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CZAAWE Resource Article
Hand-rearing and sex determination tool for the taveta golden weaver (Ploceus castaneiceps)
Year of publication
Improvements in the ability to hand-rear birds in captivity have aided zoological institutions in the sustainable management of these species, and have provided opportunities to examine their physical growth in varying conditions. Monitoring the weight gain and development of chicks is an important aspect of developing a hand-rearing protocol. In this paper we provide the institutional history for a colonial species of passerine, the Taveta golden weaver, at Disney's Animal Kingdom®, in order to demonstrate the methods of establishing a successful breeding program which largely incorporates hand-rearing in management of the population. We also tested if we could accurately predict sex of chicks using weights collected on Day 14 during the hand-rearing process. Using this tool, we were able to correctly determine sex before fledging in more than 83% of chicks. Early sex determination is important in captive species for genetic management and husbandry purposes. While genetic sexing can be expensive, we found that using growth curves to determine sex can be a reliable and cost-effective tool for population management of a colonial passerine. Zoo Biol. 31:600-608, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.