The short answer is, yes. Birds like every other creature need to have vitamin rich food. This is because birds are perhaps the most affected by aerial pollution. Therefore, vitamins are a necessity to help the birds overcome the ill effects of pollution.
The effect of giving birds a vitamin deficient diet is evident when birds fall sick and eventually die. The bottom line is that birds need a good and wholesome diet that comprises all the essential vitamins and minerals that are required for the proper functioning of your pet birds’ bodily functions.
Do Birds Need Vitamins?
1. Essential Vitamins for Your Bird
Not all vitamins are necessary for the good health of your pet birds. The vitamins that all birds should have in their diet are Vitamin-A, Vitamin-E, Vitamin-D3, and B-Complex Vitamins.
Vitamin A – Vitamin A deficiency is the most common in birds. A bird that is on a Vitamin-A deficient diet will exhibit signs of rapid loss of weight, dull looking skin and feathers, and swollen eyes.
Vitamin E –The Vitamin-E is a crucial vitamin, which helps your pet bird against free radical pollutants. It also helps in the consumption of Vitamin-A, Vitamin-B, and Vitamin-C.
Vitamin D3 –The Vitamin-D3 works in birds just as well as it works in us humans. The D3 vitamin is essential for healthy bones, feathers, and skin in birds. It also helps birds in laying their eggs.
Vitamin-B Complex – The B-complex vitamins comprise of the vitamins B6, B12, riboflavin, thiamin, folic acid, biotin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. While each of these crucial vitamins have their own functions in your pet bird, the basic function of the Vitamin-B is to help break down the nutrients in the bird’s food. Since birds daily excretes this vitamin from its body, the Vitamin-B should be incorporated in its diet regularly.
There are other minerals and acids that birds should consume daily such as Calcium, the Omega 3, and Omega 6 fatty acids, which all contribute to your pet’s wellbeing.
Birds can get calcium naturally if you feed them cuttlebones, or artificially from vitamin supplements.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids help your pet bird stay healthy and in fighting off diseases.
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2. Factors That Affect Your Pet Birds’ Health
- Although show birds need to be bred from certain lines, this type of line breeding also makes them predisposed towards easily gaining illnesses.
- If you are socializing your pet birds by taking them to bird shows, then this is a quick way for them to get illnesses from other birds.
- Unlike other pets, birds do not show their illnesses until the sickness is well into its advanced stage. This is probable why pet birds’ mortality rate is far advanced than other pets.
- Your pet bird’s daily feed affects their health. If you are what you eat then your bird cannot be healthy on a vitamin deficient feed.
3. Typical Diet of Pet Birds
Commonly pet birds are fed a diet of dry seeds, which are a great source of carbohydrates but severely lack in vitamins and minerals, most importantly the Vitamin-A.
In the wilderness, these birds have a much more varied diet and one that they have more control over. As a result, these wild birds live a much more active lifestyle than the sedentary ones your pet birds are subjected to.
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4. How to Make a Good and Wholesome Diet?
A seed-based diet should not be the only food given to the avian member of your household. For proper nutrition, your pet bird should have a mixture of seeds, pellets, fruits and vegetables, and supplements.
Pelleted foods are a baked mixture of seeds, grains, fruits, vegetables, vitamin, and mineral supplements. Birds suffering from malnutrition due to their nitpicking habits may be introduced to this kind of pelleted diet.
You can feed your bird any type of fruit or vegetables that it finds a fancy to such as berries, bananas, carrots, sweet potatoes, mangos, kiwis, or papayas, and even cooked grains such as rice, quinoa, legumes, and pasta.
Other vegetables, which are full of the essential vitamins include but are not limited to bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, Bok choy, green beans, kale, and pumpkin seeds.
5. Feeding Your Pet Birds Vitamin Supplements
Vitamin supplements are the best way to give your pet birds their required nutrition without disrupting their dietary feeds. However, much care must be taken to ensure that your birds do not get too many vitamin supplements. Vitamin or mineral overdoses are common in birds. For example, too much Vitamin-D3 can result in calcium accumulation in the kidneys of your pet birds. The Macaw bird is most commonly affected by this problem.
Making sure that your pet birds get their daily-required amount of water is also crucial to the bird’s health. A dehydrated bird will only pass on the vitamins and minerals out of its body through excretion. Vitamins and minerals require water to be absorbed into the bird’s body. For this reason, there are many pet stores which stock liquid vitamin and mineral supplements which can then be added to your pet bird’s water supply.
However, beware that if the bird does not like the taste of the vitamin and mineral enriched water, then it will not drink and become dehydrated. Do not just think that the bird will get used to the supplement. You might have to try a few supplements to find that one which your bird will like!
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Although birds make excellent pets, they are very dependent on you for their needs. Birds are one of the most vulnerable pets you can keep as they are very nit picky about their food.
So, you must take extra care to provide for their dietary needs. Choosing good quality pellets or seeded food is essential to a bird’s nutrition and wellbeing. So, keep it all in mind and keep your pet bird healthy!