The Cracidae family of neotropical birds is regarded as one of the most severely threatened in the world. They traditionally have been extensively hunted, and, thus, ex situ efforts for their conservation are recommended and involve the optimization of their care in captivity. Nutrition is a fundamental aspect of husbandry, which influences survival and reproduction in captivity. In this study, a total of 29 animals, including 3 species (Penelope obscura, Penelope superciliaris, and Aburria jacutinga), were subjected to monthly physical examination and blood sampling before and after dietary conversion from the traditional diet of broiler feed, fruits, and vegetables to a nutritionally balanced commercial diet specifically designed for wild Galliformes. The diet change produced differences in several parameters tested, including an increase (P < 0.05) in hemoglobin concentration for all species. Increases (P < 0.05) in erythrocyte count, packed cell volume, and body weight were observed in P. obscura, with a concomitant decrease in the standard deviation for such parameters that show improved uniformity. Globulins and lipase also were reduced (P < 0.05) in P. obscura. Although leukocyte count was lowered and eosinophils were increased in all 3 species after dietary conversion, only these 2 changes were significant (P < 0.05) in P. superciliaris. A. jacutinga had higher (P < 0.05) blood glucose concentrations than the other species, but diet had no effect on this parameter. Blood uric acid concentrations were higher (P < 0.05) after conversion to the commercial diet in P. superciliaris. The provision of a commercial extruded diet as a single food source was beneficial, which led to a general improvement in clinical aspects and group uniformity in these 3 species of Cracidae.
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