Effects of rearing methods on feather-damaging behavior and corticosterone metabolite excretion in the peach-faced lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis Vieillot)

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Kazumasa Ebisawa, Satoshi Kusada, Shunya Nakayama, Chungyu Pai, Rie Kinoshita, Hiroshi Koie
Journal of Veterinary Behavior
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Hand-reared birds are more likely to develop behavioral disorders such as feather-damaging behavior (FDB) than parent-reared birds; this may adversely affect the human–animal bond and lead to poor animal welfare. Therefore, it is important to determine the effects of rearing methods on FDB to improve the welfare of companion birds. We determined the effects of rearing methods on FDB in the peach-faced lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis Vieillot) using a case–control study and by comparing the concentrations of corticosterone metabolites (CM) in bird droppings among the following three groups: (1) non-FDB hand-reared (N-HR) birds; (2) FDB hand-reared (FDB-HR) birds; and (3) parent-reared (PR) birds with neonatal handling. The case–control study included sex, age, rearing method, signs of separation anxiety, staple food, fresh food, enrichment, and the presence of conspecifics as potential risk factors for FDB. Droppings were collected once a month over a 3-day period for 2 months, and the CM concentrations in the droppings were determined using a competitive enzyme immunoassay. The prevalence of FDB was higher in the HR birds than in the PR birds. Furthermore, there was no difference in the mean CM concentrations in the droppings between the N-HR and FDB-HR birds; however, the mean CM concentrations in the droppings of these birds were higher than those of the PR birds. The presence of conspecifics resulted in significantly lower CM concentrations in the three groups than when conspecifics were absent. These findings suggest that rearing methods influence FDB development and dropping CM concentrations in the peach-faced lovebirds. Therefore, we propose parental rearing with neonatal handling over hand-rearing and maintaining with conspecifics for the welfare of the peach-faced lovebirds.


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