Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Vitamin Deficiency

There have been several trials carried out on the effects of vitamin D3 on parrot type birds as well as on other species. This vitamin is required to convert calcium into bone and when the hen is laying, into eggshell.

When vitamin D3 and calcium is fed to birds in larger than normal doses, it was found that they would produce substantially more eggs in the first year. These were normal eggs that produced chicks. However, continued feeding resulted in a decline in egg production in the 2nd year to the extent that the hen stopped laying. If the practice was discontinued, the birds would slowly recover over a year and in the following year would revert to normal egg laying.

An overdose of other vitamins will also result in problems. Amongst the lesser problems are tails and feathers that do not grow in the usual way. In general, studies have found that the birds are more likely to have a deficiency rather than an overdose of vitamins. I asked Melvyn John of Vydex, the symptoms of birds that were fed too much multi-vitamins. His answer was that if the overdose was over a short period, the symptoms are similar to that of a deficiency. If you stopped giving vitamins for one or 2 days, the birds would recover.

If you see your bird constantly at the feed cup and it appears to be listlessly pecking at the food, it is a little fluffy, its wings are droopy and it is not alert, the chances are that it is suffering from a deficiency or overdose of vitamins. If you have not been feeding vitamins, then your birds is clearly suffering from a deficiency. If you have been feeding vitamins, try stopping for one or 2 days and see if there is an improvement. If there is no improvement, then it suggests that the bird is suffering from an insufficiency or lack of vitamins. The most likely one is vitamin B Complex and if you don’t feed your bird this vitamin without delay, you can expect it to have an epileptic type fit within a matter of days.

Sulphur requirement in moult

Reproduced below are relevant extracts from an article on the requirements of the sulphur containing amino acids in the diet of birds. It is intended for those who wish to know more about this subject. Sulphur is needed in the bird's diet especially during the molt.The entire article may be viewed at: http://www.holisticbird.org/nutr/protein.htm

Sulphur containing Amino Acids

There are four sulphur containing amino acids. They are: methionine, cystine, cysteine, and taurine. Of those, the essential amino acid for birds...which means it must be supplied in the diet...is methionine. Taurine is essential for cats but not birds. Sulphur is also present in the B vitamins: thiamine and biotin.

Cysteine and Cystine are not essential. They are synthesized in the liver. Cysteine is formed from homocysteine which comes from the essential amio acid methionine. Cysteine can be converted to cystine and taurine. Cystine contains two cysteine molecules. Sulphur can be obtained from various foods. ….Eggs contain sulphur. Animal tissue contains approximately 0.25% sulphur of the total body weight.

A sulphur deficiency can be mistaken for protein deficiency. Sulphur is used by the body in enzyme reactions, protein and collagen synthesis, the production of keratin (hair, nails, fur, feathers), and other body functions. Some skin and joint problems are a result of sulphur deficiency.
Taurine is not essential because it can be produced from cysteine with the help of pyridoxine, vitamin B6. It is high in meats and fish proteins.
Methionine is essential. It must be provided in the diet. It is of the most concern because it is the least abundant protein in many foods.

If reference is made to the full article bear in mind that it is on the topic of the protein requirements of parrots.[quote]

1 comment:

  1. This is more than a little too simplistic. To take just one point - if taurine were not needed at all in the diet of birds (and to assume that all birds are the same when most research is done on but a tiny handful of species, and the bulk on chickens, is also too simplistic), the addition of taurine to bird diets would have no effect. This is not so - supplementation has dramatic effects in at least some species - there is a great deal published on the www - just search using the words taurine and birds.