Science Questions

Roudybush Direct
Q: What is an elimination diet?
A: A diet designed to detect what foodstuffs cause allergic reactions by eliminating suspect food items from the diet, followed by separate and successive re-introduction of foods back into the diet until the food(s) that causes the symptoms is discovered.
Q: What is pruritic behavior?
A: It is itchy behavior. In birds this can be demonstrated by agitated or irritated preening behavior instead of calm, methodical preening.
Q: What is the Iron Content of the Lory Diet?
A: The iron content of the Lory Diet is 60 ppm.
Q: I have heard that processed foods cause kidney disease in birds. Is this true?
A: There are many misconceptions about this issue in birds. Tom Roudybush participated in a study at UC Davis in 2000/2001 in which normal grey cockatiels were fed diets with up to 70% protein for one year. No clinical signs of kidney disease were seen. The kidneys were examined microscopically at the end of the experiment and no significant abnormalities were found. Toxic levels of Calcium and Vitamin D3 may cause kidney damage, and kidney problems may be an inherited defect being bred into lines of color mutation birds. Until more information is available in psittacines, Roudybush, Inc. advises bird owners and breeders to exercise common sense and feed their birds diets that lie within safe ranges (safe from both deficiency and toxicity) based on research performed in any avian species studied so far, including poultry. Don’t feed your birds a deficient diet in order to protect the few birds that might have an underlying kidney malfunction.
Q: What is a Maintenance Diet?
A: A maintenance diet is a diet that has been formulated to meet the needs of a bird (or other animal) when that animal is an adult (i.e. not growing or maturing), and is not in need for nutrients for some additional purpose such as laying eggs, illness, or some productive work (i.e. plowing for field horses, running races for pigeons). Molting is not enough of a stress to require more than a maintenance diet. Roudybush Maintenance diets are formulated to allow for egg laying in most psittacine birds.
Q: I saw Zinc Oxide listed as an ingredient for your diets. Can’t that cause Zinc Toxicity in my bird?
A: Zinc, like many elements, is a dietary requirement for birds. Without some zinc in the diet, birds can suffer from zinc deficiencies. Zinc toxicity occurs when birds ingest and absorb levels of zinc that are too high. This has occurred with some metal toys and cages. The zinc oxide in Roudybush diets is formulated to maintain a healthy bird, and will not cause toxicity.
Q: How much research has been done & what benefits are there to feeding pellets?
A: Tom Roudybush researched avian nutrition at the University of California, at Davis. For more specific information see “Consult the Bird Brain” on this website. Pellets offer several advantages. First, birds cannot selectively eat when their base diet consists of pellets. In other words, when birds are fed a mixture of seeds, many birds will eat only the best tasting seeds (which are often the most fattening), and throw the rest to the bottom of the cage. This leads to an unbalanced diet. In addition, Roudybush does not add any colors to the pellets, so birds cannot select a specific color to eat, which can change the color of their droppings. This ruins the ability to evaluate droppings for disease and health of your bird. Second, pellets are 100% edible. Most seeds are 20-70% hulls (shells) which leads to a lot of waste and mess. Finally, pellets undergo a gentle steaming process which eliminates harmful bacteria, fungus, and insects while still maintaining the vitamin potency.
Q: What does the Careline do to improve my bird’s health?
A: The Careline diets are formulated to reduce the stress on specific organs in disease states. In other words, if your bird is diagnosed as having a problem with a specific organ, a Careline Diet would reduce the workload (and thus the stress) of that organ.
Q: Reduced Food Intake?
A: Occasionally we at Roudybush make an enhancement to our feed. Usually this goes unnoticed by you or your bird, since most of these enhancements keep us on the cutting edge of food safety and technology and is not major additions to the diet. An example of this is the inclusion of yeast cell wall extract. Yeast cell wall extract binds aflatoxin, an extremely toxic product of a mold. This mold is common and often grows on wet feed or foods. When a bird ingests aflatoxin from any source along with Roudybush Pellets, the aflatoxin is bound by the yeast cell wall extract and its toxicity to your bird is reduced or eliminated. Your bird remains happy, healthy and normal. You may have no idea that it was exposed to a potent toxin. This is what we strive for with our products-birds that remain happy, healthy and normal even when exposed to conditions that would otherwise harm them. However, upon occasion your bird, because of its exquisite abilities of discernment, will detect our enhancement. Because birds are such creatures of habit with respect to their choices of foods, they may reduce their food intake for a time when they detect an enhancement. Eventually they get used to the subtle change and return to a normal food intake. There is no reason for alarm. We have simply kept our product on the cutting edge, and your bird caught us at it.
Q: Vitamin K in bird food
A: Vitamin K in animals is treated somewhat differently by the FDA than it treats Vitamin K in humans. In humans the FDA prohibits some forms of vitamin K as supplements, while they are allowed to be used in animals. Menadione or vitamin K3 is one form the FDA bans from human foods. It is with an excess of caution that we added alfalfa to our diets. It is a rich source of vitamin K in a form that is natural to birds that eat leafy green vegetables. Since we feed a large variety of birds it seemed not unlikely that alfalfa would be a better and more universally tolerated form of vitamin K in the diet. To understand the different forms of Vitamin K, we need to know a little bit about the forms of vitamin K and their use in nutrition. Vitamin K1 is a naturally occurring form of vitamin K common in leafy green plants. It is allowed to by the FDA to be used in supplements for humans and animals. Its chemical names are phytonadione or phylloquinone. Vitamin K2 is the second naturally occurring form of vitamin K and is also known as menaquinone. It is made by bacteria in the intestinal tract. These bacteria synthesize a number of related forms of the vitamin. Together they are known as K2. Vitamin K3 is a synthetic form of the vitamin and is also known as menadione. Enzymes in the tissues of birds and mammals can convert menadione to K2. The FDA allows menadione to be used in animal diets as a supplement but not in human diets. Why not in human diets? Large doses of menadione have been found to cause adverse outcomes including glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (a required enzyme) deficiency, neonatal brain or liver damage or neonatal death in some rare cases. In the United States the use of menadione supplements in humans has been banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because of their potential toxicity. Other Factors There are other factors besides the potential toxicity of menadione that argue that birds of some species may be better off if they are not be fed menadione. Among these is the relative shortness of the avian gastrointestinal tract. Both broiler chickens and turkeys are more likely to show signs of deficiency of vitamin K than other species of animals. This has been attributed to the relatively short digestive tract of birds compared to mammals. In this relatively short digestive tract, there is little time for the growth of bacteria that make vitamin K by microbial syntheses. If we add to that the many species of birds that are kept in captivity some of these species lack the mechanism that converts K3 to K2, the naturally occurring form of vitamin K made by bacteria leaving them open to deficiency when supplemented by menadione. We hope this clarifies some of our thinking on this matter in making the conversion from menadione to alfalfa as a source of vitamin K.