The Temporary Aviary
The Frame
Ventilation Panels
Mounting Perches
Finishing Touches



Installing the Aviary Ceiling

Aviary Ceiling


We decided to build the ceiling using ceiling panel mounts and egg crates. Egg crates are plastic grids with 1/2" square openings that can be found in your home improvement store's lighting installation department. The grids can be silver or white. I prefer white, but white was not available at the time we were shopping for supplies, so I used silver instead. We were going to use prismatic acrylic transparent sheets instead of the egg crates, but our initial tests of this material showed that it was a little flimsy (at least with the acrylic piece we purchased from Home Depot). My fear was that the button quail might actually hit the ceiling, causing the flimsy panels to fall out and break, potentially hurting the birds in the process. We found that the egg crate was much firmer and not at all likely to fall from the ceiling panel mounts. Using egg crates also meant that the full-spectrum light passes through the ceiling unfiltered by plastic or glass of any sort.

To install the ceiling, we first used the L-shaped ceiling mounts. We screwed these to the walls on all sides, ensuring that they were mounted level and that all screws on the back and sides were inserted through the paneling and into the 2x4 studs that made up the aviary frame. (Remember, click on any image to enlarge.)

L-shaped ceiling mount screwed to inside of aviary front.
L-shaped ceiling mount screwed to aviary back wall. Screws were positioned at the 2x4 studs in the aviary frame.
L-shaped ceiling mounts on all sides. We tested at several locations to make sure all L-mounts were level.

Because the aviary was wider than the width of an egg crate grid, we needed to add an additional mount across the aviary, the distance of one egg crate width from the back wall. A T-shaped mount was used for this purpose. The T-shaped mounts are designed such that 2 or more can be joined together if longer distances are needed. The T-shaped mount was cut at each end to fit the length of the aviary (note that we made sure to cut the T-shaped mount at a connector slot on the end that we were starting on, to guarantee there would be another connector slot at exactly one egg crate length away from the wall).

The long T-shaped mount was joined to the L-shaped mount at each side of the aviary with a screw. To provide additional support for this very long T-shaped mount, we used hanging screws and hanging wire. The hanging screws were screwed into the 2x4s in the frame ceiling. Hanging wire was attached to the loop in the hanging screw and then attached to the T-shaped mounts via slots cut into the mount for this purpose. Once again, we ensured that the mount was hung level.

Hanging Wire
Hanging screws were attached to the 2x4 supports in the ceiling frame. Hanging wire suspended the T-shaped mount from the hanging screws. Again, it was important to ensure this mount was hung level.
T-shaped mount. Note the holes for the hanging wire and the slots for connecting additional T-shaped mounts vertically

Next, a short T-shaped mount as long as the width of one egg crate was attached from the long T-shaped mount to the L-shaped mount at the back wall. This piece was attached to the T-shaped mount via slots that exist in the long T-shape mount for this purpose. It was attached to the L-shaped mount view a screw. It was positioned exactly one egg crate length from the side wall. This created a framed rectangle the size of one egg crate in the back corner of the aviary. An egg crate was then set into the frame, supported on all sides by the mounts.

An even shorter T-shaped mount was connected from the long T-shaped mount (at the same point as the last piece was connected) to the front of the aviary, creating another rectangle that was the length of an egg crate but only a fraction of the width. An egg crate was cut to fit this rectangle, using a pliers to twist out the grid prongs along the border of the piece we needed. This piece of egg crate was then set into the mounted frame.

The L- and T-shaped mounts combine to form rectangles into which egg crate could be set.
Egg Crate
The egg crate could be cut to fit smaller spaces by using a pliers to twist the prongs out along the border of the desired rectangle.

The above method was repeated all the way across the aviary. The end result was a sturdy framed egg crate ceiling. The full-spectrum lights were still accessible through the bottom by lifting and sliding the egg crates over. (The lights are also accessible through the top (without disturbing the birds inside), by swinging the shop lamp fixtures up).

Aviary Ceiling
Lying on the aviary floor looking up at the finished ceiling.

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4 egg crate grids (used for lighting)

3 12-ft L-shaped ceiling mounts

Long and short T-shaped ceiling mounts.
Hanging wire  
Hanging screws  
Remember, click on any photo to enlarge!