Testing a vitamin supplement paste in Jackass Penguins (Spheniscus demersus)


Nijboer J, Dierenfeld ES, Lindemans J. 1999. Testing a vitamin supplement paste in Jackass Penguins (Spheniscus demersus). In Proceedings of the Third Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition, AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, Columbus, OH.


According to the literature, piscivorous species fed dead, frozen fish in zoos have been shown to require supplemental vitamin E and thiamin (Engelhardt and Geraci, 1978, Robbins, 1993). The Rotterdam Zoo supplemented jackass penguins (Spheniscus demersus) with extra vitamins since 1991 by injecting liquid vitamins into the defrosted pilchards (Sardina pilchardus), mackerel (Scomber scombrus) and herring (Clupea harangus) fed to the birds. In 1996, Mazuri Fish Eater Tablets (Mazuri Zoo Foods, Essex, UK) replaced the liquid supplement, but were found to be more labor-intensive than the liquid supplement. A trial was initiated in 1999 to add a paste formula supplement (ThiaminE, Stuart Products, Inc., Bedford, TX, USA) to the defrosted herring and mackerel. Circulating vitamin concentrations were monitored before and after the supplement change. Implications of the resulting physiological parameters, as well as the method of supplementation, will be discussed and compared with the available literature.

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