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Benefits of Full Spectrum Lighting
Full Spectrum lighting has been shown to be beneficial to birds by mimicking a bird's natural environment. Breeder aviaries, exotic bird collections and poultry production farms were some of the original places that full spectrum lighting was used and observed to demonstrate a definite positive effect.
One of the greatest benefits of full spectrum lighting is the natural synthesis of Vitamin D precursors allowing the animal to naturally regulate calcium uptake. Another important benefit of full spectrum lighting is the effect it has on the glandular system; the Thyroid Gland controls how and when the other glands function and for it to function properly, it needs to be stimulated by normal photoperiods of full spectrum light. The Hypothalamus is involved in proper feather development and skin. The Pineal Gland controls the cyclical process such as molting and the reproductive cycle. Birds have four color vision and the lower wavelength (UVA) adds the fourth visual perspective. Correct spectrum and photoperiod of light are also critical factors in normal preening as well as the skin and feather health of birds. If a bird's system is not stimulated through adequate environmental lighting to maintain proper endocrine function, it may become lethargic and not continue normal preening behaviors. A full spectrum bulb with a CRI (color rendering index) of 90 or higher contains enough UVA to achieve this. It is middle untraviolet light (UVB) that causes Vitamin synthesis in the skin. Most professionals agree that the UVB needs to be somewhere between 290 and 310 nanometers in wavelength and a color temperature of 5000 Kelvin for this to occur.
*Glass windows filter out up to 90% of the beneficial UV spectrum unless that glass was made pre 1939. Aluminum screening used can filter out 30% or more UV light. High-grade acrylic (cages) filters out less that 5% of the UV light.
Please keep in mind that this lighting should be used during the brightest daytime hours. It is recommended that you use a timer so that the light goes on and off at specific times each day.
We recommend that you consult with your veterinarian for specific hours of use for your particular kind of bird.
THIS IS FROM AN ARTICLE FROM www.BIRD CHANNEL.com written by Jessica Pineda that explains in further detail how UVB works for our pet birds.
UVB light is essential for humans, as it makes vitamin D in the skin. This helps absorb calcium and other minerals for healthy bone development. First however, it must go to our livers and then to our kidneys, changed into dihydroxy vitamin D or vitamin D3 during the process.
Birds’ skin is protected by feathers, so how do they get their vitamin D? Dr. Greg Burkett, DVM, of the Birdie Boutique in North Carolina said it has to do with a bird’s preening gland. “Birds have a unique way of producing vitamin D3. The oil for the preen gland contains a precursor to the vitamin. Birds spread the oil containing these precursors over the feathers. The precursor is activated and transformed into vitamin D3 by UVB light. When birds preen, they ingest the vitamin D3.
What about the birds that do not have a preening gland (like Amazons)? “Birds that do not have a preen gland can convert the precursor in the exposed skin of the feet, legs and face,” Burkett said.
Vitamin-D deficiencies can take years before they show any symptoms in birds and in humans.
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