Monitoring Food Intake of a Pair of Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos, (Cacatua leadbeateri)

Citation

Wrobel ML, Twinney JK, Valdes EV. 1995. Monitoring food intake of a pair of Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos, (Cacatua leadbeateri). In Proceedings of the First Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition, AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, Scarborough, OT.

Abstract

The food consumption of a pair of Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos, Cacatua leadbeateri, (Leadbeater’s or Pink Cockatoos) was monitored at the Metro Toronto Zoo (MTZ). The diet included a commercial pellet, MTZ “psittacine mix”, mixed whole fruits and dried fruits and a seed mixture, the latter historically offered for behavioural enrichment. The diet had been offered to MTZ psittacines for several years but its acceptance by the cockatoos and therefore its nutritive value had not been evaluated in detail. The 21 day study was divided into three phases: Phase 1 where the diet was offered without the seed mixture, and all components of the diet were mixed together in one bowl; Phase 2 where the seed mix was excluded and components of the diet were offered in a partitioned food bowl; and Phase 3 where the seed mix was also offered to evaluate its effect on acceptance of the regular diet. Fresh and dry weights of offered and refused food were obtained. Nutrient content of the food intake in the three phases was estimated using a computer program and results from proximate analyses of the diet. The complete nutrient content of many of the items in the diet was unknown, particularly the vitamin content. General conclusions were drawn where data was complete in relation to requirements for the maintenance, and breeding/growing requirements for psittacines in the literature. The cockatoos consumed significantly less of the commercial pellets when seed was offered (p = 0.01). Crude protein levels in the diet were lower than optimum (18%) for breeding, especially if the seed is not included in the diet ( where crude protein was 24%). The fat content in the diet was higher when seeds were consumed (5.7%) than when seeds were not present (5%). Requirements for breeding and growing were not met in levels of linoleic acid, arginine, lysine, methionine, threonine,( possibly cystine ), sodium, potassium, manganese and copper. Levels were estimated to be deficient for maintenance requirements for sodium, potassium (where no seed is provided), manganese (when seed is provided) and possibly cystine. Alternate foods were discussed as well as the need to monitor the feeding preferences of individuals to ensure that a theoretically ideal diet is made a reality.

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Wrobel ML, Twinney JK, Valdes EV. 1995. Monitoring food intake of a pair of Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos, (Cacatua leadbeateri) in Proceedings of the First AZA Nutrition Advisory Group Conference, Scarborough, OT Canada.