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Safe play garden idea?

Jyo crow

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Hi, I want to make a mini indoor garden for my birds! I would use a wide, shallow pot and it would have plants and a bowel of water in the middle, so the birds would be free to splash, forage, and poop.

Of course, I have concerns about safety.
  • Dirt - I would get dirt from my garden and rinse it in a strainer and steam it, to hopefully get rid of most bacteria. I will put gravel on top and I won't use fertilizer.
  • Plants - I was thinking herbs like rosemary, dandelion, oregano, and other plants tlike aloe vera, maiden hair fern, seeding grass. Even if they're typically safe, what are the chances of my birds eating too much of something and getting sick?
  • Bacteria - even if I treat the dirt and put gravel on top, they will poop on it. Will this cause harmful bacteria to grow?
I know there are always small risks, but I want to know if there are any significant risks. I want to consider my bird's health, but also to let them have fun and explore.

I want to hear everyone's opinions, and would appreciate any ideas or suggestions.

If I end up making it, I will post it on DIY ideas!
 

flyzipper

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Hydroponics could give you more control over the layout, and eliminates your soil concerns (there are fungal concerns too).

I've been eying something like this...

1655690528154.png
(source)​

... and with perches added to the middle, or boings hung from the top, the birds would have access to the plants without stomping around in them.
 

Jyo crow

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Ooo that sounds awesome. I am trying to work within a small budget tho
 

flyzipper

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Understood, but just take that as inspiration if you like it and Google around a bit :)

Here's a DIY example from Oklahoma State University.
 

Shezbug

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Will things still grow in sterilised soil? If they do would they still have the proper nutritional benefits?

I think the hydroponics would be the best way to go too and I think you will find you can rig up a fairly simple set up on a budget or even find a grow kit being sold as second hand. Some of the most interesting set ups I have seen were using no chemicals or added bacteria- the roots grew into a fish tank and the fish poop fed the plants- I used to visit the shop every opportunity I got to see the fish and the plants growing- seriously fascinating stuff.
 
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