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(207) 846-6515

VITAMIN A DEFICIENCY AND SUPPLEMENTATION

YVCipedia BIRDS
VITAMIN A DEFICIENCY AND SUPPLEMENTATION

Vitamin A deficiency is occasionally responsible for problems we encounter in birds. A bird will become deficient in Vitamin A if it is not receiving enough in its diet. The most common situation is a bird that is on a seed-based diet. Common symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency often involve the respiratory tract and eyes.

A very important consideration is the total nutritional value of the diet. Diets are not simply deficient in Vitamin A and perfectly fine with regard to every other nutrient; if the diet is deficient in Vitamin A, it is certainly unbalanced with regard to all the other nutrients. 

A bird that is deficient in Vitamin A should be supplemented with it, and, of more far-reaching importance, it should be converted to a balanced diet.

VITAMIN A SUPPLEMENTATION
When we diagnose a patient with Vitamin A deficiency we will often begin treatment with an injection of Vitamin A. For some patients we will repeat this injection once every week or two for one or more additional injections.

Harrison's Booster (not Harrison's Booster Concentrate) contains an organic red palm oil which, among other nutrients, contains an excellent precursor of Vitamin A. It can be given mixed with food or directly by mouth. It is available at harrisonsbirdfoods.com.

Whole egg scrambled in canola or coconut oil is another acceptable supplement. The egg white helps correct amino acid deficiencies and water-soluble vitamin deficiencies. The egg yolk has all of the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). A small amount, 1/2 teaspoon or less, 3 to 4 times per week is sufficient.

Sweet potatoes, peppers, hard squashes and a variety of dark greens all contain beta carotenes, the natural precursors of Vitamin A. 

A BALANCED DIET
Converting a seed-eating bird to a balanced diet can be challenging. Many seed-eaters are relatively easily converted to Lafeber's Nutriberries, especially if the Nutriberries are offered crushed for the first week or two.

Yarmouth Veterinary Center
2015

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