Full-Spectrum Lights

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Q: We breed cockatiels and lovebirds, and would like to significantly increase the numbers of pairs we have set up in our bird room. Because our space is limited, we will have to stack the cages. We have even considered the use of the box-type cages. We have no natural light in the room and, therefore, use full-spectrum fluorescent fixtures. We keep the fixtures very close to the cage so the birds get the most advantage from the light. If we stack our cages, how can we supply sufficient light without going to the expense of purchasing a separate fixture for each pair of birds? Would our ceiling lights be sufficient if we put full-spectrum lights in them?

A: With the use of ceiling fixtures as your primary light source, you will have a drastic reduction of light in the lower cages. Some pairs don’t seem to mind this; others might refuse to breed because of it.

It is not necessary in the situation that you describe to buy a separate fixture for each pair of birds. A single-bulb 4-foot fixture can be mounted vertically, either on the wall between two racks of cages or on the racks themselves. This method will give you 4 feet of light both to the right and to the left of each fixture. If your cages are less than 2 feet high, this should give you enough fixture length to light at least six cages: three to the right and three to the left of each vertical fixture. Please remember that even though full-spectrum bulbs have their benefits, they probably do not eliminate the need for vitamin D3 (“sunshine vitamin”) supplementation in the diet.