Avian - Handling and Restraint


Dangerous Birds Ranking

  • 1. Cassowary
  • 2. Ostrich
  • 3. Chicken
  • 4. Australian Magpie
  • 5. European Herring Gull
  • 6. Mute Swan
  • 7. Northern Loon
  • 8. Barred Owl
  • 9. Lammergeier
  • 10. Snowy Owl
  • 11. Red-tailed Hawk
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Why are birds aggressive?

  • birds are naturally flighty
  • if they can't fly away from a threat, they will get desperate and resort to aggression
  • defensive over nest sites
  • some intelligent birds can do it for attention
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How can we avoid aggressive behaviours?

  • training
  • catchment areas
    • if they can't fly away from a threat, they will get desperate and resort to aggression
  • using equipment correctly
    • birds can break their necks when hitting the back of nets
  • having all staff training
  • anaesthesia
  • strength in numbers, control and restraint
  • developing trust bonds
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  • gloves
  • guantlets
  • goose hooks
  • nets
  • capture cage
  • hard hat
  • towel
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  • Animal Welfare Act 2006
  • Animal Welfare Regulations 2018
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General Rules of Thumb

  • Don't use frayed towels
  • Approach quietly
  • Holding onto bird's feet can stop them flying
  • Remove furnishings
  • Restrain head with one head, especially with macaws
  • Restrain wings and torso with other hand
  • Restrain legs, especially with raptors
  • Use PPE
  • Enclosure wings by pushing them against the body
  • Be confident but not arrogant
  • Compressing the body cavity of a bird can suffocate them as they don't have a diaphragm
  • Don't restrain if it has just eaten unless absolutely necessary
  • Handle with care, often more delicate than an equivalent size mammal
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Larger Bird Handling

  • use a net
  • restrict flight
    • they need a long run up
  • press bird against the ground, enclosing the wings
  • can be caught around the neck and other hand to gather up the wings
  • head and neck facing backwards
  • support feet
  • herd the animal into a smaller space, such as shelter
  • strength in numbers, larger birds are very strong
  • restrain the bird by the base of the wing
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Prevention of Injury

  • use safety corridors
    • catchment areas to distance yourself from the bird
  • using an empty bin or bucket to cover aggressive cockerel or pheasant when doing husbandry
  • use handling/pig boards to corner birds without them being able to jump over them
    • for ratites
  • train birds to be caught, handled and transported
  • minimise stress where possible
  • any bird can become dangerous and aggressive, particularly when brooding/rearing young
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