lots of old wives tales told about egg-binding in cage and aviary
birds. Whilst a few cases have medical causes the majority
of cases have calcium at their root. This article is intended
to explain how calcium is involved in egg-binding and how proper
calcium supplementation can prevent its occurrence, increase clutch
sizes and improve hen health.
When a hen
manufactures an egg she draws calcium from her bones to make the
eggshell. In a healthy, well-fed bird the bones contain
about three eggs worth of calcium. A number of problems
can stop the bones from providing enough calcium to make the shell
and when this happens the hen has three options. In reality
most birds will select a combination of these three:
Stop laying – calcium deficient hens lay smaller clutches.
The reverse of this is that diets rich in bio-available calcium
enable hens to lay larger clutches.
Produce thin or soft shelled eggs – these eggs cannot control
their moisture content so most dehydrate and a few (in humid
conditions) may water log. Whichever happens - they die!
Steal calcium from other organs – when this happens the
calcium is removed from nerves and muscles. These organs
need calcium to work properly. So when the calcium is
removed they stop working properly. The hen is partially
paralysed and cannot expel the egg. This is egg-binding.
traditional veterinary treatment for this problem is an injection
of calcium. This works very well though it is expensive,
invasive and risky. Oral treatment, with a highly bio-available
liquid calcium/magnesium/vitaminD3 supplement like CalciBoost,
works equally effectively but is far cheaper and less stressful
for the bird.
remedies like applying oil to the vent and holding the bird over
a hot kettle do not address the fundamental problem are risky
prevention is better than cure. This is achieved by addressing
Ensuring the bones are full of calcium – this simply involves
a weekly dose of CalciBoost
to all non-breeding birds. For Eclectus and African Greys
we recommend twice weekly administration.
Exercising the bones' ability to quickly pump calcium into the
blood – the above regime ensures this is achieved as well.
By feeding both high and low calcium levels in the diet the
bones are regularly forced to move calcium in both directions.
This ensures that the hormonal functions involved in this process
are working optimally.
Perversely providing good quality calcium every day can actually
have the reverse result to that you desire. If all the
birds' maintenance calcium requirements are satisfied from the
gut then the bones slowly lose the ability to quickly pump calcium
back into the blood (simply because they have not need to do
so for so long). Egg-binding can result from this over
supplementation. So we never use CalciBoost seven
days a week.
the hen starts to lay she needs to replace the calcium removed
from the bones so we increase the of CalciBoost administration
to five days a week. This keeps the bones topped up.
We continue this frequency until the chicks have reached full
It is easy
to see why this technique increases clutch sizes as the hen always
has plenty of calcium and she is storing it and releasing it very
efficiently. Remember that CalciBoost is designed
to be used with other products such as one of the Essentials
range, ProBoost SuperMax,
Feast eggfood and a probiotic such as Potent Brew.
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