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Influence of temperament and handling time on physiological indicators of stress in emus

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Stress Physiology of Emus

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Influence of temperament and handling time on physiological indicators of stress in emus

  1. 1. Influence of temperament and handling time on the physiological indicators of stress in emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae) AVIAN RESEARCH CENTRE Deepa G. Menon,Darin C. Bennett,and Kimberly M. Cheng UniversityofBritishColumbia,Vancouver,Canada.
  2. 2. • Ratite • Native to Australia • Products: Fat - Oil Meat Leather Feathers Eggs Emu (Dromaius novahollandiae) http://fancypigeonskerala.blogspot.ca/2011/11/end-use-of-emu-birds.html
  3. 3. • Long distance between farms and slaughter facilities • Economic losses • Welfare issues • Handling and restraint • Susceptible to stress • Lack of non-invasive indicators Background
  4. 4. Objectives (1) Record - behavioral responses of emus to handling and transport (2) Determine - effect of temperament and handling time on physiological variables (3) Identify - behavioral indicators of stress in emus
  5. 5. Experiment • Two trials: Trial 1: n = 24 Trial 2: n = 18 • Age group: 5-8 years • Transport time: 6 hours • Handling: loading, unloading, sampling • Blood sampling: pre- and post-transport • Statistical analysis: Anova, Pearson correlation coefficient - Statistica (Statsoft Inc.)
  6. 6. • Major behaviors - during handling and loading - transport - after unloading • Handling times • Cloacal temperature • Plasma corticosterone • Blood glucose, serum total protein, AST, CK, WBC count Variables measured
  7. 7. Proportion of emus (n = 42) performing each event during pre-loading handling 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 %ofemus Events Trial 1 Trial 2 RESULTS
  8. 8. Handling - events • All occurrences • Frequency or intensity Scores Observations 0 1 2 3 Kick, fall, sit, balk, slip Nil Once Twice > 2 Vocalize, aggression, jump, run Nil Mild Moderate Severe Mean total event score = 4.3 1.0 (1-10) Loading time (min) = 3.4 ± 0.2
  9. 9. Total event scores Variables Mean ± SE CORT levels before transport (ng/mL) 8.7 ± 2.2 CORT levels after transport (ng/mL) 36.7 ± 3.7 Total event scores - corticosterone levels after transport; r = 0.71, P<0.05 Total event scores - partial correlation coefficient r = 0.69, P<0.05
  10. 10. Vocalization during handling Recorder: R5-Roland Wave Recorder (Roland US, Los Angeles, CA) Analysis: Raven Lite Interactive software, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, NY (http://www.birds.cornell.edu/ raven)
  11. 11. Sonogram - distress calls and normal vocalizations Frequency(Hz) Time (seconds) Female Male
  12. 12. Handling temperament Category Approachable Catchable Manageable Calm and easy Calm Not moving away Easy No struggling Easy to handle Slightly panicky Bird is calm Keeping its distance Somewhat difficult Moderate struggling Easy to handle Flighty Moving away from handlers Very difficult Struggling a lot Difficult to handle Categorization of emus according to the ease of handling
  13. 13. Comparison between temperament categories Variables Units Calm and easy Slightly panicky Flighty P-value(n = 17) (n = 11) (n = 14) Mean event scores 3.0±0.5b 4.0±0.6ab 4.9±0.5a 0.04 Body temperature oC 38.3±0.1b 38.4±0.2b 38.9±0.2a 0.02 Total protein g/L 56.2±2.8a 52.7±1.1ab 48.0±1.5b 0.03 H/L ratio 4.5±2.5b 15.1±3.1a 8.3±1.0ab 0.03 Corticosterone ng/L 31.3±5.5a 10.0±2.1b 31.4±4.8a <0.01
  14. 14. Total handling time Variables Units ≤ 8 min (n = 14) >8 min (n = 28) P-value Corticosterone ng/mL 15.1 4.7 29.3 3.4 0.02 Glucose mMol/L 10.1 1.0 12.7 0.4 0.03 AST IU/L 1022 577 2429 422 0.05 CK IU/L 6705 2249 15143 1642 0.004 WBC count X103/L 17.2 1.2 13.4 0.9 0.01 Effect of handling time on biochemical variables
  15. 15. Transport After unloading Huddling Gular flutter Tachypnea Open beak breathing Slipping Huddling Head bobbing Twisting of neck Fence pecking Pacing Observations - behavior
  16. 16. Comparing pre- and post-transport time budgets • Time budgets from One-Zero scores • Blom transformation (Blom, 1958) • Friedman ANOVA on ranks
  17. 17. Time budgets of adult domestic emus 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 %activitytime Behavior
  18. 18. Effect of transportation on time budgets for major behaviors P<0.001 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 Pecking fences Huddling Feeding Resting Locomotion Standing Pacing Grooming Aggression %activitytime Pre-transport Post-transport P<0.001 P<0.01 Behavior
  19. 19. Effect of pre-transport separation into groups on fence pecking 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 No separation before transportSeparated 5 days before transportSeparated 15 days before transport %activitytime Before transport After transport
  20. 20. Transportation stress • Locomotion and grooming - decreased • Huddling, pacing - increased • Fence pecking - separation from conspecifics • Distress calls - signaling behaviour Changes in time budgets - to detect stressful events
  21. 21. Conclusions and recommendations • Event scores - non-invasive indicator • Temperament categories - biochemical variables • Handling time - minimize • Improve the well being of emus • Habituating emus to handling and herding
  22. 22. Funding BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands; funds administered by the UBC Specialty Birds Research Committee. Collaborations TryHarder Farms, Denholm, Saskatchewan Code’s Corner Emu Farm, Duncan, BC. THANK YOU Acknowledgements

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