The effect of auditory enrichment, rearing method and social environment on the behavior of zoo-housed psittacines (Aves: Psittaciformes); implications for welfare.

Isabel Williams, Will Hoppitt, Rachel Grant

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The psychological and physiological effects of different genres of music are well documented in 13 humans. These concepts have also been studied in kenneled dogs and some exotic animals, implying 14 that animals may experience benefits similar to those of humans. This study tested the hypothesis that 15 auditory enrichment changed the behavior of ten zoo-housed psittacines. All animals were exposed to 16 six conditions of auditory stimulation; a ëcontrolí (no auditory stimulation), and ëexperimentalí 17 conditions, during which animals were presented with commercially-available CDs of classical music, 18 pop music, natural rainforest sounds, parrot sounds and a talking radio. Each type of stimulation lasted 1 19 two days, with a wash-out day between different stimulation conditions. We recorded key parameters 20 relating to the birdsí social environment ñ whether they were group or single-housed and whether they 21 had been hand or parent-reared. The parrotsí behaviour was recorded every minute for a 25 minute 22 period seven times a day using instantaneous sampling. The incidence of calm vocalisations and the 23 level of preening changed with the different conditions. Birds exposed to rainforest and talking radio 24 preened more than control birds. Birds exposed to several conditions of auditory stimulation expressed 25 fewer calm vocalisations than control birds. A further finding from this study was that hand-reared 26 birds exhibited dramatically increased incidences of stereotypic behavior, more learned vocalisation 27 and interacted less with enrichment than parent-reared and the implications of hand rearing for 28 welfare are discussed. Similarly solo housed birds showed changes in behavior compared to group 29 housed, such as less preening and more stereotypic behaviour. Hand reared, solo housed parrots 30 express less normal behavior and maybe at risk of impaired welfare. 
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-92
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume186
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2016

Bibliographical note

ISSN: 0168-1591

Keywords

  • psittacine
  • welfare
  • enrichment
  • auditory

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