Caged Bird Grits & Minerals
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Little Peckers offers a range of minerals and grits for pet birds that can help aid digestion and provide much needed vitamins and minerals. These products can be a beneficial supplement and important part of your bird’s diet and can help in many ways.
Speak to your vet about which products may be best for the species of bird that you own. Our minerals and grits are high quality, safe, and free from pollutants and chemicals.
Caged Bird Grits: All You Need to Know
If you are new to keeping caged birds then you may be wondering what grits are and why you need to feed them to your pets. After all, from a human perspective, eating grits sounds unpleasant and potentially dangerous! But then we don’t have birds’ digestive systems. Here’s everything you need to know about caged bird grits. There are two types of grits which you can feed to your birds – soluble and insoluble
The soluble forms of grit include oyster shell, cuttlebone and gypsum. This material is dissolved by the birds’ stomach acids and so will not accumulate in their digestive tract. These caged bird grits serve as a valuable source of calcium and minerals.
This type of caged bird grits are generally various forms of silica including sand and pebbles. This material does remain in birds’ gizzards and can help to boost the mechanical breakdown of their natural diets. The gizzard is a muscular portion of birds’ stomachs which grinds and crushes coarse foods such as the fibrous shells found around some seeds. These may not be removed by the beak before ingestion. The food is ground down in the gizzard into smaller particles which can be easily tackled by the digestive enzymes. Wild birds must eat whatever they can forage and so they may have to consume tough shells. This means that the . Doves and pigeons do not remove the husks from seeds and so also require the ingestion of grits. But caged birds can are usually fed pellets or seeds which can be easily hulled and so they may not require grits to aid their digestive system.
However, pet birds suffering from pancreatic disease or digestive problems can benefit from the addition of grit to their diets. If you have any concerns about your bird’s digestive health then you should seek assistance from a vet. Some birds, especially parrot species, can eat too much grit given the chance and this can cause an impaction (blockage) in their digestive tract.
Grits should never be placed on cage floors as they can become covered in droppings. Plates of insoluble grits should not be made continuously available as this could lead to over consumption. You should never provide grit which contains charcoal and this affects birds’ ability to absorb vitamins.
Soluble grits play an important role in pet bird nutrition but insoluble grits are often unnecessary and can prove problematic if consumed in large quantities. Provide your birds with soluble grits to ensure that they receive all of the vitamins and minerals that they need but seek veterinary advice before providing them with insoluble grits.
Important Pet Bird Minerals and Vitamins
In order to thrive, your caged bird must receive the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals that it would enjoy in the wild. Your pet may also need abrasive surfaces to peck on so that they can grind their beaks down. You can ensure that your pet bird receives everything they need by providing dietary supplements in the form of pecks, grits and cuttlefish bone.
When it comes to pet bird minerals, calcium is particularly crucial. This supports bone formation, blood clotting and feather growth. Supplementary calcium can be provided by placing cuttlebone in your bird’s cage. You should ensure that this is installed with the soft side facing outwards rather than the hard shell side. Your bird will be unable to access the all-important mineral if they only have access to the hard shell.
Cuttlebone is long-lasting. It will not go off it but can be contaminated by your bird’s waste. If the cuttlebone becomes covered in droppings, these can be removed with a wire brush but do check to see if liquids have penetrated the bone. If this is the case them discard the cuttlebone and replace it with a new one. If your bird does not enjoy pecking at the cuttlebone they try them with a mineral block or peck that features added calcium. These will also contain .
Vitamin D3 Deficiency
Calcium deficiency can result in a raft of health problems. If your bird is exhibiting the signs of a deficiency, and these could include seizures and soft egg shells, then this could be because they cannot absorb this vital mineral. Many species possess an uropygial gland. The gland features precursors of vitamin D3 which are spread onto the bird’s feathers as they preen. The precursors are converted to vitamin D3 when the bird is exposed to ultra-violet light. When they preen again they ingest the vitamin which is necessary for the absorption of calcium.
Many bird foods feature added vitamin D3 but if your pet has a calcium related issue then it may benefit from full spectrum lighting. Calcium deficiency is more common in caged birds which are kept indoors and which receive no natural sunlight.
Vitamin A is vital for skin health and also helps with the eyes, feathers, reproductive system and immune system. It should be provided in the form of beta carotene. Vitamin A deficiency is the most common vitamin deficiency in caged birds. Symptoms can include white spots, wheezing, weight loss and poor colour.
This is an antioxidant which regulates vitamin A and prevents the oxidation of Vitamins B and C.
Vitamin B-complex vitamins include thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, biotin and Vitamins B6 and B12. Each has its own function but as a whole these vitamins help your bird to break down its food. If your pet is losing condition then seek advice from your vet. It could be that they are simply suffering from a mineral or vitamin deficiency which is easily solved by the provision of supplements or improved lighting.
Our range of pet bird minerals and grits
We have a number of different mineral and grit products for your bird. Here you will find Cuttlebones, mineral blocks, dietary supplements, bird grit and pickstones.
Cuttlebones and pickstones are great to help sharpen your bird’s beak and provide a boost of calcium. This can help them to maintain an optimal body condition and aid their skeletal development. Choose the most suitable product for your pet bird and help to keep them healthy.