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Calcium supplements - Yes or No?

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Calcium supplements - Yes or No?

Postby Animallover_84 » Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:11 am

Hello!

I would never buy calcium-, mineral- or salt- licks/blocks for a small pet (such as a rabbit or mouse for example) because they just don´t need it and it could harm them… but I feel rather confused regarding calcium-blocks, sepia shells etc. for parrots.

Some places state that it is unnecessary and hazardous and that a pellet-based diet will suffice. Thus far it seems like what goes for small pets regarding this subject is equally true for parrots…but then again, I´ve read in some places that parrots (some species more likely than others) is at a high risk of getting a calcium deficiency; and then it seems more like reptiles and parrots are alike regarding this matter, and that calcium supplements are necessary for their health.

So simply put, is calcium-blocks, sepia shells etc. unnecessary and harmful, or necessary in order to keep the parrot healthy? My question is manly regarding caiques (black headed and white bellied) since that is the species I´m most interested in.

/Animallover_84
Animallover_84
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Re: Calcium supplements - Yes or No?

Postby Pajarita » Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:05 am

All animals need calcium but the thing about calcium is that it can't be absorbed into the body [bones, muscles, etc] unless you have vitamin D3 which is, normally, produce by the body through the exposure to sunlight. In the case of captive birds, because they don't live outdoors, one needs to supplement both calcium AND D3. The trick is how much and how often because too little is as bad as too much.

Pellets have both vit D3 and calcium but, unless you are feeding nothing but pellets [which is terribly unhealthy for the bird], you might not be providing enough. Then there is the belief among old canary breeders [that's how I started with birds, with canaries] that you should never feed a bird D3 every day because, if you do, the bird might lose the ability to move calcium in and out of their bones [birds can do that because they need more calcium than we do as they need it for the eggshells]. I've been doing research on parrots natural diets for over 20 years, have observed both in my country of birth and other South American and Central American countries parrots feeding and have long ago reached the conclusion that pellets are not and never will be the best dietary option for them. I feed gloop [a dish made out of cooked whole grains and pulses mixed with chopped vegetables] and raw produce for breakfast and all day picking and, depending on the species, either all seed or a seed/nut mix for dinner [I have a black-capped caique and this is what he eats]. They always have a cuttlebone in their cage [extra source of calcium] and get a multivitamin/mineral supplement twice a week. I have been doing this for many, many years and all my birds are healthy.
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