Water & Vitamins

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Water
A constant supply of water is mandatory. The container should be kept clean at all times, and the water changed at least daily. If your Quaker is a “dunker”, (meaning he dunks all his food in his water dish) the water dish should be changed even more frequently to prevent contamination. Both water and food containers should be kept in places where droppings will not fall into them. I know. Where? If you have a play top on the cage it is hard.

Water Bottles
Another option is to use a water bottle, which is usually a plastic or glass, gravity fed device with an internal stopper which releases water as the bird pushes on it. Quakers and most other birds adjust well to these bottles, Just make sure they are using the water bottle before you take the other dish away completely. A good way to make sure they know how to find the water bottle is take their water dish out of the cage for 2 hours, no longer. Attach the water bottle, full of water to the cage.

Gently squeeze the middle of the bottle and a small stream of water will come out of the tip. The bird will watch you do this and see the water coming out. Watch the bird for the next few hours to see if he is using it. If it still looks full then replace the water dish for the night. Next day start the process over again. It never took longer than a couple of days for even a stubborn bird to start using it. I believe this is a much better and cleaner way to give water to your bird especially if you are breeding them. With water bottles you don’t have to worry about poop or food in the water anymore but I do suggest putting a bowl of water in the cage a few times a week so they can still bathe.

Vitamins
One of the most important to maintain your Quaker’s good health, Vitamin A is necessary to maintain the epithelial tissues that line the reproductive, urinary, respiratory, and digestive tracts. It is also necessary for the secretory tissues of the adrenal glands to produce corticosteroids properly, and is vital in the function of cells, cell membranes and sub cellular membranes.

Bone growth and reproduction also rely on adequate levels of vitamin A for normal function. Yellow and orange colored vegetables are food sources that are rich in vitamin A. In a bird’s liver, the vitamin A precursors convert to vitamin A when such foods as yams, sweet potatoes, red peppers, carrots, egg yolk, endive and dandelion greens are consumed. Other things high in vitamin A include fish liver oil, liver, alfalfa meal and cheese.

Unfortunately, this vitamin (as well as most others) can be toxic to birds when given in high levels that constitute an overdose. In effect, although some vitamin A is necessary and good, more is not necessarily better. Always consult your veterinarian before supplementing your birds with vitamin A. A bird who is receiving a pelleted diet supplement with fruits and vegetables should not need a specific vitamin supplement, unless your vet has diagnosed your Quaker with a vitamin deficiency, which is usually made based on the history, the diet that is fed and consumed and by physical examination or your bird.

Vitamin K and E, also important to birds, are found in green, leafy vegetables commonly consumed by humans. They are also fat-soluble. This means that to some degree, these vitamins are stored in fat tissues, thereby providing a small safety factor for birds that may not eat food sources that contain all of these vitamins each day. Vitamin D is different because instead of being readily available in food sources, it is formed in the skin when birds are exposed to sunlight or equivalent artificial lighting.

There are approximately nine other water-soluble vitamins that should be consumed by birds daily because they cannot be stored in a birds system. Grains, nuts, egg yolk, rice and seeds contain some of these needed nutrients. Also widely available are liquid vitamins that can be added to your Quaker’s drinking water. Although by far the simplest method, we have found that our Quakers are somewhat leery of water to which we have added vitamin supplements because the water has a colored tint to it.


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