The project is a rodent proof garbage can to support a bird feeders. It is capable of holding 10kg birds feeders and several large parrots; and is intended for zoo's, wildlife agencies and home aviary's. This special supporting base collects spent seed, preventing the unintended feeding or rodents and allowing for easier aviary cleaning and maintenance.
Background, and why this device is needed
Feeding birds in an aviary or wildlife reserve is not a trivial process in many parts of the world as seed spilt on the ground, during bird feeding, can cause an unsafe build up of rodents. Aside from health issues, rodents are often environmentally damaging.
In aviary situations, especially in Australia, a rodent presence attracts snakes and other native reptiles (which don't live well alongside birds and dogs). Many people are not prepared to handle and relocate snakes, and choose to shoot them instead. This leads to further endangerment of rare snake/reptile species attracted into aviary's for food.
Two main control strategies exist to deal with aviary rodents. 1) regular cleaning of the feed area every day. 2) Poisoning, or otherwise culling the rodents. All attempts at rodent proofing and ultrasonic nose deterrents fail when aviary's reach even a small size.
About the Author
I am a PhD candidate, who amongst other things, maintains an aviary, and rescues snakes/reptiles, in a property close to several "A class" wildlife reserves in Western Australia, I find rodent control a major issue. Often poisoning rodents is not possible due to the effects on other animals which eat the rodent (specifically pet dogs). So I created this unique device, which is currently working very well to prevent rodents obtaining food scraps in aviary's. I share it freely with other bird keepers in hopes of saving many pets and native reptiles.
1) Use a steel or aluminium can that is not destructible by birds, rodents or other wildlife that may be interested in the spilt seed it collects.
2) Don't forget to make holes in the bottom of the can to allow water to flow out. Dont make the holes large enough to allow mice in.
3) Don't forget the top mesh, otherwise birds may get trapped looking for the seed in the can.
4) Use a step sided can which rodents can not climb up (many trash cans are designed to prevent rodent access).
5) You may need a method to secure the cans lid (tire wire from bin handles to mesh) if wind might blow the lid (with feeder attached) off the can.
1) dig a small hole in the ground to sit the can in, the top of the can must be high enough so that rodents can not jump up on to it. (for a field mouse, this is about 2 feet of the ground and 1 foot away from any tree or cage (they jump sideways too).
2) Back fill a little bit of the hole with a bed of crushed stone construction aggregate. This will prevent soil clogging the water release holes in the bottom of the can. (otherwise you may get a swam in a can)
3) Put a coupl of bricks in the bottom of the can to stabilise it against the wind.
4) put any feeder you want on top and bolt/screw it to the wooden cross under the lid.
Step 1: Prepare Lid
The construction is simple.
I present it as one Instruction per photo.
Part A, Prepare the can.
1) Get a tall, smooth sided sturdy metal garbage can and drill some draining holes in the bottom to prevent rainwater collecting.
You may be able to use plastic for small finches in parts of the world which don't have rodents which will simply chew through the side to get at the food. Remember all parrots will destroy a plastic bin, especially if the feeder is empty, or they get bored. Most large parrots will undo the metal handle lid clips fond on many plastic bins.
2) Beat the lid concave with a rubber mallet.
Keep it on the can while doing this so you do not warp the edge.
3) Cut a large hole, leaving only an inch or two of metal on the edge. Use tin snips to do this and wear gloves.
Keep the inside we use it later.
Part B, Make a safety edge for the hole in the lid
4) Cut 1cm notches, spaced evenly all the way around the rim. Make 8 to 12 notches.
5) Pry back the flaps between the notches, toward the underside of the lid.
6) Hammer the edges flat. Leaving the fold, not flat but still rounded.
You should be able to run your finger along the inside without cutting yourself now.