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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been using full spectrum lighting for my birds for as long as I've had birds. Sunday I bought a brand that I had never bought before. Zoo Med Repti-Sun. They were 3 times more expensive than any of the other lights I have bought. I used one for Buddy and Harriet when I set them up in a breeding cage. The manufacturer suggested that the light had to be 18" away from the birds in the "burn in period". I actually allowed a little extra space to be on the safe side. Well within a day and a half of using these lights Buddy and Harriet were on the bottom of the cage, eyes closed shaking their heads. Since I have another pair in the same exact setup except for the light I figured that must be it. I shut off the lights and misted them (which they really enjoyed). I have kept a close eye on them and have been very concerned that they continued to keep their eyes closed. I spoke to my Avian Vet this morning and was advised to not use those lights. Apparently they have been linked to cataracts in birds. He says they probably got a sunburn on their eyes and eyelids. He suggested to continue misting every couple of hours. They are opening their eyes a little bit this morning so I think I have dodged the bullet. Whew! Since I had never heard of this kind of thing happening and it certainly has never happened to me before I thought I would post it. To warn people who may be considering using these lights and I'm curious if anyone else has had this kind of thing happen.
 

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just keep up on the misting i also talked to my avian vet in windsor she said the same thing misting
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok Cool! It seems to be helping. It will probably be a couple of days before they are back to normal. They are getting around in there and I had put food and water on the floor of the cage when I saw that they were hanging around down there but they are getting to the food dishes and their sleeping perch. and they open their eyes a little on occasion so I think they will be fine. It just makes me so mad that even following the manufacturers instructions I could have damaged my birds. I bought two of those bulbs and had only put one to use. They are going back to Petco. At $49 ea. I'm not going to just toss them and consider it a lesson learned. They are going to get an ear full as well.
 

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Id be contacting the manufacturer and complaining

Demand they not be used for birds at all!


Petco will prob. just give you a bunch of " I'm sorry's"


Glad they're doing better :)
 

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Zoo Med Repti-Sun.
Reptile lights should NOT be used with birds. If you want to use a full spectrum light, get a bulb that's made for birds (or at least one that's NOT made for reptiles) and educate yourself on proper usage. It's best to err on the side of caution, since excessive or improper use of any full spectrum light can cause cataracts or burns.

There's an excellent website at http://users.mis.net/~pthrush/lighting/index2.html A couple of the more important subpages are at http://users.mis.net/~pthrush/lighting/spectrum.html (this one talks a lot about reptile lights) and http://users.mis.net/~pthrush/lighting/uvmyth.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you! I saw those tielfan I've come to the conclusion that I will use Vita-lite from now on. It more closely represents natural light than just about anything tested. They work well for several years as these bulbs lose the lower range after about 6 months and they are about 1/2 the price to boot. Harriet is opening her eyes more now. One eye is completely open and she's opening the other on occasion. Buddy rushes towards the mist every time I go in there to spray. I think they are going to be fine but it has been a tense day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Forgot to mention I e-mailed Zoo med and haven't heard back yet and I found a Petco website that said not to look directly at the bulbs since they emit UV radiation. I'll be sure and tell my birds that.
 

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I found a Petco website that said not to look directly at the bulbs since they emit UV radiation.

The whole point of using the bulbs is to get the vitamin D-producing benefit of the UVB radiation. Birds' eyes are better protected from the harmful effects than human eyes are, but it still shouldn't be overdone.

Correction: birds get the vitamin D-producing benefit of UVA radiation, not UVB. UVB is more intense than UVA and should be avoided in a bird light. Reptiles DO need UVB so reptile lights emit it.
 

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I know I tend to oversell the benefits of aloe, but I know how much it helps sunburn, and aloe juice in misting water doesn't seem to bother my boys' eyes, they don't even close them when I spray them. Perhaps that could help?
 

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oh man sue im so sorry that happened...u must have been so worried!!! i agree with the complaining...i mean the birds could have been seriously injured....hugs to you, harriet and buddy....you make sure you tell them for future notice not to look at the lights :p it all seems so clear....im sure it would be just as easy to explain that to reptiles too!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
They seem better this morning. I've already given them a morning mist. They both have one eye open. So between the two of them they have two good eyes. I really think they will continue to improve. By tomorrow this will all just be a bad memory!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Even better now. Buddy has both eyes open and Harriet is starting to open her other eye more! It's strange...they seem to be more bonded now. Buddy was having sex with her but he didn't seem to dote over her the way he did Fawn. Last night when I went in there they were preening each other. Something I had only seen him do with Fawn before. Could it be this trauma that they went through together has made them closer? I hope so. I'm so glad are coming thru the other side of it. So far I can't see any permanent damage.
 

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This is sort of a cross-posting so some of you might have seen it on a different board!

The instructions for some bird lights recommend using them 10-12 hours a day. But you might want to consider a much shorter exposure period. Full spectrum lighting is controversial, and the risks, benefits, and long term effects have not been researched adequately. Many people take a "middle of the road" approach by using the lights for something like four hours a day (or a bit more or a bit less). These lights are meant to mimic the noonday sun and natural sunlight isn't set at "full noon" for twelve hours a day, so this approach makes sense to me.

I have a Feather Brite light but mostly use it on cloudy days and just for a couple of hours at a time. The cage is big and the light only covers half of it. So the tiels can get away from the light any time they want to, just as outdoor birds can hide in the shade of a tree. Lately I've started taking the tiels outside in portable cages for half an hour a day when the weather is nice. I have to sit out there with them because there's a high predator risk in the back yard! Birds can get vitamin D3 from their diet (especially pellets, it's harder to get from natural foods) so none of this absolutely essential if they have a good diet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The eat pellets for about 30% of their diet. I'm switching to 18" Vita-lite tubes. They are more intense in the middle of the tube and they will only cover half the cage. I feel more comfortable using those. When you pair that with the fact that they are good for years and the bulbs are no good after 6 months.
 

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I have been looking at the Feather Brite bulbs too... I do have a bulb in the lamp now that is the "day light" bulb, I also have the lamp on a timer, it is just a cheap WalMart floor lamp that has 3 shades, so was thinking about putting a 15w full specturm light bulb in one of the shades and turning it on for a while each day, especially now that the days are so short.

Glad Buddy and Harriet are doing better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The tubes last much longer and you can and you can buy an inexpensive fixture at Wal-Mart for about $10. Then the tubes I think are about $14. The tubes last for years.
 

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SweetSue are u talking about the tubes that are the energy efficient bulbs? Are they the ones that have mercury in them? You have to be VERY careful if one should break because of the mercury. I had a couple and once I heard about the mercury, I threw them out.

Would it be possible to rig up my aquarium light with a Full Spectrum bulb? I am wondering exactly which bulbs to use. :confused:
 

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sweetrsue: I have been using Vita-lite in my cages for a few weeks now. My birds seem to be doing great with it.

birdie21: If you could tell me what kind of aquarium you have and what you want the full spectrum lights for (growing live plants, etc.) maybe I could help.
 
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