|Let's Celebrate Pet Birds!|
T.J. Lafeber D.V.M.
Why "High Octane" Food For Birds
Although pet birds sit in cages most of the time, their metabolism and structure are those of flying machines. Even when not active, they have bodies with the capacity for tremendous and sustained exertion.
Their gift of flight and ability to perform extraordinary feats beyond the capability of all other animals probably makes them the world's foremost super athletes.
Birds have survived and prospered through evolution because of their alertness, quick response to danger, and their ability to adjust to changes in the environment; all of which depend on internal speed (fast metabolism). A fast metabolism goes hand in hand with internal activities that generate heat. Warm bodies have been one of the birds' greatest assets. Without the benefit of internal heat, flight, itself, would be impossible. Day and night, birds' engines are hot and ready for action.
Flying machines require special fuel
No guesses - the fuel must be correct
Speed consumes energy. This applies to cars, chemical reactions, as well as living things. Bird owners will be especially interested because birds have a fast metabolic rate-faster than the other animals with which they are familiar. Just as the owners of racing cars or airplanes understand that fast motors mean high operating temperatures which require special oils and gas, so owners learn that birds' "not metabolic motors" also have high operating temperatures, and that certain nutrients are required to keep their metabolism running smoothly.
Even as fuel requirements differ between the family car and the jet aircraft, so the nutritional requirements of a cat, dog or human vary from that of a bird. And not just any fuel will do. Foods have different caloric, protein, fat, vitamin and mineral values just as gasoline has various octane ratings. Selection of the proper foods is as important as choosing fuel for an aircraft.
Both, birds and aircraft, require high energy concentrated fuel. Birds, however, must digest, absorb and convert their fuel (food) into a useable form. Since food traverses the entire G.I. tract in 20 to 120 minutes, the process must take place rapidly and efficiently. The digestive tract is well-designed to accomplish this, but must be supplied with high quality digestible food low in fiber and cellulose.
Further, 40 separate nutrients make up the fuel needed to operate birds' engines. These ingredients must be renewed at each refueling (meal).
The dependency that birds have for fuel (food) places much emphasis on the role of proper nutrition in their life.
Nutrition is like a jigsaw puzzle.
Only complete when all 40 nutrients are fed at each meal.
If you owned a valuable pet bird and wanted the bird to live a long, healthy, productive life, would you be concerned about his nutrition? What would you feed him?
- Would you let a valuable bird randomly select the food he preferred from a variety of seeds and other food?
- Are you sufficiently educated in bird nutrition to formulate or evaluate a diet?
- Do you ever ask yourself, "What would be the best diet for my bird?''
A balanced diet makes this relationship possible.