Thursday, April 9, 2015

Protein and Amino Acids for shamas

I publish below an exchange of emails between Adiko of Indonesia and Jeffrey Low on the suitability of cat food for shamas.

Sent: Wednesday, April 8, 2015 3:45 PM
Subject: Protein and Amino Acids for shama
Hi Jeff..
Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m Andiko from Indonesia.
After I visited your blog, I learned many things, but one thing that most caught my attention is your knowledge about nutrition and food for shama.
Recently, I use a cat food (Royal Canin Exigent 33) for my shamas. In Indonesia, the average protein contained by bird food is about 16-18%. I don’t know if I’m right or wrong, but I think shama needs more protein content than that. Because I can’t found any bird food that has a protein content of about 30%, I try to looking for another options.
After I found your blog, I’m happy because you have the same thoughts about the protein content :D…It gives me a strong reason to increase the protein content on my shama’s food. After all, who would deny the thought of an expert like you J. So,  I’ve relied on the ideal composition based on what you write on your blog (protein 30%, fat 10% and calcium 1%) and the best food that I can find is RC Exigent 33.
I will give the following composition:

Analysis tableAmount
Arachidonic acid (%)0.39
Ash (%)7.5
Biotin (mg/kg)3.47
Calcium (%)1.26
Fibre (%)3.0
Dietary fibre (%)9.6
DL-methionine (%)1.22
EPA/DHA (%)0.38
Fat (%)15.0
Linoleic acid (%)3.57
Lutein (mg/kg)5.0
Metabolisable energy (calculated according to NRC85) (kcal/kg)3690.0
Metabolisable energy (measured) (kcal/kg)3925.0
Methionine Cystine (%)1.71
Moisture (%)5.5
Nitrogen-free extract (NFE) (%)36.0
Omega 3 (%)0.72
Omega 6 (%)4.07
Phosphorus (%)1.16
Protein (%)33.0
Starch (%)29.4
Taurine (mg/kg)2800.0
Vitamin A (UI/kg)27000.0
Vitamin C (mg/kg)300.0
Vitamin E (mg/kg)600.0
Other nutrientsAmount
Arginine (%)1.64
L-lysine (%)1.59
Chlorine (%)0.9
Copper (mg/kg)15.0
Iodine (mg/kg)3.6
Iron (mg/kg)163.0
Magnesium (%)0.1
Manganese (mg/kg)73.0
Potassium (%)0.6
Selenium (mg/kg)0.56
Sodium (%)0.6
Zinc (mg/kg)241.0
Choline (mg/kg)2200.0
Folic acid (mg/kg)12.9
Vitamin B1 Thiamin (mg/kg)16.3
Vitamin B12 Cyanocobalamin (mg/kg)0.17
Vitamin B2 Riboflavin (mg/kg)58.7
Vitamin B3 Niacin (mg/kg)200.0
Vitamin B5 Pantothenic acid (mg/kg)64.1
Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine (mg/kg)46.1
Vitamin D3 (UI/kg)900.0
I also supply my shamas with live food : Cricket, earthworm, Meal worm, beef meal, ants egg and boiled egg yolk. For the supplement, I provide b-complex almost every day.
But I still don’t know if what I did was meet the needs of the amino acids needed by my shamas. Do you think I still need additional amino acid supplement for my shamas?
And how can we know that what we give has been good enough for shama? Do you have any specific method to look at the quality of food for shama?
Please, I really need an advice from a sifu like you. Please forgive me if I bother you with my questions.
Sometimes I can’t hold myself when talk about white-rumped shama.
Kind regards,

From: jeffrey low <>
To: Andiko Hastungkoro <>
Sent: Wednesday, April 8, 2015 4:15 PM
Subject: Re: Protein and Amino Acids for shama

Hi Andiko,

I am happy to receive your email.

I think what you use is excellent. Except that I wouldn't supplement with too much live food or vitamins if I were to use the same. Reason being that the cat food is already formulated to be very balanced in the nutrients and too much supplementation with live food or vitamins may unbalance it. I would supplement with a small amount of live food in the evening, example with 4 or 5 crickets, more for the enzymes present in whole live food than for the protein.

Another point I will like to share with you is that using dry food as the main source means you have to throw out the dry food every few days, and fill up with new ones. This is because when exposed to light and air, the vitamins in them may lose their efficacy due to oxidation. Some bird keepers will just top up instead of refreshing the whole cup with new food and I think that is not a very good practice.

Also, if you grind up the cat food to feed the birds then you have to bear in mind that the drinking water will be easily contaminated by the powdered food because the birds will drink after eating and inevitably, some of the powdered food stuck in the beaks will drop into the drinking water. A good practice is to change the drinking water first thing in the morning, every morning. Overnight drinking water will have very high bacteria count due to the contamination.

You also have to observe your birds to see if the cat food is easily digested and absorbed well. No matter how good the food is, it has to be digestible by the bird in order to get the goodness and the required nutrients from them. Observe the droppings, and there should be sufficient quantity to reflect to you that the bird is eating enough. Observe the condition of the bird, especially after finishing molt and see if they are doing well. If all is ok, your food is ok.

I wish you the best in this hobby.


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