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Preference and motivation for different diet forms and their effect on motivation for a foraging enrichment in captive Orange-winged Amazon parrots (Amazona amazonica)

By Jessica C. Rozek, James R. Millam

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Abstract

Motivation tests were conducted to assess preference strength for diet form and a cage enrichment device by Orange-winged Amazon parrots (Amazona amazonica) held in individual cages, N=10. Each cage was equipped with two trough-type feeders, one of which had a hinged lid that required lifting to access feeder content; cost of lifting the lid could be increased by the addition of up to 480g upon it, ∼1.5 times the mass of an Amazon parrot. Motivation tests were conducted using three different diet forms of pellets (regular-sized, 0.16g/pellet (cylindrical-shaped); large-sized, 3.4g/pellet (cylindrical); and over-sized, 3–5g/pellet (cuboid-to-spheroid)) manufactured from the same diet formulation. When regular pellets were concomitantly freely available, birds were still highly motivated to gain access to either large-sized or over-sized pellets, with 7 of 10 birds lifting the maximum weight of 480g. In motivation tests comparing over-sized vs. large-sized pellets, birds worked more for over-sized pellets (when large-sized pellets were freely available) than vice versa: motivation for over-sized pellets exceeded that for large-sized pellets by approximately 242.67±64.4g (F=14.2, P=0.0055; Sign Test, P=0.0078). Additional tests assessed motivation to access 2.5cm/side wooden cube enrichment devices when regular or over-sized pellets were freely available. Birds removed more cubes when fed regular pellets (Sign Test, P=0.0078) and lifted an average of 221.33±64.62g more to access them (F=11.73, P=0.009; Sign Test, P=0.0063), than when over-sized pellets were freely available, suggesting that enrichment devices may act as foraging substitutes. Likewise, both wooden cubes and over-sized pellets elicited comparable podomandibulation (handling with beak and foot) behavior, and podomandibulation was reduced when parrots were fed regular as opposed to over-sized pellets (58±10s [mean±SE] vs. 4.27min±31s; P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 129
Issue 2
Pages 153-161
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2010.11.009
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Tags
  1. Animal welfare
  2. Enrichment
  3. Foraging