Sun in February
February 17, 2012 § 4 Comments
We’ve had such an incredibly mild winter this year that I’ve actually been pretty consistently getting the flock outside for natural sunlight about once or twice a week. It’s pretty incredibly considering that this time last year it was in the 20’s and 30’s, and two years ago we had “snowpocalypse” and schools and government jobs were shut down for nine straight days. Sun in February! I can’t believe it.
Having read a few interesting studies about weaker bones and lower bone density of parrots who live in colder climates due to a lack of sunlight exposure, I am naturally very concerned with getting my parrots enough Vitamin D3. I’m not a big believer in the ability of synthetic sources to provide adequate amounts of or even adequate quality Vitamin D3 (and all sources of Vitamin D3 in all of the current pellets on the market that I’ve seen are indeed synthetic supplements), so my only options are limited to a few natural food sources (egg yolks, for example, are one source) and natural sunlight. (I am also not a big believer in full spectrum lighting having the ability to provide Vitamin D3 — I believe it is necessary, yes, but for completely different reasons.) But most research shows that by far, natural sunlight is the very best source and most efficient source of Vitamin D3, so I prize any time I can get my parrots outside under the sun. Lola and Sabrina actually adore it. Charles couldn’t care less, but I drag him outside for his own good anyway.
On a related note, another great food source for Vitamin D3 is fatty fish, like salmon. (Actually, it’s an exceedingly far richer source of it than egg yolks.) As a vegetarian, salmon really never enters my household, but I was recently chatting with a very trusted parrot food expert and fellow bird owner and decided to purchase some sustainably wild caught salmon to bake or grill for my flock. I think it will be an odd experience for me to be handling and cooking it, but the health of my birds is worth it. I can’t count on mild winters every year, so I’d like to make sure that I have ways of getting them their vitamins through natural sources year round.
In other news, Lola has finally decided to stop completely ignoring the painstaking creation that my hands bled to beget! (The budgies are still pretending it doesn’t exist.) She humored me by playing on it for a good twenty minutes yesterday. I felt relieved and vindicated. I think she actually kind of liked it!
These photos are for Ming, who asked for close-ups of the foraging blocks. There are two styles, weird trapezoids and triangles, and they have either a side foraging hole or a top foraging hole. They’re made of white pine wood. Hope this is what you were looking for!