Over-sized pellets naturalize foraging time of captive Orange-winged Amazon parrots (Amazona amazonica)

Parrots held in captivity experience distinctly different environmental demands, as compared to their wild conspecifics, particularly in regard to feeding. Cages equipped with computer-monitored infra-red beams (placed across a primary perch, in front of the feeder, in front of the drinking fount, and at the peak of the cage; interruption of a beam indicated a […]

Behaviour as a tool in the assessment of animal welfare

A central issue in animal welfare research is how to assess the welfare state of animals objectively and scientifically. I argue that this issue can be approached by asking two key questions: 1) is the animal physically healthy and 2) does the animal have what it wants? Behaviour is used to answer both of these […]

The effect of rope color, size and fray on environmental enrichment device interaction in male and female Orange-winged Amazon parrots (Amazona amazonica)

Environmental enrichment devices (EDs; a.k.a. cage “toys”) are often provided to captive parrots to mitigate the austerity of their environments, but the basis of attraction to EDs by parrots is poorly understood and many EDs go un-used. Preferences of Orange-winged Amazon parrots (Amazona amazonica) for various properties of sisal rope were tested by suspending rope […]

Quantifying hungry broiler breeder dietary preferences using a closed economy T-maze task

This study aimed to identify hungry broiler breeders (n = 12) preferences for quantitative (control) or qualitative dietary restriction (QDR) in a closed economy environment. The QDR option was either 3 g calcium propionate/kg total feed (n = 6) or 300 g oat hulls/kg total feed (n = 6). Quantitatively restricted or QDR portions ensured equal growth regardless of choice. Birds were separately […]

Aversion of chickens to various lethal gas mixtures

In the event of a notifiable disease outbreak, poultry may need to be culled in situ. This should be performed swiftly and humanely to prevent further spread of the pathogen while preserving the welfare of the animals prior to death. Here, we examined the aversion of broiler chicks (Gallus domesticus) to three lethal gas mixtures […]

Assessing sensory capacity of animals using operant technology.

Operant technology is often employed in farm management (e.g., waterers in which an animal pushes a valve with its nose or snout [response] to receive water [reinforcement]). An animal learns when successive approximations to the desired response are reinforced, thereby establishing the operant behavior (shaping). Animals are challenged by schedules of reinforcement that increase level […]

Preference testing in intensively kept meat production rabbits for straw on wire grid floor

The main aim of the study was to determine to what extent young rabbits kept on wire-floor cages would be attracted by straw bedding and how would access to straw modify their behaviour, health and performance. A total of 384 hybrid commercial breed rabbits (Hycol®) were assigned to 16 pens of 1.6 m2 (15 rabbits/m2). […]

A method to assess relative preference for training and environmental enrichment in captive wolves (Canis lupus and Canis lupus arctos)

It is currently debated as to whether or not positive reinforcement training is enriching to captive animals. Although both husbandry training and environmental enrichment (EE) have been found to benefit animal welfare in captivity, to date, no systematic investigation has compared an animal’s preference for performing a trained behavior to engaging freely with a stimuli […]