The recognised method of giving cod liver oil is to include one teaspoonful of oil with each pint of seed. It should be well mixed into the seed with the hands until he who is doing the mixing is satisfied that it is fully distributed. The job should be done thoroughly in order to prevent some parts of the mixture carrying more of the oil on the husks than other parts. Feed the mix immediately or store if for several days. Storing it allows the oil to penetrate the seed more completely.
** Remember that this can go rancid and do more harm than good. **
** Cod liver oil should not be given to birds with babies. The fat in the oil can upset the young birds and cause diarrhoea.**
In Lintonholme England they use cod liver oil all the year round except when the birds are breeding and even then if sunshine is as notable by its absence as it is here in some summers. It is particularly beneficial during the winter when there is at times an almost complete absence of sunshine and when the actinic value (photochemical properties) of the sun's rays is low. During the summer when the sun is shining daily and when good health can be maintained more easily than at other periods of the year, vitamin deficiency is not so likely to occur and cod liver oil is therefore not then so necessary as on other occasions. I do believe that a course of cod liver oil prior to birds commencing to breed not only strengthens them for the task which is before them but also puts them into such a state of health that egg binding is not likely to occur. I have stated above that cod liver oil should be given in the proportion of one teaspoonful to one pint of seed. The usual method is simply to put the oil in the ordinary canary seed-millet mixture and distribute it by hand, mixing so thoroughly that every bit of seed becomes coated with the oil.

An alternative way of administering cod liver oil is to mix it with the dehusked grain. (Groats are particularly suitable for the purpose.) The advantage of this system is that the whole of the oil is absorbed, whereas without doubt when cod liver oil is mixed into canary seed or millet some oil is lost when the birds de-husk the seed. It is essential that only cod liver oil of the very best quality and highest vitamin content should be used. Halibut liver oil is many more times richer in Vitamins A and D than is cod liver oil and, therefore, of course, a much smaller quantity will give equal results. But it is not so good for our purpose as cod liver oil because one cannot distribute very small quantities of halibut liver oil over a pint or more of seed.
***Too much oil is bad for the birds liver and is also fattening.***

Since then we have given much thought to the question of providing birds with the essential Vitamins A and D by means of one of the excellent synthetic vitamin solutions which is just added to the drinking water. This is available almost anywhere today. Below is an excerpt from Prof. Taylor about this question of cod liver oil versus synthetic vitamins, and this is what he says:-

"I consider that cod liver oil, when added to the seed fed to Budgerigars at the normal rate of one teaspoonful to one pound, is entirely beneficial. It may, however, prove harmful if a poor quality oil is used, or if a good quality oil is fed, but allowed to become rancid. The only reason for feeding cod liver oil is for its content of Vitamins A and D, and the oily part is just a carrier for the vitamins. No benefit is likely to result from the non-vitamin portion. If A and D are given in some other way, this is just as good as the traditional method."

A Synthetic vitamin solution cannot satisfactorily be given to the birds by adding it to the dry seed. Therefore, the most simple way is to put it in the drinking water. When fresh water is given daily, there can be a wastage of the vitamins added to it. In aviaries in which the plastic drinking fountains are provided, the vitamin solution can be put into the water once weekly, and the water left unchanged for three days. Unless, or course, it has been consumed. Although excessive provision of synthetic vitamins is undesirable, the fact is that there is little danger of the birds taking vitamins in excess, their bodies will only absorb as much as they require. One weakness -- perhaps not serious -- in the system of administering vitamins through the drinking water is the variable desire of Budgerigars to drink, and from this point of view mixing the vitamins in the water used for soaking may be a more efficacious system in those aviaries where soaked seed feeding is carried on. There are on the market emulsions, etc., containing cod liver oil, which can he given instead of the raw oil, and mixed with the seed in accordance with the directions.
*** All the above remarks about cod liver oil are a reprint from the 4th edition of the Cult of the Budgerigar by W. Watmough and it remains good advice. ***

E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca



Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc.