Article

The effect providing space in excess of standards on the behaviour of budgerigars in aviaries

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Abstract

Budgerigars housed in conventional cages have no opportunity for some normal behaviours, in particular flight, and develop stereotyped behaviours. Increasingly aviaries are used for groups of budgerigars but the minimum space requirement to support normal behaviour is not known. We compared the behaviour of budgerigars in three aviaries, with 0, 28 and 56% increases in space above the minimum size required by Queensland Government, 0.65m³/bird. Groups of four birds were accommodated in each aviary and behaviour was video-recorded over three 21day periods in a changeover design. Flight distance increased with space allowance (P=0.001), and more flights were initiated at the start of each period in the largest aviaries (P=0.03), which is evidence of thwarted motivation for flying in the smaller aviaries. After budgerigars had spent a period in the small aviaries, they had increased flight times if they were in the larger aviary in the subsequent period (P=0.003). Budgerigars with low space allowance flapped their wings (P=0.05) and tail wagged (P=0.004) more and scratched (P=0.05) less at the start of each period. It is concluded that there are benefits to the behaviour and welfare of budgerigars by providing increased space in aviaries above that specified in standards.

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... 29,30 Chronic motor and oral stereotypies may Managing the Health of Captive Flocks of Birds lead to secondary physical abnormalities such as asymmetric muscle development, beak and talon wear, or pododermatitis. 28 Insufficient or inappropriate space for the particular species or number of birds (overstocking) will also negatively impact social interactions within the group. 6 Without room to avoid each other or to be able to move freely around or away from each other, intraspecific or interspecific conflicts will increase. ...
When managing the health of flocks in aviaries, extensive knowledge of the natural history of the species kept is key to fulfilling the environmental, social, nutritional and behavioral requirements of the birds, whether in a mixed- or sole-species aviary. Species compatibility with environment, climate, and other co-occupants plays a role as well, as does hygiene, good avicultural management, and veterinary involvement and consultation. In understanding and meeting these requirements, optimal health can be maintained through the reduction or elimination of stressors and the maintenance of normal physiologic function.
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Chapter
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