Elevated serum iron parameters were lowered through dietary manipulation in captive Raggiana bird of paradise (Paradisaea raggiana). Study birds were part of a captive breeding program consisting of two males and one female, captive born, 3.5–9 yr of age. Serum iron, total iron binding capacity (TIBC), percentage saturation, body weight, albumin, aspartate aminotransferase, and hematocrit were monitored at regular intervals for 2.5 yr. Routine diet consisted of a variety of fruits, vegetables, a multivitamin supplement, and a commercial low iron avian pellet, with a dietary iron content of 55 mg/kg (dry matter basis) or 1.12 mg iron/bird/day. Dietary treatment involved removal of the commercial avian pellet for 30 days at 6-to 12-mo intervals, resulting in an iron content of 42 mg/kg (dry matter basis) or 0.64 mg iron/bird/day. Average serum iron and TIBC were decreased by 75% (TIBC) to 80% (serum iron) of pretreatment values after one 30-day treatment. Average iron saturation levels were lowered by 10% of pretreatment values after one 30-day treatment. Average hematocrit, albumin, aspartate aminotransferase, and body weight remained unchanged. No adverse effects were noted through the 2.5-yr evaluation period, and breeding behavior was undisturbed. Periodic removal of low iron commercial pellets in the diet of captive bird of paradise is a safe and effective method for lowering serum iron values without need for handling. Periodic application of this technique may be useful as a preventive tool to maintain appropriate serum iron values in avian species susceptible to iron storage disease.
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