Importance and management of light
In countries with mild climatic conditions and ideal for our birds it allows to raise them outside or with sufficient lightening of a room thanks to the present sun.
It is different in other countries and depending on when the breeder decides to mate his birds. Sometimes to coincide this period with holidays or others.
In this article, I describe solutions that I know to overcome the lack of light and give the right conditions to our birds following the different periods of their lives in our breeding rooms.
1. What brings the lighting
Appropriate artificial lighting can ensure the activation of vitamin D3 essential for the growth of young zebrafinch.
Vitamin D3 deficiency can result in a beak, malformed or soft paw. Conversely, do not go into excess vitamin supplement administration which will produce even more harmful effects.
2. What we are looking for by managing the light
This allows to be able to raise to the unsuitable seasons to recreate the ideal conditions. Simulate in some ways at best what will stimulate the birds to reproduction or rest.
In winter, prolonging the luminosity may also allow more time for the birds to feed in order to withstand low temperatures (I think of the case of an outdoor breeding).
Conversely decreasing the length of the day can help calm a bird. For example a male too excited that destroys the nest to start a new egg. Give him a break in a dark place, may temper him before another attempt.
Changes in brightness duration between 2 periods must be progressive. A sudden change can cause false moult or unusual behavior. A change of 5 minutes a day is appropriate. You will notice as and when changes in behavior, excitations during the increase of this duration.
3. Solutions for managing light
a) Cycle with 2 programmers and 1 night light
The most economical will be to use 2 programmers (mechanical or electronic) and a night light.
The mechanical programmers get out of control in time, so I recommend the more precise electronic model.
So let's start on a cycle set up with this material. 1 managing the neon (s) (programmer n ° 1), 1 managing the light bulb (s) (programmer n ° 2) :
- The programmer n ° 1 will manage the lighting of the neon or neons during the day either for complement of light or simulation of the day if you raise in a room not benefiting from opening on the outside.
- The programmer n ° 2 connected to (ux) bulb (s) will have for role to warn of the extinction of the neon in the evening and their lighting in the morning. It will choose low power bulbs adapted to the size of your breeding room and still allowing the birds to see enough to set up for the night.
- Finally, you can add a night light for night light to reduce bird stress.
So maintaining a regular cycle will provide important benchmarks that will help ensure the serenity of your birds.
On the other hand, good management of quality lighting is not enough on its own. For example, for an optimum preparation for mating the extension of the day should be accompanied by a suitable diet (richer in vitamin etc.) and baths.
b) Cycle with a dimmer
2nd solution more expensive but probably more reliable and comfortable to install a dimmer.
I advise you to choose a model retaining the settings (with an internal battery) and restart automatically by resuming the settings that you have carefully set up after a possible power failure.
The principles of light management remain the same as in the first solution described below.
Taking for example the dimmer that I own Besser Elektronik brand Gold Star model, you will have several interesting options :
- All times are independently adjustable
- Intensity of the lamps of the dawn and the bedtime is adjustable
- Possibility of extension or decrease of the day in automatic
- Lighting lighting for night inspection
- Light sensor (do not use, for my part, to avoid the neon blinking)
Here is an example of editing :
Installing your dimmer near the entrance / exit of your room will also be convenient.
4. Adapt the brightness time according to the periods
What periods should we distinguish ?
Rest, moulting, preparation for mating, rearing, weaning, preparation for competitions.
I advise you the following durations according to these periods :
- Rest: 10 hours
- Molting: It intervenes during the decrease of the duration of brightness (end of July, beginning of August), 10 hours minimum
- Preparation for mating: Go gradually (example: 5 minutes a day) to a maximum of 14 hours
- Breeding and weaning: 14 hours. This ensures a long feeding time for the development of young people
- Preparation for the competition: From 10 to 14 hours, the most important will be to avoid any variation of light duration to avoid false moult (Other factor can also cause it, see this article : False moulting, causes, effects and remedies)
5. Which neons are used ?
There are special full-spectrum neon lights designed to give the right UVA and UVB rays.
Be careful to change the neon every 10 months ! I have already encountered pecking problems and nervous behavior for not having changed the neon lights in this period of time that I advise. Aging neons produce a flashing imperceptible to our view but whose birds are sensitive. This can interfere with good reproduction.
According to the reference article cited at the end of the article, it is necessary to choose a neon color temperature between 5500 ° K and 6600 ° K. Using poorly adapted lighting, for example too bright (used in laying farms), can lead to repeated laying, which will tire your birds.
The light thus governs as we can see the behavior and periods that we want to impose on our zebrafinch.
Finally, well thought out lighting will highlight your birds, for your viewing pleasure. And will be able to see small changes in behavior, the consistency or colors of droppings, a paw or injured wing that can warn you to act quickly, thanks to good lighting !
Nevertheless, my feeling is that artificial lighting must remain a complement to a window or other opening to the sun.
Bibliography : Les bienfaits des rayons UVB pour les oiseaux de compagnie