, other will leave, but after the cleaning they will return to the eggs or young, I personally have not lost any young or egg when cleaning.

The benefits of a suspended aviary is that they are not so expensive as the other traditional ones, and are more mobile, which in some cases also can be handy.

Another benefit is that they don't sit in their own dirt.

When having this aviary inside, you can also clean the floor, without disturbing the birds. But don't forget to clean the wire also, because a little bit also stick on it, and as lories are know to lick on everything they can get bad bacteria back inside.

Another problem can arise when chicks fledge, they can stick their leg through the wire at the bottom, and when they panic at that moment when someone or something is at the aviary, he wants to fly, but can get injured on his leg or in the worst case even break his leg.

Other things you need to think of when you need to build a birdhouse, is that all the other things need to be cleaned easy also.

When it is possible, the floor with tiles or concrete (with some special paint on it). Also when possible is to make a gutter, which is very handy when you only keep lories/keets. If you keep other birds (seedeaters) the gutter can give a problem because of the seeds who will sprout.

If a gutter is not possible, you can cover the bodem with woodshavings, aubiose, or something else suitable to absorb the wet squirts from the lories/keets.

For the sides of the birdhouse are isulated wall panels (sandwich panels) very good, because they are easy to clean and also isulate in 1 time.

Also the roof can be made with this material.

A birdhouse is very good for controling external bad problems.

Thinking of the cold or rain, or too hot. But also for firework, which happen regulary at my place, but I have not lost any.

2. environmental enrichment

Lories are very active, and to prevent that they get bored, we can give them several items.

One of the main thing is given them regulary fresh branches, so they can pinch of the leaves and bark.

A second item is toys. for example swings, buyed and/or made yourself.

But also small plastic balls which are being sold for cats, or something cheap a plastic bottle cap, or a plastic spoon, they play with everything.

You can make them a bit difficult to get on their food, for example a piece of fruit on a rope, so they must hang upside down, swinging, to eat it, or variation give a whole fruit instead of chopped, it will keep them for hours busy.

Another good treat is flowers, but be sure it is non toxic flower, I will add later a list of flowers which can be given. Mine get regulary hibiscus, rose and passion flowers.

And of course also daily fresh water, is also an enrichment as they love badding, and after

3. rest

Some will disagree about this, but in my opinion they must have a space where they don't see the neighbour birds. Not over the total length, but the inside aviary or at least the area close to the nestbox.

The outside aviary can be with wire, but better with double wire so they don't pinch the neighbours toes off. I know many who have single wire and they claim it is not a problem, but there are agressiv birds in breeding season, and 1 or more toes gone, can mean the end of breeding with that bird, so don't take that risk.

Also something what is regulary being sayed is they need to see the neighbours to get them also in breeding mood. I have my aviaries all closed and they still breed and many on the same time, it is not that they can't see them but they still can hear each other, which get them in breeding mood. By the way I made also the outside aviaries closed so they would not fight / discuss with the neighbour birds, so my neighbours would not complain about the noise, but it doesn't help they still talk to each other,  only not fighting.

4. Temperature:

The temperature is also very important.

It should not be to cold, I would say for the bigger species not below 0°C (32°F). They can survive lower temperatures but I would not recommend it. For the smaller and weaker species (as Charmosyna's) not below 10 °C (50°F), but listen to what temperature the breeder hold it, because some keep them even warmer around 18°C (64,4 °F) , then can the 10°C I told you, be to cold (in the beginning). I started with the smaller species, as they are my first lories I kept, I did not have any problem by keeping them at 10°C even the chicks in the nestboxes did not have any problem with it.

5. light:

Light is of course also very important. Natural sunlight when possible. If not possible you can use artificial light. The best is of course the special uv daylight. But led or TL lamps work also well.

In the wild they have around 12h. daylight, so we should also give them 12h light, I give mine even 14h light a day. Giving them less then 12h. can result that the chick don't grow good or die, because they have to wait to long for food.

6. nestbox:

I give them always a nestbox so they can sleep in it, not all will do this but the most do.

Lories are easy in what they want as box , you can give them any model ( horizontal, vertical, slanting, L shape, natural hollow,...), I have tested many, and let them choose, they don't have 1 shape they prefere, even pairs from the same species will not always choose the same model. I use 2 types now vertical and slanting, and always with a inside box , for the nestingmaterial , I always have 2 boxes who fit in it, when 1 is dirty and need to change I make the other ready and can quick swap it with the other on. I will at some pictures later.

Just remember when choosing one, that it is big enough, but also not to big, most species lay only 2 eggs, so when there is room for 4 it is certainly big enough. For the bigger species I use a bottem size 20 cm x 20 cm (7,9 x 7,9 inch) for the smaller 15 cm x 15 cm (5,9 x 5,9 inch) or what I mostly use for small species is a horizontal box, the same model which they use for lovebirds. But for the moment I only have bigger species.

My avairy:

my aviary is not a typical aviary, however it is made with the same benefits the bigger loribreeders got.

I have an inside and outside aviary, they can go always in and out, even if it freeze or snowing they still come out and play, but of course not so long.

My aviaries are build with aluminium profiles and wire same size as used for parakeets (1,9 cm x 1,9 cm).

The sides of the avairy are closed so they can not see eachother which give rest for the birds certainly when breeding.

As the floor I have made it with tiles, and a gutter, to remove the water easy.

The walls are from isulated wall panels (sandwich panels), also the roof is isulated and coverted with plastic boards.

All this inside is easy to clean, with high presure washer.

This in made inside a wooden gardenhouse, this is not necessary, but for me it is nicer looking.

Also my outside aviaries are made of aluminium panels, and also here the floor is with tiles, except the 2 who are later build, I was too lazy to make new concrete, and laying tiles, so these got big stones (Carrera) on the floor.

So also this is designed for easy cleaning, with a high pressure washer.

I also have inside:

heating, I never let it go below 10°C (50°F).

Light,  I let the light on for 14h.

Also use only stainless steel bowls and holders, because when you buy it, the bowl is stainless steel, but the holder is in most cases galvanised, this will rust very quick.

Now for the birds to give them something busy. I have different sizes of branches, the thickness vary which is good for the feet gymnastic. I have different swings, some buyed O -ring, rope and some I have made myself with a branch, schrewing a bolt inside (where you have cut it), so it hang upside down. Some pairs also have plastic catballs for playing which you can see in the videos. And I am now letting passionflowers grow over the aviary, which also give them something to do, almost every leaf or branch growning inside will be destroyed, and the passionflower also give many flowers which you can give them, I also give other flowers as roses and hybiscus which grow in my garden.

Also they get regulary fresh branches of willow to bite the leafs and bark of.

Some videos of my happy birds,when the birds are happy I am happy too.

The aviaries from Gerhard Hinz (Germany).

Gerhard have made it a little different then mine. With also some very good breeding results in it.

He manage to breed very good with his vini's and phigys.

The aviaries from Norbert Epping (Netherlands).

He also have inside and outside aviaries, inside he also heat it, to around 18°C (64,4 °F)

In the enclosure he keep various species of lories and lorikeets.

The aviaries from Mark Caudwell. (Australia)

The first video is for his lories, it’s 3 mtrs long and 1.2 mtrs wide x 1.2 high nest boxes in walkway for easy access the wire is 25 x 25mm x 2.5 mm thick wire . I make it out of this wire because I can put anything in there.

The second video is for his lorikeets, these are a bit smaller .

The water is out the front in a small box to stop them shitting in it and it is on a timer that goes off 4 times a day .

I get my doors folded up and hang the dry food in the centre of the door and this stops the rodents getting into it.

The aviaries from Ken Hayman

These individual suspended aviaries measure 0,9m x 0,9m x 2,4m. We don't get extreme cold weather here in Sydney Australia , I have used this setup for a number of years and have had great success with them.

Also a fine micro spray system is a must , it cools the birds down in the extreme heat. It is not unusual for the weather to reach 40 degrees and over here in Sydney.

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