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Winter Sunlight Solutions?

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Winter Sunlight Solutions?

Postby Michael » Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:51 pm

Ok, in order to avoid hijacking another thread, I am starting this one to discuss possible ways (aside from special light bulbs) to get natural sunlight to our companion parrots in the winter.

Obviously this comes down to just two possible ways: indoor window solutions and outdoor gear. Anyone know of any outdoor enclosures that could keep a parrot warm outdoors while letting in the full spectrum of sunlight? Is there perhaps some kind of glass that can be placed in an open window to let the full spectrum sunlight in without making the bird cold sitting by the window? What about a birdie sweater or some kind of warming device like that? Or would that inhibit all light anyway?
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Re: Winter Sunlight Solutions?

Postby lotus15 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:18 pm

I've always wondered if a bird-safe heater next to the window would work, so that you could get the sunlight but stay warm (as long as it's not windy).

Parrots absorb sunlight more through their eyes and feet, so a sweater wouldn't inhibit the absorption either.
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Re: Winter Sunlight Solutions?

Postby Chris&Akilah » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:01 pm

Do you not like the bulbs? Obviously they're not ideal but shouldn't they be fine for the winter? I was considering picking up one of the zoo-med floor lamps.

Modified greenhouses might be a way to do what you're thinking. If it was high enough, top panels could be replaced with screen to let the rays in, and on sunny winter days it should warm up quite nicely even with the open top. Combine that with strategically placed heat lamps and heated perches, it could work, you could include a humidifier if neccessary too. The only major problem would be keeping flighted birds away from the top of the enclosure where they could breath in chilly air. And the sunlight would only enter through the screens at certain times of day.
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Re: Winter Sunlight Solutions?

Postby idlepirate » Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:05 pm

Theres no sunshine here whatsoever (lucky even in summer to get any). Luckily enough I have a large bioptron machine, since I use it as a business here so have it handy in my room. Of course not everyone can afford the large one but you can get small handheld ones which you could possibly hold on your bird a few minutes a day just to give him a boost. Works wonders on animals, this was tested on a parrot who plucked out all his feathers and the lamp was left on him for a little bit for a few weeks and the feathers grew back beautifully. everytime i use the machine on myself lorenzo tends to fly to me straight away to get some sunshine too. closest thing to sunshine you can get. however honestly im too lazy to really use it on loro as hes too high up to really reach him most of the time and doesnt ever stay in his cage.
:pirate:
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Re: Winter Sunlight Solutions?

Postby pirategene » Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:44 am

Hi Ms. Idlepirate
What is a "bioptron machine"? Can use send me some info please. I am interested in helping Tambo grow back his plucked feathers
thanx
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Re: Winter Sunlight Solutions?

Postby TheNzJessie » Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:06 pm

well lucky for me i live in a part of new zealand that never shows. which it rarely ever gets cold enough for my birds to not tolerate it. so i have never really had to worry about them getting to cold :rainbow: :budgie:
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:)
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Re: Winter Sunlight Solutions?

Postby entrancedbymyGCC » Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:26 pm

I looked at the Bioptron website and I have to say I'm rather skeptical it would be of use as an alternative to full-spectrum light. It appears to be a device that emits polarized light in the visible-infrared part of the spectrum. It cuts off at the blue end of the visible spectrum and does not go into the UV according to the website. I think it would act like a mild heat lamp -- it goes out into the part of the IR that is used in IR radiant heaters. It definitely won't supply the UVB we are generally concerned about birds needing. You'd want to be careful not to overheat with it, I think, although it mostly appears to be fairly benign.

Michael, I can't see special glass as a solution, most things are developed these days to block UV. I suppose one could re-purpose a tanning bed! That's the only application I can think of where we actually seek UV rather than trying to limit it, aside from avian lighting. I think heating the outdoor space would probably be the best option, particularly if 5-10 minutes is really adequate, but the CFLs seem like a much more practical solution assuming the manufacturers aren't making up data.

The modified greenhouse approach might work. YOu wouldn't need HUGE expanses open, a fairly small screened inlet, if it illuminated the area fairly well, would let the relevant wavelengths pass. You might need good, non-glassed, well-polished mirrors to get the light where the bird is, though.
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Re: Winter Sunlight Solutions?

Postby idlepirate » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:41 am

I dont really want to go off topic so sorry if i do. Just replying about the bioptron.
Being skeptical is always a good thing so dont worry. Maybe not a complete alternative to sunshine but I believe it can help over winter if you cant have your bird outside.i dont know the sunlight spectrum a parrot needs but the bioptron can help with some of the same funtions the sun would provide. its completely safe to use and can be used on anything and any animal without any negative effects. It does have a slight heating sensation but its not applied directly to the skin, it needs to be used from about 10cm away. id say youd have to have the light shining from that distance or more on a parrot and it only requires 10minute treatments. so what i did when i tried it was just have the bird on my hand and had the light shine on him for a few minutes from a distance which he seemed to really enjoy and like i mentioned he seems to be attracted to the light everytime. It wont cause any negative effects and can only do good. Even just to give the bird some brighter light and a little boost over the winter till he can go outside again in summer. it was also tested on flowers here. the bioptron left over night on some roses and others left normal. of course the roses with the bioptron opened up beautifully. it has excellent effects on any living organism. Its widly used on horses and other animals for healing injuries and speeding recovery. works amazing for that. http://www.naturalhoof.co.nz/bioptron.html (random example)

@pirategene
The machine is used on humans for hairloss and it really works hehehe. For the plucking bird. I cant guarentee it would cure its feather plucking, i can only go by the experience of this one lady here. It would probably depend on the cause of the plucking, if its stress related, boredom, skin irritation or something else. Has your parrot stopped plucking and the feathers just aren't growing back anymore or does he continue to pluck? The bioptron promotes the process of bio-stimulation (meaning that it stimulates diverse biological processes in organisms, in a positive manner and thereby enhances body functions). If the parrot is suffering from irritated skin for instance and plucking from that the machine would relieve the skin irriation. For stress it works on other animals and great on humans so it would probably help a parrot relax more too. I will try to find out some more from you and ask around if I can find someone else whos tested it for feather plucking and ill get back to you :) honestly its a magic machine, its uses medically are amazing.
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Re: Winter Sunlight Solutions?

Postby entrancedbymyGCC » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:42 pm

OK, here's an image from Bioptron's site: Image

Note that it contains the redder end of the visible part of the spectrum and goes out to 3.4 microns in the near infrared. When we worry about full-spectrum sunlight, it's the blue and UV end that's hard to recreate with a normal bulb, normal bulbs put out plenty of infrared radiation and tend to be yellower in color than sunlight. So everything else aside, it does exactly the opposite of what a daylight-balanced or full-spectrum light source is supposed to do. This device will definitely not fill the niche of full-spectrum lighting. If it is used IMO it should be supplemented with sunlight or a full spectrum lighting source (assuming we can convince ourselves that the ones being sold as such are credible).

As for what it does do, my personal conclusion is that it does what a lot of presumptive therapeutic devices do... increases heat and therefore circulation. Which can have good results, but IMO this may not be the most cost-effective way to get there. The claims made on the company's website IMO outstrip what the device really does and call upon pseudo-scientific language that is not backed up by viable peer-reviewed documentation. The FDA agrees with me, having cleared it as an "infrared heat source" with therapeutic value via delivery of warmth.

As a trained scientist, I feel a need to look at claims made in the realm of alternative medicine for humans or animals with the cold light of logic. I worry about the modern dynamic to see science as flawed and therefore to throw the baby out with the bathwater.... and in some cases, the brain as well... so I make it a bit of a mission to analyze these things when I run across them. Consider it the downside to allowing a bonafide "rocket scientist" among you... (and yes I mean that very tongue in cheek.)
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Re: Winter Sunlight Solutions?

Postby sidech » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:27 pm

It's okay to do that, Entranced, but I'm wondering if there isn't another way to say it, maybe a not so " destroy all my hopes and beliefs way " ?

Idlepirate seems to love her machine, and it's doing good to her bird. Nothing in life is always black or white. Maybe this really does work, and we just don't know why.

I've had a medical problem that lasted for years and years cured with... homeopathy ! I don't even believe in that, it has no scientific base, but how can I not say it worked when it cured me !

Just a thought.
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