Danger of Redstone and other Grit types
Here is a brief report on the problems in my 2011 breeding, especially in the first round, where only one egg was laid and then nothing. Fortunately, I was able to find the cause, and although some issues remain unanswered, fortunately recovery was complete by the second round, which this report confirms.
My first round went completely wrong. I paired 65 pairs, and within a week I had 60 litters. The preparation must have been perfect, otherwise the birds will not build nests and so on. After a few days, 53 pairs had laid a nest and ONE egg. The next day I went to collect eggs again, and to my surprise, almost all the females that had laid an egg had not laid anything. This was strange and I quickly got scared. The next day I went to take a closer look and sure enough, what I feared was true: again nothing had been settled. With tears in my eyes I started looking for the cause, called for days and searched the internet for hours, but found nothing, or at least something about redstone!
Then I woke up. When buying 25 kg of grit I noticed that this grit was red. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice this until I had provided it to my birds. Until I found an article on the internet that stated how harmful too much redstone can be for small songbirds. Then I analyzed the grit further and discovered that there was almost no oyster grit and stomach gravel mixed in. This must have been the mistake. An excess of redstone, combined with a shortage of oyster grit, has stagnated the calcium production in the birds, with the result that the birds could only produce one egg.
I immediately threw away all the old grit, bought new sustainable one and gave it to the birds. And what I hoped happened: the birds made nests again and laid beautiful eggs, some even with 6. Unfortunately, about 6 pupae were so disordered that they no longer did anything. All in all, this joke cost me about 100 birds. Fortunately, I managed to grow well in the second round and entered a third round with a large number of them, which all went reasonably well. I was still able to breed about 190 birds.
It is also important to know that redstone has an influence on the intestinal system; it causes lazy bowels, and that’s not good either. It has the same effect, but greater, as charcoal that is also given by some growers.
Conclusion: I will never buy grit for bargain prices again. Some redstone is allowed, but too much is completely out of the question. Redstone consists of ground flower pots, roof tiles, decorative pots, clay pots, and so on. This contains many substances that are less good for our birds and more suitable for larger fowl. I think that’s where I went wrong too. Did I purchase the wrong bag? Or was a bag created incorrectly? These are all questions that I cannot answer. I do know one thing: I try to exclude redstone as much as possible. From now on I will buy good oyster grit and mix stomach gravel with it. In other words, an excess of redstone in combination with a shortage of oyster grit has stagnated calcium production in the birds, with the well-known consequence.
You see, you are never too old to learn (or should you pay more attention to your purchases?). And of course I can’t prove it, but the observation and the major improvement after using different grit have convinced me. That’s why I’m sending this article around to make other growers aware of this problem. Good luck with your birds.
Wout van Gils