Why Do you Need Full Spectrum Lighting?

via Pacificparrotlet

Due to a bird’s internal structure and natural habitat they desperately need natural or “avian full spectrum” lighting in order to survive.  The amount of benefits natural lighting has on birds is so great I’m only going to detail a few!

"Glass windows filter out up to 90% of the beneficial UV spectrum unless that glass was made pre 1939. Aluminum screening used can filter out 30% or more UV light. High-grade acrylic (cages) filters out less than 5% of the UV light." [x] Sitting in front of a window doesn’t count!  Modern day windows are created in a way which filters out the UV rays that birds need! In order for your bird to properly absorb these rays you either need a special UV full spectrum bulb/lamp or you need to get your bird in a cage, harnessed and outside for at least an hour a day.

If you do put your bird outside in a cage make sure they’ve got a towel blocking out the sun on one half of the cage so they don’t overheat!  The water should be kept shaded as well and they should be supervised at all times.  My birds like to pick at the cage doors so as an added precaution I clip the doors she with clothspegs or put small locks on their doors.  The cage should not be placed directly in grass or on the floor, they need to be up off the ground so that bugs and predators can not easily get to them.

Lamps and UV bulbs should be positioned towards the bird, leaving areas for shade and should not be within the bird’s reach.  Bulbs can get very hot, the last thing you want is to be rushing down to the vet.

So what’s the point of natural sunlight anyways?
Not only does the natural UV lighting help to bring out the natural colouring of objects which creates a more natural, interesting environment for them and can aid in helping picky eaters (the blue bird pictured above refused to eat fresh foods unless they had UV lighting on them) but there are enormous health effects.

The natural lighting helps to stimulate a bird’s natural synthesis to absorb and regulate vitamin doses. Without natural lighting bird’s can not properly absorb the nutrients from their foods.  While you may believe you are giving them a proper dose of each vitamin they are only absorbing a minimal amount of those nutrients.  In turn a bird will develop hypovitmainosis, fatty liver disease, egg bonding and other nutritional deficiencies.
This lighting also plays a critical role in skin/ feather health and is incredibly important for preening regulation. “If a bird’s system is not stimulated through adequate environmental lighting to maintain proper endocrine function, it may become lethargic and not continue normal preening behaviors.” [x]

Other Major Benefits
  • Prepares bird for seasonal changes
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Lowers obsessive/compulsive behavior frequencies
  • Relieves psychological distress
  • Mimics a bird’s natural environment
  • Aids in Vitamin D Synthesis
  • Maintains constant environmental temperature
  • Aids a bird’s visual acuity
  • Increases the longevity of the captive bird [x]

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