Biocal is a highly palatable, Australian-made fine pink grit packed with vitamins
and minerals that has been specifically developed for caged and aviary birds.
To make it, it was essentially a matter of scanning the
available veterinary texts to find out what were the optimal
levels of the various vitamins and minerals for caged and
aviary birds and then providing them in a balanced form
that the birds would enjoy eating.
Developed by avian veterinarians and aviculturists, Biocal
contains the minerals necessary for a balanced diet in
caged birds in particular calcium, iron and iodine and
also the vitamins that can be kept stable in this form,
namely vitamins A, B, D, E and K.
All birds will routinely eat a small amount, however,
aviculturists will note that during the breeding season
birds will eat substantially more in order to meet the
increased nutritional demands during this time.
Biocal is best supplied in a clean dry bowl that cannot
be tipped over or soiled by the birds. It can be added
to wet mixes and also soft foods, such as fruit or soaked
or sprouted seed.
Biocal is available in 2 kg resealable buckets.
A probiotic preparation made for use in birds.
Through time, many birds have evolved to maintain a population of bacteria
in their bowels. These bacteria help to protect the birds from disease and
aid in the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Stress disrupts these normal
bowel bacteria, in the process making the bird vulnerable to disease and compromising
digestion. Obviously, the quicker the normal bowel bacteria can be re-established
after stress, the better for the birds. Probiotic preparations contain these
And so, how do probiotics work? Essentially, they help protect the bowel
from disease in three ways: firstly, by producing protective slime layers;
secondly, by preferentially occupying receptor sites so that they are not
available to disease-causing bacteria, and thirdly, by producing acids
such as lactic acid, that keep the contents of the stomach and intestine
weakly acidic. An acid environment favours the growth of the ‘good’ bacteria and inhibits
the growth of the ‘bad’ or disease-causing bacteria. Probiotics
also have an appetite-stimulating effect, producing digestive enzymes and
B vitamins. Probiotics also stimulate general immunity.
When can the aviculturist use probiotics to his advantage?
After any stress. Stress predictably disrupts the population of bacteria found
in the bowel with the beneficial bacteria being the first ones to be lost.
Once these beneficial bacteria are removed, an opening is created for an
overgrowth of disease-causing bacteria or yeasts. This can result in diarrhoea,
decreased appetite and a vulnerability to disease. Probiotics restore the
balance of beneficial to non-beneficial bacteria. They are best given as
soon as possible after the stress or just before the time of the stress.
By doing so, disease problems may be avoided.
During breeding and moulting. Often, despite the best of care, breeding
or moulting birds can become ‘run down’. Probiotic use is
likely to protect the parents and, during breeding, the babies from disease.
Following purchase and transport. Catching and confinement can be extremely
stressful, particularly in naturally nervous species. Interrupted feeding and
drinking patterns provide further physiological stress.
Following antibiotic use. Many antibiotics not only target disease-causing
bacteria but also kill the beneficial bacteria of the bowel. When antibiotic
treatment ceases, the bowel can repopulate with bacteria from the birds’ immediate
environment. Probiotics can help protect the birds from disease during
After fledging. Less disease can be expected after weaning if birds are probiotic-supplemented
until they are feeding properly and have established themselves in the aviary.
Probiotic use can never be harmful as we are simply flooding the bowel with
beneficial bacteria that should always be there.
Probiotic preparations are one of the newer health aids available to the aviculturist.
Their use has many advantages and should be encouraged.
Probac is a probiotic preparation made specifically for use in birds, containing
avian-origin lactobacillus and streptococci in high numbers (180 million CFU/g).
- Seed Booster
WATER- SOLUBLE VITAMIN,
MINERAL AND AMINO ACID SUPPLEMENT
As avian veterinarians, we know that diets based on dry
seed fail to provide complete and balanced nutrition. Basically
dry seed diets are too high in fat and low in protein.
They also fail to provide many essential nutrients, in particular
the vitamins A, B, D, E & K, the amino acids methionine,
choline and tryptophan, and minerals such as iodine, zinc
Seed can be supplemented with a range of greens, fruit
and vegetables, pellets, sprouted grain or seeding grasses
to make the diet better. The challenge for aviculturists
and veterinarians is to provide as good a diet as possible
with the aim being to mimic the diet in the wild as closely
as possible. Studies have shown that free flying birds
such as rosellas can consume over 80 different plants
and herbs daily. At times, however, it can be hard to
provide a sufficient variety and, of course, some birds
refuse to eat certain items, in particular pellets and
fruit, even though we know they are good for them.
Nutrivet is a palatable, water- based supplement that specifically
contains the vitamins, minerals and amino acids known to
be lacking in a dry seed diet. All nutrients are provided
at the correct levels relative to each other, and the minerals
are in their proteinated form to make them soluble in water
and more easily absorbed from the bowel.
Nutrivet makes the provision of a more balanced diet easier
in “problem birds” and can also be routinely
used in an established aviary, breeding facility or individual
pet bird to help ensure a more balanced diet. A better
diet means better breeding results and health generally.
Liquid calcium, vitamin D3 and magnesium supplement
For caged and aviary birds
Calcivite Plus has been developed by avian veterinarians
and aviculturists to supplement the diets of caged and
aviary birds that may be deficient in calcium, vitamin
D3 and magnesium. It is ideal for canaries, budgerigars,
finches, cockatiels, grass parrots, rosellas, cockatoos
and other birds.
The diets provided for aviary birds, particularly those
based on dry seed, often contain low levels of calcium.
Calcium deficiency can lead to thin bones, poor growth
in babies and reproductive problems including soft-shelled
eggs, poor quality eggs, egg binding and post laying paralysis.
The calcium in Calcivite Plus is in its proteinated (organic)
form, making it water-soluble and more easily absorbed
from the bowel.
Vitamin D3 is necessary for absorption of calcium from
The levels of calcium and magnesium in the body are related,
with levels of calcium in the diet affecting the magnesium
requirement. As the level of calcium in the diet rises,
this increases the requirement for magnesium. It is therefore
useful to also provide magnesium in a calcium supplement.
Calcivite Plus is a fully water soluble, clear liquid
that is readily taken by the birds. It can also be added
to wet mixes and soft foods, such as fruit or soaked or
With the calcium in its proteinated form and also containing
vitamin D3 and magnesium, Calcivite Plus represents an
extremely useful way for the aviculturist to provide essential
calcium to caged and aviary birds.
Active constituents: Calcium as calcium proteinate 33g/l;
vitamin D3 25,000 iu/l; magnesium sulphate 0.5 g/l.
A picking stone for caged and aviary birds
Aussie Bird Vet’s Mineral Block is a clay-based picking stone developed
for caged and aviary birds. It is a rich source of minerals, trace elements and
hard and soft grits. Mineral Block contains a blend of 8 graded palatable grits
suspended in a bentonite clay base to which minerals, including calcium, iodine,
iron, sulphur and magnesium, have been added to create a nutritious supplement
that birds enjoy eating. Bentonite clay is a nutritious natural substance rich
in trace elements that also inhibits absorption of fungal toxins from the bowel.
Mineral Block is readily ingested by finches, particularly Gouldians, and a wide
variety of parrots.
Pigeons, doves, finches and canaries have a requirement for the grits and minerals
such as those found in a Mineral Block and optimal breeding cannot occur without
them. Conversely, there are many reports of parrots remaining healthy without
access to grit. Nutritionally deficient or unwell parrots can gorge on grit-based
supplements, leading to grit impaction, and therefore the supplements should
be removed in these instances. However, in the wild, parrots are regularly seen
eating from exposed clay banks. Provision of a clay-based picking stone provides
a diet that more closely mimics that in the wild. Neophema breeders in particular
report on the way these birds gnaw at a Mineral Block with relish. Mineral Block
is used as a nutritional supplement in the Orange Bellied Parrot recovery program.
Heat-treated and individually shrink-wrapped, each Mineral Block brings trace
elements and minerals normally found in nature into the aviary in an hygienic
palatable form for the birds.
Water-soluble multivitamin/amino acid
Developed by avian veterinarians for caged and aviary birds, Multiboost is a
fully water-soluble liquid containing 11 vitamins and 8 amino acids. It provides
a nutritious supplement that the birds drink readily.
Multiboost is added to the water at a rate of 0.5 – 1 ml per litre or one
drop per 100 ml of water. In dilution, it can also be added to soft foods or
alternatively soaked or sprouted seed. Multiboost contains no sugar in order
to decrease the risk of bacterial or fungal contamination.
Supplementation with any nutrient lacking in the diet can be expected to improve
fertility, resistance to disease and health generally. Specifically formulated
to address the needs of finches and parrots, Multiboost is rich in vitamins A,
B and E and contains the amino acids known to be low in a dry-seed diet. In particular,
the amino acids methionine and tryptophan, which Multiboost contains, aid in
the formation of the lipoproteins that help to prevent fatty liver.
Multiboost is ideal for use in finches, budgerigars, canaries, cockatiels, cockatoos,
rosellas, grass parrots and other birds.