proper distance for full spectrum lighting

by Irene
(Spring Hill, FL USA)

I have a Meyer's Parrot and a cockatiel housed in separate cages that are next to each other. The cockatiel is 10 years old and the Meyer's is 8 1/2 years old. Both are in good health - they had a full exam by my NJ avian vet in Sept 2008.

I recently moved from NJ where my birds cages were next to a window. I now live in FL and the birds are on an inside wall approximately 20 feet from a sliding glass door which opens onto a covered lanai and then out to the screened pool area.

I am concerned that they are not getting enough natural light. Their cages are very difficult to move across the carpet and over the threshhold to get them outside for natural sunlight.

I recently purchased two hanging full spectrum light fixtures, designed for birds. I would like to know what is the proper distance these lights should be hung from the birds cages? My husband is concerned the birds might develop cataracts and disagrees with the recommendation that came with the lights (that they be hung approximately 2 inches above the cage).

I would also like to know what length of time these lights should be on? Should I be concerned about the heat the lights may generate?

I have done some research on the internet (that's how I found this site) and frankly, I am confused with the information that is out there. Some of it is very old (1999) and much of it directly contradicts other information. It seems the light manufacturers have an entirely different take on the proper distance from the cage vs. the bird keepers and other interested, but not necessarily formally trained avian enthusiasts. Hence, my questions to you.

Thank you for your time and expertise.

New FL resident.

Comments for proper distance for full spectrum lighting

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Feb 10, 2009
Proper distance for full spectrum bulb
by: The Vet

The lights should be at least 12 inches away and up to 18 inches is still effective. Your husband is correct, 2 inches is too close. AND it could cause corneal damage.

They should be on in the morning for a couple of hours and later in the day for a couple of hours. 4-6 hours total per day is ample. They should not produce much if any heat.

Dr. B

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