Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 12:04 am Post subject: Trip to the vet, Calcuim supliments?
We took one of our BEC hens to the vet today. She shows all the symptoms of being egg bound even though she has never spent any time with a cock bird. The egg I felt inside her on the weekend has gone but there is no trace of her having laid it in the hospital cage. Whilst at the vet I also made some enquiries in regard to calcium levels for Kakariki with some interesting responses from the vet.
Our avian vet has more letters after his name than the alphabet and is always doing additional courses to further his knowledge. He seems to think that it is in fact possible to supply too much calcium to Kakariki with possibly fatal results.
Excess calcium can sometimes crystalise inside the kidneys which creates damage to the kidney. I then asked about the hens that become paralysed during the egg laying process and discovered that if there is a lack of calcium in the body all available calcium is provided via the legs and hips of the bird. So it would seem that both too much and conversely not enough calcium could possibly cause this situation in brooding hens.
All we have to do now is work out which one it is and work forward from there.
That is interesting to know.
I always worry about giving them too much calcium, but then as far as I'm aware there is no guide on exactly how much calcium any bird species should be getting both in egg laying cycles & out of it.
I hope some brainiac works it out & lets everyone know.
Until then I'll just use my 30ml per litre measure of caramel flavoured dog calcium.
Calcium is not simply that...there are so many forms of it
ie the Ca in a unboiled egg shell is diff to that in a boiled on
There is bone cooked/ uncooked which both is diff to sheel fish..oysters which is diff to musscels.
Then there is limestone, cement, hard cement, plaster of pairis set and un set, garden lime of which there are several types...give the wrong one to an Azalia and it will die.
Some are very toxic...to birds and animals, others not, others just usless.
I have often wondered which one(s) our birds ACTUALLY need
I dont trust that what is in commercial mineral suppliments actually are what our birds need at a particular time.
For the last 12 months I have stopped Ca commercial supplments and just supply cuttlefish, clay, bones chicken/lamb chops, etc from the table and pumice sand on the floors.
So far I have seen no ill effects, more to the contary.
We are heading into breeding season here now, so its a matter of observation for this period. _________________ My Spelling is Not Incorrect...It's 'Creative'
I have recently done the same as Steptoe ie stopped adding calcium to the birds soaked seed and veg. I to have just supplied cuttlefish which is available to the birds at all times. My idea is that this way the birds can regulate how much calcium they want at different times of the year rather than me adding it to their food and making them eat it needed or not. I have been using this method for approx 12 months with good results. the birds know how much calcium they require at different times of the year we do not .
Hi guys i have been giving mine a mixer of 3 parts Biocal and 1 part PVM powder in a D cup in the avairy. I only fill about 1/4 as they scratch around in it and it doe's end up all over the floor. The Biocal is for calcium and the PVM powder is a vitamin and mineral suppliment. Both of these are avialible through www.birdsrus.com.au. I have not had a single hen with egg binding since using these products over 18 months ago. Cheers Kev
What also is important is the Calcium/Phosphorus ratio. This must be about 1,5 or 2 to 1. An irregularity in this ratio can lead to rickets, cage paralysis, osteoporosis, osteomalacia and nutritional hyperparathyroidism.
In my country, the only supplement that has this ratio is 'Gistocal' a product of 'Beaphar'. It also contains brewers yeast and I add it to the self made eggfood.
Over all the yrs we have only lost 1 hen to egg binding...a post here some time back.
We do give a small amount of vitamin supplement .....
The variety of foods we give, covers most minerals and vitamins.
The mix (see diet thread) does vary slightly during the yrs, as to what is in season/gardens, and watching what is left over....usually a cup over a week if the mix is right...the more birds in a flight the less wastage
I don't know if this has any bearing...NZ soils lack selenium and iodine...
To such an extent that the lack of these mineral in human diet causes health problems...as kakariki evolved in NZ maybe these are semi toxic to NZ native birds??? _________________ My Spelling is Not Incorrect...It's 'Creative'
There seems to be a few threads running on the same topic at the moment but as this is the latest I will add the recent findings from our vet who specialises in birds.
The young hen that we placed in their care was fluffed up and finding it difficult to fly. She was eating and drinking but just seemed down a bit on energy. The vets initial prognosis was perhaps egg binding or a calcium defficiency. In the first 24 hr period the bird was injected with calcium and at the same time gram stains were taken. This stains indicated an irregularity, but did not reveal any solid evidence. After 48 hours the bird showed no sign of improvement and by now had also become lame in her right leg. At this time the calcium injections were stopped and the bird put on 24 hourly injections of anti - inflamatory drugs. After 5 days the bird has shown a complete recovery and is now standing on both legs with full movement returning to the right leg.
The vets conclusion at this stage is that the bird has suffered from a type of virus that affects the kidneys. This virus appears to coincide with the breeding cycle and may in fact be present in all hens with only those birds having either low immune levels or subjected in increased stress levels likely to succumb to the illness. It has raised the question yet again as to how or what triggers this illness in some birds and not others.
We have compared notes with our vet and found that hens that are moved from a holding aviary into a aviary with a new mate are more likely to suffer than those birds placed with young cocks from an early age. It is also noted that those hens who show these symptoms are first time breeders. Once a hen has laid an initial clutch she is fine regardless of being moved or introduced to a new mate. Our vet is now making some further queries with their colleagues in the hope of finding more answers. _________________ My Spelling is Not Incorrect...It's 'Creative'
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