This is where our outside Chipmunks live. We started with two bird aviaries we bought from Riverside Aviaries that have been adapted to make them suitable for Chipmunks. The first one is nine foot long by three foot in width and six foot high (green). The second one is six foot length by three foot width by six foot height (brown). Both were complete units each with a safety porch and a large wooden house but we didn't need two safety porches so we took out some panels and sealed off the outer door. The two aviaries are now accessed by one safety door. Each aviary has been double meshed to prevent Cats clawing at the Chipmunks (we originally used 13mm square mesh for the outside layer as we mistakenly thought it would keep out everything but it turns out it needs to be much smaller than this to stop Mice getting in), the roof is covered to keep them more protected from bad weather. The floor is concreted so they cannot dig out or Foxes cannot dig in. Both have a night house (meshed inside) to sleep in which is fully protected from the weather and cold. Inside each Chipmunk has its own smaller nest box with lots of warm bedding. We have bark chips for the floor so the Chipmunks can bury food naturally and also compost. There are shelves which the Chipmunks like to sit on, wheels, ropes, tunnels, branches so hopefully they have lots to do.
The first two aviaries were built in 2009 and in 2011 we built an extension of three aviaries onto the two existing aviaries. It was nearly five months of work to build them and then a further two months of work last year (2014) to Mouse-proof the aviaries. Two of these newer aviaries are a similar size to the two existing ones with the third new one a small aviary of about three foot by four by six foot high. Altogether we have 5 aviaries.
Like the first two aviaries these ones have concrete flooring and the Sycamore tree (we checked it is safe for Chippies) that aviary 3 was built around was concreted over as well so they couldn't chew through the roots or dig out. That tree died soon after that aviary was built but lasted five years without causing a problem but this year it had to be dug up because the concrete on top of the roots had started to crack as the tree was rotting underneath. We have kept the tree but its no longer connected into the ground, it just stands up freely in the aviary. The concrete floors are covered in wood chips. We have double-meshed both sides of the frames, we have quite alot of Cats in the neighbourhood that will try and claw at the aviary so this keeps the Chippies safe from Cat's claws. It also stops the Chippies biting each other through the mesh as the aviaries are divided by wire mesh. The back wall and left side wall have been covered over by wood (the wood is meshed over) this is so Cats can't hide behind and bother the Chippies, it also gives better protection from the weather.
We changed the roof, originally it was flat and was wood covered with shed roofing felt but it didn't last long, after some bad snow and ice the roof leaked in places and soon started rotting it also made the aviaries dark especially the back aviaries. The new roof is now slanted both sides with an overhang at the front and is corrogated plastic sheets. Its changed things so much, the back aviaries are now light and even the front ones are so much lighter. The Chippies seem to like it, they can look up at the sky instead of boring wood, It is better for them because Chipmunks need vitamin D3 from the sun and it looks so much nicer.
Each aviary has its own house which is a big nestbox in which smaller nestboxes are inside and their food bowls and litter tray. Every house is wire meshed so they cannot chew through the wood.
Lottie's babies in Aviary 2 night house from 2011
View from the side of front aviary and one behind. This was before the Mouse-proofing was done.
Aviary 2 upper part of inside flight with Isabella's babies taken a few years ago (first picture). Aviary 4 the lower part of the inside flight.
The next photos are views from the front. The aviary far left has its own safety porch so i don't have to go through aviary 4 which joins onto aviary 5 at the back to get to it. The wooden panels are sheets of hardwood just used to provide better shelter for the Chippies, behind those we have normal wire-meshed panels. The outside panels have all been Mouse-proofed with 6mm square wire mesh and we have also now added guttering to the roof.
Last pic is the view from above
Updated 22nd December 2015