History of the Model Aviculture Program

In 1981, the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA), at its annual meeting, added other avian species to its Committee on Transmissible Diseases of Poultry, which then became the Committee on Transmissible Diseases of Poultry and Other Avian Species. A resolution was made to establish a subcommittee to prepare a model state program for pet birds. The National Cage and Aviary Bird Improvement Plan was proposed in 1984.

In the Fall of 1984, several aviculturists attended a poultry meeting in Santa Rosa, California, where Marshall Meyers of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, PIJAC, presented information on the proposed National Cage and Aviary Bird Improvement Plan, NCABIP. The proposed regulations only addressed the interests of the poultry industry while placing restrictions on exotic bird enterprises. As a result, a meeting was held in January, 1985, where fifty concerned individuals, bird breeders and avian veterinarians, met and discussed the situation. A committee was formed to design a model improvement plan that would be beneficial to the birds, while protecting the privacy of the individual aviculturist and also addressing the concerns of state and federal wildlife agencies. 

Thereafter, a group of bird breeders began holding monthly meetings where the pro's and con's of NCABIP were studied and discussed. From the beginning, avian veterinarians were included in the discussions and provided valuable input on the medical aspects of exotic bird management.

The group discussed concerns of the Department of Agriculture, (escaped exotic birds may become agricultural pests), concerns about the US Fish and Wildlife Service (escaped birds may displace native species), and the Center for Disease Control (psittacosis). Each of these governmental organizations were concerned about the effects of exotic birds in the United States. It was determined that these concerns should be met in the design of the plan.

This group of bird breeders discussed the needs and requirement of the many species of birds kept in aviculture, from Finches to Pheasants and waterfowl, from Macaws to Budgies and Softbills. The group recognized that the many species have different housing and dietary needs and that different methods are utilized for rearing progeny.

The MAP planners determined not to create a large book of detailed specifications on each species. They recognized that the specific practices in aviculture in the United States vary greatly, according to the different geographic regions. In addition, within the same geographic area, avicultural practices may vary greatly and still result in successful breeding. Since modern aviculturists still do not know all there is to know about bird care, it seemed best not to establish species-specific caging and dietary requirements while there is still a great deal being learned. These decisions resulted in the use of a simplified approach, i.e.: the design of models of husbandry practices which could be applied to any species in any location.


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