Date of this Version
Feral monk parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) populations have become established in the United States and other countries around the world, and can cause damage to electrical facilities. Because the monk parakeet is a highly visible species and there is often public opposition to lethal control measures, non-lethal methods, such as contraception, are being developed to help control the spread of feral populations. Two gavage studies and one ad libitum nesting study were conducted to assess the efficacy of DiazaCon™ as a potential contraceptive for the monk parakeet. The first gavage study compared daily dose levels of 0, 50, 75, and 100 mg DiazaCon™ (kg bodyweight)–1 administered for 10 consecutive days. Cholesterol concentrations decreased significantly concomitant with a significant increase in desmosterol concentrations in the treated groups, but did not vary between sexes. Cholesterol and desmosterol concentrations did not differ significantly among DiazaCon™ groups, and cholesterol remained significantly suppressed 12 weeks after treatment. On the basis of these results, the second gavage study compared 5 or 10 consecutive days of DiazaCon™ administration at 50 mg kg–1 bird–1 day–1. Cholesterol concentrations decreased significantly concomitant with a significant increase in desmosterol concentrations in the treated groups, but did not vary between sexes. Cholesterol and desmosterol concentrations did not differ significantly between DiazaCon™ groups, and cholesterol remained significantly suppressed 11 weeks after treatment. Parakeets in the nesting study were fed hulled sunflower seeds treated with a target dose of 50 mg DiazaCon™ kg–1 bird–1 day–1. Birds consumed enough to receive an average dose of 34 mg kg–1 pair–1 day–1, or 17 mg kg–1 bird–1 day–1. Birds in the treated group laid an average of 1.6 ± 0.7 eggs per clutch compared with 3.9 ± 1.1 eggs per clutch in the untreated control group. None of the eggs laid by treated birds hatched compared with 1.1 ± 0.6 eggs per clutch hatching in the control group. Reproductive inhibition was effective for the length of the breeding season, at which time the study was stopped and no more data were collected. DiazaCon™ is a promising avian oral contraceptive that should be further investigated in a field setting with monk parakeets.