Calcium deficiency

If the tip of the bill of your cockatoo breaks more than once in a year, chances are that he has a deficiency in calcium. This weakens his bones, bill and feet. A deficiency can be developing for years before you notice it. In this time the bird will extract calcium from his bones to be able to use it in more crucial body parts like his muscles and blood. This will weaken the bones of your cockatoo.

A calcium deficiency can be caused by two factors;

  • Low calcium intake because of low calcium content of food
  • Low vitamin D intake or production (vitamin D is made in the skin after exposure to sunlight)

Food that is high in vitamin D and is suitable for cockatoos are nuts and egg. Food that is high in calcium and suitable for cockatoos is broccolli, almonds and green beans. Exposing your cockatoo to natural light directly can increase the vitamin D production. You can hang calcium-powder perches or cuttlefish bones in his cage so he can play with these and eat a bit of it, getting extra calcium that way.

The vet can check the calcium levels of the blood of your cockatoo if you are concerned he as a deficiency. If your cockatoo really has a blood-tested calcium deficiency, you can also feed him extra calcium in his food by mixing a bit of a calcium tablet into his food. Don’t do this if you are not sure if your cockatoo has a shortage in calcium. In extreme cases the vet can give your cockatoo an injection with vitamin d to help him get healthy and take calcium from its food more effectively. Injection of vitamins can cause an overdose, which is also bad for the health of your cockatoo. It’s always better to solve the problem through proper diet and exposure to sunlight.

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