I became familiar with a product produced by the HARI brand of bird products. HARI stands for “Hagen Avicultural Research Institute,” and it is a well-respected company. You can find the company and their products at their website here at HARI to read more about Clay-Cal™ and their other products.
I became familiar with this product through a representative at the Houston Parrot Festival and became intrigued.
While it is a simple idea with very few ingredients, the concept is wonderful. When I talk about it at my presentations around the country, I explain it very simply as an internal facial for your bird.
Let me explain what I mean. Have you ever had a clay masque facial? The clay in the facial masque draws out toxins from your skin.
This is a very simplistic way of explaining the product because there is more to it. Much more.
Perhaps you have heard of the Cliffs of Manu or Tambopata in Peru.
Parrots flock there every day to eat the the clay in the cliff outcroppings. Known as geophagia, the process of eating this clay seems to have numerous benefits to these wild birds.
Scientists have studied the clay and have surmised that they eat this clay as a way of ridding their systems of any toxins they might have ingested. Not unlike being given charcoal in the emergency room after having ingested something toxic, this clay has the ability to render any toxins in the system inert and allow it to pass through the system.
HARI’s Clay-Cal™ contains bentonite clay granules and calcium and is mixed at a healthy ratio to simulate the clay cliffs of Manu in Peru.
There are many benefits to this product including providing much needed minerals that might be lacking in a parrot’s diet. And of course you have the detoxifying effects of the product as well as the added calcium.
Now you might think that our birds are living with us in our homes and most likely aren’t exposed to any toxins. Well, this might not be the case. We are all exposed daily to pollutants from many sources. Clay-Cal™ actually passes though the digestive system and coats the lining of their digestive system. It acts as an antacid and lessens any irritation from biological or chemical exposure that might disturb the digestive system’s delicate balance. It actually aids healthy digestion by adsorbing naturally occurring toxins in the plant life they eat.
For instance, did you know thatquinoa contains a naturally ingredient call saponin that is bitter tasting which deters animal life from eating it? This is one of those toxins that occurs quite naturally in the plant itself. Another example of a naturally occurring toxin is the sap from poison ivy. You tend to stay away from it because it is toxic. And this is just what the plant wants. The sap evolved for self-preservation. These are just examples of naturally occurring toxins.
Aside from naturally occurring toxins there is bacterial activity on vegetables no matter how well you clean them. Some of it is going to go unscathed and end up in our bird’s digestive systems.
What Clay-Cal™ does is essentially render any toxins inert by “adsorbing” essentially simply surrounding it and passing it harmlessly though their digestive system.
And it isn’t just the toxins from food. You have perches, bowls, newspaper and many other items your bird is exposed to on a daily basis. If there is any sort of bacteria on any of these items that are a part of their daily life, it is possible that they will get some in their systems. Certain wood barks contain tannins that could interfere with their health. Well, Clay-Cal™ takes care of this.
And while you have all of this detoxification going on, you have that wonderful calcium and mineral supplementation happening when they eat it.
Seed diets are low in calcium. The addition of Clay-Cal™ into their diet boosts that calcium level in their system which allows for bone density loss prevention as well as a way to perhaps sidestep egg binding through their diet.
I like to visualize the Clay-Cal™ granules as little Pac-Man characters chomping their way through these toxins and bacterial and carrying them through the bird.
I think it’s a wonderful product worth looking into. I’ve used it for my African Greys for quite a while now. Have a look at their website, investigate more about Clay-Cal™ and see how this product might benefit your flock.
Note From HARI: "Clay-Cal is not a substitute for seeking medical attention. Should your bird develop symptoms of illness, consult your Avian Veterinarian.
Clay-cal should not be given to birds on antibiotics as the detoxifying properties would void the benefits of the antibiotics."
Ingredients: Bentonite (montmorillonite clay), calcium carbonate, charcoal.