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Bird Feeding: Fruit Juice - Vitamin A - Sunlight

Fruit Juice vs. Water

Whenever possible, fruit juice should be substituted for your bird's drinking water. Apple juice is a good starter. As an alternative, Tang or anequivalent can be added to the drinking water. This may not be a practical suggestion for birds that habitually bathe in their drinking water. These additives or fruit juices provide more nutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc.) than water alone, and they help to mask the taste of other items (vitamins, antibiotics if necessary, etc.) that may be added to the drinking water. Fruit juices that produce stains (for example, grape juice) should not be used. Fruit juices or water to which perishable items have been added must be changed every 12-24 hours to prevent spoilage, and perhaps even more often on especially warm days. Even plain water should be changed with the same frequency for the same reasons.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A must be readily available in the diet and consumed in adequate quantities by caged birds to maintain healthy eyes, skin, feathers, and linings of their gastrointestinal, respiratory and reproductive tracts. Amazon parrots seem to have the most trouble with vitamin A deficiency. Foods rich in vitamin A include cod liver oil, cooked liver, egg yolk, apricots, corn, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach and parsley. Seeds are notoriously deficient in vitamin A.

Sunlight

Caged birds rarely receive enough sunlight and, therefore, rarely benefit from its ultraviolet radiation. Ultraviolet (W) light is necessary to facilitate certain chemical reactions within the skin that in turn, enable optimal absorption of calcium (necessary for healthy muscles and bones) by the intestinal tract. There is no W light benefit when sunlight is received through window glass. Consequently, you should take your bird outside on warm, sunny days as often as possible. Your bird's wings should be clipped, or the bird should be securely confined within a suitable cage. Make certain that neighborhood cats and wild birds are prevented access to your bird. It is also important for you to provide areas of sunlight and shade for your bird so that it can move into the shade if it becomes too warm. Many bird owners use artificial light sources to replace the regular incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs in the rooms in which their birds are housed.