Ask Lafeber


June 20, 2022

full spectrum lighting

(I know this has come up before.) Are there really good full spectrum lights specifically for birds? How about placement? Is there a risk to their eyes? I got an Ott light, but was surprised to see that there is no shield over the bulb.


Hi Barbara,

The problem with getting an answer is that there have been no formal studies. It can be very confusing because there are so many different opinions out there. If you use full spectrum lights, the more common advice has been that you need to have these on a timer and only have them on for up to 4 hours daily. The light should come from above and not too close to the cage. Now there are companies that make full spectrum lighting specifically for pet birds that are “low dose” full spectrum and can be used up to 12 hours per day. You can find information from the manufacturers on these by doing a Google search. There is also the issue with how birds see light and with some full spectrum lighting, they see flickering. Apparently the newer bulbs are not the same and do not cause this effect to pet birds. Generally experts recommend full spectrum as secondary lighting for part time use. This makes them optional and you can choose not to have them on if your bird is exhibiting hormonal behavior. The question has come up during other webinars and our Vets vary on their advice – again this is due to lack of a scientific study and is based on personal experiences or reports from pet bird owners. I would still tend to go by the manufacturer’s directions and then be more on the conservative side. Most pet birds have never had any special lighting and the do just fine. Most birds that end up with an issue have something else going on, and the deficiency is a secondary issue. A healthy parrot is not likely to end up with a deficiency as long as he is on a balanced diet, and kept in a good environment where he gets some exercise.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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