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The Environmental Husbandry Manual
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Manipulatory & Play Objects
Nesting Material

The methods outlined in this section relate to the use of both artificial and natural substrates and items for physical and mental stimulation, including floating toys, nesting materials and posts for claw scraping and scratching to relieve skin irritations.

Nesting Material

Method Animals are given access to straw, twigs and branches, grass, mud, sand, and scraps of material, or in the case of penguins, rocks and pebbles, with which to build up their nests.
Species Birds, Tortoises, Egg-laying Lizards and Crocodiles.
Purpose To allow natural nest building behaviour, which is of great importance in the courtship and subsequent breeding of some species.
Pro Most substrates are readily available.
Con Fermentation of rotting vegetation can cause temperatures to rise within the nest (especially of large reptiles), so monitoring and adjustment may be required if the parent fails to deal with it.
Improvements Some birds (for example, Bower Birds) will preferentially take colourful material to ‘decorate’ with to impress mates, and must be provided with a suitable choice of materials.
Comments During the build up to the breeding season, must ensure that all birds have enough nesting material, or they will strip the enclosure bare and steal from each other. This may mean putting armfuls of material into the enclosure every day for about three weeks, until nests are built, and adding extra over the next few weeks in case the birds modify the nest.
Frequency of Use Daily during nest building period.
Ratings Usefulness 7/10
Convenience 10/8
Value For Money 10/10
Range of Users 10/10
Contributed By Bird Section / Reptile Section

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