How can our pellets be used as a supplement?

It’s a fact that some species of birds don’t like te eat pellets due to their feeding strategy. When this is the case, we need to use supplements to fulfill the gap of nutrients that the other foods present.

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Introducing Wisbroek CarniPro

Usual preys

The usual preys of a carnivore are normally other vertebrates. Their carcasses are generally similar between species when we talk about important nutrients. The carcasses contain protein, calcium and phosphorus in big quantities and in good proportions and also a good amount of vitamins and minerals. The amount of water and fat will depend of the time of the year and the body condition of the prey.

The fat present on the carcasses is also really important due to the high quantity of minerals and fat soluble vitamins. The lack of Vitamine E and Selenium in captivity cause many cases of White muscle disease.

When we talk about wild carnivores or piscivores under human care, usually the main source of food is meat. Meat from farm animals, so we are mainly talking about muscles. When a predator catches his prey, normally he will eat the entire carcass, and the composition of the muscle is many different from the composition of the whole prey. The muscle is a good source of aminoacids, minerals like potassium, selenium, zinc and some vitamins, but really lacks in calcium, Magnesium, Vitamine A, D and E. So we can say that feeding a carnivore (under human care) exclusively with meat will have a predictable end…

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Use of supplements

That’s why the use of supplements is so important. Because of this, we developed Wisbroek CarniPro to make sure that carnivores and piscivores under human care will be properly nourished. By adding Wisbroek CarniPro to carcasses, meat and fish, the animal gets all necessary nutrients for their daily activities.
We would like to explain what makes Wisbroek CarniPro different from the other supplements already available on the market. For example, part of the vitamin A is used as the safe form of B-carotene that cannot be overdosed. It also contains Probiotics that will help to keep a balanced intestinal flora. In addition it has increased vitamin E and organic selenium levels. As I mentioned, those are strong antioxidants that support immunity, especially in high-fat diets. Wisbroek CarniPro also contains extra Vitamin B1 which is broken down in frozen fish by thiaminase and we all know how important this is. Besides, at least 50% of the minerals are added in their organic, safe and natural form and finally yeast cell walls are added to support the immune system.

Add Wisbroek CarniPro

The way to add Wisbroek CarniPro to the feed is really easy. Just use the recommended dosage mentioned on the product label. Divide 1% Wisbroek CarniPro over the carcass, meat or fish. Add the correct dosage (10g per kilogram of feed); the supplied scoop facilitates this. A leveled off scoop contains 10 grams of Wisbroek CarniPro. Depending of the target specie there are a number of techniques that can help to ensure that the animal eats the supplement. Of course we are always open to give some advices about that!

Wisbroek CarniPro is now available in our webshop. You can order it directly from here or via our dealers. Of course we are also happy to answer your questions and provide nutritional advice. Please contact us via: info@wisbroek.com.

Wisbroek CarniPro - 4kg

Wisbroek’s new range of Parrot feeds

Developing new nutrition

Wisbroek has a lot of experience in developing bird feeds. Over the last years we have heard from several partners that there was an urge for a special feed for parrots. When we visit a new Zoo they often ask us if we also develop Parrot Feeds because they are looking for a better one. So about 2 years ago we have started our research. A research executed with the Wisbroek staff of course, but also many parrot experts, nutritionists, parrot keepers, curators and veterinarians were consulted. Normally the first initial tests (at least 1 year before delivery to market) of our Wisbroek Feeds always take place at Wisbroek. Together with nutritionists and experts, research is being conducted to bring feed to a balanced level as this is a basis for animal health. At the Wisbroek Research & Development Center we didn’t have any parrots at that time, therefore we performed some extensive tests with some prominent partners.

Many information was gathered and interesting points were collected and after all this time we have tried to create, in our opinion, the most complete parrot feed of the market. We developed 2 different kinds of parrot feeds, the Wisbroek Parrot Fruit Blend and the Wisbroek Parrot Nut Blend. One based on fruits and the other one based on seeds and nuts, depending on the parrot feeding strategy. Both feeds are available in a daily blend (Small and Large) and a booster. The Daily Small and Daily Large variant can be combined, depending on the type of bird, because the ingredients are exactly the same. Besides we have developed for the Fruit as well as for the Nut Blend a booster; which can be fed to birds which need extra energy, for example during the breeding season.

Wisbroek Parrot Fruit Blend Daily Small - 10kg
Wisbroek Parrot Nut Blend Daily Large - 10kg

Natural ingredients

We really wanted to make a special feed, so we collect more than 30 natural ingredients and transform these in an extruded pellet that will contain all necessary nutrients for welfare of the birds. It contains DHA fatty acids for optimal health and breeding conditions. Most of the minerals have been added in organic form and organic minerals have a higher availability since they are the natural form of minerals in animal diets. It also contains yucca extract which promotes digestion. Besides, the Wisbroek Parrot Nut Blend is based on seeds, nuts and other natural ingredients with a slow carbohydrate availability of slow release energy. Those are just some of the strong points of these feeds.

Personally one of the most interesting conversations we had was with Tony Silva. He really opened my eyes to certain points that today, in my opinion, are crucial in a parrot feed. Among many, the most interesting, was when Tony was telling the urge of having a good maintenance feed for parrots. But not a maintenance feed that will mean a cheaper and therefore incomplete feed. Just a perfect feed for the parrots but with very low values of fat and protein in order to stop them to enter in breeding mode. And when we keep that in mind, that makes a lot of sense! For example, a hornbill which normally eats fruit, will eat, during the breeding season, some small rodents, small birds or even steal some eggs from nests to get the extra protein he needs for this period. The rest of the year he will go back to his frugivorous feeding strategy. The same happens for many other species. But with parrots for example, if they are a fruit eater / nut eater, they will eat fruit or nuts all year long. The difference is that during the breeding season they also have access to fruits, nuts, flowers and leaves with high levels of protein and fat. So we do realize that the reason why many parrots in captivity have so much aggression issues might be that they are in constant breeding mode due to a diet of high fat and protein. Therefore we have created Wisbroek Parrot Fruit Blend Daily and Wisbroek Parrot Nut Blend Daily. Both in a Small and Large variant. These are extruded pellets containing all necessary nutrients for their perfect metabolism, but mimicking the wild, the less abundance and protein and fat will put them in a non-breeding mode. Besides we created the Wisbroek Parrot Fruit Blend Booster and Wisbroek Parrot Nut Blend Booster with higher levels of fat and protein to trigger them for the breeding! With this range of feeds the breeders/keepers/Zoos, can estimate what their birds need and provide them with an adequate diet, by choosing just one of these feeds, or even a mix of them.

Wisbroek Parrot Feeds

We all know that each breeder/keeper likes to make their own mix, add their own ideas, and that’s fantastic! They know their birds, understand what the specific needs of the birds are and which diet fits best, on a daily basis as well as during the breeding season. Our idea of making a premium feed for parrots was to make sure that if you want to give only the pellets, it will be enough, it is a complete feed, with all necessary nutrients present. But if you prefer to make it more diverse, according to seasons and feeding strategy, it can be used in a mixed diet as well, with no problem at all.

We are really excited with this new project and we hope that we can make a positive contribution for the nutrition of captive parrots around the world!

All information about our new Wisbroek Parrot Feeds can be found on our website. Of course we are also happy to answer your questions and provide nutritional advice. Please contact us via: info@wisbroek.com.

Wisbroek Parrot Fruit Blend Booster - 10kg

Nutrition of “wild” animals in captivity

Nutrition of wild animals

The nutrition of wild animals in captivity represents an incredible challenge. There are hundreds of species to consider, each of them represents millions of years of evolution and adaptation to their particular ecological niches.

For a long time the nutrition has been one of the most neglected aspects in the management of wild animals in captivity. Fortunately nowadays the improvement is substantial. Wisbroek is proud to participate actively in this. The development of high quality extruded pellets is without any doubt a milestone when we talk about nutrition of wild animals under human care.

The goal of nutrition programs in zoos/breeding centers is to provide adequate diets to all the animals in the collection. Today these institutions should be committed to the conservation and reproduction of threatened species, so we have to know how to develop appropriate diets to meet all physiological (growth, reproduction…) as well as psychological needs, while economic conditions are valued.

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Treatment

When preparing a diet, we must take into account a number of factors:
1. Food habits in the wild: In the wild, the acquisition of food occupies most of the time, since the spatial and temporal distribution of the food is usually very complex, which is not even constant throughout the year, neither in quantity nor in quality. A fact that may be important is the time the animal spend taking this or that food, to get an idea of ​​their dietary preferences.

2. Anatomy and physiology of the digestive system: The lips, the dentition, (if present) polycavitary or monocavitary stomachs, the type of beak etc., usually give a lot of information about their natural diet. Although there are exceptions such as the Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens). With teeth designed to tear more than to grind, with a mouth unable to chew in circles and a simple digestive system and without fermentation chambers; he has an exclusive diet of bamboo. This, which today seems obvious, cost the lives of many captive pandas and they were fed diets typical of faunivorous carnivores many years ago.

3. Bibliographic data: There is a lot of data reviewed and supported in laboratory analysis, and we already started to have a lot of published information available to anyone.

4. Needs of similar species (domestic or not) whose requirements are known: Domestic animals can serve as a model to match the requirements of a specie that we do not know this about. Ex: By knowing the structure of the digestive system of an elephant we realize that it is very similar to the digestive system of a horse, so it is possible that their requirements are similar in some approximate way too.

5. Structure of the facility where the animal lives in captivity and feeding behavior: Important to know if the animal is able to develop its feeding behavior in a normal way. This includes not only the feeding but in covering all the biological needs of the species. It would be absurd to make a perfect diet for giraffes and put it in a feeder at ground level! Feeding an individual animal with a strong hierarchical family group is therefore not the same as feeding different groups that share facilities.

6. Specific data of each animal or group of animals: It is important to know if they are young or already mature.

With all this information we are ready to start giving an optimal diet to our animals!

We have to say that many animals can survive or adapt to deficient diets for long periods, until there are extra metabolic efforts such as growth, reproduction, disease, fight for territory, adaptation to new environments, etc. Therefore it is not permitted to think that with keeping a living and apparently healthy animal is being fed satisfactorily.

Bad diet

A bad diet can go unnoticed if it is not very severe. The first symptoms can be very ambiguous and not very specific. These tend to be highly susceptible to infections and digestive processes, low fertility, low neonatal viability, thin animals, apathetic, bad hair/feathers and growth retardation.

Now that we know what the general process of developing diets is, we want to emphasize that it is also our goal to provide each animal with a way to develop its own eating behavior, while we have the obligation to ensure that all of them, even the most subordinate of the group, receive their daily ration.

The physical form of food can greatly influence aspects such as ease of storage, transport, stability against decomposition-oxidation but also in palatability, digestive function, eating behavior, etc.
Not only do you have to prepare a balanced diet with nutrients, but you have to present it to the animals in such a way that they take advantage of it in an optimal way. It is also important to know  what the habits of our animals are, which may be different from others of the same species in other places!
For many animals it is better to give small meals several times a day, in order to stimulate them or because their way of eating is to eat everything we prepare, whether they like it or not, that is, palatable or not. Or to avoid accumulations of unused food. On the contrary, many others need only one meal at a certain time of the day. And for others it is important to distribute the food at several points so that the dominance of certain animals does not prevent everyone from having access to the food.

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Extensive research

I also want to include a small section about the change of diets. This is a critical moment in the life of an animal. Just as domestic livestock have a peak of losses at this time in their lives, wild animals in captivity are very susceptible to developing pathological digestive processes and infectious diseases when they change their diet abruptly.

It must be done gradually, especially in the case of animals that depend heavily on their intestinal flora to obtain a large amount of nutrients. You have to adapt it little by little. The process can last days, weeks or even months. We have to check if the animal eats, if it eats the new diet or if it shows signs of illness or malnutrition.

One way to see this is to isolate the animal and follow it individually. This may or may not work, since isolation, by itself, can be a sufficient stress factor for the animal to stop eating.
As far as possible, dietary changes should be avoided during times of stress or excitement or in times where an extra contribution of nutrients is necessary.
Finally, it is very important to always be interested in their previous diet when sending or receiving new animals. And we must also share this information, even if it is not required.

During the development of the Wisbroek feeds, we conducted extensive research and always included the above aspects. All Wisbroek feeds have been developed with the idea to imitate the natural diet of the birds as well as possible and to cover all nutritional needs. We focus on diversity, as many different raw materials as possible are used, which are combined in an extruded pellet containing all necessary nutrients, resulting in a balanced diet.

If you have any further questions, we would be happy to advise you. Please contact us via info@wisbroek.com.

Wisbroek Ibis-Flamingo Floating – Role played in Scarlet Ibis nutrition

Immune system

As many scientific articles of our days mention, the carotenoids present in the egg yolk will play a key role on the future immunity system of the young hatchling. When the formation of the egg occurs, all needed nutrients, minerals etc will come from the female. We immediately think of the calcium of course, for the good shape of the shell. But there are more things that proved to be essential for the good development of the embryo. One of the main sources of these ingredients is the feed. Each bird species processes their feed differently of course. Therefore, on this article I will talk about the scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber).

This marvelous bird is known from his beautiful scarlet color. Color that comes from the carotenoids ingested with the feed. This pigmentation of the feathers, when provided without artificial supplements, will tell perfectly the breeding stage of the birds. Before the breeding season they should start to enhance their scarlet colors and when the mating season arrives, they will have a fantastic plumage. After, its crucial to see the females losing the coloration slowly on the head and neck. Why? Because that’s the ovulation period and the carotenoids are going to the yolk, just as we want! When we give artificial supplements, the birds will have a strong color all the time, but in reality, they are not processing the carotenoids well and for sure they will have infertility problems and neonatal deaths mainly due to a weak immunity system of the chicks. We have to keep in mind that the natural color of a scarlet Ibis is not a shiny metallic artificial red. When we look to the natural color of the bird it’s so fantastic that when we compare this to the ones that take artificial supplements, they will look strange.

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Breeding results

That is why the Wisbroek team is constantly performing research and we would like to say that we have developed a spectacular feed for these birds. We add synthetic carotenoids (like B-carotene, canthaxanthin, lutein, …) to reach a certain level. But also, we select raw materials (spirulina, corn, linseed, krill, …) that are rich in natural carotenoids. So, we create a high and diverse level that meets the nutritional needs of the birds. Our Wisbroek Ibis-Flamingo Floating feed is now being fed in many top Zoos with fantastic results. There were even official tests made that gave us a podium position on these kind of feeds. Recently in a strong cooperation between the Wisbroek team and nutritionist Eng. Ana Saraiva of Lisbon Zoo (one of the oldest zoos in Europe with more than 100 years of existence), after an intense exchange of knowledge and the introduction of our feed, the feather condition of their scarlet Ibis had an outstanding improvement. We are now partners which makes us proud.

At Wisboek our breeding results are fantastic. In a group of 40 birds we have now 7-8 nests and every year we breed between 50-60 in 2 clutches. The percentage of success of the hatching is around 97%. In parent rearing we have survival rates of the young’s above 80%. Of course, the husbandry is important, but I believe that 50% of the success is achieved by the feed. They eat exclusively our pellets (Wisbroek Ibis-Flamingo Floating) dry. No fish or meat is added. As a Research & Development Center, we also examine infertile eggs, when we have them. We open these eggs to check the condition, and we saw all the time a beautiful strong orange yolk. Therefore we conclude that the right carotenoids metabolism is being processed.

Mealworm nutrition – How important this can be for the health of the birds

Mealworms

Mealworms are an excellent source of protein for your birds. Live mealworms are packed with protein and moisture and are an excellent bird food. However when we buy them it’s really difficult to know exactly what was feed to them before. And from one perspective yes, they are “bags” of protein, but these “bags” can also carry more undigested feeds that might be not good for our birds nutrition.

With this in mind, we at Wisbroek, as soon as we buy the live mealworms, put them on a diet for 5 days of 70% Wisbroek Softbill Diet 7.0 and 30% Wisbroek Ibis-Flamingo Floating pellets. Both soaked in water. And why soaked? Because if the mealworms don’t have the proper humidity they will start the metamorphose to the next stage and we don’t want that. Normally it’s given apples and carrots to provide the needed water, but if the pellets are soaked, there’s no need to do it. And because of the manufacturing of our pellets they will soak the water but stay in the original shape of a ball. Just a little bigger. It takes more than 2 days to turn into pap which give the mealworms enough time for eating all pellets.

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2 kinds of pellets

You might wonder why we mix these 2 kinds of pellets (Wisbroek Softbill Diet and Wisbroek Ibis-Flamingo Floating)? The Ibis-Flamingo pellets contain Canthaxanthin from the spirulina algae. So this will be a natural source of carotenes that will not be digested from the mealworms and will be carried by them as a vessel and eaten by the birds. That will give the birds small but enough quantities of carotenes that will enhance their colors! All the things that we don’t want to give to the Softbills like the fish oil present on the Flamingo food, the mealworms will digest! Then with 70% of Wisbroek Softbill Diet the mealworms will carry all the necessary nutrients that our bird needs.

It’s known how difficult it is to make an insectivore bird eating a pellet, but it’s also clear for us that our Wisbroek Softbill Diet is perfect for their nutrition! So feeding these pellets through the mealworms is how we provide the birds the necessary nutrients to thrive. And it works perfectly!

I strongly believe that nowadays even with the best feed (which we believe we have), it’s crucial to provide also advice in the nutritional husbandry. Because we can offer the perfect feed, but if the bird doesn’t eat it, that’s a problem. The Wisbroek team is continuously researching to find the best feeding techniques and we are always available to share this knowledge with all the bird technicians around the world!