Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Springfield, MA Shown: Our traveling aviaries indoors with sawdust below
Sometimes due to weather or space, we have to set up our bird aviaries inside the arena buildings instead of outside. Our first preference, weather permitting, is outside by a tree (for shade) on grass. But when the birds have to be indoors, it really changes things up. While in West Palm Beach, Florida, we were super tight on space for the show and the birds were put inside the building. It was great because where they were was perfect for the non show birds to sleep during the show, and they had their own ushers to look out for people getting near the cages. But the one thing that I hated was that I spent all this time laying out pieces of butcher paper on the bottoms of the aviaries just for the birds to fly around and mess it up, and to go and shred it so in the end there was nothing catching their droppings. The worst thing about it for me, was that it LOOKED bad and dirty, all the time.
Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Springfield, MA Shown: Camelot Macaws "Tusa", "Comet" & Military Macaw "Crash" feeding themselves organic pellets...
Since we have other animals in the circus that require the use of sawdust, we decided to use some of that instead. Now for most people, newspaper is perfect for the bottoms of their cages, but for our indoor aviary situations, sawdust was more than perfect! In using it, it always looked nice and I loved that when people poked their heads in to see the birds, they saw something clean and nice looking. Plus, it worked like a charm. It held onto everything (droppings) and cleaned up nice. I used a broom (well, Bob used a broom...) and I used a shovel at the end of the week to put all the used sawdust with toy remains and all, into the trash. It cleaned up way easier than I expected and with the help of a broom, it was manageable to keep contained even with all our birds being fully flighted and fully charged with energy! So, if you're ever touring huge arenas with your birds and need to put their aviaries indoors and need something to look nice and work well for the bottom of them... there's your solution! Hehehe... Note: Don't use sawdust in small spaces like travel cages, or anywhere where the bird would have to inhale it a lot as it can clog sinuses and make it harder to breathe. Only use it in open spaces with lots of air flow, and whenever available try to use untreated grassy areas or floors that you can wash down with water.
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.