Phillips, C. J. C., Farrugia, C., Lin, C.-h. et al. 2018. The effect providing space in excess of standards on the behaviour of budgerigars in aviaries. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 199, 89-93.
Budgerigars housed in conventional cages have no opportunity for some normal behaviours, in particular flight, and develop stereotyped behaviours. Increasingly aviaries are used for groups of budgerigars but the minimum space requirement to support normal behaviour is not known. We compared the behaviour of budgerigars in three aviaries, with 0, 28 and 56% increases in space above the minimum size required by Queensland Government, 0.65m3/bird. Groups of four birds were accommodated in each aviary and behaviour was video-recorded over three 21day periods in a changeover design. Flight distance increased with space allowance (P=0.001), and more flights were initiated at the start of each period in the largest aviaries (P=0.03), which is evidence of thwarted motivation for flying in the smaller aviaries. After budgerigars had spent a period in the small aviaries, they had increased flight times if they were in the larger aviary in the subsequent period (P=0.003). Budgerigars with low space allowance flapped their wings (P=0.05) and tail wagged (P=0.004) more and scratched (P=0.05) less at the start of each period. It is concluded that there are benefits to the behaviour and welfare of budgerigars by providing increased space in aviaries above that specified in standards.