Harrisons’ Pet Products Student Veterinary Program 2011

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Click HERE to view full details (.pdf)

Want to become an entrepreneur while attending veterinary school?
…and support your avian/exotic animal club at the same time?

WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU:

• Start with a free $250 credit with which to make your first purchase.

• Receive a deep discount (20% below wholesale) for sales to fellow
students and faculty.

• Take advantage of the discounts for your own pets.

• Receive educational and promotional materials (brochures,
rack cards) to support your growing enterprise.

• Gain knowledge and experience with these products that will prepare
you for success following graduation.

• Develop business skills while you are still in school by responsibly
clearing balances on time and designating profits for subsequent
orders and club activities and guest speakers.

Interested?
Contact Bobby at
Bobby@HarrisonsPetProducts.com
or call 800-346-0269.

Harrisons’ Pet Products Introduces Convenient Diet Conversion Kits

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The nutritional status of a pet bird is the single most important factor that influences the prevention of disease in a healthy bird and response to treatment in a sick bird. Harrison’s Bird Foods produces certified organic, nutritionally complete formulated foods for pet birds, but it is sometimes challenging to change the eating habits of a bird that is accustomed to eating a high-fat, nutritionally deficient but familiar seed diet. To assist in this conversion process, Harrisons’ Pet Products has released two convenient kits:

The “Small Bird Conversion Kit” includes:
• 1 1-oz (30 ml) bottle AVIx Bird Builder to supply trace minerals missing from seeds
• 1 bag Harrison’s Bird Bread Mix (Millet & Flax flavor) to attract a hesitant bird to try something new
• 1 1-oz (30 ml) bottle HEALx Sunshine Factor for overall nutritional support
• 1 1-lb Harrison’s Bird Foods High Potency Fine or Superfine Formula to maintain the diet conversion
• 1 copy of the “11 Quick Tips for Conversion” educational handout

The “Large Bird Conversion Kit” includes:
• 1 4-oz (120 ml) bottle AVIx Bird Builder • 1 bag Harrison’s Bird Bread Mix (Original flavor)
• 1 4-oz (120 ml) bottle HEALx Sunshine Factor
• 1 1-lb Harrison’s Bird Foods High Potency Coarse Formula
• 1 copy of the “11 Quick Tips for Conversion” educational handout

Both kits are available @ harrisonsbirdfoods.com

Twenty Years of Progress in Pet Bird Nutrition (JAVMA 1998)

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Revisiting Twenty Years of Progress in Pet Bird Nutrition
Greg J. Harrison, DVM
Diplomate Emeritus American Board of Veterinary Practitioners – Avian Practice
Dip European College of Zoological Medicine (Avian) (retired)

Published in JAVMA vol 212, No 8, April 15 1998 p1226-1230 reprinted with permission of AVMA

For much of the last twenty years, avian veterinarians have been occupied with developing diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for companion birds. Birds have often been presented in an emergency condition, and many of these birds died. In the late 70’s, the most conspicuous causes were related to importation (eg, infectious diseases, parasites, immunosuppression from overuse of antibiotics) or poor management associated with companion bird breeding facilities. Veterinarians were concerned about putting out these disease “fires,” so preventive medicine was not much of a consideration.

At the same time, however, Dr. Milton Scott of Cornell University was exploring avian diets. Dr. Scott conducted whole body analyses of birds, which showed that across the orders, all birds were made up of very similar components (especially ash and protein). He concluded that variation in actual intake of foodstuffs was primarily a result of food availability and adaptations for harvesting. Recommendations were made at that time regarding nutrient requirements of birds.

Today, twenty years later, many advances have occurred in the medical and surgical care of companion birds; therefore, one would think that enormous strides have also been made in pet bird nutrition. But relatively little scientific research has been conducted. According to experienced avian practitioners, malnutrition still underlies up to 90% of all clinical cases, yet veterinarians continue to recommend inappropriate diets for birds, including the feeding of enormous amounts of table food and the combining of various commercial products together (in effect, allowing the client to become his own “nutritionist”). Pet shops are also relatively ignorant about bird care and allow economics to dictate their sales of “bird food” (seed) to the public.

There will probably never be documented nutritional requirements for all the species of psittacine birds commonly kept as pets. But the knowledge is there for today’s avian professional to prevent malnutrition by offering to species under their care practical diets based on the considerable data available for Galliformes, Anseriformes and Passeriformes, and to evaluate and re-evaluate the clinical results obtained from feeding trials with various formulations. The variables that must be considered in applying the limited formulas that have been developed include: the species, age, sex, genetics, season of the year, housing, activity level, and whether the birds are laying eggs, raising young, molting, or recovering from surgery, disease or other major stress.

Many veterinarians with private bird clients and large collections of birds with malnutritional diseases often fail to realize the progress made by manufactured diets in recent years. It has become obvious from observing birds undergoing a diet change to a high quality formulation that a transformation occurs in the behavioral aspects of the bird as well as the physical and physiological condition.

I. AVIAN FEEDING RECOMMENDATIONS 1977-1997

Seeds

According to the September, 1997 issue of Pet Age Magazine, the top four bird food companies in the United States base their sales mainly on seeds; therefore, most companion birds in this country are eating seed-based diets — just as they were in 1977. The difference is that today it is well known that seeds — no matter how they are colored, mixed or pressed into shapes — are not a complete and nourishing diet for pet birds. As early as 1923, scientists observed health deficiencies in caged parrots fed seed diets. Seeds (cereal grains such as sunflower, millet, oats, safflower, corn) are missing essential nutrients for bird health (Table 1).

Table 1. Deficiencies of Seeds
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Vitamins choline, niacin, biotin (H), pantothenic acid, riboflavin (B2), vitamin A, vitamin D3, vitamin E, vitamin K, folic acid (M), cyanocobalamin (B12)
Minerals calcium, phosphorus (70% as phytates), sodium, magnesium
Trace minerals selenium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, iodine, chromium, vanadium, bismuth, tin,
boron
Pigments chlorophyll, carotenoids, canthaxanthia
Protein (amino acids) lysine, methionine
Fiber soluble (mucopolysaccharide), insoluble
Vitamin precursors beta carotene
_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Pet birds are reluctant to give up a seed diet for several reasons: 1) their parents were probably raised on seeds; 2) birds are extremely habitual creatures and do not want to change; 3) seeds are relatively high in fat content and thus taste good. On the other hand, if a bird had been raised on a formulated diet, it would not recognize seeds as food and would be reluctant to eat them.

Seeds Plus Supplements

As birds became more popular as pets in the early 1980s, improper feeding was identified as the chief cause of disease and death in pet birds. It was accepted by then that seeds had deficiencies of nutrients so the term “malnutrition” was considered synonymous with “deficiency.” The “cure” was perceived to be the addition of supplements to the seed diet.

The first supplements consisted of liquid vitamins applied to the drinking water, which was eventually discounted because of the dilution, pollution and rejection by the bird. Similarly, a cuttlebone attached to the side of the cage did not replace the missing calcium. Soon manufacturers of seed diets claimed to have various topical applications or secret processes of nutrients that penetrated the hulls of seeds to render the kernel “balanced” when consumed. None of these — including colored seeds, vitaminized seeds, fortified seeds, pressed and glued seeds — appeared to be effective because the clinical signs of malnutrition were still evident.

Table Foods

The next step was to supplement with fresh table foods — the wider the variety, the better — eventually evolving to recommendations of dark green, leafy and dark yellow vegetables and fruits because of their vitamin precursor content. Owner compliance was high because feeding their bird from the table was an excellent opportunity for bonding. Publications on “how to make your bird a table food connoisseur” implied that these steps would result in a balanced diet. What resulted were inconsistent feeding practices and basically allowing the bird to “choose” its own diet.

Even the fruits and vegetables that are available on the market today in the USA do not contain high quality nutrients — they are often picked immature in order to be shipped around the world (as many are imported from Central America, Mexico and even Australia), some are chemically treated to resemble mature vegetables, and most are grown with non-sustainable agriculture practices. The actual nutrient levels in the soil in the United States have been dropping since the 1930s because there is seldom correct crop rotation, fertilizers are limited to only nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, and there is no composting or trace mineral replacement.
¬¬¬¬¬¬¬-_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Table 2. Overview of 20 Years of Recommendations for Feeding Pet Birds
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
1970s – seeds, grit, cuttlebone, greens, liquid vitamins, turkey food, dog food, trout chow, canary seed, lory diets, flamingo diets, early pelleted products, monkey biscuit, bread, milk, fruits, meat, chicken starter, vegetables, nuts, eggs

1980s – dog food, variety seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, oyster shell, sprouts, egg shells, mynah bird pellets, trout chow, bread, wheat germ, insects, cuttlebone, pound cake, multivitamins, soybeans, bean mixes (with or without dog food), monkey biscuit, turkey pellets, mash, pellet, kibble or crumble, mixed animal pellets (pig, monkey, turkey, pigeon, rabbit, mouse, hamster), fruit, sprouts (and then no sprouts), table food, egg, bread, pellets, cooked beans, peanut butter

1990s – well developed formulated, pelleted and extruded diets leaning toward “natural” ingredients and even certified organic bird foods are available, but professionals continue to recommend seeds and supplements or treats, rice, pasta, cereals, vegetable, fruits, meat, legumes, dairy products, bones, pellets, cooked mixes, breads, muffins
_____________________________________________________________________________________________

III. MANUFACTURED BIRD DIETS

Manufactured diets specifically for birds were developed first from poultry nutritional requirements. The initial nutritional research performed on psittacines was done on cockatiels at the University of California at Davis, looking superficially at a sustainable diet, then more specifically at hand-raising formulas and levels of protein, lysine and total solids. Energy levels have been studied in research with budgies. The bulk of the data used to design food for today’s companion birds came from this background, starting with poultry and game bird foods and modifying them based on feeding trials.

It is evident that manufactured diets have the most potential for providing apparent nutritional needs to pet birds, but currently there are no published standards that would allow manufacturers to state that their foods are “complete and balanced.”

Early Manufactured Foods

The earliest attempts to adapt companion birds to manufactured diets relied on available formulas for other species: trout chow, chicken starter, turkey chow, and eventually monkey chow because the primate diet contained vitamin D3 rather than D2. During the 1980s large numbers of psittacine species offspring were hand-fed using a monkey biscuit-based formula — sometimes with added baby cereal to dilute the D3 levels and peanut butter to increase the fat.

Pellets

Today’s formulated diets were actually available in the form of pellets in 1977 but they were not very popular. The concept was valid but the process of pelletization did not really cook the food and caramelize the carbohydrates to increase the palatability. There was also some controversy over the effect of pelletization on nutrients such as fatty acids. More importantly, the poultry formulations were too high in salt, vitamins A and D3 and protein resulting in serious disorders in parrots.

Formulated Diets

Formulated diets increased in popularity in the late 1980s because of a process called extrusion. With extrusion, ingredients are forced through a valve under high pressure and heat, resulting in a product with uniform appearance, increased palatability from caramelized carbohydrates and incorporated air, increased digestibility, and increased shelf life due to altered enzymes.

A number of well developed, high quality formulated diets are available today based on direct feeding trials with various companion bird species. Some are more readily accepted than others. Birds are able to taste, which is supported by the presence of taste receptors. Preference testing experiments have shown responses to sweet, bitter, acid and salt solutions. Sugar or fat can be added to a diet to facilitate its acceptance; however, the continued use of 10% sugar and 15% fat by weight in a formulated diet has been shown by this author to be detrimental.

Subtle shades of black, brown, yellow and green (naturally occurring colors of food) have been shown to be most acceptable by birds. The use of dyed foods has been found to decrease the acceptance of food by the bird in several studies, although the owner may find these attractive.

The Fallacy of Balancing a Diet at Home

Recent work at the Animal Medical Center in New York verifies that adding table foods or formulated diets to seeds does not balance a bird’s diet; formulated diets must be fed over 75% of the total intake to be effective. There are too many variables on the part of what the owner offers and what the bird selects. Balancing the seed portion with an extruded or pelleted portion is also impossible to manage.

Nutritional Excesses

Documented cases of hypervitaminosis A and D3 are well known in pet bird literature. Yet to maintain the level of nutrients consist with package labels to survive the production process and to prolong shelf life, some manufacturers double or triple the initial amount of potentially toxic component. Heat- and moisture-sensitive ingredients such as vitamins, vitamin precursors and pigments (eg, beta carotene) should be applied after the extrusion or pelletizing process, in this author’s opinion.

III. EVALUATING AN AVIAN DIET

One of the most important aspects of preventive avian care is nutrition. Many veterinarians do not realize that malnutrition is the underlying cause of most of the clinical signs of disease they see on a daily basis. The clinician should maximize his ability to detect the early signs of malnutrition because these are also the early signs of illness. The chronic signs of malnutrition (feather picking, sore feet, dry, flaky skin, liver disease, obesity, listlessness, lack of singing, talking and playing, chewing up cage, biting people, self-mutilation, etc.) could actually be considered signs of cruelty. Especially when there are high quality formulated diets that have proven to relieve these often painful clinical signs with no other form of therapy.

Clinical Signs of Malnutrition

Malnutrition can be the primary etiology that produces obesity, generalized deficiency syndrome, hyperkeratosis, metaplasia resulting in poor feathering and skin quality, fatty liver degeneration, hypocalcemia, gout, mineralization of kidneys, and other organ failure from dietary excesses. More often, though, malnutrition creates an immunosuppressed bird that expresses this condition as feather picking, persistent molting, cloacal prolapse, egg binding, chronic egg laying, foreign body consumption, behavioral problems, and susceptibility to bacterial, yeast, viral and parasitic infections. These are the most common clinical presentations seen in a psittacine practice and correction of these disorders becomes a major part of the clinical criteria for evaluating the nutritional status of avian patients.

CONTINUED (.pdf)


Eclectus, commercial bird food diets and “toe-tapping”

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Over the past decade or so commercial diets, ingredients and supplemental items such as vitamins, spirulina etc. have been blamed as the “culprit” in regard this unusual behavior. Internet “expertise” has been quick to conclude that this issue is directly tied to commercial diets but there is no actual data showing tapping as a food related problem, or even a problem at all.
What has been observed is that even pefectly healthy eclectus tap.

So why then does this species display this unusual behavior?
We defer to comments from to Dr. Cathy Johnson-Delaney on the subject.

“Everyone needs to see Nature “Parrots in the Land of Oz” (PBS). It spends considerable time on wild Eclectus in Australia – they have a unique social system, where males fly huge distances daily and mate with lots of females, females are also promiscuious (sp.) and the male “taps” as a way of communication. It is a normal behavior. Our captive eclectus housed as pairs are frustrated (the females mate with lots of different males) and the males mate with lots of females. It is not a Male:female pair bond social system.

When the male is “toe tapping” he’s calling and declaring his position for other males – with none answering, he keeps doing it.

I’m going to buy the dvd and invite all eclectus owners to come see it. And we need to re-think medicating or whatever for a “normal” behavior. I have a feeling those eclectus getting the spirulina were actually in better reproductive health and therefore getting quite frustrating tapping and drumming with no birds answering.

You can order the dvd for 19.95 US dollars at the Nature TV website

It’s well worth it.”

Cathy Johnson-Delaney, DVM, DABVP-Avian
President, Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians

Harrison’s recommends eclectus be fed the High Potency formula, follow supplementation guidelines as listed on the bag and like all pets, annual veterinary visits are in order.

Harrisons’ Exhibitor Schedule 2011

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We will have exhibitors representing Harrisons’ Pet Products at the following scheduled events:

NORTH AMERICAN VETERINARY CONFERENCE (NAVC) – January 15-19, 2011 – Orlando

STUDENT AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (SAVMA) Symposium – March 24-27, 2011 – UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

SOUTH FLORIDA PET EXPO – March 26, 2011 – South Florida Fairgrounds

EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION of AVIAN VETERINARIANS (EAAV) – Madrid, Spain – April 26-29, 2011

ASSOCIATION of AVIAN VETERINARIANS (AAV) – August 6 – 12, 2011, Seattle, Washington.

See you there!

A question about soy

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Q: Why does Harrison’s contain SOY and is it bad for my bird?
Does SOY cause hormone stimulation in birds?


A: Negative press about soy (soybeans) is another classic example of anonymous claims from internet sources that must be taken with a grain of salt.

For starters, Harrison’s formulas are steadily reviewed by PhD avian nutritionists. This practice of review has been in place for almost 30 years.

Many products being challenged for their use of soy actually use soybean by-products, which are made with soy oil or soybean oil meal from a chemical extraction technique using hexane.

Hexane was formerly used as a cleaning agent for removing grease in the printing industry as well as a solvent for rubber cement, but now it’s showing up in many so-called “natural” and even “made with organic” soy foods. Even this inferior soy source has not been proven harmful.
(The soy in Harrison’s Bird Foods is whole, organic, rolled and toasted.)

The digestive system of a bird functions in a way different from ours. They can tolerate foods we can’t; we can tolerate foods that would make them ill. We do know there are many beneficial effects for birds from consuming soy products; the negatives are much more a speculation.

At the 2nd International Symposium on Pet Bird Nutrition in Hannover in 2007, we at Harrison’s discussed this with our current nutritionist, Dr. Kirk Klasing of the University of California Davis. He is studying the feeding of soybeans as they are normally raised and those that are genetically modified to produce phytoestrogens (specifically genistein), which are used by the pharmacological industry. This latter soybean has a thousand times the phytoestrogen content of regular soybeans. Dr Klasing has found no indication that even this high level has any effect whatsoever. His research subjects are finches, which have the highest metabolism rate and would show problems the soonest. His co-researchers have also set up flocks of finches for breeding, which starts at less than one year of age, and have not seen any effects on fertility, hatchability, chick maturation or illness.

Harrison’s has been fed to the leading breeding facilities in the world for almost 30 years, and the egg-laying, hatching and survivability have always been excellent. In fact, Harrison’s was developed to solve breeding problems in hyacinth macaws (i.e., no eggs, infertile eggs, eggs that had to be incubated to hatch, weak hatchlings that needed assistance to hatch, rejection by parents so the chicks had to be hand fed).

There was a 1970’s lawsuit in New Zealand claiming rosellas were maturing early due to being fed soy, and that some even died. The claimant had millions to spend on the case, whereas the new USA pellet manufacturer did not, and the case “appeared” to prove soy was the problem. It did not. Veterinarians familiar with the case said the birds were infected with one of the first cases of circovirus in rosellas. The manufacturer has continued to use his original formulas that have been used for over 30 years at the U of California cockatiel research flock without incident. The claimant has saturated the internet for these 30 years with the weakest of claims, all based on poor empirical observations.

There is a failure by claimants to conclusively prove that feeding products that contain soy are unhealthy. And again, processed soy is a very different product from raw soy.

The soy in Harrison’s Bird Foods is whole, organic, rolled and toasted. That is because our mentor was John Stoodley, who used whole organic soybeans in his famous formulas. John’s breeding results are unparalleled in seed-eating birds. He kept impeccable records. Most aviculturists do not. So there is no honest way to compare diets.

Another exception is Eric Von Kooten, who has the only peer-reviewed comparison of traditional aviculture diets to Harrison’s. The study was on the members contributing to the Ruppel’s parrot stud book. His summary: “The conclusion is justified that the use of HBF (Harrison’s Bird Foods) is definitely worth the extra costs when compared to the use of traditional feed. Next to the benefits mentioned previously, such as a larger number of young birds, fewer dead birds, healthier birds, faster independence of young birds and fewer ill birds, other aspects have not been mentioned. Among others, the most important are that we experienced a major improvement in behavior since the introduction of HBF as well as a remarkable change in color of the feathers.
No doubt, the introduction of HBF is one of the elements that has improved the well-being of our parrots in addition to the other actions we initiated in the early 1990s to realize a more sensible captivity of these beautiful animals.”

The full paper is available at http://www.avianmedicine.net/articles/vankooten.pdf
Dr. Klasing has chosen Harrison’s to be the food used for the extremely endangered kakapo in New Zealand.

Please review the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences magazine Stories in Agriculture and Life Sciences Fall 2008 which can be downloaded at http://www.ag.iastate.edu/stories/archives/2008fall see page 21 (19 in the PDF) entitled Soy Isoflavones May Offer Health Benefits – based on science rather than speculation.

Hormone stimulation comes from many other causes, in my experience. Plastics and pesticides are some of the worst. We have never seen it from soy.

Feeding warm foods, rich table foods, fruit high in sugar, sweet corn, high oil items (nuts, sunflower seeds), hand feeding and stroking are the main causes of hormone stimulation, in my practical experience.

Finally, the poor health resulting from feeding seeds and tablefood, still being promoted by well meaning but misinformed bird owners, is and always has been the most dangerous preventable cause of suffering in birds. For decades we were taught birds “hide their symptoms.” A leading seed mix company shows a photo of their blue and gold macaw as if it was healthy. The photo shows the tattered wing feathers so often seen in birds eating seed-based diets. A better photo with emphasis on beak, nails, foot patterns and feather color would show that this bird is not on a balanced diet. That bird is suffering, in my opinion.


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Harrisons’ Pet Products 2010 Clinical Case Report Contest – Ammended with Submission Form link

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PLEASE CLICK TO DOWNLOAD SUBMISSION FORM

Harrisons’ Pet Products 2010 Clinical Case Report Contest
*For Licensed Veterinarians Only*
Case submissions are based on the following criteria:
• Medical relevance
• Case completeness
• Photo quality and content (before, during and after)
• Overall presentation

The award includes
• a $1000 cash prize
• a plaque
• publicity in various veterinary publications

Someone is going to win $1000, and it could be you.

CLICK TO SEE LAST YEAR’S WINNER
___________________________

How to Submit a Clinical Case Report
We are seeking photographic documentation of an animal case in which a Harrisons’ Pet Product was used to successfully resolve the disorder. Please begin by photographing the original presentation and continue to photograph various steps along the way during the treatment. Close-up digital images must be taken at a resolution high enough for a 4″x3″ (10 x 7.5 cm) image to be printed at 300 ppi (1200 x 900 pixels, or at least 1 megapixel). Please save images as individual .jpg, .tif or .psd files.

In describing the case and the images, please include an introductory paragraph with the history, presumptive diagnosis, and other therapies that were used in conjunction with the Harrisons’ Pet Product (including the generic name of drugs, dosages and treatment intervals). Click here to see a sample clinical case report. Please save the text as a Word doc file.

Images and text should be emailed to info@exoticdvm.com with “Clinical Case Report” as the subject by December 1, 2010. Include your name and contact information. The winner will be notified by email on December 17, 2010, and the $1,000 cash award will be presented at the North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC).

Need not be present at NAVC to win. Winner will be selected by a panel of HEALx Veterinary Consultants. The contest is open to all licensed veterinarians; however, Harrisons’ Pet Products’ employees, consultants and their veterinary associates (at their practice) are not eligible to win.

JoJo and Chickie – caiques munching their Pepper Lifetime nuggets

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Special thanks to our good friend Saroj for allowing us to post the video of her two beautiful caiques JoJo and Chickie indulging in some Pepper Lifetime Coarse!

From Saroj:
“JoJo and Chickie are 5 years old. They were on a mostly fresh fruits and veggies and seed mix diet for several years as recommended by the breeder. My vet kept encouraging me to offer Harrisons so I would buy a bag every month and still continued to serve seed. The nuggets would be ignored.
Then this august at our five year check our vet (Dr. Kimberley Breeze of Breeze Animal Hospital at Panama City Beach) said these guys are chubby! No seed for you! The caiques told her she was a seed Nazi LOL!
Anyways I stopped the seed and dished up those cute wooden pots full of Harrisons’s Pepper and went to work telling myself they would not starve since they eat a lot of fresh anyways. Much to my shock and delight I came home to find the unprinted paper on the grate strewn with bits of nuggets all over!
Aaargh I should have tried this years ago!!!! LOL better late than never. We haven’t looked back since and between the two of them and my grey they use up 5 lbs every month. Not all of it gets eaten but that is the way it is with birds….they must feed the jungle floor from the canopies you know!
Some of the nugget bits my grey leaves on his tree stand…the cockatiel and quaker fly over and eat. its broken down to the right size for them!
Oh, and my ultra finicky red bellied parrot…..well the silly boy doesn’t realize I am tricking him with Harrisons Pepper Birdie bread!
Thank you for the great products!”

As always, thank you Saroj!

Dr. Harrison interview on “species specific” bird diets.

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From time to we at Harrison’s get interview requests for magazines, websites, etc. and sometimes the results of the interviews aren’t exactly in line with whatever product etc. they want to push at that moment.

Such is the case with the interview below. I suspect the trade magazine in question thought that everyone was fully supported “species specific” products and did not anticipate Dr. Harrison’s answers. Bottom line: “species specific” is nothing more than a marketing ploy.

Why are species-specific bird foods important for the health and well-being of pet birds and parrots? The only pet birds that have had any formal scientific nutritional studies done are cockatiels (hand-feeding, protein and moisture or total solids, hypervitaminosis A, calcium) and African Greys (calcium). So the specific scientific diet requirements for these and other species is ultimately unknown and the formulas offered are based on empirical results. It appears from clinical studies that larger birds need more protein and fat per gram of food than small birds. It also appears that breeding, immature, molting, and ill birds also need higher energy and protein diets.
Companies offering species specific diets are taking advantage of the pet bird community’s lack of understanding of this subject – it is purely marketing.

Could you give some examples of the specific dietary requirements of different bird/parrot species, such as budgies, cockatiels, Amazons, African Greys, etc? Please refer to question 1

Could you give examples of the dietary deficiencies these species are prone to? Far too many birds are still fed seeds. All species appear to develop deficiencies in:
Missing 32 ingredients in a seed based diet (from eight groups)
• Vitamins – choline, niacin, pantothenic acid,
riboflavin (B2), cyanocobalamine (B12), biotin (H), D3, E, K, and folic acid (M)
• Vitamin Precursors – ß-carotene, converted to vitamin A in liver
• Minerals
• Calcium
• Phosphorous (70% tied up as non-digestible phytates in plant products, such as grains)
• Sodium
• Trace minerals – selenium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, iodine, chromium, vanadium, bismuth, tin, boron.
• Pigments – chlorophyll, canthaxanthin.
• Protein – (amino acids) lysine, methionine.
• Fiber – (mucopolysaccharide) both soluble and insoluble
• Fatty Acids Omega 3. Some birds show problems with one deficiency easier than others. Calcium for example in African grey parrots needs ample sun to be assimilated properly. Vitamin D3 added to the diet alone is not satisfactory

How are your diets specially formulated to meet these nutritional needs and prevent these deficiencies? From over 20 years of clinical observations. Birds on Harrison’s are free of the common nutritional disorders and the constant medical problems seen in birds on deficient diets. What we have seen is that birds on Harrison’s appear to be living longer and healthier lives.

Has your company conducted any recent research or development that has led to new, different or improved diet formulations? Please review http://avianmedicine.net/articles.html for in-depth coverage of these topics. Doctors Stanford and McDonald have offered the latest evidence that Harrison’s formulas have been correct from the beginning.

How would you recommend retailers best market and sell species-specific bird foods in their stores, especially to new bird owners who are unfamiliar with the importance of species-specific diets?
To be honest and work with an avian veterinarian who is aware of the deception being promoted about balanced seeds and species specific diets.

Dr. Friedrich Janeczek discusses the occurence of black feathers in parrots eating seed based diets

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Dr. Friedrich Janeczek was asked to respond to the recent discussion on the Exotic DVM forum where the occurrence of black feathers was showing up on a green bird. Dr Janeczek has one of the only all parrot veterinary practices in the world.
His comment is that while on Harrison’s a bird’s feathers remain the normal bright vibrant colors and elasticity for up to three years.
Whereas a bird on seeds, vegetables and table foods has liver disease and it is reflected in the black feather color and loss of proper structure.