Zebra Finch Behaviour and Effect of Modest Enrichment of Standard Cages
Abstract:Zebra finches are often housed in monogamous pairs in small barren cages. In the present study it was investigated whether modest enrichment resulted in behavioural changes. Four plywood box cages of two different lengths were compared. A small and a large cage were used for the barren environment. Another small and large cage were used for the enriched environment, and included additional perches, twigs as well as sand and water baths. An ethogram consisting of 19 different behavioural patterns was used. The behaviour of the birds was studied using a combination of alternating (20s) one-zero and instantaneous sampling, one hour per day during a continuous four-week period.
Locomotor activity, vocalization and singing was significantly increased in the enriched cages and flying was more frequent in the large enriched cage than in any of the other cages. The study demonstrated the usefulness of behavioural analyses to determine to what extent simple enrichment allows the birds to exhibit a wider range of their natural behaviour.