Thursday, July 17, 2008

Feeding Shamas Dogfood by Jeffrey Low

Posted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 6:17 am Post subject:


Hi Arjan,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on feeding etc with us. Here are some of my thoughts regarding dog food and coccidiasis.

I had been using dog food as the base to make dry food for my insectivorous birds. I find that they are very good. Firstly, the dog food has good protein levels, mostly between 20+% to 30+%. Those with higher protein levels would be most suitable except that they also comes with higher fat content (up to 18%). These are made for performance dogs or young dogs that require the extra protein and fats. The ones for maintenance dogs or older dogs usually contain about 20+% protein and less fats (around 10% to 12%). For our tropical climate, I find the maintenance type of dog food with less fats more suitable. They also contain good amount of calcium, about 1.2%. Taking into consideration that not all the calcium in there can be absorbed, I am not too worried about the calcium level exceeding 1%. I think the animal protein in the dog food is a a good thing.

Arjan wrote:
I am not a great food expert but as far as I know this is a really good food so I started to give it to my mealworms and they eat it very good the only negative point is that their spoils are a bit wet.

Mealworms cannot thrive on dog food too well because they cannot digest anything that has meat in it and that is why they tend to become wet and sticky. I find that they also die quickly if continuously fed on dog food. It may be better to put aside those mealworms meant to be fed on the day and gut load only these with dog food. This way, the rest can survive better with their normal bran or other grain type food.

Arjan wrote:
Over here in Europe one off the main courses off sickness by birds are due by bacteria’s such as cocsidioses not that we were having trouble by those diseases but just as a precaution I started to feed my mealworms with a very small amount of finicoc a medicine we should give in a cure as soon we are troubled with such a bacterial disease.
My underlying thought is to create a little barrier against these diseases so the birds are armed against the first attack of these bacteria’s if it occurs.

Coccidias are protozoa parasites. Finicoc if I am not mistaken, is a sulfonamide - sulphachlopyrazine sodium monohydrate. Sulfonamides are frequently used in poultry farming to combat coccidiasis. They are antagonist of PABA, a precursor of folic acid in protozoa, therefore protozoa cannot multiply in the presence of sulfonamide. However, continuous usage of a single type of antibiotic as a preventive measure will inevitably result in strains of coccidias resistant to the antibiotic, as can be seen from the past where there are many strains of coccidias that are sulfonamide resistant. Apart from this, continuous usage of an antibiotic in the feed of the birds will also deplete their guts of the essential bacterial flora that is vital for digestion and the absorption of nutrients.

You may also be interested in some natural plant extracts that have excellent properties to prevent and combat coccidiasis. Here is one study on the use of Aloe Excelsa for this purpose.


Posted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 12:03 pm Post subject:


Hi Jeff,

We crushed the dog food with Blender. We also prefer the "maintenance" type BUT its a little bit hard to crushed. With a low quality blender, it can ruin the blender. Thats why, some of my friends use the dog food meant for puppy but as you said it contain more fat.

Can you please tell us why having more fat is less suitable for our shamas? Another question, do you crushed your dog with a blender or is there any better machine you can recommend?


Posted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 1:56 pm Post subject:


Hi irwan,

Most birds in captivity tend to eat according to their caloric needs. Fats are high in calories. A bird may eat very little if the diet is high in fats, therefore, it may become undernourished on such a diet.

I chose a brand of dog food that can be easily crushed without using a blender. There are a couple of brands in the market that can be broken up simply by using a rolling pin. After crushing them, I will sieve them so that the larger pieces can be crushed again. Finally, they are put through a very fine sieve to remove the powdered portion leaving only those that are about the size of the granular bird foods available commercially. To this, I will add in the other ingredients. The powdered portion can be used to feed crickets and other live feeders.

There is a brand here called "oven baked" that can be easily crushed into bits even by pressing between the finger and thumb. ANF can also be crushed with a rolling pin but needs more effort as they are slightly harder. Most other brands are too hard and need a household grinder to do the job. They can be put through the grinder lightly, sieved and the larger pieces grind again. There will be wastage because about half will end up being powdered.


Posted by Arjan: Sun Mar 16, 2008 7:45 am


And that is how I like it Quality feed back Thank you Jeffrey.
I will do as you told me and only feed the worms a day when it’s cold 2 days before they are given to the birds.

About the coccidioses and the preventive small doses of Finicoc good that you mentioned it because I forgot to write in my last thoughts that I only do this during a month

Before the breeding period not continuously because that as Jeffrey said could cause a resistant bacteria and that would be playing with fire.

I read the article about the Aloe plant very interesting I even have him in the Shama flight still from the time I breaded Sunbirds Its an amazing plant with a lot of healing ingredients I was not aware of its amazing ability to cure a coccidioses infection. Thank you Jeffrey I am aware of something similar it’s called Paddy seed but I don’t think that is the scientific name because Paddy also has something to do with rice I believe. It’s a brown seed as big as the seeds of the Poppy. I will do a search for it.

The day before yesterday I noticed a brown slimy substance right under the place Madonna my female shama normally sits.

My alarm bells immediately ringlet in my head .
It probably was a kind of diaries because of the new nutrition of cat food but you can’t be careful enough so I immediately removed it and placed a plastic folly at that spot in order to collect the droppings for research, luckily the day later the droppings were back to normal.

So if you also change to this food it’s possible that some birds may get diaries stay alert and if it last change the food.

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