Cuttlebone comes from a cuttlefish. A cuttlefish is a squid or octopus type of fish that lives in the ocean, preferring the shallow, warm waters along a coastline. They have a short flattened body, a large head and tentacles. The bone is an interior shell and is composed mainly of calcium carbonate.
The cuttlefish can change colour and skin texture to camouflage itself and will also send out a squirt of ink to give itself time to make an escape if threatened.
Many cuttlefish grow to approximately 12 inches and most of the cuttlebone available for our pet birds is 6 - 8 inches in length. The average age for a cuttlefish is 18 – 24 months as they usually die shortly after spawning, if they manage to escape all predators & live that long. There are however some much larger cuttlefish that can grow to over 3 feet long. It’s hard to imagine a cuttlebone of that size though.
Thanks to Amazing Cuttlefish for the use of this picture of a cuttlefish. You can find much more information about this creature at this site.
The calcium found in the cuttlebone is necessary for our pet birds, and especially for the breeding hen. Another good source of calcium is eggshell, ground up to a powder. Lack of sufficient calcium is often considered one of the possible causes of eggbinding, a potential life threatening condition.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop by the Bird Forum anytime (see the most recent topics below).
After many years of pet bird ownership, I have decided to write e-books about the care of some of these wonderful birds.