Pet Food Processing
on July 10, 2013

Effects of food processing and fiber content on Blue-and-gold macaws

Pelleted diets may be more beneficial when dealing with metabolic disorders commonly observed in macaws.

This study was triggered by the increased incidence of obesity and metabolic diseases in caged parrots, and evaluated the effects of fiber and food processing on Blue-and-gold macaws.

Four food formulations (0%, 7%, 14% and 21% of sugarcane fiber) processed by pelleting or extrusion were studied, resulting in eight diets. To study digestibility, 48 macaws housed in pairs in cages were used in a block design. Diets containing 0% or 21% sugarcane fiber, pelleted or extrude was fed for four months to evaluate energy intake and blood metabolites. A 2 × 2 × 2 (two fiber levels, two food processing methods and two genders) factorial arrangement with subplots (beginning and end) was used.

Fiber addition reduced protein, fat and energy (p < 0.001) digestibility in both food processing. Pelleted foods presented higher dry matter digestibility and food metabolizable energy (ME) than the extruded ones (p < 0.05). Fiber addition or the type of processing did not change ME ingestion (p > 0.05). The macaws gained body weight (p < 0.05) regardless of the diet (p > 0.05), but females fed with the high-fiber diets did not gain weight (p > 0.05), suggesting a low food ME (12.5 kJ/g).The substitution of the original diet (sunflower seeds, fruits and cooked maize) by the experimental foods decreased the basal concentrations of glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides (p < 0.001). The consumption of pelleted diets reduced serum glucose and cholesterol (p < 0.05).

Results suggest that the pelleted diets were more beneficial and can be used to reduce blood metabolites related to metabolic disorders that are commonly observed in macaws.

Source:  R.R. Veloso Jr. et al., 2013. Effects of food processing and fibre content on the digestibility, energy intake and biochemical parameters of Blue-and-gold macaws (Ara ararauna L. - Aves, Psittacidae). JAPAN online April 2013. doi: 10.1111/jpn.12075

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