Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Seeing Red All Around Me - Red Crises in the Aviary

Cornmeal mixed with Canthaxanthin

Red Ground Color Canary Nestling Egg Food

Cous cous, quinoa, poppy seeds, with palm oil and carrots.

Color Feeding Red Ground Birds

What a spectacular red color show all around me! As I admired the red blooming poppies and red cacti, I was reminded that I needed to reorder my birds some more bogena intensief, to continue their color feeding.

Bogena intensief is my favorite red coloring agent. To a large 500 g size bogena, add 50 grams (9 bogena container dippers) of canthaxanthin. One dipper of this well mixed mixture is then added to one cup of my nestling egg food and feed first thing in the morning, once a day, every day. I have been very happy with the well colored flight feathers which are colored even to the tip and the deep even coloring throughout the bird.

My friend, Doyle Johnson, always orders enough bogena for me and adds the canthaxanthin to it for me. I have told Doyle that I am his "me too" friend! When I called Doyle, I was shocked to learn that Bogena was not available from Miami Pet Supply, our normal source. A quick Internet check only turned up one other US source for the 500 g size but instead of $60 expected price, it was $112. I just do not want to pay that as I typically use 3 or 4 of those containers each breeding and show season!

Over a diet soda, Doyle and I developed a plan. He still had plenty of canthaxanthin but how much should we used. We discussed my phone call to a good color breeder who uses only canthaxanthin and carrots. He makes large batches of color food by processing carrots in a food processor, adding the canthaxanthin, mixing and then adding flock raiser. Other breeders use the canthaxanthin in the water but we remember what a mess that makes!

After more discussion, we came up with a plan. To the large 500 g bogena empty container, we added corn meal, and the 50 grams of canthaxanthin. We will continue to use the one dipper of this mix to a cup of nestling food. But we will need to get more beta carotene into their diet. So I made my cous cous with the red palm oil and added grated carrots to it. Red palm oil is available in speciality food stores which sell African or Nigerian foods. I found mine in an Indian Emporium who has a Nigerian section and they even had three different sizes. For maximum beta carotene, add palm oil to cous cous after the mixture cools to room temperature to avoid inactivating beta carotene. Boiling can destroy beta carotene and after a while it can even turn the red palm oil colorless! I offer the cous cous mixture free choice in a separate dish and some of the cous cous mixture is added to my nestling food.

To know if the birds are getting enough coloring agent, check for a slight red color in the droppings. I am doing that now and perhaps I will need to feed the red nestling food twice a day... The good news is that our young potential show birds have not started molting their body feathers. Once they do, you can not change the coloring type or amount as that will make them uneven and worthless for show.

As I write this, I smell the smoker going. Pat is cooking ribs. You can tell good ribs by looking at the depth of the red smoke line which indicates the degree of smoke penetration into the meat! Guess I am still seeing red! LOL

Wish we could all sit down and eat some fantastic ribs and discuss birds!!

NOTE: TODAY, WEDNESDAY, I learned that Miami Pet has bogena in! I actually started this a week ago and at this point I am going to stick with my new plan!


lisashep said...


How much palm oil and cous cous do you use? I usually just put a few drops to the mix of cous cous, carrots, apple, and poppy seeds. I make about 2 cups of mix.

Is this enough palm oil?


Linda Hogan said...

I am using about a tablespoon to 8 cups cous cous, poppy seed, and carrot mixture. Have not tried adding apple. Be sure you are peeling the apple and do not use the core.

duxtri said...

Where can you order bogena intensief red in the US? I have been looking for this in vain.
Thanks, Steven