Ask Lafeber

Question:

June 25, 2021

Full spectrum lighting


As always, thank you so much for these helpful webinars! We just heard you talk about the cockatiel that had bone problems, possibly due to low calcium and vitamin D. We want to be sure that we are doing the BEST for our beloved Green Cheek Conure (Cinnamon Turquoise). 🙂 We have a ZooMed Avian UVA & UVB lamp for our feather baby. We make sure that her lamp is at least 12 inches from her and that she has “shady areas” inside and outside of her cage so she can get away from the lamp if she chooses. We hear and read different numbers on this: how long should we leave her ZooMed Avian lamp on for? (8 hours a day, 10 hours a day or 12 hours a day?) Also, is 12 inches far enough away from her or should it be farther? Thank you again!


Answer:

Hi Julia,

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. 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,

Brenda

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