CAM Exam 3

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Birds are extremely intelligent
1- They have a remarkable capacity to learn new things (in fact, we've only just scratched the surface in understanding all the ways they use their brains.) 2- They have problem-solving capabilities and cognitive skills 3- They can use tools
Birds are Skilled Vocal Mimics
Vocal cords of birds allow them to make and imitate a wide range of sounds including those of other animals and humans Psittacines in particular are known for the ability to mimic human speech
Birds don't require much grooming
Birds are naturally hygienic animals and preen their feathers daily to keep them shiny and clean. But keep in mind ... Many birds not only preen themselves, but also their owners. And not always gently!
Trim and Bathe
You need to trim your bird's beak and nails routinely – Or arrange to have it professionally done Birds also need regular showers or baths in plain, tepid water ~every 2 weeks
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Birds are very social
Given proper training and socialization, birds can be every bit as loving and affectionate as a cat or dog. Some pet birds are inseparable from their owners.
Birds Need Time
You have to be prepared to spend significant time interacting with, training and socializing your bird - Birds should be allowed outside their cages for several hours each day - Birds should be included in most at-home family activities
Birds Need Mental Stimulation
Birds need frequent, consistent mental stimulation and environmental enrichment – Several hours each day – Including social contact with human family and/or other birds
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This parrot’s feather loss is due to....
Feather plucking - Pattern of feather loss on the pectoral or backside --> feather pattern here for feather plucking.
Birds are inexpensive to feed
The smaller the pet, the less the pet eats. Certainly, keeping your bird fed is less costly than feeding a dog or most cats. However, owners of large exotic birds spend around $100 a month for food, toys and other supplies.
Birds can be kept in a small space.
- Small bird species, such as budgies, canaries, and finches, are good options for people who live in apartments or condominiums with limited space , while larger pets require extra room to romp and play.   - Landlords often impose monthly "pet fees" on tenants who own cats and dogs, but many don't consider birds to be pets. BUT, another consideration is the noise level (bigger bird louder noise); Look up parrot screaming
Birds are easier to care for than other pets.
- Unlike the family dog or cat that has the run of the house, a bird can be popped into its cage while you're away during the day or busy around the house. Birds also don't need walks outside, and housebreaking isn't an issue; - However, Birds aren't cage ornaments. it's not healthy for your bird to spend hour upon hour in a cage unattended.
Cleaning the Cage
Can be as simple as pulling out the tray and changing the paper and wiping down bars/surfaces (The area under the cage will get its share of discarded bits of food, water and bird droppings as well. )
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Many birds live a very long time.
Those who have lost a long-time pet are usually reluctant to go through the experience again, especially if children are involved. Many bird species have long lives, some up to 100 years For people who want to have a pet around for a long time, birds are perfect Owning a bird is a long-term commitment!
Typical Lifespans of Birds
Large Parrots Macaws and amazons are the most famous of this family and, with excellent care, live the longest -- up to 100 years African greys and conures, can live around 25 years Cockatoos are longer-lived, often reaching 40 years or more Medium-Sized Parrots Cockatiels reaching 25 to 30 years Lories and lorikeets live roughly 15 to 20 years Lovebirds are the shortest-lived at, on average, about 10 years Small Parrots Parakeets (budgies) can live up to 18 years Canaries and Finches Canaries live 10 to 15 years and up to 25 years with top-notch care Finches are among the smallest and the shortest-lived of all pet birds. On average they only live about 5 years, but can reach up to 20.
Bird evolution?
Believed to be a primitive bird. It lived about 150 million years ago. It was covered with feathers, and had teeth, long tail, 3 claw-like digits on each wing. Modern birds appeared about 70 million years ago. Archaeopteryx = Feathered dinosaur Fossilized creature in lime stone was found in Germany in 1860.
Are birds dinosaurs?
Closest thing to them that we have alive today
Characteristics between dinos and birds
1- Feathers; - Fossil showed pro-feather (feather-like structures) contain remnant of melamine pigment - Scientists claimed that its filamentous body cover of the old dinosaur and composed of collagen fibers not actual feathers - Later, scientists were able to diagnose remnant of melamine pigments in the fossil which proves that these structures are pro-feathers rather than collagen fiber filamentous body cover, and due to crushing forces during fossilization they appeared as filamentous structures which happen in modern bird decomposition 2- Lungs; Large meat-eating (Tyrannosaurus rex ) dinosaurs had a complex system of air sacs similar to those found in modern birds (CT scanning and tomograpby). 3- Sleeping posture - Fossils of some dinosaurs demonstrate that they slept like certain modern birds, with their heads tucked under their arms. This behavior, which may have helped to keep the head warm, is also characteristic of modern birds. 4- Reproductive biology; When laying eggs, female birds grow a special type of bone (medullary bone) in their limbs. it forms as a calcium-rich layer inside the hard outer bone, and is used as a calcium source to make eggshells. - Some dinosaurs (Tyrannosaurus rex ) female fossils showed internal bone tissues lining the interior marrow cavities of portions of hind limb suggested that T. rex used similar reproductive strategies. 5- Brooding and care of young; Several fossil specimens have been found resting over the eggs in its nest in a position most resembling brooding. - A dinosaur embryo was found without teeth, which suggests some parental care was required to feed the young dinosaur, possibly the adult dinosaur regurgitated food into the young dinosaur's mouth. 6 - Gizzard stones Both birds and dinosaurs use gizzard stones. These stones are swallowed by animals to aid digestion and break down food and hard fibers once they enter the stomach (When found in association with fossils, gizzard stones are called gastroliths).
Are Pet Birds Domestic?
Some of them
Budgies are known more properly as….
Taxonomy of Birds
- Morphological (form and structure), beaks, feet, plumage, bone structure, musculature, blood proteins, chromosomes, and DNA MANY ORDERS
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Most Common Orders in Class Aves
Psittaciformes and Passeriformes = important for this class
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Common companion birds
1- African Grey Parrot – Timneh or Congo 2- Amazons (Amazona spp.) 3- Budgerigars (Parakeets) 4- Cockatoos and Cockatiels 5- Conure 6- Finches, Canaries (Passerines) 7- Lories and Lorikeets 8- Macaws 9- Love birds (Fischer’s and rosy faced)
African Grey Parrot – Timneh or Congo
Features; The most intelligent psittacine sp. Greatest range of vocalizations and increasing vocabulary throughout their lives. Research has documented cognitive association between learned words and both actions and objects. Concerns; - Emotionally sensitive; i.e., prone to remember negative experiences and make associations with people and objects that may develop into phobias/neuroses. - Feather destructive behavior is a very common condition in captive African greys.
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Amazons (Amazona spp.)
Features; - Active, fairly hardy ; tend to become bonded to certain individuals and aggressive toward others. - Some are excellent talkers (eg, yellow-nape, double yellow-head, blue-fronts). Concerns; - Screaming, territoriality, and aggression are common. - Learn quickly to use lunging or biting to relay their negative opinions.
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Budgerigars (Parakeets)
- Genetic predisposition to many diseases and neoplastic conditions. - Can be interactive, enjoyable pets.
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Cockatoos and Cockatiels
Features; Enjoy physical contact with handlers, Intelligent, popular pets. Can become very attached to the owner or to conspecifics. Concerns; - Screaming, mate aggression (conspecific or surrogate) - Occasional unpredictable severe biting episodes, even with humans to which they are bonded.
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- Beautiful, intelligent birds, can talk! - Loud, high resonance screams. - Historical documentation as carriers of Pacheco’s disease virus.
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Finches, Canaries (Passerines)
It contains nearly 60 percent of all bird species ranging in size from the tiny Weebill (80 mm in length) to the Superb Lyrebird (130 cm long, including a 72 cm tail). Canaries, finches, starlings and mynahs are examples of passerine birds that are common in captivity. Easy to care for, quiet, pleasant vocalizations. - Inbreeding has created genetic predispositions to multiple disease syndromes in some lines. - Limited ability to interact with their owners as compared to psittacines.
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Lories and Lorikeets
- Noisy but can be quite tame when captive raised. They Can talk and have Beautiful colors and brilliant sheen to feathers.
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Large, physically active, vocal birds. Intelligent, highly interactive and energetic. Require frequent training and structured play to focus their energies. Need physical outlets for their abundant energy. - Loud; screaming can become a problem. Generally develop a limited vocabulary. Require a knowledgeable owner.
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Love birds (Fischer’s and rosy faced)
- Can be very tame and bonded to people or other birds. - Can be very aggressive during breeding season to humans and other birds
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Characteristics that Define Birds
Two legs & two wings Warm-blooded (endotherms) Egg laying (oviparous) Feathers on most of their body Most have scales on their feet Hollow bones Numerous fused vertebrae (back bones) Many are capable of flight
Feathers are made of…. keratin. Birds replace worn feathers through a process called molting.
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Birds replace feathers through a process called molting For most species this happens 1-2 times a year (Food, daylight, reproductive status….) It takes place over 2-3 weeks It happens in a pattern and symmetrically Head and neck first Ending with wing and tail Molting requires a lot of energy, so birds have higher metabolic rates when they molt. During the molt, there is an increased demand for protein, calcium, and iron. Building a new feather requires a lot of energy and plenty of good quality nutrients. Building lots of new feathers (as in a heavy molt) can be very stressful and taxing on a bird's body. Some birds become less active, quiet, most will stop laying eggs and some birds, such as canaries, may stop singing while molting. Birds may become more prone to health problems during these stressful times, as their immune systems are also under stress.
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Can you show me on a picture like this where the feathers should be clipped?
Many owners clip the wings of their birds to prevent birds from flying. Which part of the wing is clipped? - The primary flight feathers (not the 2 outermost) - The secondary flight feathers (not the innermost) Once you have clipped the wings once, you never have to do it again. FALSE
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Bird beaks do not have teeth. How do birds chew their food?
Food is ground in the gizzard (proventriculus)
Why do some birds eat grit?
To gain calcium and to grind food
Bird beaks are fully formed when a chick hatches and do not grow after hatching.
Bird beaks grow throughout life Birds usually wear beaks down If not, the owner will need to trim the beak
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Eyes for Amazing Vision
Larger than they seem—only pupil is visible Bigger eyes mean = more photoreceptors = better visual acuity. Use right and left eyes independently Chicks use left eye to approach parents Peregrines track prey with right eye Some birds can sleep with one eye open Rest one side of the brain at a time
Anatomy and physiology of Digestive system (Birds)
1- Beak; Birds have no TEETH 2- Tongue 3- Soft palate 4- Crop 5- Stomach 6- Small and Large intestines 7- Cloaca
Beak; Birds have no TEETH
1- Beak is a hard, tough epidermal structure (keratin= the same tough, insoluble protein found in fingernails, hoofs and horns) attached to a bone base (Maxilla = upper jaw, and Mandible = lower jaw; which acts as a form to produce the beak’s shape) 2- The beak has a well-developed superficial innervation originating from the bony structure and extends through the germinal layer (contains blood and nerve supply to support beak growth and sensation) 3- Beak is constantly growing, depending upon the species, a bird's beak grows from 1 to 3 inches a year 4- Beaks vary significantly in size, shape, color, and texture, according to their main function. - Eating - Grooming - Manipulating objects - killing prey - Fighting - Probing for food - Courtship - Feeding young 5- Normal and abnormal beak growth and beak wearing and trimming
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Causes of beak trimming;
1- Normal beak growth 2- Fragile beak with abnormal brownish/ reddish spots. 3- Brittle beak with fissures and cracks on the horny surface 4- Very sharp tip due to abnormal growth and or wearing. - Mostly due to imbalanced nutrition, liver disease, or environmental problem
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Tongue (birds)
Very diverse according to the main function A. Protruding tongue- Food collecting: 1. Woodpeckers - can thrust a considerable distance outside the beak, with sticky surfaces that can catch ants. 2. Sapsuckers - brush tip - capillary traction of sap (capillarity). 3. Some birds - have split tips (up to 6 or 7 splits) - catch small insects or insect eggs. B. Non-protruding- Manipulating food : 1. Penguins - numerous stiff, sharp, backward-directed papillae - hold slippery prey. 2. Birds of Prey (owls, eagles, vultures) are usually thick and soft, but the back portion is hard and rough. 3. Ducks, geese, and swans - thick fleshy, lots of bristles for straining food from the water.
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Soft palate - birds do not have this
Most birds do not have a soft palate = Cannot drink with their head down. Cannot create negative pressure - so have to raise their head and let gravity do the work. PIGEONS HAVE A SOFT PALATE
Enlarged part of the esophagus or expanded, muscular pouch Used mostly to store food, in adult bird used to produce crop milk (Mostly in Pigeons and doves to feed the newly hatched birds). Scavenging birds, such as Vultures, will gorge themselves when prey is abundant, causing their crop to bulge. They subsequently sit, sleepy or half torpid, to digest their food. Only, Owls, Buttonquails, and geese do not have Crop.
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Stomach (birds)
Composed of 2 compartments; proventriculus; Glandular part responsible for Enzymatic digestion. - The internal surface of the gizzard is covered by a thick and tough cuticle layer. - And Ventriculus or Gizzard; muscular part responsible for Mechanical digestion, grinding of food with grit (Since birds have no teeth) - A bird swallows small bits of gravel that act as 'teeth' in the gizzard, breaking down hard food such as seeds and thus helping digestion). - Usually, Food is moved from proventriculus to gizzard and backward in a series of cycles Proventriculus - true stomach
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Small and Large intestines
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- Posterior orifice that serves as the only excretory opening for the digestive and urinary system and external genital opening as well for the reproductive system (through which females lay eggs and the copulatory organ of the male (Phallus) comes out ).
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Nutritional requirements of Pet Birds
1- There are more than 10,000 species of birds alive today. Therefore, there are a greater variety of nutrient requirements. There will probably never be an ideal diet for all bird species. 2- Birds have a faster rate of metabolism and need food and water present at all times. 3- Transit time for food passage (time from ingestion till excretion) is fast in the bird – never more than 12 hours. (very short GIT) - For budgies and finches, it may be as short as 3 hours (will vary with the type of food and amount eaten). 4- It is important that the bird be fed an appropriate food/feed for the life stage that they are experiencing. -Maintenance requirements for adults would be about 14–16% protein. -While Females laying eggs require about 20% protein in their diet and additional Calcium. - Newly hatched birds have very rapid early growth–some species can increase their body weight 10-fold in the first 10 days.
What is growth rate like for baby birds? How does this relate to feeding them and their nutrient requirements?
- So (in case of hand feeding), they need more protein at this stage to support the increase in muscle mass, organ growth, feather development, etc. - Recommendation for most birds is around 25% protein for the first week to 10 days. Then at about 8-10 days, decrease the protein to about 20%. - During feather growth in baby birds or molting birds need higher level of protein and calcium since, feather growth requires large amounts of Amino Acids such as Glycine, Methionine and Cystine.
Choosing the Right Diet
- Budgies and Cockatiels will eat seeds mainly but also eat fruit and vegetables. - Wild parrots will eat carrion, fruit, vegetables, fish and anything else they can find. 1. Cereal seeds – millet, corn, oat kernels, canary seed, wheat, milo (usually High in CHO, low in protein, fat, and some vitamins and minerals (Calcium)) 2- Oil seeds – sunflower, peanuts, safflower, pine nuts, rape (canola), niger, maw (poppy), linseed (High CHO + Fats low protein, minerals and vitamins) Peanuts, shelled and unshelled should be examined for mold – has toxins (Mycotoxins) that will damage liver and kill bird. Make sure seeds are clean and free of dust or dirt, to avoid Infections and toxicity. 3- Germinated or sprouted seeds; - Seeds may be soaked in water for about 24 hours and sprouted (germinated) and fed to birds. - Sprouting will increase the protein content of the seeds. - Wash sprouts with fresh tap water before feeding to birds. - Sprouts not consumed in a few hours should be removed and discarded. 4- Fresh fruits, vegetables and eggs (but not avocados or rhubarb) - Hard boiled or scrambled egg, dry beans such as black beans, lima beans, kidney beans, peas, etc. are all good for your bird. 5- Cooked vegetables should be prepared without salt or butter and lightly steamed or boiled. - Carrots, yams, squash, spinach, kale and other greens, pumpkin, broccoli, string beans, cabbage, corn on the cob.
An all seed diet is GENERALLY NOT a complete diet for pet birds. Why??
1- All seed diets are usually excessively high in fats - Seeds like sunflower, safflower, and peanuts contain 33-47% fat, while fat in a healthy bird diet should be <10%. - Excess ingested fat accumulates in the liver and eventually leads to destruction of liver tissue (Fatty liver). - Symptoms of fatty liver disease include bleeding tendencies and general weakness, rapid or abnormal beak and nail growth and poor feather condition. 2- Most seeds have very low levels of several important vitamins minerals and amino acids. A- Vitamin A deficiency is common, results in mouth and trachea abscesses and increased susceptibility to respiratory diseases. B- Essential amino acid deficiencies cause poor egg production, feather problems, weakened immune system. C- Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies cause fragile bones and skeletal deformities, soft shelled eggs and other egg laying problems. D- Vitamin B, or Vitamin E deficiencies can cause neurological illnesses (crazy chick or star gazing birds).
Percentage of seeds in Bird’s diet
- Some species, like budgies and cockatiels are naturally seed eaters and can tolerate a higher percentage of seeds in the diet, but even for these birds, seeds should only make up about 25 percent of the diet. - When it comes to parrot nutrition, consider seeds to be somewhat like junk food: birds love them, but they are not the healthiest choice. - For most species of parrot, seeds should only make up about 10 percent of the diet.
Pelleted avian food
- Current recommendation is to feed a nutritionally balanced pelleted avian food as the main component of the bird’s diet.
Problems with pelleted food.
A. Acceptance by the bird, especially if it is used to eating seeds. B. Boredom with the food if the pellets are all the same size, color, shape, consistency, etc. - Some pelleted feeds now have a mixture of different shapes and colors.
Hand rearing/feeding of babies.
1- Common to hand feed cockatiels, cockatoos and parrots, not common to feed finches, canaries, budgies 2- Feed temperature must be very precise, have a good thermometer or test on wrist like you would with baby formula. To Avoid Crop Burns? - Ideal is about 104oF. If you are between 100 and 106 F you will be OK.
Crop Burns:
Incredibly common, crop burns are caused by feeding formula that is too HOT. - Due to excessive feathers, caretakers often do not realize the damage until days later, when the burn inside the crop fistulates (forming an opening to the outside) - In other words, the crop is burned clear through to the outside of the bird's body. - This condition will lead to serious bacterial and fungal complications. - Mostly Veterinarians will put the bird on antifungal and antibiotic and will suture the crop if needed.
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Methods of hand feeding of babies pet birds:
A- Tube feeding – using a syringe: 1. Fairly fast, suitable for newly hatched birds 2. Use a separate tube for each bird if more than one. 3. Better measurement of consumption and control. 4. Hold the head up and put the tube down the right side – never “squirt” food at the center of the throat – trachea is there. B- Spoon Feeding - Not suitable for very young birds that can not ingest food - In either case, do not save food in fridge – dispose of and mix fresh each time you feed.
Precautions for hand feeding of babies pet birds:
1- Need to feed every 2 hours for the first week, can go a little longer at night. - Then gradually decrease night feedings. 2- Feed about 10% of the birds body weight at each feeding. 3- Do not feed if there is food in the crop, Crop is small at first, but will stretch with time. 4- Birds should double their weight in the first 5 days. 5- Between 4 to 8 weeks of age, need to wean the bird off of hand feeding. Start with soft bread or softened pellets. - Birds will probably lose weight during the transition time.
Potential problems with hand feeding:
1- Aspiration of food pushing food into trachea (Suffocation or Drenching pneumonia) 2- Beak deformities due to faulty handling 3- Pendulous crop= overfeeding and overstretching 4- Crop burns = feeding hot food 5- Crop Infections= feeding food with high microbial load (fermented or dirty food) 6- Diarrhea or Constipation due to faulty food preparation or overfeeding.
Never do these to your bird
Do not give junk food – salty pretzels, potato chips and other human snacks. NEVER give your bird chocolate, which contains theobromine – toxic! Always have fresh water for your bird. Changing at least twice a day is recommended. Never give a bird Alcoholic beverages!!! Their liver is not equipped to handle alcohol and it can kill them. Do not give birds beverages with caffeine.
General Signs and symptoms of disease in birds
1. Fluffed feathers – may indicate the bird is trying to retain body heat and is chilled. 2. Lack of activity, failure to fly may indicate a problem, and continually partially or fully closed eyes. 3. Lack of appetite or failure to eat. 4. Irregular or difficulty breathing; Dyspnea, coughing and sneezing. 5. Runny or unusual droppings (feces) may indicate a digestive system problem. 6. Discharge from the eyes, nostrils, mouth may indicate respiratory or other problems.
Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease virus (PBFD)
A- Mode of infection: 1- A contagious and fatal viral disease that affects the beak, feathers and immune system of over 40 different species. 2- Most common in very young birds usually less than 2 years old 3- Vertical transmission from parents in the nest or horizontal transmission between elder birds. B- Clinical Signs: 1- Acute Form; Birds will show general signs of illness depressed, off food, fluffed feather, etc. The virus attacks immune system result in depressed immunity, birds usually get secondary infections; enteritis, diarrhea and regurgitate food and or pneumonia and dyspnea, and usually die within few days without any display of feather or beak problems. 2- Chronic form; Signs usually appear at the first molt (usually 3–5-month-old). New feathers may not emerge, may be deformed and break off easily or bloody (permanent destruction of feather follicles), beak and nails may be soft or brittle, easily break and overgrown. Death in months to years C- Treatment; - No effective treatment, just treating secondary infections (if possible). - Recovery is rare, and if so, bird’s feather, beak or nails are permanently affected, Veterinarians will often recommend euthanasia. D- Prevention; - Isolate infected birds and Euthanasia is recommended to prevent spreading of infection. - No commercial Vaccine yet, just a trial one that was not fully tested
2-Pacheco’s Parrot Disease
A- Mode of infection: - A Herpes virus – All birds are susceptible but primarily infects Parrots, Cockatoos, Conures, and Macaws. B- Clinical Signs and Necropsy: 1-Unfortunately, the most common symptom is sudden death, with diagnosis confirmed at necropsy. 2- Infection can last from 2-7 days and symptoms can include: - Green diarrhea (indicates liver damage) - Regurgitation - Respiratory signs - Swelling and redness of eyes - Nervous signs such as tremor, imbalance, or seizures with a rapid progression to death within 48 hours. 3- Necropsy often reveals: - Enlarged kidneys, liver, and spleen - Circumscribed areas of necrosis and hemorrhage on the liver - The skin, spleen, intestines, pancreas, and body cavity may also show signs of hemorrhage. C- Treatment; Pacheco's Disease is generally considered untreatable because of its sudden onset and rapid death. No specific treatment – Keep warm, plenty of fluids, antibiotics (for secondary infections). D- Prevention; - However, any bird that recovers from Pacheco's Disease can become a carrier, and may serve as sources of infection for other species of psittacine. - Conures are common carriers
Newcastle disease (avian distemper)
A- Mode of infection: (Highly contagious - Worldwide distribution) - Virus (Paramyxovirus) affects the respiratory, digestive and nervous systems. B- Clinical Signs: Avirulent strains: totally Asymptomatic, Lentogenic: Mild digestive and respiratory signs Mesogenic : Severe digestive, respiratory signs Velogenic Neurotropic: Neurological signs Velogenic Viscerotropic: Sudden death, highly pathogenic, called “Exotic Newcastle” 1- Respiratory signs; nasal secretions, sneezing and coughing, difficulty breathing 2- Digestive signs; watery diarrhea sometimes bloody, regurgitation. 3- Nervous signs; twisting of the neck, wing droop, leg paralysis, usually ends by death (Velogenic Neurotropic) 4- Velogenic Viscerotropic: Sudden death, highly pathogenic, called “Exotic Newcastle”. Affects all species of birds and some mammals. The virus attacks the internal organs (Viscerotropic) causing extensive hemorrhage, especially of the digestive tract, prostration and death no treatment or cure - there is a vaccination
Pox virus
A- Mode of infection: 1- Several types (Species specific) – fowl pox, pigeon pox, canary pox, turkey pox, parrot pox and quail pox. 2- Transmission – by air or infected fomites in birds with cracks or breaks in their skin and mosquito or other biting insects. B- Clinical Signs: 2 forms of the disease; DRY form and WET form. - The Dry form is characterized by Wart-like nodule on the skin (head, neck, legs, feet), not usually fatal, can develop to abscesses and ulcers. - Wet form is characterized by nodular lesions in mucous membranes of mouth, throat and esophagus, trachea can spread to GIT might lead to death C- Treatment; Surgical excision or lesions in mild cases, vaccination against Pox virus
Chlamydia Psittaci
A- Mode of infection: - (Opportunistic), usually not a problem until the bird is stressed. B- Clinical Signs: pneumonia: nasal discharge, labored breathing, sneezing, eye redness and closing and face swelling, loss of appetite, loss of weight, listlessness, greenish diarrhea Bird usually dies of dehydration or malnutrition. Can be transmitted to humans (zoonotic) – flu-like or pneumonia-like symptoms, may have severe headaches for months, coughing. Incidence Almost 10 confirmed cases are reported in the United States each year. More cases may occur that are not correctly diagnosed or reported. Prognosis Endocarditis, hepatitis, and neurologic complications may occasionally occur. Severe pneumonia requiring intensive-care support may also occur. - Fatal cases have been reported but are rare C- Treatment; Birds can be treated with Chlortetracycline– sometimes treatment takes long time “impregnated seeds for 21 to 45 days”.
Colibacillosis, E. coli infections (Escherichia coli)
A- Mode of infection: 1- Normal part of intestinal microflora in all animals, infection usually occur due to environmental stress or after primary infection, fatality is up to 70%. Prevention is more effective than treatment, why?. Most isolates are resistant to tetracyclines, streptomycin, and sulfa drugs, and more antibiotics. Fluoroquinolone is sometimes effective however, it is now banned in many countries, including the USA. B- Clinical Signs: 1- Air saculitis (air sacs infection) – cheese like inflammation in air sacs, heart (pericardium), liver (perihepatic membrane). 2- Chronic infection of oviduct: whitish yellow cheese like substance, inflammation of the oviduct with foul smelling discharge. 3- Omphalitis (Navel infection) – swelling, mushiness or wetness and reddening of the abdomen around the naval of young birds. 4- Infections of the leg and wing joints, eyes and mouth.
Bumble Foot
A- Mode of infection: 1- A painful infection of the foot, usually caused by Staphylococcus. 2- Clinical signs: Foot and joints become hot and swollen, usually a thick grayish substance, bird has trouble walking or perching or bending toes. - May eventually eat into the bone and travel to other parts of the body – becomes life threatening. B- Treatment; Surgery (opening, evacuation, antibiotic)
- Scaly Face mites (Knemidokoptes pilae) - Scaly Leg mites (Knemidokoptes mutans) - Scaly face mites burrow into the soft tissue around the beak, cere and face. - Cause severe irritation, damage and sever deformity if not treated. - Scaly leg mites burrow under the scales of the leg. - Cause severe irritation and damage. Might eats to the bone if not treated Treatment; Vaseline or mineral oil will loosen deposits and suffocate the mites. Ivermectin can be used as drops on the back of neck, oral or injected as prescribed Clean and disinfect cages, perches, and all other equipment !!!?
Red Mites, Dermanyssus gallinae
1- Feed on blood of infected birds, usually feed (suck blood) at night, hide in nest boxes or cracks in cage during the day. 2- Heavy infestations can cause anemia and death. 3- Infected birds scratch and pick at their feathers. 4- Can be seen with the naked eye as tiny red specks. 5- Can also bite dogs, cats and humans. - Treat adult birds with pyrethrum powder. - Disinfect cages and equipment, destroy nest boxes and replace.
Birds of Prey taxonomy
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Understand whether falconry is a recent use of birds or an older tradition. Do you need a permit?
It's an older tradition - dating back to the 16/17th century. And yes, now to do falconry you do need a permit.
Family Cathartidae = American Vultures
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Family Accipitridae = Ospreys, Eagles, Harriers and Hawks
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Family Falconidae = Falcons
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Order: Strigiformes
1- Family Tytonidae = Barn Owls 2- Family Strigidae = Typical Owls
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Predatory birds characteristics
1- Hunt and kill prey: also called raptors from Latin word "Rapere" means to take by force (Their ability to catch and kill prey with their feet). smallest talons are about 1 in long 2- Carnivores, eat the whole Prey: powerful muscular gizzard to grind prey muscles, organs then sent back to the proventriculus for enzymatic digestion. 3- They have Sharp vision "detect, and locate prey while flying" 4- Very sharp, powerful and hooked beaks; used to kill their prey by biting at the base of the neck (sever the spinal cord), pierce prey, pull off fur, tug away skin, pluck out feathers, and tear meat into bite-sized, easy-to-swallow chunks. 5- Very sharp and powerful talons used in catching and killing; connected to four muscular toes (digits).
Night hunters; silent hunters = Owls
1- Silent Wings; The outer edge of the first outer primary feather is serrated > disturbing air flow over the wing in flight and eliminating the vortex noise created by air flow on smooth wing 2- Feathered Feet; disturbing air flow over the feet in flight and protect from cold weather. 3- Excellent Hearing; locate even faint sounds with remarkable accuracy, can locate and capture prey by sound alone based on sound intensity, can detect the direction of sound. - Owl's sensitive hearing is enhanced by its facial ruff, a concave surface of stiff dark-tipped feathers. The ruff functions as a reflector, channeling sounds into the ears 4- Familiarity with the territory; individuals hold a hunting territory in which they operate night after night. Familiarity with the environment, especially such things as the heights of favorite perches above the ground, seems to be essential to the owls' ability to pounce on prey.
- Indigestible tissue (i.e., bones, fur, teeth, tendon, ligaments, and feathers) are not digested and should be excreted. To get rid of these indigestible parts, raptors cast (regurgitate or vomit) a pellet of fur and bones every 1-2 days. The regurgitated pellet is called a cast. - All birds of prey have crop “except Owls” only part of their meal goes to their stomach as one time. The rest of the food is stored in the crop and only moves to the stomach when the stomach is empty.   - This way, the hawk’s stomach can digest small amounts at a time even though the hawk at as much as an owl. - Since all of the owl’s meal goes to the stomach when eaten, the stomach is not able to digest all the food as well   - Why bones are found in an owls cast and not others.
Bird of prey vision (bird vision)
1- They are able to see 5 times better than humans. i.e., A red-tailed hawk can see its prey up to 2 miles away, for example; That would be like spotting a rabbit across more than 17 football fields lined up in a row!  2- Birds of prey are able to maintain focus on their prey while in fast pursuit and as they close in.  3- Raptors also use their eyesight to identify other members of their species and to avoid predators. A- They have large eyes in proportion to the size of their skull (more cone and rod vision cells better acuity): - (i.e., If our eyes were the same size as a raptor’s in proportion to our skulls, we would have eyes as big as oranges). B - Binocular vision; Eyes face forward like most of the predators. This helps them determine how far or close an object is (Determine distance). C- Raptors’ eyes are surrounded by bone (Ossicular bone), which helps protect the eye and hold it in place within the skull. D- Because of this, birds of prey can’t move their eyes in their heads like we can. To look left or right or up or down, the bird must move its entire head. To compensate, birds of prey are equipped with flexible necks and are able to turn their heads a lot more than we can (NOT 360 Degrees. 180 to a maximum of 270). E- They have a bony ridge above the eye; this helps to protect their eyes from protruding branches or other foreign objects. F- Raptor eyes are equipped with 3 eye lids (most of the birds as well); The third eyelid is known as a nictitating membrane, and this is the eyelid they use to blink with. - It is a thin, semi-transparent lid, which moves from side to side. Closing and opening it helps keep their eyes moist and clean. When closed, it also helps to protect the bird’s eyes but still allows some vision
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Birds of prey beak
- CRANIAL KINESIS; the upper beak moves up and down from the braincase using a flexible set of ligaments, powerful joint and muscles.  - TOMIAL TOOTH; is a protrusion the tomial edge of the upper jaw often matched by a mandibular notch, in the lower mandible, thought to be used to deliver the killing blow to prey. Found in falcons, kites, and accipiters
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Talons - birds of prey
 - Most raptors have zygodactyl toes which means that three toes point forward but the first digit is positioned toward the back. - This first digit is called the killing talon because it is used to pierce the body of the prey animal. - In Owls when perching, or clutching prey, the outer front toe on each foot swivels to face the rear. It is able to do this because of a unique flexible joint (When a rabbit or mouse is struggling to get away, it's very helpful to have an equal number of talons on each side to ensure the prey won't get free.).
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Falconry equipment
- Alymeries – leather anklets around a birds leg. - Jesses – leather straps that go through the alymeries with a slit at the bottom. - Swivel: Little metal bit so the leash doesn’t get tangled when the bird is tethered. - Creance or leash; the training line attaching raptors to falconer (up to 50 feet) - Bells attached to a hawk's legs are used to locate the hawk in the field. - Falconry gloves; to protect falconer hands from injuries - Falconry Hoods these are used for calming the bird down and stopping jealousy
Steps of Training (Falconry)
1- Manning; The first step in training, during this time that the hawk begins to overcome its fear of people, becomes accustomed to the falconer and learns to associate food with the falconer’s glove. 2- Flying with Creance - As the training progresses, the hawk will be encouraged to hop, jump, and eventually fly increasingly greater distances to the falconer. In just a couple weeks the hawk is flying to the falconer on a light line called a Creance. 3- Free Flying; - Finally hawk is ready to fly completely free to pursue wild game with the falconer. This process of initially releasing a hawk to hunt a certain type of quarry is called entering.
Housing (bird of prey)
Block and bow perches (block for owls and falcons (Cliff edges), bow for other species (tree branches)). NEED AT LEAST ONE SOLID AREA
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Nutrition (bird of prey)
A diet that mimics what they would eat in the wild and in the correct quantity. This generally includes a combination of one-day-old chicks, quail, rats, mice, rabbits and quarry species (eg, pheasant, duck, rabbit, partridge). Varies greatly according to size of the bird and the favorable food for each raptor species Times and amount of feeding per day varies according to the available feed (mice- duck- rabbit), size of the birds, generally give 10-20% of bird’s BW in each meal and feed 2 to 3 times daily (Follow the guidelines of the species)
Are rabbits rodents? If not, what are they? (What is a key anatomical difference?)
Rabbits are not rodents, they are part of the lagomorpha family. They have very similar teeth (two pairs of top and two pairs of bottom incisors) but do not have the enamel on the front which makes for rabbits to have fairly dull instead of sharp teeth in comparison to rodents.
Rabbits as Pets: Pros
Require little special care May live up to about 10 years Can be trained to use a litter box Quiet Come in a variety of sizes, coat types & colors - From dwarf to Flemish giant sizes - From satin to angora coat types - From albino white to black - From solids to spotted to otter
Rabbits as Pets: Cons
Powerful rear legs – can kick and inflict severe scratches with rear feet If picking up an adult or large rabbit by the scruff, without support underneath, they can kick and break their backs May bite – use judgment where you put your fingers! Can be territorial – towards each other, humans, other pets
Rabbit Anatomical Characteristics
Bones are lightweight Heart is relatively small Intestine and cecum are rather large
Rabbit Urine & Feces
Rabbit feces come in two forms Hard, dry pellets: feces excreted throughout the day. Not ingested Cecotropes: night feces that rabbits ingest to recover protein and vitamins. Produced by the cecum (rabbits are hindgut fermenters like horses). What is eating feces called? Rabbit urine is… Cloudy due to calcium carbonate crystals Alkaline Ranges from light yellow to reddish-orange
Rabbit Feeding
Rabbits are strict herbivores Rabbits chew food to extremely small size prior to swallowing Normally eat grass, clovers, flowers, and also some woody shoots, tree bark Best diet for domestic rabbits = grass hay Available ad libitum Supplement with leafy greens, small amount of fruit Some pellets (timothy-based) Growing kits and lactating does need alfalfa
Alfalfa & Pellets in Moderation: Rabbits
Alfalfa (either in hay or pelleted form) is rich in protein and calcium More than mature non-breeding rabbits need Most pellets were originally formulated for breeders to be ‘complete’ and are very nutrient dense More energy, protein & nutrients than mature non-breeding rabbits need Rabbits absorb calcium relative to how much they are fed, not based on need Feeding alfalfa may contribute to urolithiasis (formation of stones) in the urinary tract Feeding greens that are high in oxalic acid (like kale) can also contribute to the problem
Rabbit Reproduction
Males are bucks; females are does; Young are kits (or kittens) Rabbits are long-day breeders Normally don’t breed in fall They be receptive year round if maintained under 14L : 10D light cycle Rabbits are induced ovulators They ovulate 9 to 13 hours after copulation Kindling = giving birth in a rabbit Does will breed within hours of kindling This means they can be nursing one litter and already be pregnant with the next
Litters of Rabbits
Does prepare a nest prior to giving birth Give her a box with hay, straw or shavings She will add fur from her belly Quiet is needed to avoid disturbing her She may kill the young if stressed Does stay away from kits during the day Nurse only 1-2x/day
Born hairless, blind and deaf Open eyes at 12-14 days of age Start to leave nest and eat solid food at 3 wk Start eating mother’s feces first Can be weaned at 4-8 wk of age Keep kits together for 1-2 wk after weaning
Sore hocks
Hair loss or sores on bottoms of feet Caused by wet, wire abrasion, thin soles Treatment: Soft, dry bedding Remove wet and soiled bedding frequently
Gastric stasis (not really true hairballs)
Caused by slow movement of GI tract Due to diet too low in indigestible fiber Leads to impaction, dehydration, death Treatment Rehydrate rabbit Leafy greens Syringe feed electrolytes blended with greens IV fluids Manage pain
Important Cage Features: Rabbits
Enough height to allow rabbits to stand on hind legs with ears up Enough horizontal space to allow hopping Solid floor (over at least some of cage) to reduce sore hocks Elevated platforms Enclosed area for resting
Can you explain why the anatomical features labeled in this diagram are important in understanding rabbits?
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Guinea pigs are also called…
Over than 2000 living species in about 30 families: Rodents range in size from pygmy mice weighing 5 gms to capybaras, the largest of which weigh over 70 kg. - Many are to some degree omnivorous, some are herbivores (?); others are highly specialized, eating, for example, only a few species of invertebrates or fungi. - All rodents share one characteristic: their dentition is highly specialized for gnawing. All rodents have a single pair of upper and a single pair of lower incisors, followed by a gap (diastema), followed by one or more molars or premolars.
Classification of guinea pigs
C. Porcellus = domestic guinea pig Also called a cavy (cavies) Do not exist in the wild Head and body length of 200-400 mm and weight of 500-1,500 g It has no external tail +unfurred ears. Hair is smooth or coarse, long or short, and may display rosettes They have four digits on the front foot, and usually three on the hind with sharp claws Females have a single pair of inguinal mammae. They are descended from several wild species C. aperea C. fulgida C. tschudii
Guinea Pig Origins
Native to Andes Mountains of South America Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina Grassy plains and plateaus but also swamps and mountains Found in the valleys not the mountains (not often at least)
Guinea Pig Domestication
Domesticated for 6,000-7,000 years Used as food source by native tribes in the Andes Can be fried, boiled, roasted or used in soups Brought to Europe in 1500s—became pets
Guinea Pigs & Humans
Guinea pigs seldom bite or scratch Have a reputation for being timid Handle early in life to accustom to picking up/petting If they associate owner with positive things (food), they will whistle when owner approaches Can be fussy and messy They are relatively quiet Have low odor (compared to rats or mice, but not to whichdesert rodent??)
Guinea Pig Natural History
Crepuscular Some periods of diurnal and nocturnal activity Strictly Herbivorous Eat grass, grass and more grass (So what should you feed them?) Other eat vegetation (berries, fruit, flowers, etc) Non-burrowing Do not store food Often seek shelter from predators in crevices or burrows of other animals or tunnels formed by vegetation
Guinea Pig Social Ecology
Wild guinea pigs live in small groups on the grassy plains (much like cattle) Harem: 1 male (boar), several (7) females (sows) and young of various ages (pups 3-4) Move together in group, grazing as they go Males and females are similar (no dimorphism)
Impacts of Domestication guinea pigs
As guinea pigs became more popular as pets, they were bred for different coat types and hair colors (Natural coat color is brown agouti) Wild guinea pigs are smaller and more aggressive. Wild male guinea pig do not tolerate each other (still true; recommended one males and several females or females only; 2 males might end with death of the submissive one). However domestic guinea pig are more tolerant of multi-male groups, and exhibit increased levels of social grooming Domestic guinea pigs are larger in size and have a bigger litter size Domesticated male guinea pigs still aggressive - cannot have 2 of them in one cage if not in a 2 family situation. Still not smart.
Guinea pigs make good pets
They are a low cost, and fairly low maintenance pet; They are extremely docile, rarely bite, and are very social. They enjoy human/guinea pig interactions, and often love to be petted. Guinea pigs have another advantage over most other popular small mammals; they are relatively large and slow, and therefore, are often easy to hold (and catch if loose from their cage). Although they are not as intelligent as rats, the guinea pig is trainable, and with the proper stimulation, is quite lively. Life span 5-7 years Eat variety of green feed
Housing guinea pigs
Each guinea pig should have a minimum of two square feet in its cage. No wire bottom: Guinea pigs can very easily catch their feet and legs in a mesh bottom and often lose toes and break legs (solid flooring; plastic, metal, or treated wood. Guinea pigs do not always handle heights well (a cage with multiple levels, make sure that the levels are fairly close together, to prevent serious injuries from falls). Temp: guinea pigs come from the high plains areas of South America, they have a much better tolerance for cold than they do heat (65 –68 F), however, they do not do well with colder drafts. They are very susceptible to heat stroke at temperatures above 80 F, so try to place their cages away from heat vents and direct sunlight if possible.
Bedding in guinea pig cages
Cedar shavings: Cedar should be avoided at all costs, causes chronic upper respiratory problems and significant liver changes, severe skin rashes. Pine shavings: Pine shavings are a less aromatic softwood that are often packaged as bedding for small mammals. Similar problems exist as to cedar. Aspen shavings: a non-aromatic hardwood, and its shavings make a safe bedding. It does not have much odor control, Straw: Straw is unsuitable because it does not absorb urine and the hard stalks can cause eye injuries. Timothy hay: Timothy hay can make a good bedding for guinea pigs. In addition to being a natural food source, guinea pigs enjoy tunneling through it, making nests in it and just playing with it. Fresh timothy has a pleasant smell, and will absorb some urine. The drawbacks are that it does not control odors, and it will mold when wet. Fabric or cloth: has to be changed frequently, can spread germs
Other additions housing for guinea pigs should include
A water bottle not a dish: will quickly become soiled with urine and droppings, or simply be over-turned. Bottle should mount outside the cage and the sipper tube should be made of stainless steel. Many guinea pigs will chew on the tube as they drink and quickly ruin plastic tubes. A food dish: should be heavy, and ideally wider at the bottom than the top, to make it difficult to overturn. A hay rack is also a good addition, as it keeps some timothy off of the floor of the cage and provides a cleaner food source.
Nutrition guinea pigs
Guinea pigs are strict vegetarians. In the wild they feed on grasses, and seasonal wild fruits and vegetables. Domesticated guinea pigs need a similar diet. Grass hay should be the mainstay of your guinea pig’s diet: Timothy hay is the best hay to feed, although other grass hays are acceptable. The high fiber content of hay will help keep your guinea pig’s digestive system normal, and provide an outlet for his/her chewing instinct Fresh hay should be available to your guinea pig at all times (A word of caution, alfalfa hay is an “okay” hay to feed if grass hays are totally unavailable, however, it is not recommended for long-term usage) Guinea pig pellets are also an important part of your guinea pig’s diet. Pellets provide a proper balance of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. They are a readily available source of protein for your guinea pig. Small amounts, about 1-2 ounces per adult guinea pig, should be fed in addition to hay and raw vegetables and fruit. Pelleted diets alone are NOT an adequate guinea pig diet.Guinea pigs are unable to manufacture or store Vitamin C, so they must obtain it from their diet on a daily basis.Pellets lose Vitamin C as they sit on the shelf, and during processing; therefore, you must provide them hith vegetables and fruits containing high amounts of Vitamin C. Pellets do not contain high enough levels of fiber to regulate guinea pig digestion; therefore you must provide them with hay
Things to consider when feeding your guinea pig fresh foods are:
1. Be careful to introduce new foods slowly and in small amounts – too much of a new food could cause gastric upset and diarrhea. 2. Please consider the size of the animal – one grape might not seem like a large amount of fruit to you, but to a guinea pig, a grape is the size of a cantaloupe. 3. Because a guinea eats such small quantities, the vegetables and fruits you feed it should all be high in Vitamin C, such as broccoli, dandelion greens, kiwis, mustard greens, parsley, apples, green bell peppers, kale, fresh tomatoes, etc. 4. Avoid feeding iceberg lettuce, shelled nuts or seeds, dairy products and candy to your guinea pig.
Guinea Pig Reproduction
Females = sows, puberty at 30-40 days Males = boars, puberty at ~60 days But best not to breed until ~3 months of age Can be bred using monogamous or polygamous systems Monogamous = ___ males to ____ females Polygamous = 1 male to up to 7-10 females Male can stay with female after birth if cage is big enough and has separate areas
Guinea Pig Pups
Born in a precocial state Furred at birth Teeth erupted. Eyes and ears open Immediately able to run and play Small litter size (3 average, up to 6 possible) Start eating solid food immediately (few hrs), weaned by 3 wk (separate males and females)
Mating System guinea pigs
Female guinea pigs have a shorter space between their vulva and their anus If the genital area forms a “Y” shape, this means the cavy is female If the genital area forms a dot or “I” shape, this means the cavy is male Gently press and rub just over the genital area checking for the penis, look and feel for testicles on either side of the penis
Heat stroke guinea pigs and chinchillas
Guinea pigs do not tolerate heat well. They overheat rapidly and can die within minutes. Signs of heat stoke include listlessness, raising their heads, and shallow rapid breathing. It is very important to treat the guinea pig immediately by wrapping the guinea pig in a towel soaked in cool water, or spraying cool water on it. Cool pedialyte offered orally can also help.
Respiratory Infections guinea pigs
Guinea pigs are very susceptible to upper respiratory infections. Symptoms include nasal discharge, sneezing, and difficulty breathing. Upper respiratory infections can quickly lead to pneumonia in a guinea pig and guinea pigs with these signs should be seen by a veterinarian. One of the causes of pneumonia in guinea pigs is a bacteria called Bordetella (Bordetella bronchiseptica) This bacteria can be carried by rabbits and dogs ( it is not recommended to house Guinea pigs and rabbits in the same hutch, and limit dog/guinea pig interactions.
Malocclusion guinea pigs and chinchillas
This is a condition where your guinea pigs teeth do not meet properly and therefore do not wear properly. Since guinea pig teeth grow continuously, they need to wear against each other to maintain their proper structure (causes: hereditary/congenital misalignment, tooth root abscesses, or broken teeth) The teeth most commonly affected are the cheek teeth (molars), which can grow inwards and entrap the tongue, or grow spurs on the outer edges which can cause sores in the cheeks. If this happens, the teeth need to be filed by a veterinarian. - Unfortunately, If the front teeth (incisors) are affected, it is frequently an inheritable trait and these guinea pigs should not be bred, or will need teeth correction frequently.
2 species of chinchillas
C. lanigera = longer-tailed variety. This is the domesticated one. C. chinchilla = shorter-tailed variety (formerly called C. brevicaudata due to its short tail)
Chinchilla Origins
Native to Andes Mountains of South America Once existed in Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Chile Currently only in Chile Critically endangered (Why?) -fur trade MOUNTAINS
Chinchilla Domestication
Recently domesticated 11 pairs brought to U.S. in 1923 by Mathias Chapman Nearly all pet chinchillas in U.S. are descended from these animals However, there is debate overwhether all or one wild species have contributed to the petpopulation
Chinchillas & Humans
Chinchillas are not recommended for young or boisterous children Become easily distressed—go off food, get sick Bones are fragile and break easily if held tightly Chinchillas have individual personalities Even handling a lot in a positive way won’t change underlying temperament Choose your chin wisely!
Chinchilla Natural History
Nocturnal, crepuscular Has some periods of diurnal activity Omnivore Primarily eat grass and seeds Will also eat insects and bird eggs when available Adapted to cold, dry, montane climates Tolerant of temperatures down to -35F Can overheat easily (>80F) Very agile—good jumpers and climbers
Chinchilla Social Ecology
Live in herds in crevices & large burrows Family groups of 2-5 share smaller burrows within the larger residence Females are larger than males Generally aggressive toward other females May be aggressive to males when not receptive FEMALES AGGRESSIVE
Chinchilla Characteristics
Natural coat color is gray agouti (standard gray) All teeth continue to grow throughout life Incisors grow 2-3 inches per year! Broad heads with large ears Long, furry tail Each paw has 4 digits, no hair on soles Back paws are larger than front paws Front paws have sharp claws, can grasp food Whiskers are important in ‘seeing’ their environment
Impacts of Domestication chinchillas
biggest effect of domestication has been on color
Chinchilla Fur…
Is very dense with 50-80 hairs per follicle Provides warm & protection from parasites Is very fine = 10 -15 micrometers thick Can be shed in clumps (fur slip) when a chinchilla is frightened Why would this be useful?
Chinchilla Coat Maintenance
Chinchillas bathe in very fine dust NOT water to maintain their coat Volcanic ash is a good and commonly available 2-3x/week Thin layer of dust in bottom of a large container that won’t flip over as they roll around
Chinchilla Reproduction
Females = does, sexually mature ~7-8.5 months Males = bucks, sexually ~8 months Seasonally polyestrous breeders Females tend to be monogamous, but males are polygamous What is polygamy? Male will groom the female to see if she is receptive, then attempts to mount her Will mate several times in a short period if receptive Female may be aggressive if not receptive, so mating should be supervised
Chinchilla Breeding
Females can be aggressive to males when not receptive Breeding farms may create special cages where a male can go through a tunnel to reach many females Females wear collars that prevent them from leaving their cages, but the male can leave if he’s not wanted!
Chinchilla Kits
Born in a precocial state Furred at birth Eyes and ears open Immediately able to run and play Small litter size (1-2 common, up to 6 possible) Start eating solid food in 1 wk, weaned by 8 wk
Chinchilla Digestive Physiology
Hindgut fermenters (like rabbits) Very long sacculated colon to create lots of surface area for digestion Need a high fiber diet to keep food moving What kind of feed provides lots of fiber? Practice coprophagy Sensitive to dietary changes Switch to new foods very slowly, starting with small amounts
Chinchilla Diet
Commercial chinchilla diet 16-20% protein 15-35% fiber Grass hay For additional fiber
Chinchilla Habitat
You need to provide opportunities for them to climb and jump Chinchillas are active animals Spacious housing is recommended Accommodate their agility, standing on hind legs Constructed of sturdy materials they can’t chew through Provide materials to chew on in cage to wear down constantly growing teeth Can house socially—but watch to be sure animals are compatible NEEDS A ROOF
Health Problems: Gut/Mouth chinchillas
Gastrointestinal issues are the most common health problem for chinchillas Constipation Gastric trichobezoars What is the common name for this condition? Bloat Chinchillas cannot vomit, so if they become gassy they cannot relieve the pressure themselves Malocclusion of incisors or molars
Health Problems: Skin/Fur chinchillas
Fur chewing/barbering of own/other’s fur Some evidence that it’s hereditary Ringworm (dermatophytosis) Causes alopecia (hair loss) especially around nose, ears, front feet, behind ears Fur ring Prolapsed penis caused by hair wrapping around penis during mating Fur prevents retraction of penis into prepuce