INTESTINE BACTERIAL MICROFLORA
BY Dr. Gianluca Todisco
correctly represents a crucial point for canaries and birds in general, many
crucial mistakes in managing the
feeding of their birds.
Unfortunately, most of the food offered, consists only of
mixed seed which contains high levels of fat and
are very poor in proteins; and these few proteins, are also very poor in amino
acids (lysine and methionine). Most seed
mixtures are also very poor in vitamins A, B2, B12, E and K and are low in
minerals such as sodium, iodine, copper, calcium, iron, magnesium,
selenium and zinc. The fats that are present in
high levels in the seed, as well as favoring obesity, will tie up calcium and
make it less bio accessible to the
known practice, rarely used, is the so called "cafeteria style”
this consists in offering the birds a great variety of different feeds, giving
them the freedom of choice, in the false conviction that the birds pushed by
their instinctive intelligence, would chose only what they need, asserting that
they will get a balance as
per nature. But nature, never provided so much food 365 days per year, and
unfortunately this alimentary
practice, induces these birds which have completely lost their natural instinct,
to choose only specific feeds that they prefer,
and always the same type, for example black seed.
microbiological build of the finch family, is different from those of other
avian species, in 1989, the researchers Dorrestein and Gerlach proposed their "sterile
bowel theory" according to this, these birds, have
a sterile intestine, meaning that it does not contain any type of bacterial
research, however confirmed the contrary, in canaries it is possible in normal
and not pathological conditions, to isolate
some Gram positive bacteria.
wild finches, during the breeding season, it is also possible to isolate some
Gram negative bacteria: this is because at this
time they will also ingest some insects.
animals, including humans, have in their intestine various types of bacteria
that produce a healthy rapport of mutual assistance: these bacteria on top of
producing group B vitamins, and also prevent the development of pathogenic
germs, simply by occupying space inside the intestine and competing
with them for the nutrients.
sterile bowel theory, or a change in intestinal microflora, explains the
high sensibility to bacterial infections of the
intestine in canaries, contrary to other species of birds like sparrows or
poultry and, for this reason, drinking water for canaries, has to be kept
food quality is of vital importance to keep our canaries in good health,
canaries are seed eating birds, and will consume
each day a quantity of food roughly 30% of their body weight. Their
basic metabolism is approximately 65% higher than other non-Passeriformes
species. For these reasons, contaminated food has a rapid negative effect
in canaries compared to other species of birds.
food of good quality is a stepping stone for a good breeding season and
attention to hygiene is also very important.
and alimentary supplements are important outside the breeding season, but become
almost essential during
this time. It is important to consider the administration of these additives,
preferably choose those in
powder form to add to the egg food, as if mixed to the seed, will only end up in
the bottom of the hopper because of their small
granularity, while, if diluted in the water, as for the liquid additives, can alter the microbiology of the birds intestine favoring bacterial
proliferation. Hence the need to change the water on a daily basis. For this reason it is also best to give
additives only in the food and not in the bird’s drinking water.
bone, or soluble calcium represent a good form of minerals and should be always
available, to the contrary, grit is insoluble
and worthless, can be damaging as it risks partial or total obstruction of the intestine.
and vegetables, offer an ample variety of nutrients (water, vitamins and
minerals in a bio disposable form). Most
importantly offer the birds a clean mixture of different seeds, plenty of fresh
fruit and vegetables and a supply of fresh water daily.
Reprinted here with the exclusive permission of
Dr. Todisco, who is a
veterinary surgeon specializing in birds.
He lectures Veterinary medicine at the University of
is also a breeder of Norwich and Gloster canaries, and is an O.M.J. Judge &
I.G.B.A. UK Parent Club Sanctioned Judge.