Why do we keep records about our animals?

Record keeping is crucial for animal care. As the habitats in the wild for many threatened and endangered species continues to shrink, it’s our responsibility as a institution to take care that we record the most information possible of the animals in captivity. The survival in a long term of captive populations requires management that will include gathering and recording data about genetics, ethology, nutrition and veterinary care.

Fortunately there are some very good software programs that we can purchase, but we also can do a lot just working with some excel files. If we don’t keep records in big collections, for example about the bloodlines (who is the parent of that bird, how many babies he had last year etc.) it will be really easy to make mistakes crossing birds with the same bloodlines!

Registration at Wisbroek
Registration at Wisbroek

This is not conservation of species because we are creating birds that will be genetic under represented and therefore with a tendency to be more prone to diseases, growing problems among others.

Despite what I spoke before is quite obvious for most of the readers, there’s much more to take as an advantage when we have a good record keeping system. Nutritionally it is very important to control what the bird eats in a daily basis to avoid over or under weight problems, decide when we supplement for breeding season and to decide when it’s necessary to add or remove something.

What’s the point to have all this work and keep the data?

Let’s see for example a bird that every day eats an average of 190-200 grams of food. It’s like this for years and the bird looks great. At some point he starts to eat 170-180 grams. In volume you will not see a big difference so you keep doing and assume it is ok. If you have data from the past you’ll see that this bird eats a quantity of food for years and now it’s less, so something is wrong! At this moment if we can find out what is the problem (it could be from just an environmental change to a disease starting) maybe we can save/improve the birds life, instead of notice when he is already skinny with no appetite.

Registration at Wisbroek
Registration at Wisbroek

There are so much more advantages as I can mention right now such as the veterinary history of the bird, number of eggs per clutch etc. But being a blog and to not extend too much, just finishing about the discipline that will come if we start to do a good record keeping. Involuntarily the person that will do, will be obliged to pay more attention to details as he or she will have to write a short report every end of the day!

It becomes a routine at some point, and you’re gonna notice it when you don’t have anything to write. This is the point you’ll start to pay attention in the small things and that’s when the difference will be made.

Therefore we can say that we are taking really good care of the animals under our responsibility!

Tiago Nabiҫo – Manager Operations of the Wisbroek Research and Development Center

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