Birds get sick for many reasons but there are two main categories where most of the problems lie. These two categories are the bird's environment and diet. After these comes trauma as a source of problems, but it runs a weak third.

If bird owners can optimize their bird's environment and diet, many problems that we avian veterinarians see could be avoided. This means that your bird can live a longer, healthier life and your wallet will also be spared much trauma!

Poor or inadequate diet is the number one reason for illness in birds. Whether the illness is due primarily to the deficiency or the birds get a secondary infection, diet is the key. Dietary deficiencies cause a wide range of disease, ranging from poor feather color and feather picking to severe upper respiratory infections to egg binding in laying hens (a situation where an egg is stuck in the reproductive tract of the female bird).

We will break diet into categories then offer some ideas of optimal or healthy diets for your bird:

The five categories are :

1. vitamin and mineral,

2. protein,

3. carbohydrates,

4. vegetables and fruits,

5.fats.

Vitamin and Mineral: Vitamin A deficiency is the most common single dietary deficiency or problem seen in cage birds. Vitamin A may be provided as actual vitamin A or as beta carotene. The advantage of beta carotene is that you cannot give too much to your birds whereas vitamin A, if over- supplemented could cause liver and bone disease. Many foods are high in vitamin A and this list, along with other healthy fruits and vegetables will be provided in the vegetable and fruit section.