Nutritional Content of the Diets of Free-living Scarlet Macaw Chicks in Southeastern Peru

Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA.
Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery (Impact Factor: 0.39). 03/2010; 24(1):9-23. DOI: 10.1647/1082-6742-24.1.9
Source: PubMed


To provide novel information on psittacine diets, we analyzed the texture, crude protein, crude fat, Ca, P (total), Mg, K, Na, S, Cu, Fe, and Zn concentrations of crop contents from 10 free-living scarlet macaw (Ara macao) chicks from lowland forests of southeastern Peru. We compared our results with nutrient concentrations of known wild parrot foods and published psittacine dietary recommendations to highlight similarities and differences and suggest future avenues of research. The diets were much coarser textured than those recommended for hand feeding. Soil in the diet provided an important source of Na, but Na levels were still lower than all recommendations. Concentrations of protein, Zn, K, Cu, and P (total) were near to or within the range of recommendations for captive psittacine birds. Fat, Ca, and Mg concentrations were greater in crop contents than in the average food plants and greater than published recommendations. The Na:K ratios were only one-twentieth of those recommended for young poultry. Future analyses should investigate the bioavailability of Fe, Ca, and Zn in these diets and the effects of varying concentrations of fat, Na, Ca, Mg, and Na:K ratio on psittacine growth and development.

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    ABSTRACT: The gastrointestinal microbiota plays a fundamental role in health and disease. Only limited data are available about the composition of the intestinal microbiota of captive animals compared to those of wild animals. The aim of the present study was to characterize the cloacal microbiota of apparently healthy wild and captive parrots. A total of 16 parrots, 8 wild and 8 captive, belonging to 3 different species, were used in this study. Cloacal material was collected via cloacal swabbing. DNA was extracted and 16S rRNA genes were amplified using universal bacterial primers. Constructed 16S rRNA gene clone libraries were compared between groups. A total of 518 clones were analyzed, and 49 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were identified. The OTUs were classified in 4 bacterial phyla: Firmicutes (72.9%), Proteobacteria (14.9%), Actinobacteria (12%), and Bacteroidetes (0.2%). Bacterial diversity was significantly lower in wild birds than in captive birds. Principal component analysis based on the Unifrac distance metric indicated that the cloacal microbiota differed between wild and captive parrots. Staphylococcus saprophyticus was significantly more abundant in wild birds, while Escherichia coli was significantly more abundant in captive birds. In conclusion, wild and captive parrots appear to have differences in the composition of their cloacal bacterial microbiota. The clinical significance of these differences remains to be determined.
    Veterinary Microbiology 12/2010; 146(3-4):320-5. DOI:10.1016/j.vetmic.2010.05.024 · 2.51 Impact Factor
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    01/2011, Degree: PhD in Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Supervisor: Janssens GPJ
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    ABSTRACT: Hand rearing of neonates is a common practice for the propagation of psittacines. However, nutritional requirements for their growth and development are not well understood, and malnutrition is common. We analysed the amino acid (AA) profile of the crop contents of 19 free-living scarlet macaw (Ara macao) chicks, 19-59 days old. Predicted metabolizable energy (PME) density was 16.9 MJ/kg DM and true protein (total AA protein) 8.3 g/MJ PME. Crude protein (CP) was 10.0 g/MJ PME, lower than the requirements of 0- to 12-week-old leghorn chicks but not different than the requirements of growing budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) and lovebirds (Agapornis spp.). The mean concentrations of leucine, isoleucine, threonine, lysine (Lys) and methionine on a PME basis were below the minimum requirements of 0- to 12-week-old leghorn-type chicks. The calculated PME density of the samples did not vary with age. However, there was a significant negative correlation between the average age of the chicks and the Lys concentration. We conclude that the lower CP and AA densities compared with poultry could result from a combination of (i) differences in the essential AA composition of the body tissues, (ii) adaptations that allow the birds to grow on low-protein food sources and (iii) suboptimal nutrition of these free-ranging chicks.
    J Anim Physiol a Anim Nutr 08/2011; 96(6). DOI:10.1111/j.1439-0396.2011.01218.x · 1.41 Impact Factor
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