The importance of Vitamin A in captive birds….

When I brought Magee to the vet for his first visit, Dr. W. took one look at the bird and told me he had a Vit.A deficiency. I was shocked he could just look at the bird and reach that conclusion. He said the puffiness above the birds’ eyes were a dead giveaway. The reason? The lack of Vitamin A causes the mucus to dry and become hard, especially in the sinus area- hence the puffiness. In many cases, the mucus, which has become hard can only be removed or cleaned out surgically. Upon further examination, he also noted the extremely dry skin, especially under Magee’s wings, which was pink, flaky and featherless. Our Vet has stressed the need for Red Palm Oil to be included in birds’ diets to compensate for this deficiency. Dr. W. has told me they see this over and over again in parrots that come in for treatment. While lacking Vitamin A may not seem like a big deal, over time it equates to a guarantee of future health problems, causing a birds’ system to become out of balance, weakening their immune system, leaving them vulnerable to infection and diseases. In many cases, it is just not the lack of Vitamin A, but a poor diet, i.e. seed only.

Dr. W. recommends Harrison’s Bird Food and their line of Healx/AVIx Pet Wellness Products. [Check out their website:] Upon Magee’s arrival to my home he was immediately placed on a pellet diet, with fruits and veggies. But it was obvious he needed more, especially since he required 3 Vitamin A shots in his initial treatment. After trying the clay and ‘salad’ treatments, I focused on adding Booster (see Harrisons’ website) to Magee’s daily intake, and Boosterconverting him completely to Harrison’s organic pellets. Dr. W. had recommended this as part of his initial treatment, but I had stopped it when Magee recovered. Now his poop was abnormal and he had begun plucking his feathers again, starting under his wings and moving to spots on his chest and one wing. It was time to, literally, Boost(er) his system. I began feeding the High Potency Coarse Pellets and mixing some Booster with peanut butter. We were off…..I prayed this was the answer to obtaining and maintaining optimum health for Magee…..

*Note- Harrison’s is in no way compensating me for talking about their product(s) on this blog. I am merely sharing what our vet has recommended and what I have used with successful results.

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  • Jailan  On October 8, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    i have a complain and wish u can help,, my african grey developed feather plucking behaviour few months ago and the vet advised me to add some boiled eggs and serial with multivitamines to his diet . I also placed different toys in his cage. I also need to mention that i leave him most of the day out of his cage .. Lately he started plucking again and i wondered what could be the reason


    • Life Among The Greys........  On October 18, 2012 at 11:33 PM


      Thank you for your email. I apologize for the delay in responding. I am sorry to hear your birdie has resumed plucking. Has your Vet completed a feather picking panel (blood work) on your bird? In most of the cases of which I have written, the birds have had some health issues. I believe the combination of medication (treatment) and improved diet are the answer in many feather plucking cases. The main diet my birds receive is Harrison’s Adult Lifetime Coarse pellets. In addition, once a week I add a product called Booster to some warm food, i.e. oatmeal, ground pellets, etc. This product helps to build the immune system, which in turn will allow the body to fend off illnesses on it’s own. Based on my experience, the process of rebuilding the immune system can take years.
      Both of the items I mentioned can be found here:
      Frequent showers and rotating toys can also help. The Avian Vet that treats my birds does not recommend feeding birds eggs.
      I hope this helps….. Please let me know how things are going.


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