5 Supplements your Birds Need
In this video, I talk about the bird supplements I believe most pet finches and canaries need.
Depending on their diet, yours may need more or less.
Here’s the downloadable schedule I use to give supplements to my birds.
Can’t listen to the video? Here’s a written version (maybe not a perfect transcript).
Should you provide finches with supplements? If so which ones? There are so many out there, how do you choose?
Finches definitely need supplemental care unless you are providing an extremely diverse whole food raw diet. One that covers all the bases.
But for the rest of us, we need to use supplements. Because 90% of bird illness is diet related, meaning deficient in something. Usually calcium, D3, and A but sometimes other things.
So – let’s talk about the supplements your birds need. Not during austerity and not the extras for breeding, but just on a daily basis.
A good brand multi-vitamin.
It needs to be bird-oriented, not one made for dogs and cats. I say that because I just saw one for dogs and cats being advertised as ‘for birds’ and that may be but… I have a hard time believing it! Here are a few that I personally have tried and believe to be good products.
We struggle so much with our birds having enough calcium. Part of this is because we’re not giving them enough in their diet. We rely on cuttlebone, which isn’t the best (they don’t absorb it that well). Part of it is that the ratios are off: there has to be a 2:1 ratio of calcium: phosphorus for their bodies to use it correctly. OR there’s no D3 available so they can’t utilize the calcium.
Sometimes we think there’s plenty in the multi-vitamins. That’s not always the case. So it’s good to keep a calcium supplement on hand. Many calcium supplements contain D and phosphate, sometimes other vitamins. We can find calcium to sprinkle on food and some that goes in the water, so get what works best for you. I have switched to putting it on food because I feel like I can serve food I know they’ll eat (the ULTRA yummy stuff) and they will get the calcium.
Gouldians and other finches need a good iodine source. It’s easy enough to add a drop to their water every day.
None of these bird supplements will help anything if you aren’t making sure they can actually absorb the things. Probiotics help with gut health and they’re safe to use year around.
These can come from a salt block, a grit mix from the Big Box store, or use a product like F-vite which is supposed to replace cuttlebone and the grit mix. (I keep it on hand and have used it for years.)
Apple Cider Vinegar.
Although this is not a supplement in the strictest sense of the word, ACV is something we supplement with to improve everyday health. It lowers the pH which is supposed to be very beneficial to finches in their digestion. Use ACV that has the mother (the stuff that looks like somebody forgot to filter it). There are about a million ratios on the Internet, but my vet told me to use 15 ml to 1 liter of water so that’s what I do, 2 days a week. Some people like to use it for an entire week every month instead of weekly.
Prima – from the Save the Gouldian fund – says it contains all nutrients needed – I noticed the protein level is high, 24% which is good. You’ll find a study saying 12% is adequate, that’s incorrect.