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Personality traits and the effects of DHA supplementation in the budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus)

By Taylor Eilers Callicrate, Frank Siewerdt, Elizabeth Koutsos, Inma Estévez

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Abstract

We investigated the hypotheses that a bold-shy personality axis exists in the budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) and that dietary docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation has a significant effect on budgerigar personality and immune responses. DHA is an integral component of the brain known to impact cognitive function, and its impact on budgerigar behaviour is previously unstudied. Adult budgerigars (14 females, 9 males) were housed in two home pens and received either a control diet or a diet supplemented with DHA. The birds were tested in seven experimental situations designed to gauge boldness. Behavioural responses within the categories of fear, feeding and activity were recorded as well as immune status. Our results suggest that dietary DHA supplementation had no effects on the behavioural and immune variables measured in this study. The results do suggest that budgerigars have bold-shy personality traits for their activity and feeding behaviours, as indicated by significant correlations between percent of locations in the central area of the open field with activity in the presence of the familiar flock in the tendency to flock test (rS=0.754, N=9, P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 130
Issue 3
Pages 124-134
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2010.11.014
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Tags
  1. Birds
  2. Docosahexaenoic acid
  3. Personality