Growth of the feathers at Loro Parque Fundación

October 27th, 2017 | by Rafael Zamora Padron
Growth of the feathers at Loro Parque Fundación
LPF NEWS
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Feathers can tell us so much about a bird. Therefore, we observe the plumage of the chicks in detail during this first period to solve problems in time. If the feathers of the chicken´s small tails are dirty or always moist, it is often a sign for the breeders of possible infection or too bland diet.

In case of bitten or cut plumage or if the feather doesn´t look well, it is probably affected by parasite. When this occurs to a chick during the growing phase, it will leave the chicken exhausted and anemic due to the loss of blood. When it comes to massive mite infestation, immediate action must be taken in order to remedy the situation.

In some cases, youngsters have unopened feathers in the growth phase, such as spears or barbs. This is an indicator that parents may have some disease, dietary deficiencies, lack of grooming due to thermoregulation problems and a long list that deserves a thorough analysis to fix the inconveniences in time.

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Hyacinth Macaw

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The presence of plumage stress marks, in the form of dark bars is an almost unmistakable sign of bad nutrition that should be taken into account. This is more in hand-rearing when the formulas are not adequate or are not supplemented according to the species to be treated.

For hygienic reasons, it is essential to keep the first feathers of the hand rearing chicks in good condition. The importance lies in getting the best thermoregulation of the specimens. A spotted feather or remains of porridge can affect the basic function of the plumage and will create a concentration of bacteria and fungi. We also clean the beak, area of the crop, legs and tips of wings and tail to avoid many problems.

READ  The first hatching of Tasmanian Black Cockatoo (Zanda funerea xanthonota) in Europe officially

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Amazona aestiva

Blue-fronted Amazon baby

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It is normal that the plumage of the first year is not so bright or robust since it is a temporary dress. The feathers will become stronger, showy and colorful from the first year, after passing the first process of molting.

The young birds need to practice their flying skills as much as possible. This will activate their metabolism and help them to develop strong when they are shedding flight feathers and growing new ones without suffering physiological wear.

Many members of Loro Parque Fundación ask us why our species are larger and have brighter plumage. The answer consists of a compendium of factors: a good diet provided by Versela Laga and fresh fruit and vegetables coming from our own 100% ecological cultivation, as well as a large flying enclosure with environmental enrichment including water to splash in during the hottest part of the day turn them to balanced species with an excellent body structure.

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Chalcopsitta atra

Black Lory baby

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The lories of Loro Parque Fundación were reproduced in the beginning of the year and you can already see how the feathers of the black lories (Chalcopsitta atra) are growing bright and vigorous. These curious consumers of forest flowers, including mangrove forests in Indonesia have a generalized black color but they actually show litmus in their plumage which is purple with violet reflections, along with the yellow end of the back of their tails that makes them very attractive for those who work with them.

The beautiful Jamaican Amazones, the Black-billed Amazon (Amazona agilis) and the Yellow-billed Amazon (Amazona collaria) are also being successfully reproduced this year. They are a delicate species, which have a mild character during the breeding season, but also can be of strong and decisive character when it is necessary. Its babies are extremely sensitive when they are born. For this reason, their parents need conditions of extreme tranquility.

READ  The new year has begun at Loro Parque Fundación

Water is an essential part in the environmental enrichment program of Loro Parque Fundación. We know that the birds have different bath needs. We therefore offer them different bath methods to allow different species to bath. For example, some like a fine spray of water; some birds will bath themselves by rubbing their feathers against moistened green pine branches; others, like the kea (Nestor notabilis), loves bathing in water streams where they splash in as often as they wish and this the reason their feathers look so pretty.

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Nestor notabilis

Nestor notabilis (c) M.Kortmann

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Nestor notabilis2

Nestor notabilis (c) M.Kortmann

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Nestor notabilis3

Nestor notabilis (c) M.Kortmann

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Nestor notabilis4

Nestor notabilis

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All the parrots love having water around for bathing and keeping their plumage in good condition. They love to play in the water and relish their time with others in the bath, especially during the hottest part of the day. Even when the females are about to see the births of their little ones, they take baths to moisten the shells instinctively.

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The trainer team of the Loro Show testing elements of environmental enrichment

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During the past LPF-Workshop we were able to test elements of environmental enrichment with Jennifer Gekeler, one of the workshop speakers. We especially could see the importance and challenges of these elements for the parrots. For example, the curious Keas from New Zealand spent long hours trying to figure out how to get food under different circumstances. In the same way the Loro Show team at Loro Parque showed their enormous skills based on experience to create enriched hangers for macaws and other species. Our main trainer, Montse Buch, and our curator, Marcia Weinzettl, explained how important it is to offer changing elements to parrots, since it directly affects their good health and development of psychomotor skills.

READ  Loro Parque has already raised over 200 parrot chicks in this season, including many lories

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Author: Rafael Zamora Padrón, Scientific Director of Loro Parque Fundación

Title photo: Loro Parque Fundación

 

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