Have you heard about environmental enrichment but are wondering what it really means and how to implement it to benefit your pets? This client education handout explores the definition of enrichment, the benefits of enrichment, as well as practical suggestions on implementation. Enrichment can be enjoyable as you get to create an array of fun, interactive enclosures and toys for your pet. This client education handout was awarded first place in the 2021 Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians Veterinary Technology Contest, sponsored by Lafeber Company.
Lafeber Company was proud to sponsor the 2021 Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians Veterinary Technician/Technologist and Technician Student Client Education Materials Contest. Credentialed veterinary technicians, veterinary technologists, and veterinary nurses as well as students in this field were encouraged to submit a two (2) page, English-language educational handout (1500 words or less) about a companion exotic mammal health and wellness topic. Submissions closed on April 30. Seventeen client education handouts were received. The AEMV Technician Committee evaluated this educational material and they were blinded to the identify of each veterinary technologists or student.
This client education handout reviews basic care of the miniature pig. Topics covered include diet, housing, training and proper handling, as well as common health problems and preventive care measures, like vaccination and surgical sterilization.
The guinea pig is a gentle, highly social rodent, that commonly serves as a companion animal and an experimental model in North America and Europe. Food preferences are established early in life, and a guinea pig can refuse to eat if their food type or presentation is changed. For this reason, small mammal veterinarians recommend exposing juvenile guinea pigs to a variety of chows and vegetables. Guinea pigs also do not tolerate environmental changes well. When exposed to something perceived as dangerous, the response of the guinea pig is generally to freeze, or less commonly flight.
This webinar has been R.A.C.E.-approved for 1 hour of continuing education. Despite parrots being popular pets, much of the information regarding their nutritional and behavioral needs is still unknown. Unlike dogs and cats, most psittacine species are not domesticated and have therefore likely retained most, if not all, of their wild instincts and behavioral needs. In captivity, however, most parrots have little to no opportunity to perform these species-typical behaviors. This will not only reduce their welfare, but can also result in the onset of abnormal repetitive behaviors, including feather damaging behavior, and oral or locomotor stereotypies.
The site visit allows the veterinarian to appreciate intricate facility details. Unless there is an emergency, schedule visits during the non-breeding season and only visit one site daily to prevent potential iatrogenic contamination of facilities. I usually schedule appointments in the morning prior to going to the clinic. An aviary map or blue print of the aviary layout will help you visualize where birds are in relation to each other.
There are various approaches to provide food for the companion parrot. Each nutritional strategy has its own advantages and disadvantages including seed-only diets, pelleted diets, extruded diets, and/or foraging diets.
A clinical trial was conducted with cockatiels to compare a whole-seed balanced diet (Nutri-Berries) with that of a pelleted diet. Blood values, body weight, and other parameters were measured to assess the alternative diet’s clinical effects on birds.
Foraging for food is a basic behavioral repertoire for birds in the wild. The lack of opportunities for companion birds to engage in this behavior may play an important role in the development of abnormal behaviors. For example, Snyder et al documented that Puerto Rican Amazon parrots spend approximately 4–6 hour per day foraging and that they routinely travel several miles between sites. In contrast, companion birds in our homes like the orange-winged Amazon parrot spend approximately 30–72 minutes per day eating a pelleted diet without traveling, manipulating food items, and not attempting to balance their own diet. It has been suggested…
Parrots are extremely intelligent creatures; and toys are one of the most important items we can purchase for our birds. Many avian behaviorists recommend four types of toys…
In the wild, parrots exhibit four main behaviors: social interaction, grooming, foraging, and sleeping. The vast majority of their days are spent foraging or searching for food.
Enrichment has become a common term when describing proper care of captive animals. The recording of this web-based seminar exposes viewers to the importance of enrichment and how its proper implementation can be highly variable between and within species. Video examples of multiple animal species will be used to highlight concepts of enrichment. Basic principles will be highlighted with the end goal to get people to start thinking about ways to enrich the lives of captive animals, including birds.
Foraging, the act of searching for and finding food, makes up a significant part of the wild parrot’s day. In the wild, most animals, including psittacine birds, spend a significant part of their daily activity on foraging. In fact, many free-ranging parrots regularly travel several miles between feeding sites in search of food. Once wild parrots arrive at a feeding site, a wide variety of foraging behaviors are observed including searching, manipulating, as well as consuming food. Depending on the species and the season, time invested on these behaviors can range from…
Lafeber Company’s work isn’t always tied to our family farm and production facility. Lafeber Company has worked with Atlanta Zoo veterinarian, Dr. Samuel Rivera, to create Stick-A-Roos (Stickaroos), a diet designed for use in interactive parakeet and cockatiel aviaries. Stick-A-Roos provide maintenance nutrition and foraging enrichment.
Foraging is the act of searching for and finding food. Many wild birds spend more than 50% of their day foraging and feeding, particularly in the morning and evening. Because foraging occupies a significant portion of a bird’s daily activity, it likely has social and behavioral importance.
Bird behaviors can be divided into four categories: foraging, socialization, grooming or self-preening, and sleeping or resting. In a captive situation, normal behaviors are likely disrupted including foraging. If the ability to forage is removed, that leaves socializing, grooming, and rest…