Rearing, Management and Feeding of Non-Conventional Pet Animals

A.Y. 2023/2024
Overall hours
AGR/18 AGR/20
Learning objectives
The course is aimed to supply the basic knowledge on husbandry, breeding and nutrition in unconventional pets: birds (Galliformes, Anseriformes, Psittaciformes, Passeriformes) and mammals (Lagomorphs, Rodents, Mustelidae) and reptiles (Chelonia. The main topics of the course will be: species classification, morphology, husbandry and welfare, behavior and management, reproduction.
This will include the basics of nutrition, handling around exotic animal species, including pet birds, small mammals, amphibia, reptiles and fish. The knowledge of the different species will be oriented to a responsible breeding in accordance with animal behavior and welfare.
Expected learning outcomes
The student must acquire knowledge and skills necessary to breed and manage the different unconventional companion animals' species focusing on the behavioral, reproductive and nutritional specie-specific characteristics together with a correct socialization.
The student will be able to formulate complete and balance diets for exotic animals, according to the age and to the life-style of the considered animals. The choice of the ideal diet among the several industrial and home prepared solutions will be determined using critical points acquired during the course.
The student must learn the correct scientific and technical terminology and must be conscious of the importance of animal welfare in human-pet relation, based on scientific knowledge.
Single course

This course can be attended as a single course.

Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
Nutrition of New Companion Animals (Prof. Fusi):
Avian nutrition (6 hours)
Rabbits and small mammals nutrition (8 hours)
Ferret nutrition(2 hours)
Reptile nutrition (2 hours)
Amphibian nutrition (2 hours)

Practical training
Feed evaluation (3 hours)
Formulation methods in life stages (5 hours)

Breeding and management of New Companion Animals (Dr. Marelli)
Breeding and management of avian species (6 hours)
Breeding and management of lagomorphs and rodents (4 hours)
Breeding and management of ferrets (2 hours)
Breeding and management of reptiles (4 hours)
Breeding and management of amphibians (2 hours)
Environment and welfare in new companion animals (2 hours)

Practical training (8 hours)
Prerequisites for admission
Preliminary knowledge to deal with the contents of the course is biochemistry, anatomy, physiology and animal nutrition.
Teaching methods
The course includes lectures and practical training aimed at formulating nutritional and husbandry plans for the selected unconventional species. Meetings with professional experts will be scheduled.
Teaching Resources
Didactic materials provided by lecturers will be uploaded on Ariel website.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The final exam is a written test concerning the topics included in the teaching program.
It lasts 60 minutes, takes place on Moodle platform and includes open and multiple-choice questions.
Practicals: 16 hours
Lessons: 40 hours