I drilled and inserted two dowel rods through the crate so the birds would have something to hold onto during the trip. I used a cotter pin on each side to hold the rods in place.
This completed the air-mailer for birds. It was lighweight, sturdy, and served its purpose. The birds arrived safely and the box was as good as new when the trip was over!
The size of the crate needed to be 24" X 18" X 6" high. Making the box itself was not too difficult, but I wanted to make sure it was lightweight since shipping costs are based on weight. I used 1/4" luan plywood for the top and bottom, and 1/2" plywood for the sides, back, and front. I cut strips of scrap wood at the joints, where I glued and nailed the plywood to. A handle was attached on each side so the crate could be easily lifted and carried.
As you can see in this photo, the front has a sloped corner where I attached mesh so the birds would have some ventilation. This also allowed them to be viewed during their ordeal. A cloth could be put over the box so they wouldn't be too stressed.
The back of the box required a door that could easily be removed, yet not come open while on the airplane. I made the back in two pieces, with a gap between them. I cut a 1/4" slot where the door would slide up and down between them. No hinges needed. I screwed in a small, threaded insert and a thumb screw was used to hold the door closed.
HOW TO BUILD A SHIPPING BOX FOR BIRDS
A friend of mine has a hobby that involves breeding and raising show birds. He breeds a special type of canary for the purpose of entering them in bird shows. He has fellow bird enthusiasts all over the world and recently had to ship about 20 of his prized Glosters to England. He wanted to make sure they got there safely, so he asked if I could design a special shipping crate to air-mail them across the pond. Here's how I built a mailer for his birds.