Sheets, M. D., Lindstrom, K. E., Carbone, L. G. 2011. The effects of sanded (bottom only) perches on finch feet. American Association for Laboratory Animal Science [AALAS] Meeting Official Program, 779 (Abstract #P157).
Birds that are kept in captivity often require nail trims, presumably due to the lack of opportunity to wear the nails down on natural substrates. For many birds, restraint for the nail trim may result in increased stress. In an attempt to reduce the need for nail trims, and thus potentially reducing stress, we evaluated the effect of using a perch with sand attached to the bottom half. By applying sand only to the bottom, we hypothesized it would reduce the need for nail trimming and also prevent any abrasion to the bottom of the foot. We evaluated the perches for 3 mo, by placing a sanded perch in each of 3 cages and comparing those cages with 3 control cages. Husbandry staff continued to trim the nails as needed, and recorded this on data sheets. At the end of 3 mo, all birds remained free of soft tissue abrasions. Birds in cages with experimental sanded-bottom perches required significantly fewer nail trims than birds in control cages. Sanded-bottom perches may reduce stressful handling for nail trims, improving animal welfare and the birds’ validity as research models.