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My vet told me that my birds (parakeets like in the below image) bird

may have calcium absorption problems in the long term because their exposition to UV light is low (they do not receive direct sunlight, only through glasses in a balcony). I was looking for UV lights for birds in amazon and all I found was some black bulbs which need a socket (the classic bulb everyone has at home but in black instead of white) and that would require a somewhat cumbersome setup given my home and specifically the place where I intend to expose them to the light.

Then I looked for UV lights in general (not specifically for birds) and I came across with this specific item:

UV light

its description says that its wavelength is 395 nm whereas the description for those "specific for birds" bulbs do not specify wavelength/frequency. Both lights do specify they are also useful for checking counterfeit money, if it's of any help that they have this in common (similar wavelength maybe)

My question is: given that the linked item is convenient from a setup perspective, is it safe/good for my birds even if its description doesn't say so?

Bonus points for recommendation on how much time of exposition and best time of the day I should expose them to the light.

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The UV light you need is UV-A and UV-B (wavelength of 300-400 nm). Be absolutely sure it is NOT under 300 nm and be sure to put the lights at a couple of meters from the cage (shortwave UV-B is the one that can give you a sunburn).

The ones you mention in your question are excellent (they contain little UV-B) and be sure they are turned on during the day about 12 hours on and 12 hours off; it is best to use a timer so you do not forget it.

The UV-B is the type you get a tan from, this is the type that makes your skin produce vitamin D.

Be sure the lights you buy do not emit any UV-C as this is very dangerous. It is used to sterilize water and to sterilize surgical instruments.

The absolute best for your bird is natural sunlight and they do not need sunlight for more than 30-60 minutes a day, so if this is possible this is best for them you can open a window and place the cage on a table - but be sure there is no wind and be sure the cage is closed :)

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  • Thank you for your answer. What you suggest me is to expose them to thirty minutes of direct sunlight + 12 hours of UV light? is that right? I don't expose them because it's winter where I live and outdoor temperature is pretty low, even with direct sunlight – mrbolichi Jan 12 at 21:39
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    if you are able to give them natural sunlight for 30+minutes a day there is no need for the UV lights,it is winter where i live too so i understand it might be a problem to give them natural sunlight in this part of the year so it might be best to use uv lights in the wintertime. – trond hansen Jan 13 at 5:18
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    While the answer is generally OK, I would not install any UV lamp for those purposes. The power of the lamp is going to be too big anyway, and even if it helps with calcium / vitamin D and other stuff, it is very likely to damage the eyes (and maybe other side effects too). I mean the eyes of the bird, and of the owners. – virolino Jan 16 at 9:20
  • @virolino what would you recommend to increase calcium and vitamin D absorption for my birds if I live in an apartment and due to outside weather (think below 10ºC for birds always used to live at 20ºC) it is not possible to expose them to direct sunlight? – mrbolichi Jan 20 at 9:00
  • @mrbolichi: I ended up writing an entire answer, although I tried avoiding it. – virolino Jan 20 at 9:47
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As per your statement, the doctor said

"may have... long term..."

So he served you an unfounded generic useless opinion about nothing. He takes no responsibility for such opinion, considering how unspecific and vague the opinion is.

Maybe they will develop cancer. Maybe they will mutate into dinosaurs. Maybe they will fly out though the window. In the long term, of course.

The best you can do is go back to the so-called doctor and have him speak in specific terms:

  • what exactly did he notice which leads him to that conclusion;
  • what exactly does long-term mean; 1 month? 1 year? 20 years?
  • what solutions does he recommend as a specialist; do not give him options of answers about anything. Just ask the shortest questions you can.

Wrong:

Will UV light help?

  1. There are two discussions about vitamin D.

    2.1. If it is supposed to be produced naturally, then the birds need as much natural light as possible. No light -> no vit. D -> no other good things in the body. The same discussion goes on for all living beings dependent on vit. D.

    2.2 There should be no problem with absorption of vitamin D, if you provide it to them. It is not absorbed entirely by the body (being produced by artificial synthesis), but it is still better than nothing. I take such supplements myself.

I am no specialist, you might find pills or liquid drops at specialized shops / pharmacies. Calcium, on the other hand, is absorbed only in the presence of vit. D. So occasionally you might provide them with vit. D supplements, allowing them to get calcium from more natural sources. Sepia bones come first to my mind, as natural sources. My parakeets (when I had them) would really enjoy nibbling on these bones.


My longest-living parakeet lived about 8 years. No walks in the park, no tanning under the sun, no vitamin supplements. We provided, additionally to his seeds, plenty of vegetables and fruits. He went almost crazy after pretty much "any" green leaves (suitable for human consumption). Parsley and dandelion leaves were the most common. Carrot roots, potatoes were also in his diet. Boiled eggs (white and yellow parts). Lettuce leaves. Apples. And so on. Also, he had the habit of "having to" taste pretty much anything that we ate - especially soups.

His death was unlikely to have been caused by lack of any vitamin. He had plenty of natural light, either through closed windows (not much UV light), or (occasionally) through open windows protected with mashes against insects.

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