Last Updated on May 12, 2022 by Ali Shahid
Calcium for lovebirds is very important and low calcium levels can play havoc with their health. Calcium is essential for over 400 functions in the bird’s body. It aids in building and maintaining the skeletal structure, supporting muscles, and transmitting nerve messages.
The body contains a lot of calcium. The skeleton contains 90% of the body’s calcium. Did you also know that 97% of an eggshell is made up of calcium?
In lovebirds, calcium plays an important part in enzymes, the development of eggshells, metabolism of fats, blood clotting, nerve transmission, muscle development, hormone synthesis, and nerve transmission.
A calcium deficiency can pose serious problems to your bird due to the numerous physiological functions calcium supports.
The Importance of Calcium for Lovebirds
Most people do not understand the broad functions of calcium in the body, though everyone knows how important it is. Calcium supplements prevent osteoporosis in women older than 50.
It’s common to see elderly women taking falls and breaking their bones. It’s also quite common for lovebirds to experience this problem.
The most severe stages of osteoporosis can lead to a falling lovebird that breaks both legs when it lands on the cage floor.
Exactly like malnourished poor children in impoverished Third World countries, baby lovebirds with insufficient calcium will suffer from rickets.
If malnourished, female birds cannot make an adequate eggshell, which can result in them getting into dangerous situations if they keep laying eggs.
Egg peritonitis and egg bindings are even more dangerous. Birds are often unable to put an eggshell around an egg, leading to egg peritonitis. During this process, the foreign protein – the egg’s contents – becomes loose in the abdomen peritoneum. The inflammation from this can be fatal.
Assisting normal nerve function is another calcium role exemplified by egg binding. Because the muscles do not have enough strength to let the egg pass, the hen cannot push the egg out.
Symptoms of Calcium Deficiency
- Lack of muscle strength results in difficulty climbing cage walls
- Heart disorders
- Rickets in young birds
- Egg Binding
- Thin eggshell
- High cholesterol due to low enzyme production
- Loss of balance Trembling
- Lack of coordination
- Feather Plucking
- Muscle pain from weak nerves
Symptoms of Hypercalcemia in Lovebirds
- Calcification of the kidneys
- Abdominal pain
- There’s a chance that chicks can’t break their shells
Calcium to Phosphorous Ratio for lovebirds
In the Lovebirds’ body, calcium and phosphorus balance each other to maintain homeostasis, which allows the body to function properly. To be healthy, the calcium-phosphorous ratio should be between 1.5:1 and 2:1.
Treatment Of Calcium Deficiency in Lovebirds
It is recommended that the patient receive assistance, calcium and vitamin D supplements, as well as the need to change their diet. NSAIDs, analgesics, and splinting may be necessary if pathological fractures exist. In the initial phase, calcium gluconate (100 mg/kg) should be given. If climbing or falling is a concern, a cage modification may be required.
Pet birds should be exposed to natural sunlight whenever possible if they are to live a long and healthy life. For birds to produce vitamin D3, ultraviolet B (UVB) light that is in the range of 290- 315 nm must be present.
The owner must provide an outdoor cage for his bird that has access to direct sunlight as well as the opportunity to climb and/or fly.
Whether a bird is in a cage, or out in the wild, it should be closely monitored when outdoors, as many predators can get through cage bars and injure a pet bird.
It is possible to use indoor UV lights if you are not able to expose your bird to natural sunlight. Research suggests that most birds will benefit from both oral and UV-B dosages of vitamin D.
It is recommended that long-term control efforts strive to reduce reproductive activity by changing the diet, reducing photoperiod, removing nest boxes, and removing breeding partners or perceived breeding partners.
The prevention of diseases begins with ensuring adequate exercise as part of the prevention process. There is a direct correlation between bone strength and how much weight-bearing activity occurs in that bone.
Strength and balance can be improved through weight-bearing exercises, thus helping to reduce the risk of fracture.
Furthermore, changes in diet, as well as supplementation with calcium and vitamin D, have been shown to improve bone health and prevent fractures.
It has also been shown that essential fatty acids may increase the density of skeletal bones as well as decrease the incidence and severity of fractures.
Calcium-Rich Food For Lovebirds
The leafy green vegetables in your bird’s diet are rich in calcium and are a great addition to their diet.
Some of the finest and highest quality calcium-rich foods include dandelion greens, Bok choy, parsley, kale, cabbage, mustard greens, broccoli, collard greens, and rapini.
Even though spinach, beet greens, and chard are calcium dense and good for your bird, they shouldn’t be its main source of nutrition. Due to their high levels of oxalic acid, their ability to absorb calcium may be affected.
It is also important to feed your bird beans as a source of calcium. Among the many legumes available, kidney beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, black beans, and soybeans are all available and suitable for use in any recipe.
Whenever you feed your bird raw beans, you must cook them first since raw beans can often have a slightly toxic effect on your bird which may even lead to stomach upset in many cases.
It is also possible that beans that have not been cooked contain enzyme inhibitors that could decrease the body’s ability to utilize certain nutrients, resulting in nutritional deficiencies in your bird.
Various fruits are a great way to give your bird some extra calcium, even though you shouldn’t use them as the sole source of your bird’s diet because they are too high in sugar.
Fruit is regarded by most birds as a special treat and they will not hesitate to accept the offer if it is made. In particular, dried fruits are high in calcium, such as dried figs, raisins, and apricots. In addition to dried fruits, fresh strawberries and oranges are also high in calcium.
Nuts and seeds
The calcium content in some nuts and seeds is just out of this world. If you want to give your bird a calcium-rich treat, you should feed it sesame seeds, flaxseeds, almonds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds.
As nuts and seeds contain a lot of fat, if they are the bulk of your pet’s diet, it is recommended to limit the amount to prevent it from becoming overweight.
However, this does not mean he cannot eat nuts and seeds as part of a balanced diet, and he should not be discouraged from enjoying them.
Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.