Every breeder loft needs a sun cage. Not only should it be easy to use, but should be stout enough to prevent predators from getting to the birds. Some time ago I learned that using the wire shelving from Home Depot or Lowes was the way to go. Here you can see a sun cage that I added to the building. The inside three pens are actually for hold over birds, not breeders, but the concept is the same. In this case I was using 12′ long shelving, and I chose the widest depth.
It is important to get the narrow spaced shelving to prevent predators (cats, racoons or even hawks) from reaching in and grabbing birds.
When you cut the ends and the middle pieces, you will want to make sure they are cut from the long piece and not cross-wise. Look at the photo below to see how the pieces come together. It’s imporant to figure it this way so there will be bars for you to “wire it together” all the way around.
And here is a close up picture of how I assemble them. Yes, I use little cable ties to put it all together. Then I use the cage clips to make it more permanent. I’m not sure they need the cage clips, but I tend to overbuild and “make sure”.
The doors are cut in at a convenient location in each section. I have found it works best if they are in the middle. You’re going to want to swing the door from side to side, but don’t. Having the door flip up and down is much better and you are less likely to lose birds out the opening.
Also make sure the door is wide enough to slip in a pan for the bath.
Oh, and if you have a Dremel tool or grinder, once you cut the door opening grind off those sharp edges – trust me, I learned that step the hard way and ended up with an infection in a deep scratch.
The doors are hinged with steel hog-rings. Any clips would probably do, but I’ve found these work well and are very strong.
Now my idea of good catches or locks are simple clips. These are cheap and easy to use. If this cage were low enough that a racoon could stand on the ground and reach these they probably would get in the cage. But I’ve never had them that low, so have never had that problem.
To attach these to the building I used threaded posts, large washers and wing nuts. Just be sure to plan well ahead of time.
OK, that’s not fair, so let me tell you exactly how to lay it out so it doesn’t bite you. Before you start assembling the sun cage, cut one of the long lengths to the proper length. Now hold it up to the building, along the line where the top goes and mark where you want the bolts. Once the whole thing is assembled the top bolts should be sufficient to hang it. After it is hung you can then go back and install the bottom bolts.
Oh, and please make sure you put those bolts into studs or put a backer on them so they don’t pop out of the siding.
When you are finished, frame out the inside to make the hole look nice, BUT do not put a landing board on the inside. If you do, the top cock bird will take that as his position and prevent birds from moving freely in and out. What you see here is narrow enough that they don’t like just sitting there.