Diets research

JZAR - Research article

Hand-reared common swifts (Apus apus) in a wildlife rehabilitation centre: assessment of growth rates using different diets

JZAR - Other languages

The scientific article is translated into Spanish and Polish

Hand-rearing protocol

Protocol description in different languages

RESEARCH CHRONOLOGY

2005

BSc (Hons) Animal Biology and Conservation

BSc (Hons) Animal Biology and Conservation

First contact with orphan and injured Swifts. Intership at the Torreferrussa Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre (Barcelona)

2005

Torreferrussa Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

Torreferrussa Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

It is the reference centre in Spain, with more that 15000 wildlife admisions per year

2008

MSc Wild Animal Biology

MSc Wild Animal Biology

MSc WAB Royal Veterinary College Zological Society of London

2008

MSc WAB dissertation

MSc WAB dissertation

“Growth Rates of Hand-Reared Common Swifts (Apus apus) in a Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre”

2008

Growth assessment

Growth assessment

Under the diet used at the time (Rat mince) vs. wild chicks

2008

Hand-rearing diet at the time

Hand-rearing diet at the time

Rat mince

2008

Dissertation – Hand-reared vs. Wild

Dissertation – Hand-reared vs. Wild

Similar fledgling weight? Literature (41.5g ± 2.42 SD)

2008

Rat mince diet -CONCERNING RESULTS!

Rat mince diet -CONCERNING RESULTS!

LOW final weight and POOR general condition

2008

KEY FACTS on Swift rehabilitation

KEY FACTS on Swift rehabilitation

Body weight is an important indicator of the chances of survival at release

2009

Alternative diets

Alternative diets

Torreferrussa interrupted the protocol, and viable alternative proposals were analyzed. Particularly at an economic level. In that year (2008) over 1000 swifts and other insectivorous orphans were hand-reared. Last season (2019) the number increased over 6000  !!! (4500 Swifts)

2009

Why not Cricket Diet ?

Why not Cricket Diet ?

Mauersegler Klinik in Frankfurt is undoubtedly a reference clinic in Swift rehabilitation, with a proven optimal diet based on Cricket (Acheta domesticus).

2009

Cricket Diet costs

Cricket Diet costs

Could Torreferrussa afford the enormous expense of a crickets diet just for swifts alone, considering the very high spending of a centre that admits over 15,000 wild animals a year? certainly not

2009

Literature review

Literature review

Developing diets is not a simple game and may jeopardize an animal’s life in rehabilitation. An extensive literature review on insectivore diets was conducted in parallel with the well known cricket diet used in Frankfurt’s Clinic.

2009

Study Groups

Study Groups

Four study groups vere selected – 1-Rat mince (Previous season sample group) 2-Kibble (current season + sample group) 3-Cricket (Sample group) and 4-Mealworm (Sample group)

2009

Study Groups

Study Groups

Sample groups were distributed among the different diets. Maximum age for sample nestlings was 24 days (fledgling age ─40 days)

2009

Kibble Diet – Cat food based

Kibble Diet – Cat food based

For the 2009 season, a diet based on cat food was implemented. The formula was based on an article published in the Wildlife Rehabilitation Bulletin in the US. We trusted the positive results presented by the author. The catastrophic effects were unknown at this point.

2009

Kibble diet -CONCERNING RESULTS!

Kibble diet -CONCERNING RESULTS!

Final fledgling weights, feather condition and flight performance on both non-insect diets, rat mince and kibble diet, were totally questionable when compared to wild-raised birds.

2009

Cricket Diet – Study group

Cricket Diet – Study group

29 Common Swifts were located to this sample diet group

2009

Cricket Diet – Results

Cricket Diet – Results

2009

Mealworm Diet – Study group

Mealworm Diet – Study group

28 Common Swifts were located to this sample diet group

2009

Mealworm Diet – Results

Mealworm Diet – Results

2009

Fledgling Weight and Survival

Fledgling Weight and Survival

SURVIVAL was also analysed (sample number in yellow), Kibble diet – (Sample group + Season 2009) and Mealworm diet (Sample group + Season 2010 – when it was implemented in Torreferrussa Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre)

2009

Insect diets success

Insect diets success

The results demonstrated the success of both insect diets when recovering nestlings in poor condition, even if severely emaciated, and highlighted the fact that all birds regardless of condition had a high possibility of survival.

2009

HARMFUL Non-Insect Diets

HARMFUL Non-Insect Diets

Final fledgling weights, feather condition and flight performance on both non-insect diets, rat mince and kibble diet, were highly concerning.

2009

Mealworm Diet, unfounded concerns

Mealworm Diet, unfounded concerns

There were concerns about the use of mealworms in hand-rearing Swifts. At the time of the research, it was proved already successful when hand-rearing Chimney Swifts. Today after 10 years of a mealworm diet implementation in many rehabilitation centres, those assertions prove to be totally unfounded.

2009

Mealworm Diet, unfounded concerns

Mealworm Diet, unfounded concerns

At the time of the research, three nestlings with irreversible feather damage at arrival, were hand-reared for 20 days on the mealworm diet. Then sacrificed humanely for a hispothalogical evaluation of their internal organs, as it was claimed that mealworm could damage irreversibly some internal organs.

2009

Mealworm Diet

Mealworm Diet

We can recommend the use of mealworms, as long as a supplementation regime is strictly followed.

2009

Mealworm vs. Cricket – costs

Mealworm vs. Cricket – costs

Mealworm is a great option for insectivore diets when the cricket’s cost is not affordable. Probably the best option is a range of different species in the insectivore diet.

2010

6th European Zoo Nutrition Conference

6th European Zoo Nutrition Conference

The EAZA Nutrition Group organizes biennial conferences on zoo animal. These conferences are a major event for information exchange between individuals involved in zoo animal nutrition in Europe.

2010

Mealworm Diet Implementation – Great results

Mealworm Diet Implementation – Great results

in 2010 The diet was implemented in all rehabilitation centres in Catalonia – CF Torreferrussa, CF Aiguamolls, CF Vallcalent. The survival results were incredible compared to previous non-insect based diets. Similarly, the fledglings final weight. Survival in severe cases was highly remarkable.

2011

www.falciotnegre.com

www.falciotnegre.com

The website www.falciotnegre.com was launched. Falciot negre is the Common Swift’s name in Catalan language

2012

Running for Swifts

Running for Swifts

Enric Fuste run a half-marathon and succeeded in raising the funds needed to attend the 7th EAZA Nutrition Conference (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria) in Zurich to present the succesful results after the mealworm diet implementation in 2010.

2012

7th European Zoo Nutrition Conference -2012

7th European Zoo Nutrition Conference -2012

Success of hand-rearing common swift (Apus apus) using a diet based on mealworm (Tenebrio molitor) at a wildlife recovery centre: analysis of survival and fledgling weights compared to those on previous diets not composed of insects

2013

Recovery success!

Recovery success!

A orphan admitted under acute clinical condition was recovered 3 years later.

2013

JZAR – Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research

JZAR – Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research

The research is published “Hand-reared common swifts (Apus apus) in a wildlife rehabilitation centre: assessment of growth rates using different diets”

2014

A new recovery success!

A new recovery success!

A recovery success in a rehabilitation centre in Portugal.

2014

www.facebook.com/FalciotApusapus/

www.facebook.com/FalciotApusapus/

A facebook profile is created providing information on hand-rearing swifts. It receives numerous queries and has almost 2000 followers.

2016

One more evidence of an optimal protocol and diet

One more evidence of an optimal protocol and diet

Another orphan hand-reared and recovered 3 years later back from Africa

2020

Get knowledge for me!

Get knowledge for me!

We are proud of our contribution to the knownledge of hand-rearing and rehabilitation of swift species