Despite the tonnes of cuttlefish bones fed every year, calcium deficiency is still the biggest problem in bird keeping. Most of the cuttlefish, which is supplied to try to raise calcium levels when eaten by the bird, goes straight out in the droppings. As with other minerals the difficulty is absorbing it into the bloodstream.
A shortage of usable calcium lies at the root of many problems, including:
- egg laying
- egg binding
- weak hens that cannot lay or continue to lay more clutches
- broken bones in young chicks
- rickets in baby birds
- slow moults and French moult
- feather plucking
- twirling and co-ordination problems which may go as far as falling off the perch
- respiratory problems
As we have been experiencing shortage of cuttlefish bones for many months, we started to use a liquid calcium supplement for birds with added vitamin D3 to add into drinking water. The one we use in our aviaries and for our pet birds is Calcivet, which has the stamp of approval under the Small Animal Exemption Scheme. This super-saturated chelated calcium solution uses a chelated mineral technology similar to the calcium supplied in nature by plants. So it is easily absorbed and quickly gets to the bones, nerves and muscles where it is needed. It is such an effective calcium source that most of the year you will only need it once or twice a week (definitely twice for African greys and Eclectus).
It’s available in-store or online at www.newportpets.co.uk