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Discussion Starter #1
I've read that pigeons require exposure to unfiltered UV light. When I bought my pigeons the seller told me they need sunlight every day. I thought of making a cage to put them out on my balcony for a while each morning, but right now in Canada it's pretty cold, below -10C and -20 with windchill. Plus these days it's mostly cloudy outside and there aren't many hours of light.

I was looking at avian lighting options and I'm not impressed. One or two types of bulbs available which all require floor stands or ceiling fixtures. Almost all are made by the same manufacturer (Zoo Med) and are vastly overpriced due to the lack of competition. I keep reptiles, so I'm pretty familiar with lighting options for them. There's a much greater selection of reptile and plant lights available for a fraction of the price of the avian bulbs. I know that there are long avian bulbs available but they require a ceiling mounted fixture and for my setup they'd be too far away from the cage. Also, such lights are the most expensive option, between the cost of the fixture and the cost of the bulb.

For one of my lizards I use a mercury vapor bulb called a Reptisun 10. I have a fixture for it that sits on the top of the cage. The mercury vapor bulbs provide light, heat, UVA and UVB, and are guaranteed to last for a year. I realize that birds require less light intensity than reptiles do, but the dog crate/cage I'm using as a cage for my pigeons is a lot taller and larger (and open to the air) than the average glass reptile terrarium. If I used one of these bulbs for the pigeons, it would be on top of the cage in a corner. That way the birds could choose if they want to bask or stay in a cooler, shady area of the cage.

I'm not sure if pigeons require UVA and UVB or just UVA. There are other bulbs that only provide UVA, or only provide light and heat. I don't really need to give them extra heat because my apartment is at about 73F. So, I'd be ok with using a UV fluorescent bulb that doesn't emit heat. I would have it on a timer, so if they'd only need a couple of hours of light each day, I'd set the timer accordingly.

What kind of bulbs/fixtures do other people use? Is it really necessary to stick with the avian lights?
 

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I was doing research on available avian light bulbs. I checked the Zoo Med site and guess what? They had an article on their Avian Sun page that stated that their *full spectrum* reptisun 5 fluorescent bulb has been used by aviculturists "successfully for years". Price? $25 on Amazon, and it fits in any standard lamp fixture.

The Avian Sun 5 light they're pushing on bird enthusiasts now? NO difference in light output from the reptisun, but ONLY fits in their overpriced light stand. Price? $50 for the bulb, and another $70 for their fixture. They actually gave more details including diagram about the light spectrum emitted by their reptisun 5 bulb than they did for the Avian Sun, whose page and packaging didn't even specify full spectrum for that bulb.

Don't waste your money on the Avian Sun - it's the exact same bulb as the reptisun for twice the price, and you're gouged for more money for their glorified floor lamp. In other words - rip-off.

I'll be buying the reptisun 5, and using one of the many reptile cage top fixtures that I already own.
 

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I was doing research on available avian light bulbs. I checked the Zoo Med site and guess what? They had an article on their Avian Sun page that stated that their *full spectrum* reptisun 5 fluorescent bulb has been used by aviculturists "successfully for years". Price? $25 on Amazon, and it fits in any standard lamp fixture.

The Avian Sun 5 light they're pushing on bird enthusiasts now? NO difference in light output from the reptisun, but ONLY fits in their overpriced light stand. Price? $50 for the bulb, and another $70 for their fixture. They actually gave more details including diagram about the light spectrum emitted by their reptisun 5 bulb than they did for the Avian Sun, whose page and packaging didn't even specify full spectrum for that bulb.

Don't waste your money on the Avian Sun - it's the exact same bulb as the reptisun for twice the price, and you're gouged for more money for their glorified floor lamp. In other words - rip-off.

I'll be buying the reptisun 5, and using one of the many reptile cage top fixtures that I already own.
Cool! I'm glad I do not have to worry about that, my loft is separate from my house and the aviaries are positioned to face the south .
 

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Cool! I'm glad I do not have to worry about that, my loft is separate from my house and the aviaries are positioned to face the south .
I'm just in an apartment, and my two birds live as pets in a converted dog crate cage. My apartment on the 15th floor faces south and has a huge balcony. I can't build a loft on the balcony, my neighbours would all have coronaries and there are a lot of hawks and falcons around here. There's a peregrine nest a few buildings away. I've seen several species of raptor hunting pigeons and other birds outside of my window.

I do plan to build an outdoor cage for them in the spring. I'd rather they get their light from the sun naturally than by artificial lights. I'll put them out for a few hours each morning when it's sunny, but for their own safety they wouldn't be allowed out of the cage. They're Jacobins, I know they can fly but I'm not sure how well they can fly. I've only had them for a few days so far. Once they're more tame they'll be getting flight time inside the apartment.
 

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I'm just in an apartment, and my two birds live as pets in a converted dog crate cage. My apartment on the 15th floor faces south and has a huge balcony. I can't build a loft on the balcony, my neighbours would all have coronaries and there are a lot of hawks and falcons around here. There's a peregrine nest a few buildings away. I've seen several species of raptor hunting pigeons and other birds outside of my window.

I do plan to build an outdoor cage for them in the spring. I'd rather they get their light from the sun naturally than by artificial lights. I'll put them out for a few hours each morning when it's sunny, but for their own safety they wouldn't be allowed out of the cage. They're Jacobins, I know they can fly but I'm not sure how well they can fly. I've only had them for a few days so far. Once they're more tame they'll be getting flight time inside the apartment.
This breed will do fine in that situation, they are not real athletic. I have a sibling pair of jacobin and Indian fantail mix, I could not resist to see what the young would turn out to be, to my surprise they look not much like either parent and fly well with my homers. I probably should not have done that but I promised them I would keep them for as long as they live, so no breeding them or adopting out. What is weird is the hen fantail who's husband was the jacobin got off the eggs so I had to foster the eggs out , two eggs in two different nests of homers, one got raised in the homer loft and the other I had to bring inside and hand feed it to weaning , I put that young hand fed one in the loft and when they matured they picked each other to pair up with, out of all the other homers singles I had in there. They look a little like a saint pigeon.
 

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You can buy a calcium/D3 supplement like Calcivet or CalciBoost to give them the vit. D they need.
 

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You can buy a calcium/D3 supplement like Calcivet or CalciBoost to give them the vit. D they need.
Good idea! Though I thought they needed the sunlight for their bodies to absorb the calcium. I use Calcivet for my laying button quail hens, I put it in their water. I just ran out of it when I got the Jacs and ordered more. It will take a week or so to get here based on prior experience.

If supplements are just as effective, I won't bother with supplementary lighting. It can be a headache to figure out lighting and fixtures when you're arranging it for different cages installed differently (hung from ceiling, on floor stand etc.) That's why I didn't like the idea of buying the Zoo Med Avian light which only works with their floor lamp fixture. Overall, UV lighting isn't cheap. I buy a Powersun bulb for one of my lizards who needs high light, heat and UVB. One bulb costs $80. It lasts a year, but that year goes by really fast.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have a sibling pair of jacobin and Indian fantail mix, I could not resist to see what the young would turn out to be, to my surprise they look not much like either parent and fly well with my homers. I probably should not have done that but I promised them I would keep them for as long as they live, so no breeding them or adopting out. What is weird is the hen fantail who's husband was the jacobin got off the eggs so I had to foster the eggs out , two eggs in two different nests of homers, one got raised in the homer loft and the other I had to bring inside and hand feed it to weaning , I put that young hand fed one in the loft and when they matured they picked each other to pair up with, out of all the other homers singles I had in there. They look a little like a saint pigeon.
Right now I'm looking for someone who's selling a Jacobin hen in case my two turn out to be both male. I found someone selling a Jacobin male who is paired with an Indian Fantail hen. I wondered what their offspring would look like as well.

I also found a guy who's selling pouters. I'm not sure which kind but they're slender with a lot of feathering on the feet. I wondered what a Jac/Pouter cross would look like!
 

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It's also about their emotional well being and quality of life, light is over looked sometimes with indoor birds. They also have a gland in the eyes, The Harderian gland aids absorption of UV light into the retina and communicates with the pineal and pituitary glands to help regulate breathing, molting, and day/night cycles. If the bird can make d3 from their own preen gland from the light exposure they get just what they need and not excess which can be worse than not enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
This person figured out a good way to use the tubes without hard wiring them.
http://emilysbirds.com/the-birds/caiques/full-spectrum-lighting.html

Here are some reasonable bulbs
http://www.theparrotstore.com/fuspli.html
You don't have to use a special lamp for the bulbs. A metal clip on fixture works, as does the fixture they sell for the reptile heat emitters.

I have used the AviLux in a clip on lamp. Didn't cost all that much, and easy to put it where you want it.
I used to use the tubes when I kept a bearded dragon in a 40 gal long tank. I had to use tubes and a heat lamp. Unbeknownst to me, the UV tube failed after only a few weeks. I couldn't tell because it was still emitting visible light. As a result, the dragon got sick and by the time I realized it, it was too late and switching the bulb didn't help. The second bulb also quit after a week or so, because it turned out to be the fixture at fault. I don't trust UV tubes or the hardware store fixtures as a result. Now I keep a different species of lizard in that tank and I use a Powersun mercury vapor bulb at one end with no problems and far less overhead. For my pigeons I won't use a Powersun because they emit a very bright light and a lot of heat.

I tried finding AviLux but could not find a supplier in Canada. However, I did find a Canadian vendor who sells the FeatherBrite bulbs. Unlike the Zoo Med they are universal bulbs. Zoo Med's website states that their bulb will only fit in their floor lamp fixture. Since I haven't seen their product firsthand I will go with what their website says.

Today I found an excellent and detailed document about avian lighting. It states that UVB is both unnecessary and harmful to both birds and humans. They discourage fanciers from buying both the Zoo Med light (a repackaged reptile light) and the Avi Lux (which they also classify as a repackaged reptile bulb) because of the excess UVB they emit. Instead they recommend a combination of a fluorescent tube and a blacklight tube, and they provide details of brands that provide the proper lighting for birds. They also recommend the FeatherBrite as a compact fluorescent that provides the right amount of daylight and UVA, with very low UVB. Here's the link: https://mickaboo.org/confluence/dow....pdf?version=8&modificationDate=1371194812000
 

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It's also about their emotional well being and quality of life, light is over looked sometimes with indoor birds. They also have a gland in the eyes, The Harderian gland aids absorption of UV light into the retina and communicates with the pineal and pituitary glands to help regulate breathing, molting, and day/night cycles. If the bird can make d3 from their own preen gland from the light exposure they get just what they need and not excess which can be worse than not enough.
Well, in all the years I never came across that before! Good info, Lady G.
 
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