Bird Husbandry and Care

Last Review Date: December 6, 2017


I.  Purpose

This Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) outlines the animal care requirements associated with the daily husbandry of captive birds to ensure consistent and uniform care. This procedure applies to all personnel involved in the care of captive birds housed at the Fort Missoula Field Research Station’s (FMFRS) outdoor or indoor aviaries.

II.  Policy

It is a LAR policy to meet or exceed all federal, state, and local regulations and guidelines and to comply with all institutional policies and procedures as they apply to the use of animals in research. LAR personnel or Investigators involved in husbandry and care must pass on-line animal training modules and attend applicable training in animal care and use, occupational health and safety, and equipment operation prior to performing activities outlined in this SOP. Animal housing rooms should be entered using appropriate personal protective gear for the species and disease or hazard containment level.

III.  Husbandry and Care Procedures

Due to the widely varying requirements for diet, enrichment, housing, and prevention of stress each specific species’ needs will be addressed in the Investigator’s Animal Use Protocol. Captive living conditions should be appropriate for each species of bird and should contribute both to health and comfort.

A.  Check for any special feeding or watering instructions listed on the bird care sheet
      posted outside each indoor aviary or on the west wall near the exit to the outdoor
      aviaries

B.  Observe birds for signs of disease, illness or injury

C.  Check to see if birds have eaten and are drinking water

D.  Note any changes in urine or feces

E.  Report any problems to the Attending Veterinarian

IV.  Daily Routine for Indoor Aviaries

A.  Observe animals for signs of disease or illness as above

B.  Rinse and refill all water dishes or bottles daily

C.  If water is in bottles, check to ensure lixits are free from debris before replacing on
      bottles

D.  Feed will be appropriate for the species housed and will be outlined in the Animal
      Use Protocol

E.  Food will be fed ad libitum unless a different feeding regimen is specified in the
      Animal Use Protocol

F.  The cleaning regimen for bird caging or indoor flight room will be specified in the
      Animal Use Protocol

G.  Sweep and mop the floor with Rescue RTU

H.  Empty trash

I.  Replenish bedding (if present) as needed

J.  Fill out checklist sheet, census sheet, and an initial daily log

K.  Enrichment will be provided and appropriate for the species being housed

V.  Daily Routine for Outdoor Aviaries 

A.  Observe animals for signs of disease or illness as above

B.  Rinse and refill all water dishes or bottles daily

C.  If water is in bottles, check to ensure bottles are free of ice and that the lixits are
      free from debris before replacing on bottles

D.  Feed will be appropriate for the species housed and will be outlined in the Animal
      Use Protocol

E.  Food will be fed ad libitum unless a different feeding regimen is specified in the
     Animal Use Protocol

F.  The cleaning regimen for the outdoor aviary will be specified in the Animal Use
     Protocol but in general should include:

1.  Removal of excess seed or food items from the ground

2.  Raking of the aviary as needed due to density of birds being housed or size of
     the bird

G.  Each bird will be identified (leg bands, coloration of the bird, etc.) on a laminated
      cage card and affixed to the outside of the aviary

H.  Fill out checklist sheet, census sheet, and an initial daily log

I.   Enrichment will be provided and appropriate for the species being housed
     (perches, shrubbery or grasses for hiding, etc.)

VI.  Weekend Routine 

 Follow daily routine except floors will not be mopped on the weekend

VII.  Indoor Aviary ASC

Indoor aviary All Surface Cleaning (ASC) schedules shall be addressed in the Animal Use Protocol and will accommodate for the species being housed to prevent stress.

ASC should include the following

A.  Wash walls, feed bin, sink, counters, light diffusers, floor, door and threshold with
      disinfectant.  Let stand 10 minutes.

B.  Rinse with clean water

C.  Dry with paper towel if necessary

D.  Initial checklist and ASC sheets and daily log

 VIII.  Quarantine of New Captive Birds

Introducing birds to the facility, whether from the wild or another captive setting carries the risk of disease transmission as well as decreasing immunity of the bird(s) due to stress. Birds introduced to the facility need to be quarantined to protect both incoming birds and any established bird populations.

 A.  Quarantine of Incoming Birds

1.  Birds housed indoors are effectively quarantined in each housing area

2.  Investigators will refrain from entering other investigator’s areas when they
     house birds separate from their own

3.  If an investigator must enter another’s indoor aviary they will wear shoe covers,
     lab coat, and nitrile gloves to prevent fomite transmission to their study areas
     upon their return

4.  Birds to be housed in the outdoor aviaries should be placed in non-adjacent
     aviaries for a minimum of 30 days

5.  If no illness is detected after 30 days they may be housed in adjacent aviaries

6.  If non-adjacent aviaries are not available the situation will be addressed on a
     case by case basis in consultation with the FMFRS Director, the investigator,
     and the Attending Veterinarian