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Daz

Vitamin D3

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There is a very good article in the November edition of the Budgerigar World magazine.

The Article is by Don Burke on the problems with housing budgerigars.

 

Don has had a lot of problems with his birds over the last few years to a point that he was going to give up the Hobie. 12 months ago in desperation he read an article on Vitamin D3 and UVB from sunlight. Apparently there has been a lot of research into the effect of Vitamin D3 and cancer in humans. Good doses of this vitamin (which is not a vitamin) helps prevent cancer in humans.

 

Vitamin D3 is a product of our system when we are out in the sun. The UVB rays from sunlight produces this substance in our bodies which helps the immune system.

 

This also happens with Budgerigars. The oil that is produced from the oil gland during preening reacts with the UVB rays on the feathers and then is digested during the next preening. It assists with their immune systems as well.

 

Sounds good doesn't it...... here is the bad news. UVB can not pass through Glass, Plastic or Fibreglass...

 

Don radically changed his aviary, It now has direct access to open areas where the birds can sit in the sun light and get soaked in the rain. He still has covered areas for the breeding and sleeping arrangements. Lighting that was used was for reptile with a high out put of UVB. These have to be changed every 6 months

 

He also spoke with Vetafarm to see what they could do. They came up with a product high in Vitamin D3. Soluvet D He started to use this with his birds. He made a very brave move and through out all the other supplements the birds were on.

 

Many birds that were very bad died. But he persisted. He said it took 6 months to see the results but now it is amazing. Birds that were too good improved. Birds that couldn't fly started to fly. Those that wouldn't lay started to lay again and over all the aviary came back from the brink of disaster.

 

With access to direct sun light and assisted levels in Vitamin D3 the birds are now back and off all medications.

 

One thing I have learnt this year is that less is better but the birds must have what THEY require not what we think they need. It was a very good article and some thing I am seriously looking in to.

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Great article, Daz....food for thought. :)

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Thats why I love Calivet by the Aust bird company (dr colin walker), It contains magnesium, VIT D3 and Calcium. But nothing can substitute sunlightPS: Whats this budgie magazine you speak of? I WANT IN! LOL

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Thanks for that Daz, really informative...

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Daz, Gary Armstrong has insisted that when I put up my flights, that they have an open roof area for sunlight and for rain showers. He has a suspended flight area and insists its a necessity. I was always told to roof every flight due to wild bird droppings, but apparently the rain its great for their feather. I am able to put a half metre by 4 metre open section up for them so that will have to do.

Edited by KAZ

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Thats why I love Calivet by the Aust bird company (dr colin walker), It contains magnesium, VIT D3 and Calcium. But nothing can substitute sunlightPS: Whats this budgie magazine you speak of? I WANT IN! LOL

 

Budgerigar Worls Magazine. I get it monthly.... If it turns up :)

 

Daz, Gary Armstrong has insisted that when I put up my flights, that they have an open roof area for sunlight and for rain showers. He has a suspended flight area and insists its a necessity. I was always told to roof every flight due to wild bird droppings, but apparently the rain its great for their feather. I am able to put a half metre by 4 metre open section up for them so that will have to do.

 

Well the birds are doing well at Don's ... So there must be somethng in it.

 

I have a complete enclosed aviary but with open windows. (Grilled & meshed) The afternoon sun always comes in. But a bit of help doesn't go astray. :rofl:

Edited by Daz

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Well this I must say surprises me. Don Burke of all people. The Garden Guru keeper of budgies like since forever.

 

I moved into the house I am in, in 1995 and up until 2002 when all budgies were sold off I had an enclosed system. No sunlight entered the birdroom from any scource. I never had a single problem associated with the birds being devoid of sunlight. Why? Because since day one full spectrum flourescent tubes were installed in the birds flights. Problem solved.

 

I have bred tropical fish and like Don Burke I was also some years ago right in everything horticultural. Dabbled a fair bit at one time into hydroponics too. I fail to fathom how a person with the gardening knowledge that Don has didn't figure out it applies to other organisms like budgies too.

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Thats why I love Calivet by the Aust bird company (dr colin walker), It contains magnesium, VIT D3 and Calcium. But nothing can substitute sunlightPS: Whats this budgie magazine you speak of? I WANT IN! LOL

 

 

I was speaking with Vetfarm and they advised me that Moulting Aid is better to use on your birds than calcivet as it stronger, moulting aid is for when birds are in stress and need the extra boost when they are moulting. i was advised that moulting aid is great for when the birds are moulting, breeding and for the babies in the nappy cage until they go through there moults. keeps all birds nice and strong.

my birds havent looked healthier since giving them moulting aid in there water, and a few extra products on there vegies. cant remember the name of the stuff i put on there vegies but shall look at it when in the bird room next.

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okay im going to say i never use anything other than ivermectom and good old natural vitamins in their natural form

i use cuttle bone and iodine calcium bells though

and i do mix 2 kg of avarian mix budgie seed into my breeders mix budgie which i put breeders mix canary with

they get horse charf with mulassice and freash bread dayly i buy 5 loafs just for my birds

somethimes fruit bread in the breeding cages

they get water melon corn carrot ziccini capsican rice pasta bananna kiwi fruit green beans burnt red gum and the red clay thats been heat efected every six months ,fresh grass seeds that i have grown gum tree gravilia wattle nuts and some more all my breeding cages are out side in the sun half cage covered i cover them at night or if it rains heavly

my aviry get morning sun and just enough avo sun more the light of that also gets covored at night

i have fantastic hatch rate and only ever had one bought of sickness which was my fault through adding an unquarintined bird

the birds were taken and seperated and delt with one at a time

hospital cages all over my house .. hee hee

luck they all recovered exept the original problem and its partner

i use salt water warm on any eye problems which only happeded once and i bath the eye 3 times a day and seperate the bird and on any minor cuts and obrashions

sometimes i spray them with feather might spray just incase but only if their is sighns of this

oh i also one a month add one tea spoon of linseed oil olternated with cod liver oil in all the birds seed and let sit for half hour before feeding

i do not add it to my main seed suply

i use a natural red mite spray which does work i make it

but no added supliments

oh yes my birds are pretty much my life lol sad really too everyone else but to me their my sanity

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It's good that you look after your birds so well GB. I've got to say I think all things natural is best. I personally don't take multivitamins or anything like that myself so I see it as hypocritical to feed them to my birds. I don't see birds in the wild breaking into vitamin stores... If birds can find the right nutrients in the wild I think I should be able to as well.

 

That said, if I ever have internal flights only I will be adding full spectrum lights to it.

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Guest DrNat

Generic Blue, that is brilliant. Variety, moderation, as natural as possible with a few treats.

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I'm with you GB. I use lemon scented tea tree to help with internal things, they get this every day in the flight and the breeding cages. Plenty of fresh fruit and veg, natural branches and very limited supplementation. The only supplements I supply are pink minerals in a powder which is supplied in a dish where they take it as needed (it includes a calcium and D3 component). I also supply tonic seed which includes coriander seeds plus poppy seed, niga and canary seed plus a few others I can't recall. I have also just planted a lovely herb garden which is more than double the size I would use so that there are plenty extra for the birds, this includes coriander, parsley, oregano, two types of basil, thyme and also snow peas and silverbeet up one end. I don't eat silverbeet so that is purely for treats for the birds a couple of times a week. Other than a small amount of pet safe snail bait on the soil to keep the snails at bay(we have a lot of them here otherwise I wouldn't even do that) they are all grown without any chemicals which is the best for us and my birds I think. I look forward to movng to the country where I'll be able to put in a HUGE vegie garden plus a small orchard is planned to supply almost all my birds fresh food needs (oh and ours too :) )

 

I love threads like that as I am still dreamng up how I am going to build my aviaries when we move so it gives me so many great ideas!

Edited by **Liv**

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Interesting... only very recently scientists have found out that the same vitamin is highly important in preventing Multiple Sclerosis in humans! In these days where we're all SO conscious of over exposing ourselves to the sun, we're actually depriving ouselves of it's important qualities!

Edited by CaspersRose

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Vitamin D3 can be sourced through other sources.

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SICK BUDGIE BREAKTHROUGH

By Don Burke

 

For many years budgie breeders have had awful disease problems. Many breeders have encountered disease outbreaks that almost destroyed their whole flock. Many times, even in ‘Budgerigar World’, you hear of breeders despairing and reluctant to continue breeding our precious little birds. The list of diseases and problems is truly awful:

 

*

 

Viral diseases that cause feather loss in adult birds (flightless and tailless wonders) and French moult.

*

 

A debilitating disease first called megabacteria but which now is avian gastric yeast.

*

 

Chronic runny noses and sneezing

*

 

Constantly infected eyes

*

 

Rampant infertility

*

 

Coccidiosis

 

On top of that, many birds just never seem well. Many sit on the aviary floor all day. The list goes on and on.

 

You hear from many excellent breeders that antibiotics and general bird medicines are of little help. Many say that taking your birds to the vet is a waste of time and money.

 

I have written previously that auctions, and shows like the Nationals in Australia are partly to blame. Intimately mixing birds from many breeders from all over the country (and the world) spreads diseases at an incredibly fast rate. Perhaps too fast for the immune systems of budgies to cope.

 

Nonetheless, the disease rate seems preposterous. When I started breeding budgies in the 1950s diseases were never a problem of this scale. Clearly something is seriously wrong – some new thing has happened. Time and time again I looked at my birds as they too declined into a crevasse of morbidity. My average dropped from five chicks per nest to less than one.

 

Yet I had a wonderful set of bird rooms and aviaries. People call it the Budgie Hilton. The aviaries were super clean (not dirty as they used to be) and very dry to prevent disease spread. The general care was meticulous and the feeding was excellent.

 

Yet still they died or failed to reproduce. What had I done wrong? The diseases also produced eggbinding and I lost quite a few hens. I attributed this to the fact that many of my birds were over-weight. Yet I couldn’t get them to lose weight, even if I fed them on just a basic diet of Hungarian millet and water.

 

By now many of you must be saying, yeah, I’ve got (or have had) that problem. Well, about a year ago I read some extraordinary new research on Vitamin D3. I had always assumed that D3 helped Calcium absorption for bones and eggs, and did little else.

 

The extensive new research done on humans is breathtaking in its revelations and their possible relevance to budgies. Vitamin D3 does a lot more than build bones, it is a powerful anticancer agent and it regulates the immune system. Low Vitamin D3 levels in humans have been linked to many serious illnesses: various infectious diseases, cancers (such as breast and prostate) and autoimmune conditions. Identical twin studies showed that increased sun exposure as children can reduce the chance of developing Multiple Sclerosis by up to 57%. The same applies to autoimmune diabetes, Crohn’s Disease and tuberculosis.

 

New research has also confirmed that, in humans, vitamin D3 deficiency has been linked to infertility in women and poor quality sperm and lower fertility in men. This is exactly what we have seen in budgies.

 

Vitamin D3 is actually not a vitamin at all since we make it ourselves (as do birds) and it acts more like a hormone: that is a messenger chemical that controls various functions. It controls well over 1,000 genes in the human body.

 

In humans, ultraviolet B light (which is part of normal sunlight) acts on oil on your skin and turns it into Vitamin D3, which is then re-absorbed. In budgies oil is taken from the preen gland at the base of the tail during preening and is spread all over the feathers. This is turned into Vitamin D3 by sunlight and the birds consume it later on during further preening. This is essential for the budgies’ health.

 

Here’s the rub though: ultraviolet B light (UVB) does not travel through glass or clear plastic or fibreglass. Sunlight in general goes through, but not UVB light. So today’s modern aviaries and bird rooms are death traps for birds since little or no UVB light reaches the budgies themselves.

 

It gets worse. Even “full spectrum” fluorescent lights lack UVB light. They produce the wrong sort of UV light, that is UVA. While certain foods contain Vitamin D3 such as cod liver oil, this is a messy and dangerous supplement that does far too little to help. It may assist in safe egg laying and other calcium issues, but not much more.

 

So I decided twelve months ago to try some experiments. My birds had sadly ceased breeding in their fully enclosed aviaries with glass or clear fibreglass roofs and windows.

 

1 I removed all of my glass windows and doors. I also removed all of the clear fibreglass roofing.

 

2 I installed reptile versions of full spectrum lights which had a fair amount of UVB emissions (timed to come on when I was absent).

 

3 I approached a local bird medications company (Vetafarm) in Australia to create a new supplement which was high in Vitamin D3 and which could be added to the birds’ water. In this, I am indebted to avian veterinarian Dr. Tony Gestier of Vetafarm.

 

It’s now a year later. The results are spectacular. Although I have discontinued all the fiddly food supplements and all bird medicines, my birds have leapt back to health. Eggbinding is now down to zero. Most pairs have around four chicks per nest. The chicks are huge, often bigger than their parents. Some pairs have seven babies per nest.

 

Some previously infertile birds are now fertile again. Some incapacitated birds are managing to breed five babies in a nest. Many older birds (over 4 years) are healthier but have not hatched babies. But they are at least laying eggs.

 

I have no sick birds and have only had two sick birds (out of 350) in the last six months: both recovered and have babies. Several died of old age (over six years old).

 

The worst part was that, for six months after I started to feed them the supplement, nothing happened. It took around seven months to start to work. Many of my best birds seem beyond help, but the younger ones are rallying.

 

My aviaries get rain in them now. They smell a bit (like they used to before the clear roofing - but my breeding successes were huge then). The aviaries are windy too and my birds get wet. And I couldn’t care less. I have babies again and no sick birds. I have huge clearwing babies that are as big as normals.

 

My research was done in Sydney, Australia. The vitamin supplement is added to the water - it is now released as Vetafarm Soluvite D Breeder. It contains 2,500,000 IU of Vitamin D3 – twice previous levels. I put it in their water all the time.

 

The lights I use are called Sylvania Reptistar. These need replacing every six months to maintain UVB output.

 

I feed the following:

 

Seed - 95% Hungarian millet and 5% plain canary

 

Other – fresh corn on the cob, silverbeet and carrot daily

 

Shellgrit and cuttlebone

 

Nothing else

 

Summary

 

It now seems that the budgerigar diseases that have crippled our breeding for years have been caused by badly-designed aviaries that exclude UVB light which in turn causes a deficiency in Vitamin D3. This compromises the birds’ immune systems which leads to severe and constant disease problems. Viral feather diseases go unchecked, avian gastric yeast (normal in birds’ tummies) goes feral and slowly kills birds and most other common diseases get out of hand. Fertility plummets and general budgerigar vigour collapses. When significant increases in Vitamin D3 are introduced, the problems begin to recede. Improvements are slow, but perhaps in one or two generations the younger generations will be fully healthy again. Even infected eyes have largely cleared up and no babies have this problem like they used to. I have no new cases of feather loss of any sort. A few old flightless birds can fly again (but not many). Obviously budgerigar aviaries or bird rooms which are open to direct sunlight will produce far healthier birds.

 

It also seems apparent that the older vitamin supplements fed to birds simply don’t contain anywhere near enough Vitamin D3. Hopefully, the new one is far better.

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Hi Guys,

 

I also read this article and found it very interesting. Does anyone currently use the product Don refers to "Vetafarm Soluvite D Breeder?" If so have you seen any improvement in your stock. Also do you think this product is worth buying or is there another way around it.

 

Thanks,

nitsuD

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I would be interested to hear if people use this product.

 

I have recently putchased some UVB globes that are usually used in reptile housings. I have put these in the breeding room to provide a better source of UVB to my birds.

 

We will see how that goes.

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this is a very interesting topic...

My avairy has a third of it open to the sunlight, and preety much the whole day sunlight gets in. the only down thing is the whole floor gets wet and the birds have a chance of getting that coccivet diease which i havent done anything about yet. i have recently started feeding them with a mixture of hulled oats, linseed, white millet and a few othe seeds i cant recall. Sometimes i put mineral supplement inside the water. it supplies about 30 vits and mins.my budgies sometimes gets lettuce, and i am trying to make an effort lately to feed them apple. actually tomorrow ill give some carrot :) . however my birds get those grass seeds and weeds more often then lettuce and they love it and also some sticks of a grass tree and it has charcoal on its trunk which i serve as grit. thats my budgies health report :D

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Hi Guys,

 

I also read this article and found it very interesting. Does anyone currently use the product Don refers to "Vetafarm Soluvite D Breeder?" If so have you seen any improvement in your stock. Also do you think this product is worth buying or is there another way around it.

 

Thanks,

nitsuD

 

 

I started using it a month or so ago. Cant see results yet but from reading some articles about this product, results could take 6 months or more.

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i belive it is the whole change of set up not just the vit d but the freash air the new lights the whole lot it goes hand in hand

i must say i used a bird room for first time and will not do it ever again my simple out side set up worked way better bird room cost heaps and was failure for me anyway so back to basics but extra vit d cant hurt so i may give this a go with show birds

still trying to work out a feeding regeam for them compared to pet types :)

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Hi Guys,

 

I also read this article and found it very interesting. Does anyone currently use the product Don refers to "Vetafarm Soluvite D Breeder?" If so have you seen any improvement in your stock. Also do you think this product is worth buying or is there another way around it.

 

Thanks,

nitsuD

I am using this product now too and too soon to see benefits.

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Since my birds are indoors and I am in a climate that is not always hospitable to taking birds out of doors, they do not have regular access to natural sunlight. (I do not have a yard.) Lack of D3 is the main reason my birds get a small amount of Harrison's pellets, they have D3 in them which makes up for the many months when it is too cold and snowy to sit with the birds outside for real sun, if there were any sun to be had then, that is.....

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Just purchased some to try as well although my birds do get reasonable access on non-rainy days (sometimes even on rainy days when I don't get the shutters closed in time). I'm not expecting to see a major improvement to be honest but might really help those birds that have been in the breeding cabinets for a couple of rounds. We'll see.

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Just a little note folks - excess Vitamin D can cause toxicity.

 

Another little note - apparently due to Vitamin D being a fat soluble vitamin it is very hard to supplement via water - so what gives with Soluvet D being disolved in water...............?

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