THE FUNDAMENTALS OF AVIAN NUTRITION – BALANCING THE PROTEIN QUALITY

In this third article on protein, I am going to demonstrate how we deliver the correct amount of balanced protein daily to a show budgerigar at maintenance. Establishing the daily nutrient requirements of birds is an involved and complex process and will not be discussed in detail here. Applied Nutrition has used mathematical modelling to establish the amino acid requirements of budgerigars, parrots, finches, canaries, and pigeons and used these amino acid requirements generated by these models to develop the balanced protein in their protein supplement products Prosperity™ and StartRite™. Applied Nutrition has also used modelling to determine the level of amino acids required to be included in our TummyRite™ products to balance the amino acids coming from seed for birds fed at maintenance. Our approach has been to model the growth of birds each day until they reach mature body weight. From this information, we are able to establish their daily amino acid requirements until they reach their mature body weight.

WHERE DOES THE PROTEIN COME FROM TO MEET THE BIRD REQUIREMENTS?

In both Passerines and Psittacines birds, protein comes from the individual seeds, insects, arthropods, pollen they consume as they forage in the wild. In captivity we provide a range of seeds or seed mixes including Hulled Oats, White French Millet, Japanese millet, Canary Seed, Yellow Panicum, as well as varying supplements which provide a different level of protein and range of amino acids. Some supplements, such as egg and biscuit, may be adequate, but from my own observations and study of many egg-and-biscuit products are inadequate. In practice no single seed or food ingredient will not provide all the necessary amino acids required by the bird, but together, in varying proportions, they may provide a significant proportion of the bird’s protein and amino acid needs. The important aspect of proper and effective supplementation is not to over-burden the bird with excessive protein and non-essential amino acids in the process of providing deficient essential amino acids. This can be achieved by adding individual essential amino acids such as DL-Methionine, L-Lysine and L-Threonine. The question is, how do we determine what is and is not adequate?  The following exercise demonstrates how we go about determining the adequacy of our feed programme using TummyRite™ products. 

DEVELOPMENT OF TUMMYRITE AND TUMMYRITE PLUS AS A MEANS OF SUPPLEMENTING SEED BASED DIETS FOR PASSERINE AND PSITTICINE BIRDS. 

As an exercise, modelling techniques were used to assess the adequacy of a Budgerigar Seed Mix comprised of Hulled Oats (groats), White French Millet, Red and Yellow Panicum, Canary Seed and Japanese Millet with and without the addition of TummyRite™ Plus for Budgerigars and Other Parakeets to meet the practical nutrient requirements of a show budgerigar just prior to reaching mature body weight (97% of its mature body weight). During this period the bird growth is low and feather growth is almost complete. Therefore, the bird’s nutrient requirements are close to maintenance. During maintenance, protein is still required to replace body tissues, feathers, physiological requirements such as enzymes, and required for antibody production against possible disease challenges. 

BALANCING SEED WITH TUMMYRITE™ PLUS TO ALLEVIATE KEY NUTRIENT DEFICIENCIES IN SEED FOR BUDGERIGARS

Estimated Daily Seed Intake

5.0 g/day

SHOW BUDGERIGAR 62 g LIVEWIGHT AT MATURITY

Amino Acid

28 days

Budgie Seed Mix Only

Budgie Seed Mix Only

Budgie Seed Mix + TR Plus

Budgie Seed Mix + TR Plus

 

Requirement

Estimated Nutrient Intake

Deficiency/

Excess

Estimated Nutrient Intake

Deficiency/

Excess

 

mg/head/day

mg/head/day

mg/head/day

mg/head/day

mg/head/day

Protein

462.00

704.00

+242.00

705.00

+243.00

Cysteine

21.52

14.90

-6.62

14.15

-7.37

Methionine

5.79

11.40

+5.61

26.00

+20.21

Meth+Cyst

27.10

26.30

-0.80

40.15

+13.05

Lysine

17.81

16.90

-0.91

21.80

+3.99

Threonine

21.10

20.65

-0.45

25.70

+4.60

Isoleucine

19.37

28.60

+9.23

28.10

+8.73

Tryptophan

3.22

13.05

+9.83

12.30

+9.08

 

From the above table we can see that seed alone can provide much of the protein and amino acids required by the bird for maintenance, except for a few key essential amino acids. Even a mixture of 6 different seeds together cannot provide adequate levels of some key essential amino acids. These key essential amino acids include cysteine, methionine plus cysteine, lysine and threonine and are at insufficient levels in the seed mix to meet the daily requirements of the bird. TummyRite™ and TummyRite™ Plus have been developed specifically to fill these gaps in the amino acids required by the bird during maintenance. As the bird goes through feather replacement, additional protein and key amino acids such as cysteine may be required to meet the demands of this period in the bird’s life where feather development is important. Again, looking at the above table we see that the final seed mix even with TummyRite™ Plus added is still deficient in cysteine. However, this is not a major concern as we know from biochemistry studies it has been established that cysteine can be made by the bird through the conversion of methionine to cysteine. If the methionine + cysteine requirement is met the cysteine requirement will also be met. Additional nutrients are involved in this conversion such as vitamins B6, B12, folate and the semi-essential amino acid serine. These are also included in the TummyRite™ supplements to ensure the conversion can take place.

WHAT ABOUT GROWING BIRDS?

Similarly, for young growing birds Applied Nutrition has modelled the amino acid requirements for young growing birds from hatch to 7 days of age. Since altricial birds are very fast growing, reaching their mature body weight within 30 days of hatching their demand for protein and more importantly essential amino acids is very high. From this growth model, we were able to develop an amino acid specification for our Prosperity™ and StartRite™ products which when fed will supply a full range of essential and non-essential amino acids in the correct balance and meet the demands of this fast growth. Field experience over the last 2 years with our Prosperity™ and StartRite™ products have shown birds with improved growth rate and excellent feather quality after being reared on Prosperity™ and StartRite™.


Older Post