Pet birds sometimes need a hand in meeting their nutritional requirements for a healthy diet.
Key vitamins and minerals that help your bird stay healthy include these essentials.
As a precursor to Vitamin A, beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A as needed. The rest is excreted unchanged. Many birds develop a deficiency if they do not eat enough leafy greens and yellow- or orange-colored foods. Sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, squash, alfalfa sprouts, endive, kale, spinach and dandelion greens all contain beta-carotene.
Vitamin A deficiency often produces blunted choanal papillae and a hardening or callusing of the epithelial tissues and roughness and scaling of the legs and feet. Long-term Vitamin A deficiency can result in renal disease and uropygial gland problems. It is also possible for a bird to overdose on Vitamin A, so follow supplement label directions and your veterinarian’s advice.
Birds create Vitamin D3 with the help of sunlight or full-spectrum indoor lighting. The vitamin helps them metabolize calcium and utilize it in their bodies and is necessary for proper egg shell production and muscle contractions, as well.
A lack of calcium results in many problems from seizures to soft-shelled eggs. Calcium deficiencies primarily affect African grey parrots and other African parrots, such as Poicephalus and lovebirds, and egg-laying cockatiels but all birds can suffer the effects of a depletion.
Iron (HEME form) exists in meat, fish and poultry. Non-HEME iron is found in fruits, vegetables, dried beans, nuts and grains. Vitamin C will increase absorption from non-HEME foods. Good nutrition helps give your bird the proper amount. An all-seed diet can be iron-deficient. By offering pellets, your bird should receive adequate iron for use by the body. Iron deficiency can result in anemia. Provide it to birds if their anemia results from chronic infection or blood loss. Conversely, some birds suffer from a condition called hemochromatosis where they store too much iron in the liver, and this presents danger.
This vitamin is crucial for the maturation of red blood cells, and anemic birds that have suffered from blood loss due to trauma or surgery will need supplementation. Since B12 is found in fish, shellfish, meat (especially liver), poultry and egg, birds on all-seed diets may suffer from a B12 deficiency. Vitamin or mineral supplements can satisfy this need. Feeding a pelleted diet will prevent vitamin B12 deficiency because the pellets contain this vitamin.