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Chapter Twenty-Eight. Birds. ALAT Presentations Study Tips. If viewing this in PowerPoint, use the icon to run the show (bottom left of screen). Mac users go to “Slide Show > View Show” in menu bar

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ALAT Presentations Study Tips

  • If viewing this in PowerPoint, use the icon to run the show (bottom left of screen).

    • Mac users go to “Slide Show > View Show” in menu bar

  • Click on the Audio icon: when it appears on the left of the slide to hear the narration.

  • From “File > Print” in the menu bar, choose “notes pages”, “slides 3 per page” or “outline view” for taking notes as you listen and watch the presentation.

    • Start your own notebook with a 3 ring binder, for later study!


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Birds

  • Aves

  • 4 of 27 orders of class are commonly used in research: galliformes, columbiformes, passeriformes & psittaciformes.

  • Used in studies of neurobiology, endocrinology, nutrition, ethology, embryology & microbiology.

  • Most are domesticated fowl for which husbandry standards & diets are available.


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Handling & Restraint

  • Easily compromised respiratory & heat dissipation systems

  • Manipulate cages slowly & deliberately.

  • Move slowly in a pen, allowing birds time to get out of the way.

  • Capture on 1st attempt is least stressful.

  • Place on pen floor & withdraw hands to release.

  • In flight cages release with unobstructed clearance, in case they take flight.

  • Do not toss into the air when releasing from restraint; it may be unprepared or unable to fly.



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Handling & Restraint II

  • Galliformes - chickens, turkeys, quail

  • Galliformes easy to handle and, except for quail, are not as fragile as other bird species.

  • Docile, but peck, scratch, inflict puncture wounds.

  • Restrain bird’s wings when captured.

    • With both hands, reach over back &, just prior to making contact; drop hands to hold wings down on the body.

    • Pick up wings in 1 hand, & hold them behind.

    • Restrain legs between fingers of other hand.

  • Carry upside-down by legs, but calmer if placed under 1 arm & w/ gentle pressure against wing.


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Handling & Restraint III

  • Another restraint:

    • Place on table on back or side & tape legs w/ non-traumatic adhesive.

    • Usually lies quietly if cloth is draped over head.

  • Handle small turkeys same way as chickens, but do not carry by legs.

  • Turkeys can be held & transported short distances by using 1 hand to encircle humerus of both wings over back while holding legs & supporting body with other hand.

  • Restrain head by gently placing 2 fingers of hand holding wings around bird’s neck.


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Handling & Restraint IV

  • Columbiformes - pigeons, doves; passeriformes - crows, canaries, sparrows, and finches

  • Columbiform & passerine birds are smaller & swifter than galliformes, difficult to capture safely.

  • Large pigeons carried same as chicken.

  • Restrain smaller birds with 1 hand holding head between thumb & forefinger, neck & back supported on palm of same hand.

    • Hold wings against body, exercise caution to avoid encircling the thorax completely.

    • Holding bird too tightly compromises respiration, resulting in hypoxia and hyperthermia.



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Handling & Restraint V

  • Psittaciformes - parrots and parakeets

  • Tend to bite & not easy to handle

  • Parrots are handled same way as other birds of a similar size; but because of their biting habits, attention must be paid to restraining the head.

    • Gloves offer little protection from the powerful beaks of larger parrots, such as macaws.

    • A towel placed over bird’s head helps calm it, allowing head to be grasped.

    • Restrain for examinations, anesthesia, or weighing by placing them in a properly sized portion of tubular-shaped gauze that allows head & tail to protrude.


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Sexing & Breeding

  • Male & female differ in size, feather conformation & color pattern = sexual dimorphism.

  • In breeding season, some develop sex indicators as color changes, changes in cloaca & development of featherless brood patch on breast.

  • In others, gender can be determined at necropsy or through surgical inspection of gonads.



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Sexing & Breeding II

  • Female: only left ovary & oviduct functional.

  • Avian primary oocyte largest cell in any animal.

  • Infundibulum: Consists of the funnel, or fimbria, which receives ovum.

  • Magnum: Longest portion of oviduct is also albumin secreting region.

  • Isthmus: Egg acquires soft shell membranes.

  • Shell gland: Often referred to as the uterus.

    • In shell gland, egg acquires hard calciferous shell. Egg remains in shell gland about 20 hours.

  • Vagina: Egg traverses vagina in seconds to minutes & passes to outside through cloaca.


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Sexing & Breeding III

  • Eggs sometimes held for investigative assay or for later artificial batch incubation.

  • Eggs naturally incubated by female for a few days may have higher incubator hatchability.

  • Eggs collected for these purposes should be freshly laid & not washed.

  • If embryo development has already begun, interrupting incubation may kill or damage the embryo; continue to incubate these eggs.

  • : Testes do not descend into scrotum, remain near kidneys where they originally developed.

  • Do not possess accessory sex glands.


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Sexing and BreedingMale

  • Testes do not descend - located near the kidneys.

  • No accessory sex glands.


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Behavior

  • Groups develop classic “pecking order,” or hierarchy; > dominant restrict movement, feeding & socialization of < dominant.

  • In galliformes, removing tip of upper beak helps control cannibalism or fighting in flocks.

  • Control flight by pinioning; surgical removal of distal tip of wing - 3rd & 4th metacarpal bones.

  • Pinion 1 wing; some birds can learn to fly if both wings are symmetrically pinioned.

  • Temporary, nonsurgical flight control involves clipping first ten primary flight feathers of 1 wing.

  • Claws and spurs require regular trimming.


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Husbandry

  • Many bird diseases are potential zoonoses.

  • Quarantine & acclimatize for 2 - 4 wks.

  • Take serologic tests, exam for internal & external parasites & bacterial culturing.

  • Cages large enough to permit normal physical activity & social interaction.

    • Locate perches to avoid contamination of feed & water.

  • Control temp, humidity, ventilation & air filtration.

  • Increase ventilation as environmental temp rises.

  • Relative humidity range from 45 to 70%.


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Husbandry II

  • Cover floors of indoor cages w/ sand, gravel or shavings, depending on requirements.

  • Low Plexiglas frame placed around cage perimeter helps contain litter.

  • Many types of easily sanitized automatic feed & water devices available.

  • Suspended automatic watering system placed at a level allowing birds to drink comfortably.

    • Designed to prevent contaminating water by perching on or stepping in it.

  • Wide-spectrum fluorescent or white incandescent lamps used in bird housing facilities more closely resemble natural light.


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Husbandry III

  • Housing mixed species & multiple age groups together can result in fighting, cannibalism or disease hazards.

  • Visual barriers, such as solid cage sides, may reduce conflict between groups.

  • Overcrowding birds in cages or pens also stresses the animals and can result in disease.

  • Very young birds require an external heat source to prevent chilling and hypothermia.

  • Heated cages called “brooders” are used to house young birds until they grow feathers.



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Diet

  • Nutritional requirements of chickens well known.

  • Nutritional requirements of non-domestic avian species largely unknown.

  • Requirements of seed-eating pigeons & doves not well understood.

  • Diversified order passeriformes contains more than 4,800 species.

    • tremendous variety of nutritional requirements

    • Only seed-eating passeriformes are discussed here.

  • Seed-eaters = sparrows, finches & canaries

  • A mixture of small seeds are fed, most important being canary grass seed & millet.


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Diet II

  • Other components include vegetables, fruits, grasses, cooked egg yolk, vitamin supplements, breads & live insects.

  • Psittacine seed-eaters = parrots, macaws & parakeets.

  • Sunflower seeds, peanuts, monkey biscuits, safflower seeds, millet, canary seeds & dry dog kibble

  • Supplemental foods include fresh fruits & vegetables, boiled egg yolks & mixed nuts.

  • Remove unconsumed perishable materials within a few hours.



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Diet III

  • Grit available in various sizes & compositions.

    • a necessary component of diet, available ad libitum

  • Ingested grit remains in gizzard, a muscular organ of the gastrointestinal tract.

  • Agitation of grit & seed mixture in gizzard helps grind up seeds in preparation for digestion,

  • Cuttlebone for beak maintenance should be available for passeriformes & psittacines.

  • Some species need water for bathing.

  • Supply and maintenance of potable water for aquatic birds a challenging husbandry & disease control problem.


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Nondomestic Species

  • Knowledge of natural habitat, behavior & diet is essential to use wild birds in research.

  • Procurement, transport, possession & treatment of wild birds & their eggs are governed by state & federal regulations.

  • Contact local state conservation agency & U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for information on a species in question.

  • May have difficulty adapting to lab housing.

  • During acclimation period, shield birds from visual disturbances.

  • Cage shielded by partially covering it with cloth.


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Nondomestic Species II

  • A folded sheet of paper on top of cage prevents injury until birds learn their cage dimensions.

  • Place food & water at several locations & different heights; helps birds locate source.

  • Observe for several days to determine birds’ preferred locations for food & water.

  • Multiple food & water sources reduce possibility of dominant or aggressive birds preventing others from eating or drinking.

  • Food scattered on cage floor encourages eating until birds lose fear of food container & learn to accept food from a dish.


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Additional Reading

Anderson, R.S. and A.T.B. Edney. Practical Animal Handling. Pergamon Press, Oxford, UK. 1991.

Rollin, Bernard E., and M. Lynne Kesel (ed.). The Experimental Animal in Biomedical Research. Volume II: Care, Husbandry and Well-Being — An Overview By Species. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 1992.

Rosskopf, W.J. and R.W. Woerpel. Diseases of Cage and Aviary Birds. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, MD. 1996.


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