Letters


Dear Parrots magazine,

Are supplements necessary?

I have read much about diet, in Parrots magazine and, in particular, about supplements. So having a Grey as a companion bird, which spends most of his time in our house, I thought, perhaps, he needs something ‘extra’? I have read a great deal about supplements and have always been a little wary, but thought they may be beneficial?

We gave him all the recommended products, although I won’t mention any particular make or brand for obvious reasons, so thought he would be healthier and better off. Every day I gave him the suggested doses and was confident that he would benefit in many ways.

He seemed fine for quite a while but then I noticed he started to ‘chew out’ some feathers. First it was his red tail, which has completely disappeared, and then a lot of feathers on his back. Many of his flight feathers were also disappearing, to an extent that he could no longer fly. This was, indeed, most concerning as his plumage had always been perfect and he always appeared very content with life. He spends a great deal of time out of his cage and is one of the family. But his condition caused great concern.

I took him to our avian vet who could find nothing clinically wrong with him and was as puzzled as we were. But after much thought and brainstorming, we just started to wonder if it was a consequence of all the supplements he was being given. So, after much family debate, we stopped all of them and continued with his original diet of good quality seed, some complete diet pellets and a great deal of all sorts of other tasty morsels - chicken bones, sweetcorn, cherries, grapes, peas in pod, green beans, strawberries, pomegranates, lots of green veggies, coconut, a variety of fresh fruit on skewers, and much more.

Well, at the time of writing, which is about two months after stopping the supplements, his feathers have almost completely grown back, and he looks almost back to his original self, although no red tail feathers yet.

Well, is this a lesson learnt? If a bird is on a good and varied diet, involving a wide range of good quality foods, do they need supplements? It may well be the case with breeding birds or those with particular dietary problems, but with companion birds, do we need them? We have yet to see his plumage be completely back to good condition, but am now very wary of supplements!

Jane Worthly, Dorset

 


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