Zebra Finch Husbandry and Care

Date adopted: April 2, 2019

I.  Purpose/Scope

The purpose of this Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is to outline the animal care requirements associated with the daily husbandry of zebra finches to ensure consistent and uniform care.

This procedure applies to all personnel involved in the care of zebra finches in the Laboratory Animal Resources facility at the Field Research Station Fort Missoula (FRSFM).

II. Policy

It is 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.  Personnel must attend any applicable training in animal care and use, occupational health and safety, equipment operation, and Standard Operating Procedures prior to performing activities outlined in this SOP or work under the direct supervision of trained aviary personnel.

III.  Procedures

3.1.    Each morning the Animal Caretaker (AC) will observe all finches in their cages for signs
          of illness, injury or death.

          Clinical signs observed may include: anorexia, weight loss, nasal discharge, ocular    
          discharge, head tilt, and changes in behavior or mannerisms.

3.2.    If a health problem is detected, identify the animal and notify the LAR office and call
          for the attending veterinarian if needed.

3.3.    If all the finches appear healthy, place your initials on the bottom in the technician
          space.

3.4.    If an animal is found dead or injured, contact the Attending Veterinarian immediately.

IV.  Identification

4.1    Each finch will be identified by leg band and/or group cage card.

V.  Husbandry 

     Daily

5.1.    Finches will be fed Mazuri finch chow; hulls will be blown from top of food daily, with
          new food replaced weekly.  Diet may be periodically supplemented with lettuce and
          hardboiled egg.

5.2     Feed barrels will be labeled with feed type, milling date and expiration date.

5.3.    Finches are to have free access to clean potable water at all times. In individuals
          cages (14”x 11”x 19”), water will be provided in plastic dishes.  Dishes will be rinsed in
          hot soapy water daily.

    Weekly

5.4.    All food and water receptacles will be cleaned in hot soapy water once weekly. 
5.5      Paper lining in individual cages will be changed once weekly.
    Monthly

5.6     For individual cages, cage bottom (including wire grate, and plastic tray) will be
          exchanged for a clean cage bottom once per month.

VI.  Sanitation

6.1     Paper cage liners and straw ground cover will be replaced weekly with clean
          paper/straw. 

6.2     All food and water dishes will be cleaned in hot, soapy water once weekly.

6.3     Feed barrels and trash barrels are to be sanitized monthly and documented.

6.4     Floors will be swept and mopped daily