Inexpensive Outdoor 4'x8'x8' Flight
With the tight economy and having had to move yet again, I put together a quick and inexpensive modular aviary design suitable for several dove species. The entire aviary cost $136.83 and there are actually still a few leftover materials to go toward another one when the time comes. This is actually made so other flights can be attached right to it making a battery of enclosures if desired. I have used this same design concept several times over the years making flights of varying sizes up to 6' wide x 8' tall x 12' long. This is the first time I have ever had the low cost as a primary objective, however, and it turned out quite well I think.
Materials Qty Item $ Total $ Notes
2"x4"x8" 18 $1.80 $32.40 Basic 2x4 studs. I did rip (cut lengthwise) three of them in half to make my own 2x2's. Factory 2x2's are often warped so this is how I dealt with this. If using factory 2x2's, eliminate three 2x4's.
4'x8' 3/8" OSB 3 $9.00 $27.00 OSB = Oriented Strand Board - Also sometimes called "wafer board." Any plywood would work. Corrugated roofing material would be better but the cost is much higher and so it will be added later.
3" Screws 1 Box $5.00 $5.00 Basic drywall screws.
1 1/2" Screws 1 Box $5.00 $5.00 Basic drywall screws.
Spring Hinges 1 Pair $5.50 $5.50 I like spring hinges as it helps elimate losses since the door automatically closes right behind you. These actually came with a door handle as well as a hook latch for the inside if I want to make sure the door stays closed while I am inside the flight; but the springs are plenty strong to keep the door shut.
3/8" Staples 1 Box $2.50 $2.50 Basic Arrow staples for a heavy duty staple gun which I already own. The staple guns run about $10-$12 to buy.
Door Latch 1 $3.00 $3.00 Lockable with a small padlock. Really, it is just to keep the honest people out. If someone wants to get in bad enough, they will get in.
1" Hex Wire 1 50' Roll $33.50 $33.50 Other types of wire would likely be better, but I was going for economy and have really had pretty good luck with this over the years. I like how the narrower wire (though plenty strong) makes it easier to see inside the flight as well. This will also be painted flat black as I generally do with all my wire which improves visibility even more.
Pine Lath 1 Bundle $13.00 $13.00 I like to use this to cover the staples. Just a little extra precaution and it also looks better in my opinion.
   
Sub Total
$126.90
   
Sales Tax
$7.93
   
Grand Total
$134.83

The branches I am using for perches came from a local overgrown tree. No cost there. I will be making nest boxes and a feeder from the leftover scraps. I want to put a pair of moderate sized exotics like Bar Shoulders, Australian Cresteds, Lacenecks or the like along with some Diamond Doves in this one to begin with. I wish the birds were as economical as the cage ;-)

There are some pictures below. Click on the pictures to see them larger (pictures will open in a new window/tab).

     

This one shows some dimensions. The wire you see crumpled on the floor inside will actually be used around the bottom and covered with a layer of soil and sod. This is to keep out the critters who might try to dig.

The top and two feet of the back are enclosed for shelter. During Winter months, the flight will be covered almost entirely with plastic sheeting and heated with a heat lamp.

The door is on spring hinges and locks. It is actually tall enough for me to get in without stooping too much. Eventually I will attach a man trap to take care of any possible escapees but until then the spring-loaded door will be very helpful in this regard.

My intent is to paint all of the wood a flat dark green color and the wire will be painted flat black.

The nest boxes will be placed at varying heights on the back wall. Probably three or four to provide a choice of nesting sites.

I love using natural branches as perches when it is feasible. The birds really seem to prefer it as well. I will also provide a flat perch along the back during the Winter months to keep toes warm.