As many scientific articles of our days mention, the carotenoids present in the egg yolk will play a key role on the future immunity system of the young hatchling. When the formation of the egg occurs, all needed nutrients, minerals etc will come from the female. We immediately think of the calcium of course, for the good shape of the shell. But there are more things that proved to be essential for the good development of the embryo. One of the main sources of these ingredients is the feed. Each bird species processes their feed differently of course. Therefore, on this article I will talk about the scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber).
This marvelous bird is known from his beautiful scarlet color. Color that comes from the carotenoids ingested with the feed. This pigmentation of the feathers, when provided without artificial supplements, will tell perfectly the breeding stage of the birds. Before the breeding season they should start to enhance their scarlet colors and when the mating season arrives, they will have a fantastic plumage. After, its crucial to see the females losing the coloration slowly on the head and neck. Why? Because that’s the ovulation period and the carotenoids are going to the yolk, just as we want! When we give artificial supplements, the birds will have a strong color all the time, but in reality, they are not processing the carotenoids well and for sure they will have infertility problems and neonatal deaths mainly due to a weak immunity system of the chicks. We have to keep in mind that the natural color of a scarlet Ibis is not a shiny metallic artificial red. When we look to the natural color of the bird it’s so fantastic that when we compare this to the ones that take artificial supplements, they will look strange.
That is why the Wisbroek team is constantly performing research and we would like to say that we have developed a spectacular feed for these birds. We add synthetic carotenoids (like B-carotene, canthaxanthin, lutein, …) to reach a certain level. But also, we select raw materials (spirulina, corn, linseed, krill, …) that are rich in natural carotenoids. So, we create a high and diverse level that meets the nutritional needs of the birds. Our Wisbroek Ibis-Flamingo Floating feed is now being fed in many top Zoos with fantastic results. There were even official tests made that gave us a podium position on these kind of feeds. Recently in a strong cooperation between the Wisbroek team and nutritionist Eng. Ana Saraiva of Lisbon Zoo (one of the oldest zoos in Europe with more than 100 years of existence), after an intense exchange of knowledge and the introduction of our feed, the feather condition of their scarlet Ibis had an outstanding improvement. We are now partners which makes us proud.
At Wisboek our breeding results are fantastic. In a group of 40 birds we have now 7-8 nests and every year we breed between 50-60 in 2 clutches. The percentage of success of the hatching is around 97%. In parent rearing we have survival rates of the young’s above 80%. Of course, the husbandry is important, but I believe that 50% of the success is achieved by the feed. They eat exclusively our pellets (Wisbroek Ibis-Flamingo Floating) dry. No fish or meat is added. As a Research & Development Center, we also examine infertile eggs, when we have them. We open these eggs to check the condition, and we saw all the time a beautiful strong orange yolk. Therefore we conclude that the right carotenoids metabolism is being processed.