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Nutrition in Birds

By

Joeke Nijboer

, PhD, Nijboer Consultancy

Last full review/revision Aug 2020 | Content last modified Sep 2020

The exact nutritional requirements for most species of birds are still unknown. The exceptions are birds raised for food or other products, such as poultry, ostriches, and pheasants. Avian diets for many species are extrapolated from the Nutrient Requirements of Poultry published by the NRC.

When working with large zoological collections containing disparate species, a team approach is critical to manage nutrition for multiple species. The keepers’ experience regarding the birds’ habits and preferences, combined with input from the curator, veterinarian, and outside nutritional consultants are all necessary. Input from other institutions where a given species has a history of longevity and successful reproduction can be invaluable. In large collections, decreasing waste, spoilage, overfeeding, and excessively time-consuming diet preparation must be considered along with improvement of the birds’ nutritional intake.

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