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Jaque
12-08-2004, 09:31 PM
I was curious as to whether ducks (most likely white peking,, due to availabiltity and familiarity) would turn pink (or experience any slight change in plummage hue) if fed supplements containing what flamingos eat (shrimp, blue green algae...a direct beta carotene supplement???)....the supplements would be mixed in with the regular food or water of the ducks. I'm hoping to prefrom a science experiment...but I will need more grounds before I can actually conduct it.

Valgard
12-08-2004, 10:10 PM
I don't think that diet is what makes a flamingo pink - there are plenty of other birds that eat the same foods and they aren't pink.

Milkman Dan
12-08-2004, 10:23 PM
I don't think that diet is what makes a flamingo pink - there are plenty of other birds that eat the same foods and they aren't pink.
Then how come flamingos turn white when they aren't fed their natural diet?

Shagnasty
12-08-2004, 10:26 PM
A flamingo is pink because of its diet but I don't believe that same diet will make other birds pink. A flamingo will turn white if it is fed other than its natural diet.

From here: http://thewildones.org/Animals/flamingo.html

A flamingo's pink or reddish feather color comes from its diet, which is high in alpha and beta-carotene. People eat beta-carotene when they eat carrots.

Shagnasty
12-08-2004, 10:28 PM
You could do what my little brother did to my grandmother's Bijon Frise. A bathtub full of cherry Koolaid will make just about any white animal pink for a while.

Tenar
12-08-2004, 10:29 PM
I don't think that diet is what makes a flamingo pink - there are plenty of other birds that eat the same foods and they aren't pink.


thewildones.org/Animals/flamingo.html#pink] (http://:Someone begs to differ.[/COLOR]

Tenar
12-08-2004, 10:30 PM
Whoops! Not only was I too slow, I screwed up my link! (It was the same as Shagnasty's though.)

Colibri
12-08-2004, 10:47 PM
The Master speaks: Are flamingos pink because they eat shrimps? (https://academicpursuits.us/columns/010518.html)

Now, while flamingos turn white if they don't get enough carotenoids in their diet, this doesn't necessarily mean that a white bird will turn pink if fed carotenoids.

On the other hand, at least some birds can have their color changed by fortifying their diet with caroteniods.

As I was quoted in Cecil's report:

“The plumage of canaries can be changed from yellow to red if they are fed paprika during molt.” This comes from Straight Dope curator of birds George Angehr, who says he got it from the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Ornithology. Knowing George as a kid would have added a whole new dimension to pet ownership.

Dunno if it will work on white Peking ducks. I suspect not, since I would think someone would have tried it by now, and I would have come across it somewhere.

But if you have some ducks, and lots and lots of carrots, go for it. Maybe you'll end up with Duck l'Orange.

Valgard
12-08-2004, 11:38 PM
Wow. My ignorance has not only been fought it's been slaughterized :-)

So does that mean flamingos are the only normally white birds that eat that diet, or that other birds just don't turn out pink despite eating the same diet?

Or that flamingos are the only birds eating what they eat?

Colibri
12-08-2004, 11:54 PM
So does that mean flamingos are the only normally white birds that eat that diet, or that other birds just don't turn out pink despite eating the same diet?

I wouldn't say flamingos are "normally" white. They are "normally" pink - a highly abnormal diet can turn them white. This is the case for a number of other pink/red birds, such as Roseate Spoonbills or Scarlet Ibis.

But most birds that have red in their plumage obtain it from their diet. I think if you deprived a Cardinal of carotenoids, it would end up looking very faded after it's next molt (though it wouldn't go white).

Or that flamingos are the only birds eating what they eat?

As Cecil's article mentions, different kinds of flamingos get their caroteniods from different kinds of foods - blue-green algae and shrimp in different species. But carotenoids in general come from plants (or algae, bacteria, etc.), and most plant foods contain at least some, not just carrots.

From here (http://astaxanthin.org/carotenoids.htm):

Carotenoids are a class of natural fat-soluble pigments found principally in plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria, where they play a critical role in the photosynthetic process. They also occur in some non-photosynthetic bacteria, yeasts, and molds, where they may carry out a protective function against damage by light and oxygen. Although animals appear to be incapable of synthesizing carotenoids, many animals incorporate carotenoids from their diet. Within animals, carotenoids provide bright coloration, serve as antioxidants, and can be a source for vitamin A activity (Ong and Tee 1992; Britton et al. 1995).

Carotenoids are responsible for many of the red, orange, and yellow hues of plant leaves, fruits, and flowers, as well as the colors of some birds, insects, fish, and crustaceans. Some familiar examples of carotenoid coloration are the oranges of carrots and citrus fruits, the reds of peppers and tomatoes, and the pinks of flamingoes and salmon (Pfander 1992). Some 600 different carotenoids are known to occur naturally (Ong and Tee 1992), and new carotenoids continue to be identified (Mercadante 1999).

Pullet
12-09-2004, 12:54 AM
This (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3615191.stm) is probably the most drastic color change you'll make without kool-aid on birds that aren't related to flamingos. I don't know if it's been tried on ducks yet. But it wears off when the adult feathers come in.

If you succeed, can I buy one?

Pullet
12-09-2004, 12:57 AM
Side note: Chicken legs and beaks are yellow because they pack spare caratenoids into the keratin. They aren't real picky about what caratenoids, though, so if you feed them red, blue, or green ones you'll have red, blue, or green legged chicken. Same goes for the yellow color of yolks. So, your red-legged hen will lay red-yolked eggs. Great for Halloween or Easter if you raise your own birds.

Chicken kisses

Pullet
12-09-2004, 12:59 AM
From my own link too! (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3615191.stm)

They color ducks!

It was the last line and it hid from me.

Colibri
12-09-2004, 09:22 AM
They aren't real picky about what caratenoids, though, so if you feed them red, blue, or green ones you'll have red, blue, or green legged chicken.

Interesting link. But just to clarify, the blue or green colors would come from pigments other than carotenoids, which normally give colors in the red/orange/yellow range.

From the linked article:

The dye, which the farm insists does not contain chemicals, is injected into ordinary chicken eggs a few weeks before Easter.

:dubious: Hmmm . . . a dye that does not contain chemicals would be quite an innovation.

Pullet
12-09-2004, 01:09 PM
But just to clarify, the blue or green colors would come from pigments other than carotenoids, which normally give colors in the red/orange/yellow range.


I got the impression from the professor who talked about this that the blue and green ones were synthetics. Could be wrong. I didn't do well in o-chem.

AskNott
12-09-2004, 04:24 PM
The chickens you see in the supermarket are that golden color because they were given feed that contained marigolds. I don't think it colors the feathers, though.

There are also araucana chickens, which lay eggs with blue or green shells. The chicks, if you hatch 'em, are not the color of the shells. They are very colorful, though.
http://ansi.okstate.edu/poultry/chickens/araucana/

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