Home » MODERN BUDGIE AVIARIES FOR CITY SUBURBS By Don Burke

MODERN BUDGIE AVIARIES FOR CITY SUBURBS By Don Burke

MODERN BUDGIE AVIARIES FOR CITY SUBURBS        By Don Burke

 

DON BURKE

 

 

NOISE

 

Perhaps the biggest problem facing poultry and budgie clubs and breeders is the fact that many councils won’t allow noisy budgie aviaries in suburbia. For similar reasons, you are not allowed to keep roosters in the suburban areas of cities & towns either. This has almost destroyed many budgie and poultry clubs in these areas. There must be hundreds of people in each state of Australia who don’t keep budgies or who don’t breed poultry because “council regulations don’t allow it”.

 

It is so easy to blame the councils, but perhaps the real problem is the budgie and poultry clubs. Councils are responsible for many of the basic quality of life issues for local residents – so, if roosters and budgie aviaries are creating a nuisance or a problem for local rate-payers, councils must react to complaints from affected residents.

 

So far as I know, no elected officers from any budgie or chicken club have ever made an organised attempt to co-operate with their council in noise abatement. This is the cause of most of our troubles. Noise is a major issue in modern living: noise from cars, aeroplanes, trucks, motorbikes, factories, motor mowers, excavators, tractors, jackhammers, blowers, air conditioners, fireworks, alarms, parties, loud music, etc etc.

 

Responsible councils simply MUST have sensible noise regulations. But in this there is hope. In general, reasonable councils control noise by three measurable aspects: loudness measured in decibels, by the time of day that the noise happens, and the proximity to the neighbours’ dwelling. So you can’t operate loud machinery before, say, 7am on most mornings nor after 10pm at night. Equally, the noise must be below, say, 50 decibels. Lastly the (in this case) aviary or pen must be at least, say, 10m from next door’s home.

 

If an aviary or pen complies with the council rules, in general, council can’t ask for its removal. So what each budgie club in Australia needs to do is to request a meeting with the senior council officer in charge of noise issues and ask what are the local rules for noise. Ideally (in other words – if you don’t want to waste your time) you should have brushed up on noise abatement technology prior to the meeting. These days, there are many noise-reduction technologies. In modern sound studios, the walls are wavy which creates varying angles of sound reflections. These sounds then tend to interfere with each other and cancel each other out, causing ‘white noise’. That means significantly reduced sound levels. Surely we could develop hard wavy walls that aren’t chewable for use in aviaries and also in chicken pens.

 

Ideally, all pens and aviaries should face North to get maximum sunlight for the birds, but perhaps you can face the structure away from the neighbours’ place. Perhaps you can close it up at night to suppress noise. Gary Gazzard (a top exhibition budgie breeder) has his aviaries inside one wing of his house. Professional aviary manufacturers could be asked to build noise-reduced pens and aviaries. Your club could support them with free ads in the club magazine. The manufacturer would sell many more pens and aviaries and the club would get more members. Another simple idea with budgies is to factor in the neighbours’ sleep patterns when setting your aviary lighting timers. Budgies are far more noisy when they are awake.

 

If just ONE reasonable council can be found in Australia, we could build a set of fair regulations with them that provide REASONABLE protection for chicken breeders, budgie breeders and their neighbours. This needs to be set out in precise noise measurements, noise times, and aviary distances from adjacent dwellings. Then we could slowly encourage other councils to adopt these regulations. For instance, with party noise, police or council officers are required to measure the “offending” sound levels: if the noise falls below the nuisance level, then they go back to the complainant and say that the noise level is not illegal. This can happen with pens and aviaries. Councils are not the enemy: they are doing an essential job.  The real enemy is the inconsiderate chicken or budgie breeder or club who doesn’t care about their neighbours.

 

At the moment, poultry and bird clubs are much more stable in country areas due to the larger blocks and the generally more rural nature of the housing areas.

 

 

 

UGLINESS

 

Most budgie aviaries and chicken pens are pig-ugly. Years ago, in the 1950s and the 1960s, backyards were largely wasteland. We kids colonised much of the space for fun and games. Mum had her clothesline, dad had his rough as guts grass (not lawn), his shed and maybe his primitive vegie garden and the kids used much of the rest. The backyard was a pretty ugly place, so an ugly jerry-built aviary or chicken coop didn’t look out of place.

 

Today, backyards are beautifully landscaped areas full of swimming pools, manicured lawns, raised vegie gardens, trampolines, modern swing sets, garden lighting and lavish paved entertaining areas with giant stainless steel barbeques. Most people would be horrified by the idea of an ugly chicken coop or aviary amongst all of their beautiful backyard landscaping – in their TINY modern backyard. While there are attractive, small chicken cages available, attractive larger breeding pens are largely absent.

 

Yet the poultry and budgie clubs seem oblivious to this problem. When I wanted an ugly backyard aviary in 1955, my parents couldn’t care less because they didn’t use most of the backyard and it was already ugly anyway. Obviously, we need to talk to the professional chicken pen and/or aviary builders and ask them to offer more modern-looking structures that fit in with modern backyards. As a professional in this area, I must say that professional pen and aviary design has lagged far behind house and landscape design. Equally, the budgie clubs need to hand out classy designs to members so that they can build really gorgeous-looking but quiet structures. Maybe we could approach project home builders to incorporate attractive modern pens or aviaries into a few of their display homes. These builders know how to work with local councils AND they have great access to top designers and landscapers.

 

If we fix these issues, when kids ask their parents for a chicken coop or a budgie aviary, their mum & dad will be far more likely to say: “Let’s have a look at what is available”. Or, “I saw a really beautiful one at the display village, let’s check it out!”

 

SMELL

 

While budgies don’t smell all that bad, poultry pens can really stink after heavy rains. We need to develop better ways to keep pens dry or to minimise odour. This should be fairly easy.

 

The budgie and poultry clubs are still living back in the 1950s. We need to modernise our clubs and the situation with modern pens and aviaries.

 

………….Otherwise, soon, there will be very few or no poultry or budgie clubs.

 

 

 

 

 

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