This article was previously published in Bird Breeder magazine and is reprinted here with permission of the author.
Model Aviculture Program (MAP)
by Laurella Desborough
If you are breeding and selling birds, are you MAP-certified? MAP is the only national voluntary inspection and certification program for bird breeders. Established in 1990, this not-for-profit service program was developed by a group of serious aviculturists and avian veterinarians who recognized that a set of basic standards was needed for the keeping and breeding of birds. MAP was designed to assist those starting to breed birds, as well as those already active in aviculture. MAP-certified aviaries include small indoor flocks, small backyard flocks, specialty breeders and large breeding farms. MAP-certified aviaries are located throughout the United States and include birds ranging from finches to waterfowl and from parrots to toucans.
MAP inspections are carried out by state-licensed veterinarians. Whether the buyer is a store owner seeking quality birds for his or her shop or a future pet owner wanting to deal with a reputable bird breeder, the buyer is reassured because he/she knows that the facility has been inspected by a veterinarian and approved by the MAP board.
Based on the "closed aviary concept," guidelines established by MAP cover the issues of quarantine, a safety system to prevent escapes, isolation of sick birds, nutrition, nursery management, health status determination and record keeping. The goal of these guidelines is to maintain healthy flocks, increase production of youngsters and provide adequate records.
A complete understanding and correct application of the closed aviary concept is essential to the successful bird farm. Putting this concept into practice requires defining separate areas with the facility, each with a distinct location. The quarantine area is the area where all new birds are housed for a period of time to determine their condition of health through observation and appropriate testing. The breeding area is where the adult breeding stock is housed in species-appropriate setups so that production is enhanced. The nursery area is where young chicks are fed and raised when not being parent-reared. The isolation area is where sick or injured birds can be kept apart from the breeding stock and the nursery. The food storage and service area is where the food preparation and washing occur. Monitoring and controlling of the traffic flow of birds, feed, water bowls and service personnel is critical for the prevention and control of disease.
In cases where the quality of care provided by an individual for his or her flock has been questioned, the standards provided by MAP have been very useful in assisting with that determination and in the protection of the interests of serious aviculturists.
MAP was designed to be flexible and responsive to the needs of the avicultural community. The basic principles that apply to exotic bird breeding and care are the same, regardless of whether or not the facility is large or small, or the breeder is working with finches or game fowl. MAP is designed to do its part in maintaining and upgrading good husbandry and record keeping practices by aviculturists and, thus, promotes the advancement of aviculture. For further information on the MAP program, visit the Web site: www.modelaviculture.org or write to: MAP, P.O. Box 817, Oakley, CA 94561-0817.