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Effects of environmental enrichment in a captive pair of Golden Parakeet (Guaruba guarouba, Psittacidae) with abnormal behaviors

Abstract

Abnormal behaviors (e.g., feather plucking and pacing) are commonly observed in captive animals. Environmental enrichment techniques have been used to improve animal welfare by promoting the reduction of such behaviors and stimulating the display of typical behaviors. The present study examined the effects of environmental enrichment techniques in a captive pair of the endangered Golden Parakeet (Guaruba guarouba, Psittacidae), which presented feather-plucking behavior. Diferent objects of environmental enrichment were presented to birds between February and July 2008. Behavioral analyses were performed by comparing pre enrichment, enrichment introduction and after enrichment phases. At each phase, a total of 42 hours of behavioral data were collected through the scan method with instantaneous recording at sampling intervals of 30 seconds. The results showed that the behavioral diversity of the parakeets increased (e.g. “social behavior” 14.00 ± 3.01, df = 2, N = 21, p = 0.19; “locomotion” 25.52 ± 3.14, df = 2, N = 21, p = 0.01) whereas feather plucking (“individual abnormal behavior”) decreased with the use of enrichment (0.10 ± 0.07, df = 2, N = 21, p = 0.78). However, abnormal behavior was again observed after removing enrichment objects. Although environmental enrichment did not eliminate completely the display of abnormal behaviors, the introduction of objects had a positive efect on increasing behavioral diversity of the animals and, consequently, improving animal welfare.

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Correspondence to Aryanne Clyvia.

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Clyvia, A., Faggioli, A.B. & Cipreste, C.F. Effects of environmental enrichment in a captive pair of Golden Parakeet (Guaruba guarouba, Psittacidae) with abnormal behaviors. Rev. Bras. Ornitol. 23, 309–314 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03544297

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Key-Words

  • Animal behavior
  • animal welfare
  • captivity
  • feather plucking
  • psittacine