Almost all birds need cuttlebone in their cage.
Apart from grooming their beaks, cuttlefish (bone) provide Calcium and a few other minerals necessary for your birdie's nutrition, health, and development.
Now, while you can purchase cuttlebone in the bird isle of virtually every pet store in the world, you can also retrieve cuttlefish bone from your local beachfront.
But the worry is ((or would be), is cuttlefish from your local seafront safe for your bird.
Well, for the most part, YES!
You only need to make sure it's disinfected to remove bacteria, plus to ensure anything buggy is killed or removed.
A lot of cuttlefish from the beach stinks to high heavens, the more reason not to offer it straight to your birds without cleaning.
If you get a cuttlefish from the beach that you think is fit for your bird, I suggest you first soak it in clean salted water and then rinse it in clean water or vinegar, then sun-dry it for another 24 hours before giving it to your bird.
Some people choose to wash and boil their cuttlefish bone, which is an equally smart idea, one that perhaps you should consider.
With that brief out of the way, please see the rest of this post for more insight. You may get a few surprise (and awesome) hacks and tips.
Is Cuttlefish Bone (from The Beach) Good for Birds
Cuttlebone (from cuttlefish) is about 85 percent Calcium, so it is an ideal way of increasing your bird's (calcium) levels
According to Haith's Uk, cuttlefish is considered a superfood for birds. They (feathered pets🦜🐦🐔🦆) retrieve the nutrients and use them during egg formation to thicken the shell.
That is away from the more apparent benefits of cuttlefish bone, including the provision of Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Zinc, and Copper for birds.
As such, regardless of the source, cuttlefish is indispensable in your bird's diet.
But just what is cuttlefish (and cuttlebone), and why is the source not a limit factor when it comes to feeding your birds?
Well, the less-than-accurately named cuttlebone is interestingly not a bone, but rather, the internal shell of a cuttlefish, a small squid-like cephalopod (big words much, huh😎😕😒).
And since you can get cuttlebone from any cuttlefish, even one you pick up from your local beach, then yeah, cuttlebone from your seafront should be good enough for your bird with ample dusting, boiling, and sun-drying.
Having said that, cuttlefish washed ashore is not a delight all people enjoy. It's more common a sensation in the UK than in the states. A few lucky folks from trips in Africa come across cuttlebone on the beaches.
So, don't stress too much looking for cuttlefish in your local area if they don't come naturally (though this is on a very light note).
How to Clean Cuttlebone (from the Beach) for Birds
I've mentioned (maybe one too many times) that cuttlefish bone from the beach is not unsafe for your birds, but you need to sterilize it to remove debris, bugs, and any potentially harmful organisms, like bacteria, fungus, and what have you.
For the best results, I recommend soaking the cuttlebone in salt water for 24 hours or so, rinsing it, then leaving it in the sun for another 24 hours.
Boiling or even soaking beach front cuttlefish bone in avian disinfectant should work as well.
Can You Wash Cuttlefish Bone
Yes, you can (and should) wash cuttlefish bone.
Washing a piece you've retrieved from the beach helps remove solid debris, such as dust, sand, and other hard particles that should not be in (and on) the cuttlefish piece.
Since you do not know how long the cuttlefish has been on the beach, it helps to clean it severally to catch as much debris as you can.
A good rinse after a quick scrub, and your cuttlebone should be ready for soaking or boiling, whichever you decide to do first.
Now, if you are curious to learn the finer details of cleaning cuttlebone, worry not. It's nothing too complicated.
What I do is start by removing loose dirt like dust and sand using paper towels, then dip it in clean water for a wash.
You may need to scrape off some area with a knife or scraper to remove tough debris and stains, but for the most part, the process should be pretty straightforward.
Now, I'm aware a few bird owners have reservations on washing cuttlebone, which is not a must anyway. So, you can lightly dust your's with paper towels then boil it.
Only that I prefer washing mine.
How to Dry Cuttlefish Bone for Birds
After washing and boiling your cuttlefish bone, you will need to dry it to both remove the excess water and kill any bugs that remain on the piece.
You want to dry it quickly because it can easily get fungus.
The best way (and how I do it) is to bake your cuttlefish bone in the sun for 24 to 48 hours. With enough heat from the sun, the piece should be sufficiently dry and sterile to place in your bird's cage.
Even so, on chilly winter days, when the sun barely comes out, you can dry your cuttlefish bone by placing it in a hot oven, but note it might leave a stench in your kitchen.
Where to Find Cuttlefish Bone for Your Birds
Cuttlefish bone is not too complicated to source, more so if your a looking to buy one.
You will find it in virtually every pet store around the world because apart from birds, it's also used as a calcium supplement for aquarium snails, shrimp, turtles, crabs, plus pet tortoises, chinchillas, and reptiles.
However, if you are thinking of where to get one from your local beach, I guess it depends on the neck of wood you occupy on earth.
I know cuttlefish bone is somewhat more common in the UK beaches, such as those in the South and South-West (Cornwalls), mostly washed up after a storm, but not so much in the United States.
They also wash up quite often in dotted beaches around Africa and South and South-East Australia (Victoria), but that is the much I know.
That's all for this article.
See you in the next one.
Have the most fun with your feathery pet🦜🦜.