Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Vitamin B Complex (2)

In response to my post on the special needs of shamas for Vitamin B Complex, I received the comment below from Lac Viet.  He is a successful breeder of shamas and has his own website at:

You are so right about the importance of vitamin B complex to the shama. Not only is the shama vulnerable and needs lots of vitamin B complex during molt, but during grow up as well. Two of my chicks (less than 2 months old) got this fits (I believe what you describe fits is another name for "stargazing" where the bird can't control its neck muscle which cause the head tilt back, wing muscle can't work properly and feet can't perch). A few drops of concentrate vitamin B complex liquid can cure this fit in less than an hour if caught early. Thank you for sharing this story and hope the owner find another shama to keep soon. Best Regards.

I add below to Lac Viet's comments.

Shamas of both sexes and all ages in captivity need Vitamin B supplementation especially if their diet contains a high percentage of protein.  Even chicks in the nest can suffer from "star gazing".  This is an affliction where the head is tilted back as though the bird is looking upwards.  In every instance of star gazing that I have encountered with shama chicks the cause has been a deficiency of vitamin B.  

The star gazing syndrome seems to be experienced only by very young shamas.  In my experience, adult birds that lack vitamin B do not star gaze but suffer a fit.  They seem relatively OK but any sudden movement can trigger a fit.  The movement may be nothing more than flying to the side of the cage when food or water is placed in it.  The bird suffers from convulsions during which it flops all over the cage.  Nevertheless, the bird is conscious and aware of its surroundings.  It will peck when being fed vitamin B.  

As Lac Viet has noted, a few drops of concentrated vitamin B will cure the problem in a very short time.  If the bird has a fit then it should be caught and given this treatment.   Otherwise, my preferred method of feeding vitamin B is either to put it in the dry food, on insects or on the ants eggs.

I keep vitamin B for human consumption in liquid form that I purchase from GNC in Singapore.  GNC does not carry stock and an order must be placed.  Sometimes one or more of my shamas may seem lethargic and there is no shine in the eyes.  The usual cause is a deficiency of vitamin B. Perhaps my helper has failed to give it without my knowledge.  Of course, there could be other causes.  A possible other cause is calcium deficiency but this usually affects females during egg laying.

I only feed concentrated vitamin B directly to my birds in extreme case of need.  If I think that there is a need for vitamin B but it is not critical, I put a few drops on to ants eggs from which the excess moisture has been removed.  This is my preferred method of administering vitamin B.  Another way is to spread the liquid vitamin B on the top 3 fingers of my hand and wipe it on the crickets.  I use this method for my breeding birds since the container with about 50 to 100 crickets are placed in the aviary for 1 day's consumption.

For normal feeding of vitamin B, I purchase tablets for human consumption that I grind into powder and add to the dry food.

This post has discussed only the vitamin B requirements of shamas.  It should be borne in mind that for the birds to be and remain healthy, it is necessary to provide a balanced diet.  This means that all the ingredients necessary for a healthy life,  including vitamins and minerals, must be provided to the birds.  My wife sometimes comments that I take better care of my birds than I do of myself. J


  1. It is really nice for me to see you and your great hardwork again.Every piece of your work look excellent.Looking forward to learning more from you!

  2. hi, i've lately got a problem with my jambul. The bird sneeze with a click click sound suddenly for this week. Are you able to tell me whats wrong with it? Thanks. If possible email me at