Intra- and inter-observer reliability of two different feather scoring methods in Grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus erithacus)
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Feather damaging behavior is one of the most challenging behavioral problems in captive parrots. Several therapeutic options have been proposed and to evaluate the effectiveness of these treatments a reliable and valid way of evaluating feather damaging behavior is needed. The aim of this study was to examine the intra- and inter-observer reliability of the feather scoring method by Meehan and the feather scoring method by Van Zeeland. Photographs of 15 Grey parrots were selected. For the intra-observer reliability 10 parrots were assessed twice by 5 students and 6 specialists. For the inter-observer reliability 10 students and 7 specialists have assessed the photographs of all the 15 parrots. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC[2,1] and ICC[2,k]) with 95% confidence intervals, standard error of measurement and the minimum difference to be considered real were calculated. An independent-samples t-test was conducted to compare ICC [2,1] and [2,k] values for the intra- and inter-observer reliability of both scoring methods. The intra- and inter-observer reliability was very high for both scoring methods. The feather scoring method by Van Zeeland showed a significantly higher ICC[2,1] and ICC[2,k] for the intra-observer reliability and a significantly higher ICC[2,1] for the inter-observer reliability. This study demonstrated that the feather scoring method by Van Zeeland showed a significantly higher reliability than the feather scoring method by Meehan.