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Solar schedule question

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Solar schedule question

Postby Hookturn » Mon Oct 27, 2014 4:50 pm

I've read tons about the solar schedule here and it makes intuitive sense. Keeping our parrots on the schedule they would have been on in the wild--sunup to sundown.

The question I have is related to how we implement it. If they're genetically programmed to respond to the sunrise and set wouldn't it make sense that their programming is related to the light cycle of the latitude in which they are from? It seems odd that we assign their light schedule arbitrarily based on the latitude in which we live. If they are truly predisposed to a solar schedule, wouldn't it be the one from the region in which they originated?

Would we be better off using artificial lights to simulate their home environment?
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Re: Solar schedule question

Postby Pajarita » Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:42 am

Well, for one thing, you can't duplicate the change in solar spectrum with artificial lights so keeping them at their geographical point of origin artificially simply does not work. For another, if we were to do the same schedule they do in the wild, we would be doing the 12L/12D that tropical birds do and which we used to do years ago but, problem is, birds get hormonal on it because we can't control their diet and it's always good weather inside a human home so the whole purpose of keeping them to photoperiodism would be nullified. And, last but not least, why bother? There are not only studies that tell us that all birds revert to photoperiodism regardless of where they come from but I can tell you, from my personal experience, that it works like a charm! They do keep to what would be their 'natural' seasons, though - and different species would breed at different points during the warm weather -grays and toos would do it very early in the spring and again at the end of the summer, beginning of fall; budgies would go at it all spring and summer long; conures kind of fall in the middle, etc. Obviously, the solar schedule needs to provide a minimum number of hours of sleep during the summer so, when you live all the way up North or all the way down South, it doesn't work because you can't keep birds up for six month and then make them sleep for the other six or give them 20 hours of light and 4 of sleep or 20 hours of sleep and 4 of day.

I live in Northern New Jersey and the nights are pretty long during the winter but the only consequence of it is that they lose a bit of weight - something that happens in Nature and which is perfectly natural and even healthy (birds in nature are all seasonal feeders, not like in captivity where they always get the same diet) as there is always less food in terms of quantity and quality during the resting season and the reason why, in tropical and subtropical areas, this IS the 'resting' season and not the 'breeding' season.
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Re: Solar schedule question

Postby DanaandPod » Sun Dec 07, 2014 7:42 pm

I'm still trying to find exactly how the solar schedule is done...special lights?
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Re: Solar schedule question

Postby Wolf » Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:17 am

Ideally, there are no artificial lights used as this is based on using the natural sunlight and follows the rising and setting of the sun.
The cage is uncovered before dawn so your bird is exposed to the twilight period that occurs at dawn before the sun rises. The bird then gets natural sunshine and then gets fed about 2 hours before sunset and again is exposed to the twilight period that occurs at dusk and then the bird goes to sleep by full dark.
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Re: Solar schedule question

Postby Pajarita » Mon Dec 08, 2014 11:25 am

Wolf is right that the best thing is exposing bird to just solar light but my birds don't go outside so I use full spectrum with UV output during the daylight hours. I turn them on when the sun is out and off when the sun is setting.
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Re: Solar schedule question

Postby Wolf » Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:23 pm

I am sorry, I thought the question was what was a solar light schedule, so that is all I described. I recently purchased a full spectrum bulb for my birds indoor lighting and since it is winter I turn it on in the mornings after sunrise and off again before dusk. So during this part of the year, I guess that I am using a modified solar light schedule.
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Re: Solar schedule question

Postby Paul Lewis » Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:51 pm

The only birds that would get 12 hours light and 12 dark are from the equator. Most of our pet birds do not come from there. Birds that originate from Central America, Amazons, Conures, some macaws or from as far South as Uraguay or Argentina, Quakers, will get a great change in photoperiods much like Southern Californians do, plenty of birds come from Mexico which is a long way from the equator. Many behaviorists feel that birds need a 12 / 12 schedule as their birds get "moody" without enough sleep, nonsense, it's not natural. Full spectrum lights are great but I've never been convinced that they provide enough UV to aid in the synthesis of D3 to help calcium absorbtion. Birds do seem to like them however. If you were to add lighting to your birds area absolutely go with full spectrum. A 12 / 12 schedule shouldn't stimulate hormonal behavior either, usually you need to raise the photoperiod to 15-16 hours to stimulate breeding activity. Birds losing weight because they're seasonal feeders? Never heard of such a thing, but would love to see the studies.
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Re: Solar schedule question

Postby Navre » Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:04 pm

My GCC is generally on a solar schedule. She puts herself to bed on her own as the sun goes down, and I cover the cage later. In the morning she wakes me up by ringing her bell and I uncover her cage and let her out. This is never before dawn, but during dawn. It is usually pretty dark but she's not seeing the things start from total darkness. She does seem to wake up at about the same point in the sunrise as she did in the summer. It was around 6 am then, and it might be as late as 0730 now.

Do you think this is sufficient? I am asking because she seem to be exhibiting breeding behavior, along with being louder, more territorial, and more bitey.

She was hatched Jan 29, 2014. I don't know when greencheeks reach sexual maturity.

I also don't know for sure that she is female. I won't know for sure until there is some reason to draw blood or some event that results in blood. I have the cards here for feather sexing and blood sexing. I have opted against plucking chest feathers to have the bird sexed. Seems unnecessary. I don't want to do anything that might encourage plucking or cause pain unless there is a real reason for it.

Lately the bird has been backing into my hand, sticking her tail in the air, and making sounds that fledglings make when being hand fed. She will also flutter her wings as if taking a dust bath. I assume this is a breeding behavior. I'm trying not to touch her anywhere but on the head. I had been working with her on being held in my hand on her back, and holding her wings as I would like to eventually get her into the flying harness by springtime. I have suspended that training for now.
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Re: Solar schedule question

Postby Navre » Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:29 pm

I should also mention that I have been lowering the temperatures at night. It is about 65 degrees at night. 70-72 during the day.
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Re: Solar schedule question

Postby Wolf » Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:47 pm

It definitely sounds to me like a hens breeding behavior. My information says that their normal breeding season is Feb., so she is a bit early. Pajarita is probably better suited for more information from this point as they are a local bird where she grew up at, so she should know much more about them than I do.
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