Quite a statement! Yes, I agree but is there any truth to this? I’m going to share an experience and let you decide for yourself. Back in the late 1990s I managed a facility that housed and reproduced Psittacines [Parrots]. Many of the birds that where housed here where suffering from malnutrition. This seemed to out of balance relative to the quality and expense put into the construction of housing. The flooring was ceramic tile and valleyed to aid with water/waste run of while cleaning. These areas where pressured washed 6 days a week. The flights where large with all metal surfaces galvanized to human standards. The drinking water was delivered by stainless steel nipples. These birds learned to press a valve to start a water flow. The water was continually circulated with a U V cleaning system. Each of these buildings where up to 200 feet long with flights that where inside and outside. So, the birds were able to go
The first thing that was put in place was a very varied fresh diet. Inclusive of fruits, vegetable, nuts, sprouted seed and dry seed. The food was mixed in a cement mixer with a plastic bowl simply because of the volume that was prepared each day. A vitamin and mineral supplement was added daily.
It was not long before eggs where being laid. I would artificially incubate all the eggs laid. This is simply because it cuts down the risk of a virus getting into the nursery and it does increase production. I would use a process called candeling to monitor the eggs. Infertile eggs would be removed from the incubators once confirmed. Fertile eggs would be monitored during this process until hatching.
When eggs are laid they leave the females body at her body temperature. They quickly drop in temperature. This starts a process in the egg. As the fluids cool they shrink in mass slightly. This shrinking draws air into the egg creating an air sac in the larger end of the egg. The larger end simply because the pores in the shell are larger here. You candle the egg with a cool light and with this you can observe many things especially with a trained eye. Normally within 3 to 5 days a fertile egg can be observed. I started to observe something I had not seen/noticed before in some of the eggs while candeling. The air sack in the egg left a very consistent ring around the larger end of the egg. The eggs have 2 membranes. We will reference them as inner and outer membranes. The outer is attached to the egg shell and has a rubber like texture to it. The inner membrane which contains the fluid contents of the egg, sits inside with a slight attachment to the outer membrane. Where the air has been drawn into the air sack there is a separation between these 2 membranes and can be clearly identified in the egg. I observed a slight line of discoloration right around this ring where the 2 membranes where still attached. This was so slight that I did not really pay any attention other than observing it the first time. That lack of interest did not last very long. I observed that when this discoloration was observed in fertile eggs. The embryo would die at around day 10. At this time, this unusual trait had my full attention but what was it? The challenge I ran into was that nobody else could see what I was pointing out to them. In every case the embryo would die with very similar characteristics. My first thought was that I was dealing with a virus, bacterial or fungal infection. Nothing could be cultured or identified as such. So, the search began! I was using a well system for all water needs for the facility. Even though the water was filtered and cycled through a UV system I suspected that water could be the source. That ended with nothing found. The food was next in line. Changing sources and manufacturers. Again, nothing was accomplished for I was still experiencing the same problem. Next was to stop the mineral supplements. Again, nothing changed. Last resort was to stop the vitamin supplements. This time there was a change. It stopped! I could not see the same patterns in the eggs and the resulting death of the early embryo death stopped. So, what was it? Was it really the vitamins? Surely not. I left the vitamins out of the diet for a short period of time. Then to confirm that the vitamins had something to do with it. I started supplementing again. Sure, enough the problem returned, but why. At about this time a lab we were using made a surprising discovery. They found Zinc in the eggs that demonstrated the slight discoloration. So, the vitamins caused a detox of zinc from the females that was deposited in their eggs. The circle of slight discoloration I believe was a format of oxidization caused by free radicals reacting to the zinc. The birds where often observed honing their beaks on the galvanized wire. But why the vitamins and not the balanced diet. I think I just said it there!
In the early 2000s I found myself in Asia running a similar type of facility. Really nice construction for the birds housing. The soil in this area was extremely salty. Water from nearby ponds where used for cleaning of the flights. With a high salt content this had rapidly destroyed all the metal construction in early endeavors. So, with the more recent construction a very heavy galvanizing had been used and lead had been added to the mix. This treatment was so heavy that the normally flexible chain link wire was rigid. You could break off pieces of the galvanizing with your fingers. I asked to see any x-rays that had been taken from this group of birds. What was clear that there where particles of metal in their gizzards. These particles where being utilized like grit to break down food in the digestive track. You can surely guess what I was thinking. The production levels where extremely low and I thought I might have a good idea to why! I was mistaken as I saw no signs of heavy metals being passed onto the eggs. Sure, I upped the nutrition, hygiene and general management but I did not use any format of vitamins in their diet. These experiences have left me with a lot of thought and questioning over the years. I myself have been challenged with being Asperger’s. I of course benefit from the positive side of this journey. I just wonder how this was created?