Vitamin D3 in Naturally for Birds Supplements.
Two of the NFB Supplements – PRIMA and MICRONUTRIENTS – provide excellent levels of Vitamin D3, a critical regulator for avian health.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in a bird’s body, making up 1.5% of body weight. It is a key component of bones(as calcium phosphate) and in egg shells (as calcium carbonate).However calcium is also critical for muscle and nerve function, blood clotting and other enzymatic function. Vitamin D regulates absorption and excretion of calcium and phosphorus. This is especially important when the ratios of calcium and phosphorus in the diet are unbalanced. An optimal ration of calcium: phosphorus is 2:1 but many dietary components are a long way from this. For growth, bone health, and reproduction an adequate intake of Vitamin D is no less important than the intake of calcium. Vitamin D comes in two forms. Vitamin D2 comes mainly from plants but it is not significant in helping to regulate calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D3 is produced in a bird’s body when the UV rays present in sunlight or an artificial UV light source react with Vitamin D precursors in the skin. Studies with poultry show that sufficient Vitamin D3 can be produced for growth of chicks with 11-45 minutes of direct sunshine each day. So any birds in open flighted aviaries with direct access to sunshine will not suffer Vitamin D deficiency.
Phosphorus is perhaps more critical to biological systems than any other element. It is important in many body functions including bone formation, metabolism of fat and carbohydrates, egg formation and in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids (fats) used throughout the body. Phosphorus is usually readily available in bird diets and is unlikely to be limiting, but its interaction with calcium and their regulation by Vitamin D3 is critical.But for birds held in fully roofed aviaries or indoor situations, as is often the case with cabinet bred canaries, budgies or finches, access to Vitamin D3 can be problematic and Vitamin D3 supplementation will be necessary. Most literature suggests that feeds for cagebirds should provide around 1000 IU (international units)/kg of Vitamin D3 for maintenance and 3-4 times that (3000 – 4000 IUs/ kg) for breeding or moulting.
Good alternative sources of Vitamin D3 can be found in cod liver oil, fish oil or eggs, and oil fortified seed has been practiced by some breeders for decades. However, PRIMA and MICRONUTRIENTS both provide excellent sources of Vitamin D3 at levels that ensure optimal calcium and phosphorus metabolism:
- MicroNutrients has 500,000 IUs /kg. A1kg batch of sprouted seed, milk seed or softfood made up with the recommended 5% MicroNutrients added would have 25000 IUs per kg, which is more than adequate.
- Likewise Prima has 44,000 IUs /Kg. 1kg of softfood made up with the recommended 8-10% PRIMA would have 3500-4400 IUs/ kg – highly sufficient for breeding birds.
So in additional to the balanced blend of nutrients, carotenes, vitamins and minerals provided by the NFB Supplements, PRIMA and MICRO-NUTRIENTS assist greatly in supplying essential levels of Vitamin D3.