Birds, Light and Vitamin Deficiency Misconceptions
Galah bird Cockatoo sitting on a pinnacle in the pinnacles desert Western Australia.

Birds, Light and Vitamin Deficiency Misconceptions

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Hi,

I am a bird lover and have a few pairs of budgies, cockatiels, finches, Love birds and Alexender Raw.

Due to space issues, I have all in one room where Sunlight comes only for a few minutes. I think due to lack of sunlight, my birds have a deficiency of D3 and Calcium. Could you please guide me if Hagon’s PRIME will work for me or if I have to add any other vitamins?

Waiting for your response,

Regards,

A.Qadir

MitchR’s response

“Correlation does not imply causation” is a phrase used in science and statistics to emphasize that a correlation between two variables does not necessarily imply that one causes the other. Unless you have all the birds tested for a full blood panel workup, you have no basis for your diagnosis. Also the calcium deficiencies thing? Where are you getting your data?

Calcium deficiencies will typically present themselves in female birds while brooding or in actual egg-laying mode. It’s not a major concern for male birds. Cuttlebone is highly overrated and misunderstood for that very reason.

Your calcium conundrum gets diminished because it only applies to the females. Unless you are physically checking their cervical areas for eggs, you’re seeing eggs being laid, or you have a male bird – don’t worry about calcium deficiencies.

Remember ROYGBIV from grade school? Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet? That’s what we mere mortals see. Birds can see ultraviolet light invisible to us outside the ROYGBIV spectrum. They see colors on the feathers of other birds during mating that are only visible to potential feathered mates.

The whole sunlight vitamin D3 scam is another widely misunderstood concept. For the production of vitamin D3 in an animal enhanced by sunlight, the full-spectrum light they are receiving must contain UVA and UVB parts of the spectrum.

The “UV” stands for Ultra Violet. (UVA and UVB also send signals directly to something called the pineal gland in parrots which gives the bird a sense of “well-being”) The problem is even if your birds were lucky enough to live in a 100% glass atrium in your home, they would not benefit from the UVA and UVB rays of the sun because those rays are blocked by window glass

Getting back to your dimly/poorly lit room we need to define a path that will improve your birds overall lighting strategy. It’s important to understand that light has a fourfold implication for your birds which you can read about here

 

Because your original question funnels down to nutritional issues here is what I recommend. Although your birds are all relatively small they do have some unique nutritional needs. Finches are softbill birds & not able to crack the husks of seeds larger birds or “hookbills” can.

If you are on a tight budget you can probably use a combination of Higgins Vita seed blends. Most seed diets today are vitamin-fortified but the manufacturers simply coat the seeds with the vitamins.

When the bird removes the hull from the seed, the vitamin fortification falls to the bottom of the cage. So with even the best seed diets, we recommend a multivitamin like Hagen Prime to ensure the lack of any vitamin deficiencies

Delivering powdered supplements to birds can be a challenge. We found the best way to do that is to sprinkle the supplement on Classic Lafebers Avicakes Avicakes are held together by molasses so powdered supplements easily stick to them.

More importantly, I’d like you to take note that your birds can literally live a long and healthy life eating nothing but Classic Lafebers Avicakes. besides all the great-tasting seeds and ingredients, they provide a tasty base for embedded pellets.

Pellets are what we call “engineered food” for birds developed to fulfill 100% of the nutritional needs of your birds, all but guaranteeing the lack of any nutritional deficiency in captive birds.

We checked Wikipedia and could find no mention of pellet trees in the rainforest. Consider yourself warned that as effective as they are in terms of kilocalorie output per dollar spent – pellets are counterintuitive to birds

Classic Lafebers Avicakes make pellets funner because the pellets are surrounded by seeds and other good stuff. Some birds embrace pellets others do not. Some caged bird keepers mix a pellet with their seed mix.

Goldenfeast bird food can have as many as 50 human-grade ingredients in any given blend making it extraordinarily healthy and attractive most birds. Higgins Mayan Harvest brings together exotic, natural ingredients and holistic herbs.

Here’s the thing A. Qadir. because your birds currently lack natural sunlight, you’ll want to get the room lit up artificially. You’ll want the lighting on timers so your birds get 10 to 12 hours of daylight and the rest of darkness which is natural to the birds.

Having oodles of full spectrum light with uva & UVB will enable you to better see the luster or lack thereof feather colors and the quality of the “feather sheen” which will give you a much better sense of the overall health of your birds. Lots of artificial full-spectrum lighting will also make your birds feel better about themselves.

BTW – the cheapest most effective form of diagnosis available to you as a caged Bird keeper is to weigh your birds weekly. Significant & rapid changes in body weight can be a key indicator of your bird’s health degradation while their physical demeanor remains unchanged.

Best

MitchR

Hi,

I have a bird a little low on calcium. Won’t use cuttlebone, are mineral blocks the same?

What do you feed for this deficiency?

Dear Peter

Cuttlebone is not a complete calcium product but most little birds like it: budgies, canaries, finches, and lovebirds.

But most larger birds don’t mess with it.

Mineral blocks are a better calcium source if the bird uses them.

Otherwise, calcium added to the bird’s water or sprinkled on its soft foods can help.

Catherine

 

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