Effects of Fluorescent Lighting Versus Sunlight Exposure on Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Feather Destructive Behavior in Hispaniolan Amazon Parrots (Amazona ventralis)

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Jennifer A. West, Tully, Thomas N., Jr., Javier G. Nevarez, Rhett W. Stout
Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery
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Low exposure to ultraviolet light, and resulting vitamin D deficiency, has recently been linked to autism spectrum disorder in people. Captive psittacine birds that exhibit feather destructive behavior share similarities with people affected by autism spectrum disorder, such as repetitive (stereotypies) and self-harming behaviors. The metabolic and psychological effects of housing pet parrots indoors without ultraviolet B lighting are not typically considered in animal husbandry or veterinary care. Calcifediol (serum vitamin D), ionized calcium, and ionized magnesium levels were compared between 10 Hispaniolan Amazon parrots (Amazona ventralis) housed indoors and 10 Hispaniolan Amazon parrots historically housed outdoors. Although ionized calcium and magnesium levels were not significantly different, calcifediol levels were significantly greater in the colony of birds housed outdoors. Further, these 2 research colonies of individually housed birds were feather scored. Subjectively, the birds that were housed indoors had greater self-inflicted feather damage than did those housed outdoors; however, the difference was not statistically significant.


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