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Can We Please Discuss Cuttlebone/Calcium

AussieBird

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I am working today so I wont be able to read all the articles till tonight, but I absolutely will be reading them all! So if any of these questions are answered in one of the articles, just ignore me :)
Also one thing while I'm looking - calcium carbonate is what egg shells are made of, so it's not that there are NO benefits to using it. Calcium carbonate is abundant and cheap - both things that are attractive to manufacturers and keepers alike.
So birds can absorb the calcium in eggshells, but not cuttlebone? Why do people recommend eggshells, but not cuttlebone? Or are they somehow different?
Maybe @fashionfobie can help with the chicken aspect of this.
Keep in mind what is true for poultry might not be true for parrots. They´re all birds but it´s like penguins and pigeons.
Yes, I understand that. That's why I what to kmow about all birds, if possible.


I will also add that from my understanding cuttlebone is made of crystallised calcium carbonate. This is the difference.
Oh, I only just saw this now. That probably explains it, I'll look into it further tonight.
 

Mizzely

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So birds can absorb the calcium in eggshells, but not cuttlebone? Why do people recommend eggshells, but not cuttlebone? Or are they somehow different?
I think a lot of it is simply misunderstanding :) A lot of people don't know that there are different types of calcium and that they are absorbed differently. It is also possible that birds do make use of calcium carbonate more than we know! In mammals it absolutely is the worst version of calcium. My point was more than calcium carbonate sources are cheap and easily available - egg shells, oyster shell, cuttlebone, etc, and DO offer at least some calcium regardless. Whether they are easily absorbed by the birds is secondary to the cost and supply chain behind it.
 

Mizzely

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I am going to comment on these as I read them.

Ignoring the fact I may have skimmed 25% or more of this :ashamed3: Very, very interesting!
I think that's the proper way to read most of those lol
 

fashionfobie

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I think a lot of it is simply misunderstanding :) A lot of people don't know that there are different types of calcium and that they are absorbed differently. It is also possible that birds do make use of calcium carbonate more than we know! In mammals it absolutely is the worst version of calcium.
This!

Birds are so very different than mammals and there are so many species of birds that generalisations are always hard to make. But the internet loves generalisations and quick factoids, which can mislead well meaning people. And a wide range of research on calcium absorption in from mammal based studies i.e. humans/mice/guinea pigs/rats/etc

Lets use healthy chickens as an example. They consume small pebbles, dirt, sand and other debris that most mammals would not by choice. Chickens also have strong digestive acids- not dissimilar from our own- a tonic of hydrochloric acid and pepsinogen that their bodies regulate. However, unlike us, this acid is produced in the proventriculus and starts digestion before the material reaches the gizzard. Within the chicken's powerful gizzard this blend is then crushed and ground. It is a system of digestion that is chemical as well as mechanical. This isn't surprising when chickens swallow their food whole. They don't chew it or cook it like we do, and they don't shell seeds like a parrot. Yet chickens have this amazing digestive system, then can eat fallen fruit, insects, small lizards, veggies, seeds, roots, the list goes on. It is simply incredible. They def get much value from calcium carbonate via egg shells and oyster shells. Feeding egg shells back to hens is common practice, since it is one of the most effective ways for them to reabsorb their lost calcium. If you are worried a chicken may become an "egg eater" you can simply crush the shells up into a mash first. However I haven't had this issue, I find the hens are more than aware of a spent shell vs a good egg. They would normally eat the shells in the nest once their babies hatched in a wild setting.
 
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Zara

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I find the hens are more than aware of a spent shell vs a good egg. They would normally eat the shells in the nest once their babies hatched in a wild setting.
Lovebird hens do the same
 

AussieBird

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I am back :)
I have a kind of follow up question/s. Talking about just budgies here.
We try to limit some pellets for budgies because of excess calcium, so my question is do laying budgies require a supplement if eating pellets or are they getting plenty if you offer the right amount of pellets? And is pellets a more effect source of calcium them cuttlebone/oystershells?
 
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