Rehabilitation

 

Water water water! 
Gulls can't have too much water and it has to be clean so where will it all go? Any gull aviary needs a good water supply and excellent drainage. Gulls have to be waterproof prior to release and constant clean water is essential for this. It is vital to change the water as often as required because any bathing in water that is even slightly dirty will harm the waterproofing and be counter productive. Unfortunately gulls that are in captivity for any length of time also need to keep their delicate feet clean and dry! We have designed our aviary to allow for this by building a wall around the pond so the wet area is on one side and the other side stays dry. We love Aubiose which is a bedding made from hemp which was designed for horses. This bedding draws any moisture and poo down so that, if it is changed weekly, the gulls are always on dry, clean flooring. This bedding is also great for teaching babies to dig for worms and other foods when they are released-just scatter some mealworms around and they are kept busy looking for them. When we released the last of our babies on the beach this year the first thing they did was peck around in the sand looking for food, we were very proud.
Gulls get on well with each other but in order to reduce squabbling it is vital that they have many different heights to get out of each other's way if needed. If you think of the wild then it is obvious that gulls like to sit on walls and groynes so we have put shelves and different posts and walls in our aviary. Try to make shelves from decking that has grooves so that it stays cleaner and remember that the tops of posts and walls should be wiped clean daily. Do not use detergents near the pool as it would be a disaster if these got onto feathers. 

Food-
Gulls love fish! We use herring (their favourite obviously} and sardines and these work for all ages. A baby gull can eat more than a whole herring in one sitting so it is not cheap to look after them. We give our birds a main diet of fish but they also love chicks and mealworms. It is good for them to have a whole cabbage to peck at and loaves of brown bread as this gives them extra vitamins. Always give too much food rather than too little. After the main meal we would give them a break then later in the day they would be given food that takes a bit of finding or pecking as this keeps them busy. A happy aviary would have busy birds in it. They should be flying, bathing, preening or pecking for food. Gulls do sleep during the day and are just as likely to bathe at night so keep the water full. 

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