Effects of Foraging Enrichment on The Behaviour of Parrots

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Abstract:

The purpose of this study was to enrich parrot enclosures by creating foraging opportunities appropriate for the species and to investigate the possible preference for a variable versus a constant food supply. The foraging device comprised of a length of wood (2x0.08x0.08m) with 50 holes (0.02m diameter x 0.02m depth) drilled into one face. Food was placed in the holes of the foraging device in one of two distributions: 'constant', one food item in every hole (total = 50 food items) or 'variable', 5 food items in 10 of the holes (total = 50 food items). The holes were then covered with starch paper. During the enrichment period the parrots spent significantly more time allopreening than in the baseline or post-enrichment periods. The results also provide some evidence of contrafreeloading in parrots, but no preference for a variable over a constant food source. The study shows that providing extra foraging opportunities for parrots is a useful form of enrichment.

Keywords: ANIMAL WELFARE; CONTRAFREELOADING; ENVIRONMENTAL ENRICHMENT; FORAGING; PARROTS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1997

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