Pet Bird Minerals - Getting the Right Balance
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.