A healthy diet is critical for the overall well-being of birds. The proper balance of nutrients is necessary for normal body function. Birds are able to convert carotene to Vitamin A, which is essential for normal vision. A calcium deficiency can result in problems with bone formation, nerve, muscle function, blood clotting, and heart rhythm. Supplemental calcium often is necessary.
Some wild birds readily seek out sources of natural calcium, including fresh-water snails, crustaceans, and marine or brackish water invertebrates. However, it’s difficult for captive birds to find the same food sources as their wild counterparts.
As pet birds are not getting calcium from the same sources as wild birds, it is very important to provide an adequate supply of the mineral. There are many ways to meet this need.
Importance of Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D are the two nutrients that we need to supply for our pet birds. Vitamin D is necessary for the proper absorption of calcium. Often, vitamin D deficiency can be mistaken for calcium deficiency.
Birds are unable to manufacture vitamin D in their bodies, so they are dependent on dietary sources for this vitamin. They are important for proper bone development, nerve, and muscle function, and for preventing diseases such as rickets. Is your bird getting enough calcium?
Birds lack the enzyme needed to convert Vitamin D to its active form. This enzyme is produced by the liver and kidneys and is activated by exposure to sunlight. As a result, pet birds that are housed indoors all the time are prone to develop a deficiency of this important vitamin.
In nature, birds that are unable to absorb sufficient amounts of sunlight, such as those that live in northern latitudes during the winter months, may become deficient. Birds housed indoors year-round, even if they have access to a full spectrum light, should have a vitamin D supplement added to their diet.
Dr. Susan Clubb, a veterinary nutritionist from MedVet Boston, advises that when adding a vitamin or supplement to a bird’s diet, it is best to add it to the fresh food the bird is eating, rather than in a bowl of water. This way, the bird is able to get a better balance of all the water-soluble vitamins, including vitamin D.
Best source of calcium and vitamins for birds
Fruits and Vegetables
Calcium and veggies are the best sources of calcium for birds. There are many fruits that are good for birds. Some are healthy, rich in calcium, and very tasty. You should be aware of the quantity of fruit to keep it at a safe amount where the bird isn’t consuming too much sugar or risking harm.
A lot of birds are spoiled pigs. They don’t know the meaning of “no” and they absolutely love their fruit. One way you can get your bird to eat lots of calcium is by giving him some delicious fresh fruits he might not have otherwise considered eating. Although fruit shouldn’t make up the majority of your pet’s diet — as it’s too high in sugar — certain fruits are a good way to get him some extra calcium. Some examples include apples, bananas, raspberries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, peas, zucchini, spinach, garlic, kale, collard greens, beetroot leaves, squash, tomatoes, dried apricots, dried figs. You should also consider making sure your bird gets enough vitamin D because even though they aren’t at risk for rickets like humans are, vitamin D is still quite important for them as well!
Beans are an important source of protein for humans and birds. They are high in fiber Calcium, and Vitamin which helps keep the digestive system healthy. They are also high in zinc, an essential mineral that helps support your bird’s health.
A diet that contains seeds, beans, grains, is most beneficial for your bird. Mixing these items with nutritious pellets will create a diet that gives your bird everything it needs to live a long and happy life. You can give only give cooked or soaked beans to your birds.
Nuts are delicious, crunchy treats that are healthy for birds. They are a great source of calcium, amino acids, and other nutrients.
There are many types of nuts that are safe for your bird to eat, including shelled walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pine nuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, and cashews. It is important to note that birds should not eat peanuts in the shell because the shell is tough and birds do not have the strength to break it open.
Birds also do not have teeth and so can not chew nuts. Instead, crack the nuts and remove the bitter center. You can also buy pre-shelled nuts, but these can be expensive. You can also offer your bird nuts that have been soaked in water overnight, which makes them softer and easier to chew.
Other Calcium source
Cuttlefish bone is a rich source of calcium for pet birds. Hang a medium size of cuttlefish bone near perches.
Egg food is also a good source of Calcium and vitamin D for pet birds. In Egg-bread you can also add the sanitized powder of eggshell. 2-3 tablespoon food for a pair of small and medium-size birds. 3-5 tablespoon food for a pair of Parakeets.