Adding Liquid Vitamins, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Fruit Juice to Water
After a lengthy discussion with FaeryBee, I'm starting to think that my current knowledge on the health of my 2 budgies may be misguided or perhaps even outdated. I want to ensure the health of my birds, so I'd like to start with diet and nutrition. I've got tons of questions!
Question #1: Am I right by advising people NOT to purchase liquid vitamins?
I've always made sure that my birds had a mineral block in their cage. I use to put a few drops of liquid vitamins in their water too (especially when my birds were breeding), but I was told by someone at the pet store years ago that liquid vitamins were pretty much useless and a waste of money. I haven't used them since. Now I'm curious if the information was good or not.
Question #2: I read that apple cider vinegar has a lot of health benefits for budgies (pet birds in general). Is this actually true?
I only put a little bit of apple cider vinegar in their water from time to time because I'm scared it's actually dangerous, but I've read so many mixed things about it that I'm not so sure now. Apple cider vinegar is said to clean the crop and get rid of harmful bacteria. It also apparently cleans the gut and boosts their immune system and adds essential vitamins and minerals to their diet. How much of that is actually true?
Question #3: If budgies won't eat the fruit, what about the juice?
I've pretty much given up trying to introduce fruits and veggies to my birds. They won't try new things unless it's leaf-like. Technically if I put the fruit juice in their water instead of giving them pieces of the fruit, they're getting added nutrients from it. However, should I even bother doing this?
If your budgies don't eat fruit it isn't a big deal.
Vegetables are actually healthier for them as fruit is higher in sugar content and should only be offered occasionally.
There is no need to add fruit juice to their water.
I'd like to encourage all members to review the information available in the Budgie Articles section of the forum.
There is a wealth of information right at your fingertips.
My personal opinion is that vitamin supplements are not needed if a bird is eating a healthy diet. As far as ACV goes, I swear by it, and have put it in my bird's water every third day for a few years now...
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I give my birds both ACV (twice a week) and Vitamin D in their water
Both of these are things I wasn't knowledgeable about when I joined the forum and by reading posts other members made, and following up with research of stickies and questions if I couldn't find an answer.
Leafy greens are great for birds. Mine enjoy romaine lettuce, spinach and kale the most.
I'm glad you're taking steps to ensure your current budgie knowledge is up to date
To answer your questions:
1. Liquid vitamins and supplements have some value to them, but it really depends on a bird's individual situation. Seed addicted birds are often missing a valuable vitamin called Choline, which is present in some liquid vitamins, so in that case, the owner should consider that type of supplement in that case. Breeding pairs and chronically ill budgies can also benefit from a certain type of liquid supplement (usually calcium for breeding hens). Vitamin D is also a common supplement for budgies that are unable to get enough sunlight. However, you are correct that for most cases, a cuttlebone, mineral block, and healthy diet including pellets, veggies, and seed every day are just perfect for supplying all the necessary nutrients.
2. Yes, apple cider vinegar (or ACV, as it is known around here) is very beneficial to a bird's immune system. To be beneficial, however, you must have unfiltered apple cider vinegar with "the mother" in it. That may be why you have heard mixed things about it-- the only way it benefits the birds are if it has this essential "mother" in it. Here's a picture of an example brand many of our members use:
3. It's best not to give fruit juice to birds because it tends to be very high in sugars. Even if your little ones did enjoy fruit, once or twice a week would be the maximum times they could have it. However, if you have trouble introducing carrot, celery, or other veggies like that to them that aren't leafy greens, you can make juice out of these (carrot is great for that!) and offer it to them that way. Many members have had success introducing them to veggies in that way, and sometimes they even soak their seed or pellets in it so they acquire a taste for it
I hope that helped!
EDIT: Oh, I see I was posting at the same time as everyone else
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic
First thing I'd advise is not to stop providing your fids with a variety of veg. Mix it up - place it in different places, whole, chopped, shredded, hidden (they love foraging). At least if it's available, they can still go for it. The same with fruit - if they're not taking to it, vary it up by hiding it, or making them climb or forage to get to it. Roll it in seed/millet and hang it from the top of the cage. I wouldn't put juice in, though - too much sugar.
Second - I place one drop of ACV into my fids' water every day. Shake it up first so the 'Mother' enzyme is active.
Third - I've never given my fids vitamin drops. It helps that they eat whatever they're given. Have you tried eating veg and fruit in front of them? Our fids are bright little things and well known to learn new things when they're repeated.
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One of the most important aspects of ACV is that the mild acidity discourages harmful mold and bacteria that often support each other when they attack a bird.
Please do not forget the egg food and some form of biscuit. Mince your veggies and mix in the egg food.
We also sprinkle powdered Soluvite D and powdered minerals in the soft food.
The cuttle bone has gone through a transition of popularity with the most current thinking leaning toward powdered minerals.
We still use cuttlebone, brown iodine salt mineral wheels and manu roses as these seem to reduce to fine powder.
Powdered kelp is also good to supply the iodine needed in budgie diet.
We use liquid calcium for emergency treatment and breeding families.
We keep a small dish of powdered minerals available at all times.
It is interesting to watch how budgies very casually sample the minerals.
I like it when they lick and lick the mineral wheel and then pop up for a long drink of water.
We also give our birds in the aviary big tubs filled with a couple of inches of alfalfa.
They play and throw and nibble.
The alfalfa is full of vitamins in dried form.
We also like Herb Salad - both above sold by Lady Gouldian Finch.
We buy bales of alfalfa from the local feed store and split the bale with another breeder.
Another little treat we love is a grass seed/spinach/millet/biscuit ring that the budgies chew off the wood ring which then becomes a toy.
We buy these from Foster and Smith in bulk when they have a sale down around 2.15+-
Otherwise, it is expensive and we have a bunch of birds.
The herb salad provides flower and plant parts that our birds might use for self medication.
When you read the contents on the back of the bag, you'll understand why.
Again, our budgies really enjoy rooting around for just the right morsel.
We also sprout mung beans.
Nothing is more endearing than watching a chick walking around with this huge sprout hanging out of the beak.
We chose mung beans because it does not wilt as fast as the smaller seeds.
And, an experience breeder recommended it when we were new breeders.
We like to bake cornbread for our birds and we throw all sorts of veggies and a few seeds like anise -budgies love anise and flax.
I did a lot of research and decided budgies do not need grit but they do need the minerals like wild parrots find in licks.
Calcium is provided through Cuttlebone, but if a Avian vet recommends calcium it can be given in a liquid form. But as always make sure the Vet is an AVIAN qualified vet.
Thanks for all the great info in this thread, I am sure we all can get something out of it.