If you are a new conure owner, you have probably heard the word cuttlebone being thrown around.
You might be wondering what is it? Well, you find the right page for that.
For this post, we will explain what is a cuttlebone and how it can help your birds.
So, without further ado, keep reading now.
- What is Cuttlebone and Why Do Conures Need Cuttlebone?
- Why do Conures need cuttlebone, and how much should they have?
- How to feed your Conure with cuttlebone without overdoing it.
- How to Use Cuttlebone for your Conure:
- Where Can You Find Cuttlebones?
- How to tell if your conure needs more or less cuttlebone
- How Cuttlebones Benefit Your Conure?
- The importance of a healthy diet in maintaining a healthy beak for birds.
What is Cuttlebone and Why Do Conures Need Cuttlebone?
Cuttlebones are calcium-rich bones that conures and other birds use to help maintain their beaks and nails.
They also help with digestion and can be a fun toy for your bird to play with. You can usually find cuttlebones at your local pet store or online.
As mentioned above, cuttlebones are very rich in calcium; they provide some measure of protection for birds, especially those during molting periods when their bills and feet aren’t as tough.
A cuttlebone can also serve as an aid in the digestion of calcium – birds that are fed diets without cuttlebones will often get calcium stones or become hyperactive, and it can even contribute to feather-plucking.
Cuttlebones provide a great source for birds to keep their beaks healthy because they’re made up of ground limestone, which is a natural abrasive.
This will help your conure’s beak stay healthy and strong, especially if you’re not feeding them foods that naturally wear down their beaks such as cuttlefish, snails, or oysters.
Why do Conures need cuttlebone, and how much should they have?
It’s recommended that you have two cuttlebones for every bird, so a 10-conure aviary would require about 20 cuttlebones.
Cuttlebones are very inexpensive; they can be purchased at just about any pet store, and you can easily find them online as well.
There are many types of cuttlebone on the market, and they range in size from the smallest cuttlebones which fit well in a cage to the largest cuttlebones that can fit into a dog’s water bowl.
An everyday conure will need about 1/4 inch of cuttlebone per day, whereas cockatoos and macaws will need their daily quota in 2 or 3 days.
How to feed your Conure with cuttlebone without overdoing it.
Overfeeding your conure with cuttlebone may cause them to get constipated, so give it to them in moderation.
Cuttlebones provide birds with a great natural source of calcium and nutrients that their diet may be lacking, but it’s not something that should be given every day or even every week because they can also contribute to problems like calcium-related diseases, kidney and liver problems, weight gain, obesity and even death.
How to Use Cuttlebone for your Conure:
Cuttlebone can be given to your conure simply by mounting it in your conures cage.
This will provide the conure with many benefits, even if you are just offering them some cuttlebone occasionally or as a weekend treat.
If you’re planning to give your bird cuttlebone every day, and especially if they have calcium-related diseases or kidney problems, it’s better to give them cuttlebone mounted on a bracket so they can’t eat what they need as they please.
Where Can You Find Cuttlebones?
Cuttlebones are very common in pet shops and online pet stores. They are very inexpensive and you can often buy wholesale batches on Amazon. They also have a long expiry date and will last for months to years if unopened.
Cuttlebones also come in many different sizes, so they’re suitable for all types of birds including most reptiles as well. They are pretty common across the US, Canada and Europe, but it can be a little harder to find cuttlebones in places like South America or Asia.
How to tell if your conure needs more or less cuttlebone
If your conure has a calcium deficiency or is hyperactive, it’s probably because you’re not feeding them enough cuttlebone.
If they have a calcium-related disease like kidney stones or osteoporosis, they may be eating more cuttlebone than the amount that’s recommended for their size and health.
But if they are just a normal, healthy conure then you should be giving them 1/4 inch of cuttlebone every day.
One way to tell if your conure needs more or less calcium is by looking at the density and thickness of their feathers; a bird with healthy bones will get stronger feathers.
You can also tell by how they move-if their bones are weak and fragile, then it will be difficult for them to run around your house.
Overfeeding is just as bad as underfeeding in this case, so make sure you find a happy medium because too much calcium can lead to problems like kidney disease or liver failure.
You should also decrease the amount of cuttlebone you give your conure if they are overweight or obese. But, remember that not giving them any calcium at all is even worse.
How Cuttlebones Benefit Your Conure?
Cuttlebones are a great alternative source of calcium for birds who do not like to eat vegetables like kale, bok choy or dandelion greens.
Since birds are unable to digest cellulose, they have difficulties absorbing calcium from vegetables and plants as a result.
Cuttlebones provide your conure with the nutrients it needs without putting you through any hassle since they’re already broken down into tiny pieces for them to eat.
The cuttlebone also acts like a toothbrush for your conure and will help them to keep their beak healthy by removing any leftover food, plaque and bacteria from inside their mouth.
They also come in small sizes which makes them easy to mount in the cage so they’re not hard to get.
The importance of a healthy diet in maintaining a healthy beak for birds.
A healthy diet with an adequate amount of calcium is essential for pet birds who live in cold climates like the conure.
Calcium helps conures build strong bones and it’s very important for them since they spend most of their time outside of their cage. Calcium also helps conures produce vitamin D, which prevents them from having rickets.
Birds who do not have enough calcium in their diet will have weak bones and muscles, cramps in their legs and wings as well as a weakened immune system.
Their beaks may also show signs of weakness since the bone is constantly breaking down when it’s not being fortified with enough calcium.
The beak will get longer and thinner if they’re not getting enough calcium, which is a sign of rickets.
Conures who have an adequate amount of cuttlebone in their diet do not need vitamin D supplements since the extra calcium helps them maintain healthy levels of vitamin D naturally.