Vitamin A – deficiency

Vitamin A - deficiency

Few people know that vitamin A – deficiency is one of the most common causes of disease in pet birds and budgies.


The cause for this is a unbalanced diet with (almost) only grain food.

The wild Well parakeets in Australia feed mainly on the seeds of various grasses and ground covers, but the budgerigar is not a pure grain eater. Beside the dry or also germinated seeds this also eats fruits and green plants. In the breeding season, he also takes animal protiene in the form of small insects.

While budgies in the wild get to know the fresh food through their parents, this is unfortunately not possible with bred budgies if they are not provided with fresh food by the breeder.

Thus it can happen that the budgie owners must accustom these first laboriously and with much patience to fresh food.

Unfortunately, it also often happens that budgies get exclusively grain food and only rarely or not at all fresh food from their keepers.


One of the first signs can be a hornification of the stands (hyperkeratosis). Tiny horny scales make them look as if they have been “dusted with flour”, which is then often mistaken for mite infestation.

According to this, a vitamin A deficiency also leads to diseased keratinization of the mucous membranes1 Nose, sinuses, goiter, esophagus, ureters, and renal tubules.

On the changed mucous membranes can then bacteria and fungi particularly easily settle and lead to multiple diseases.

Consequential diseases

A prolonged undersupply of vitamin A favors the following diseases:

  • Rhinitis and sinusitis
  • Ulcers of the salivary glands and tongue
  • Crop inflammations
  • Sole bunion ulcers
  • Overgrowth of the nostrils with breathing difficulties
  • Kidney diseases
  • Gout

Suitable fresh food

The precursor of vitamin A, so the beta-carotene or provitamin A, is found in green plant parts as well as in vegetables and fruit. This is then converted in the organism of the budgie into the required vitamin A.


  • Dandelion (1.3mg)
  • Parsley (0.9mg)
  • Stinging nettle (0.9mg)
  • Wild mallow (0.9mg)


  • Carrot (1.7mg)
  • Lamb’s lettuce (0.7mg)
  • Iceberg lettuce (0.6mg)
  • Celery (0.5mg)

➔ Nutrient content of green forage and vegetables.

  • Doris Quinten “Ziervogelkrankheiten”, p. 113
  • Dr. med. vet. Doris Quinten “Wellensittiche”, p. 5 + p. 73f