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9 December 2019 Assessment of Three Diet Types on Constitutive Immune Parameters in Captive Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus)
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Abstract

Proper diet and nutrition are essential for maintaining the health of captive birds, but specific nutritional requirements can vary by species. Our knowledge of avian nutrition is predominantly based on data collected from gallinaceous birds, which is the primary basis for the dietary recommendations for companion birds, such as budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) and other psittacine birds, potentially leading to a higher risk of malnutrition. In the wild, budgerigars eat predominantly Australian grass seed of the Astrebla genus, which may not be similar to the commercially available food fed to captive budgerigars, both in nutrient content and in their physiologic effects. In this study, we examined the relationship between diet type and immune function by separating 36 budgerigars into 3 dietary treatments: 1) Roudybush formulated pellet diet (Roudybush BirdFood Inc, Woodland, CA, USA), 2) Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health seed mix (Kaytee Products Inc, Chilton, WI, USA), and 3) a natural seed diet containing fresh canary grass, flax, nyger, oat groats, and white millet seeds. We monitored body weight, measured the microbial killing ability of whole blood by Escherichia coli and Candida albicans, and collected blood smears to assess white blood cell counts during a period of 8 weeks. Overall, we observed no significant effects of the 3 different diets on bird microbial killing ability or on white blood cell counts, suggesting similar health outcomes for budgerigars that consume mixed seed and those that receive pellet-based diets during this relatively short-term study.

© 2019 by the Association of Avian Veterinarians
Kayla A. Eggleston, Elizabeth M. Schultz, and Dustin G. Reichard "Assessment of Three Diet Types on Constitutive Immune Parameters in Captive Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus)," Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery 33(4), 398-405, (9 December 2019). https://doi.org/10.1647/2018-395
Published: 9 December 2019
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