Posted by: calinnova | April 18, 2013

horse, Cat & Dog Mobility Supplements At Their Best

Ultimate Mobility Support

Injury prevention is always better than cure

Calinnova Ltd. is a proud ambassador of animal health and strongly believes that prevention is better than cure and that good nutrition is the key to keeping our animals healthy.  Our team of nutritionists have spent over 17 years perfecting effective natural formulas to ensure EquiFeast, The Birdcare Company, DrS and CROCdoc customers’ animals nutritional needs are more then met.

It is surprising to find that many animal owners do not realise that their animals’ joints, muscles and ligaments also require specific nutrition to work effectively and stay strong and healthy.  It is appreciated that as an animal ages, they generally slow down and stiffen up; however, many animals are unnecessarily suffering from pain and stiffness as a result of poor nutrition.

So, the team at DrS and EquiFeast set out to rival the top joint and horse mobility supplements or cat and dog mobility supplements and produced a product that not only supports the Horse, dog or cat’s joints but also its muscles, ligaments and tendons.  Easy Mover was born, a four-in-one supplement, unrivalled in quality and affordability on the pet and equine supplements market.

When a horse or any other animal goes lame, most would reach for a joint supplement like Glucosamine only but find it has little effect.  The chances are that the real problem was a strained muscle, tendon or ligament and a joint supplement made little or no difference.

EquiFeast’s and DrS Easy Mover are different as Easy Mover provides both a joint and soft tissue support. The joints (not just the leg joints but all of the joints throughout the skeletal system) are supported by soft tissues like muscles, ligaments and tendons. These areas of the body need nutrients to work as well as possible too.

EquiFeast and DrS’ primary mobility supplement, Easy Mover, combines conventional chondroitin, MSN and glucosamine joint support with high levels of nutrients selected to help soft tissues. The result is improved equine and pet performance plus savings on treatments like chiropractic, physio, bowen and massage.  Easy Mover is simple to use and deals with a much broader range of problems before and after the event and it’s cheaper than most ‘joint only’ supplements!  Not bad, four benefits for the price of one.

EquiFeast have a broad range of equine supplements designed to support mobility amongst other things.  You will find mobility support in the following EquiFeast products.

Easy Mover
Supplement targeted at both joints and soft tissues (tendons, ligaments and muscles).

Mobility Essentials
Combining Essential Daily Care with the ingredients from Easy Mover for comprehensive joint and soft tissue supplementation.

Comprehensive supplement for young competition horses and those doing less stressful work like dressage.

Comprehensive supplement for older  competition horses and those doing more strenuous work like show jumping, eventing carriage driving and endurance.

For more information about DrS Small Animal Supplements and the sort of products they do that can help your cat or dog visit:

If you want to find out more about EquiFeast’s extensive range of horse supplements, visit:

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Posted by: calinnova | January 26, 2012

Vitamin D – Not something your pets can do without!

Vitamin D – Not something your pets can do without!

How many of you heard this morning’s Radio Four’s Today programme on the vitamin D deficiency epidemic in Britain?  In fact, this news story is appearing on all major news networks.  It’s serious stuff!

If you’ve not read up on it yet, this link might be helpful:

With modern diet and life style, it is not surprising that so many suffer with vitamin and mineral deficiencies.  Most do not realise the importance of vitamins and minerals, in particular vitamin D; it’s something that we produce naturally as a result of sunlight exposure.   However, most spend all day inside stuck behind an office desk with no direct sunlight, we drive everywhere rather than walk and most cover up with sun cream before going outside (however, over exposure to UV rays are not recommended without sun cream).  Therefore, our exposure to sunlight is very limited.  Many of our pets also have a lifestyle that contributes to a number of deficiencies and like us, without supplementation, a deficiency is almost certainly inevitable.

Recent studies suggest that as many as ¾ of babies dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) may be vitamin D deficient, as are their mothers.  Recently, parents prosecuted for killing their own babies have been acquitted because post mortem tests reviled a clear vitamin D deficiency.  Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can manifest as broken bones and even bruising, it is these symptoms that may have resulted in many parents unjustly convicted of murder.  Pathologists now measure vitamin D levels in dead infants but how many mothers and fathers were jailed before they realised the importance of this link?

The BBC story highlighted the ignorance of many senior doctors – even those specialising in paediatrics.  Perhaps this ignorance also exists in the veterinary science community, the supplement industry is often criticised for its “lack of scientific evidence”.  Well the science is now there so let’s hope it’s now taken seriously.

One enlightened doctor on this morning’s programme pointed out that if you failed to give your lizard (you could read bird here) a vitamin D supplement or install appropriate UV light, you could be prosecuted for animal cruelty. The same doesn’t apply to humans!

At Calinnova Ltd (owners of The Birdcare Company, EquiFeast, DrS and CrocDoc) we have been banging on about the importance of vitamin D for nearly 17 years.  For many of those years we were gagged by the former owners of Cage & Aviary Birds magazine, who continuously published totally unfounded anti-vitamin propaganda.  Fortunately for your birds and our hobby, the current owners of the magazine are far more enlightened and the correct information is more readily available.

A couple of years ago, Australia TV personality and budgie breeder, Don Burke raised the importance of vitamin D and gave the hobby a boost as a result. Of course, his great revelation was something we in the feed and supplements industry had known all along but the positive publicity was welcome even if it was a bit “over the top”.

We aim to make more pet owners aware of the problems vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause and firmly believe that prevention is better than cure.  So, if your animals are mainly kept indoors (so cannot make their own vitamin D from the sun), make sure you use a good quality vitamin supplement or install a good quality UV lighting system!  We’ve gone one step further and installed them in our offices!  Our staff are more productive, happier (Vitamin D helps produce happy hormones) and our winter hours are far more bearable.

Speak to the experts to make sure you are giving your pets the best possible quality supplement and more importantly, the correct dosage rate.  We offer a FREE advice line, so are here to help you when you need pointing in the right direction.

EquiFeast Helpline: 0845 2301086*

The Birdcare Company, DrS and CrocDoc Helpline: 0845 1308600*

Call charged at a local call rate, it is not a premium rate number.

Posted by: calinnova | December 20, 2011

Thank you Emma Coverdale for your fab cakes!

We love all our customers equally – but some are more equal than others. Thank you Emma Coverdale for the lovely present of cup cakes!! I hope your season next year is as great as 2011.

Posted by: calinnova | December 2, 2011

Breeding best Budgies!

Breeding best Budgies!

It’s not complicated once you know how – The Birdcare Company lends a hand.

Time to get the Viagra out

Dimmed lighting, soft music, cordon bleu food and a delicious bottle of wine, all experienced on a romantic weekend during springtime in Paris -just a few of the tricks employed by Englishmen to woo their sweethearts over the years.

But when we come to breeding our budgies the story is different. We wait until mid-winter, grab a cock and hen from their respective stock flights and put them in a cold, tiny cage. Then we give them the same old seed and expect them to get all romantic. Not surprisingly quite a few of them are less than cooperative.

Of course we could help ourselves and help them to get into the mood for love.

Let’s start with a few environmental things we can do. Budgies breed in the wet season which, in Northern Australia is the spring and summer. So, just like temperate climate birds, an increase in day length is a good indicator of the arrival of the breeding season. So a good lighting system with dimmer switches and adjustable day length is a good idea.

The Australian summer may be wet but the cloud and rain are not there the whole day. So some Arcadia full spectrum bird lamps are a good idea too to match the needs of a sun loving bird.

British winters are pretty good at providing the other key environmental stimulus – humidity. So there isn’t much you need to do about that. In theory some warmth would be welcome but is probably not at all necessary. A healthy modern budgie has plenty of feather for insulation!

Of course the real reason for breeding in the wet season is that the feed plants grow and change in their nutritional composition. The increase in vitamins, minerals and particularly protein are the key indicators to the adults that raising chicks is likely to be successful. The change in the plants is also enhanced by the arrival of lots more insects – and yes, wild budgies do eat live foods with their significantly better quality protein than seeds can provide.

So there is no need for drugs like Viagra to get your birds in the mood. But improvements in diet give all the right messages. See the “How to” section further down the article.

There are a whole host of other important nutrients and herbal nutricines that can help breeding too. Let’s start with fertility issues as this is one of the biggest issues with modern budgies. The protein certainly gets birds in the mood but it doesn’t necessarily get their reproductive organs working to perfection. Surprisingly oxygen can be the enemy here. We all know we need oxygen to live but it also produces a whole host of toxic “free radicals” in the body. To overcome these, nature has provided anti-oxidants like vitamins E and C. These work in conjunction with minerals like selenium and sulphur to mop up the free radicals with important benefits in both male and female fertility.

At The Birdcare Company we are the only bird feed or supplement company in the World to offer bio-available sulphur – we have been adding it to many of our products since 1996. And we are also the only firm to use the most up-to-date and natural anti-oxidant herbs and vitamins (actually designed to help premature human babies who are also very easily poisoned and damaged by oxygen). So the power of our package is unmatched by others.

So the birds are in the mood and their reproductive organs are on fire. But what else might they need? Have you ever noticed that most breeders lose more hens than cocks? This gives a strong clue that calcium is crucial for health because the calcium demands for egg shell manufacture are huge. The losses of hens have been with us for decades – probably centuries. This highlights that the traditional calcium supplements (cuttlebone and oyster shell grit) simply don’t work very well. Both of these are made almost exclusively of calcium carbonate. So when the makers of complete diets or complementary foods supplement their products with limestone (also calcium carbonate) it is not surprising that problems still persist. This is not only true of cage and aviary birds. We are finding calcium problems in dogs and cats and horses as we get more involved in other species. And even humans are suffering more as milk and dairy foods get replaced by more cereals and carbonated drinks.

So if calcium carbonate isn’t much good what is? The answer is highly bio-available “chelated” calcium. As the result of more innovative R&D we can now offer this approach in water soluble liquid form and on-food powder. Your choice. Of course calcium should always be provided alongside vitamin D3 and magnesium so all of our calcium supplements contain these important co-nutrients.

Get your calcium supplementation right and you will get lots more eggs, better shell quality (so improvement in hatching rates) and far fitter hens capable of more rounds (if you want to).

Calcium is the one nutrient that needs a little care

  • If you live in a hard water area and use tap water you may need less than our normal recommendation.
  • If you live in a soft water area or use filtered or bottled water you will need at least our maximum recommendation and possibly more.

Ring our free advice line or email if you are not sure.

Protein and calcium are important. But wet season diets are rich in all sorts of other important nutrients that help adults to breed and babies to grow into strong healthy birds.

  • A broad range of vitamins to help all sorts of biological processes in the bird. Not least these essential nutrients are required for strong immune responses.
  • Essential oils for brain development and strong cell membranes.
  • Bacterial and yeast probiotics to maximise gut function and support immunity.
  • Herbal health support to further boost both gut and immune function.
  • Limiting amino acids for strong muscle growth and development of quality feathers. In later life these nutrients help prevent obesity – the biggest killer and a major cause of poor breeding.
  • A broad range of trace minerals which, like vitamins, are responsible for a whole host of biological processes. The depleted soils that your bird seed is grown on these days is often deficient in these nutrients. Farmers are not paid to produce copper rich seeds so they won’t spend money on trace minerals in their fertilisers.

As you can see this list is far more extensive than just giving your birds a vitamin supplement. And as you have no way of knowing what nutrients are the “missing links” in your birds’ diet a truly comprehensive broad spectrum supplement is advised for all budgerigar breeders.

How to

Most budgerigar breeders keep their non-breeding birds in single sex stock flights. And most have lots of spare birds so that, when they want to start breeding, they have at least some birds in condition to pair up. Of course the birds that are in the best breeding condition are the ones that are at the top of the social “pecking order” as they get priority access to the best food. Inevitably these birds are not the ones you expect to breed next year’s champion from.

Out of the breeding season

So the first thing to do is cut down the numbers in your stock flights. If you don’t think a bird is good enough to breed from sell it. It is a waste of seed to keep it. You now have far less crowding in your stock flights. Even the birds at the bottom of the social tree will get to the supplemented soft food.

  • Out of the breeding season mix 50 grams (20 level or 10 heaped 5 ml teaspoons  – included in every pack of EasyBird) of EasyBird Rest Moult & Show with one kilogram of dry soft food. Offer about 15 grams (4 heaped 5 ml teaspoons) of dry soft food for every 10 birds in your stock cages six days a week. So long as this is all eaten you can dilute this with any other food you like.
  • For American readers mix 0.8 oz (9 level or 4.5 heaped 5 ml spoons  – included in every pack of EasyBird) of EasyBird Rest Moult & Show with one pound of dry soft food. Offer about ½ ounce (4 heaped 5 ml spoons) of dry soft food for every 10 birds in your stock cages six days a week. So long as this is all eaten you can dilute this with any other food you like.

If you think your birds are still a bit crowded also put Daily Essentials1 (daily) and Calcivet liquid [CalciBoost liquid outside Europe] (twice a week) into the drinking water. This ensures that even the birds at the bottom of the pecking order get a good quality vitamin and mineral supplementation.

Before the breeding season

About 4-6 weeks before breeding switch from EasyBird Rest, Moult & Show to EasyBird SuperBreeder. But use this new product at half strength. This is to give the birds the idea that the food quality is improving. So the instructions are now like this

  • Mix 25 grams (10 level or 5 heaped 5 ml spoons- included in every pack of EasyBird) of EasyBird Super Breeder with one kilogram of soft food. Offer about 15 grams (4 heaped 5 ml spoons) of dry soft food for every 10 birds in your stock cages six days a week. So long as this is all eaten you can dilute this with any other food you like.
  • For American readers mix 0.4 oz (4.5 level or 2.5 heaped 5 ml spoons – included in every pack of EasyBird) of EasyBird Super Breeder with one pound of soft food. Offer about ½ ounce (4 heaped 5 ml spoons) of dry soft food for every 10 birds in your stock cages six days a week. So long as this is all eaten you can dilute this with any other food you like.

If you think your birds are still a bit crowded also put Daily Essentials1 (daily) and Calcivet liquid [CalciBoost liquid outside Europe] (twice a week) into the drinking water. This ensures that even the birds at the bottom of the pecking order get a good quality vitamin and mineral supplementation.

Pairing up and breeding

When you select your pairings and transfer them to the breeding cages switch to the full strength breeding mixture:

  • Mix 50 grams (20 level or 10 heaped 5 ml spoons- included in every pack of EasyBird) of EasyBird Super Breeder with one kilogram of soft food. Offer about 1 heaped 5 ml spoon of dry soft food for every pair six days a week. So long as this is all eaten you can dilute this with any other food you like.
  • For American readers mix 0.8 oz (9 level or 5 heaped 5 ml spoons – included in every pack of EasyBird) of EasyBird Super Breeder with one pound of soft food. Offer about 1 heaped 5 ml spoon of dry soft food for every pair six days a week. So long as this is all eaten you can dilute this with any other food you like.

If you want to give your newly paired breeding birds an even bigger kick ahead start them on Potent Brew when they reach the breeding cages. Just add 3-4 drops to the soft food in each cage every day. This will boost their desire to breed and give the young chicks the very best possible start in life.

If you want to know more, why not visit our every informative website or call us for free advice on 0845 1308600

Posted by: calinnova | November 11, 2011

Calcium For Egg Production

Critical Calcium – It plays such an important role in egg production

Producing eggs for the family table is such a satisfying, back-to-basics, thing to do. But few people realise quite what the hen has to achieve to give you those eggs.

For a hen to lay an egg, she has to raid her resources for the protein, oils and other ingredients that go to make up the egg-yolk and egg white. But she also has to raid her resources to produce the egg shell and all too often, she does not have enough available calcium to make a shell, or to make it as well as nature intended her to.

An egg shell takes more calcium out of the hen than she normally consumes in a day. So it is normal for her to raid her calcium stores in her bones to obtain the extra calcium needed to make the shell.  Obviously if she keeps doing this, she will soon run out of enough calcium to do the job, with the result that she stops laying for you. And she can also make herself quite ill in the process of trying, so you may not only lose your egg supply, but lose your hen as well. If you see your hen struggling to fly or perch, walking with their legs well apart, or lying on the floor not able to move properly, she in all probability has a calcium deficiency problem.

A recent survey in America showed that 98% of admittedly pet birds, were getting less than the recommended levels of calcium in their diet! Calcium deficiency is a real and very common problem.

So if you want to keep your laying hens in fine fettle, producing many eggs for you over a longer period and not wearing themselves out in the process, think calcium. For this you need properly bio-available calcium. Unfortunately most products contain good old calcium carbonate (found in nature in chalk and limestone) which is not at all well digestible by the bird. So it goes in one end and out the other again, achieving nothing in the middle. Another low quality product often used is grit.

Birds of all types rarely go in nature to chew at the chalk downs or the limestone walls of The Cotswolds. It just does not work for them. So wild birds get their calcium in other ways, through the bio-available sources found in plants.

At The Birdcare Company we have been providing bio-available calcium supplements for over 17 years. Such products are a huge element of our sales each year, because people keeping all sorts of birds find these products make such a difference to their results.

So, if you are wanting to raise your egg production, keep it going for a while longer and want to keep your hens fit in the process, Poultry CalciBoost is the product for you.

Poultry CalciBoost is designed to be easy to use for backyard poultry. It is a powder which is easily sprinkled over moist food, such as layer pellets or kitchen scraps, to which it will then stick. Use it four to six days a week when your hens are laying. During the off season give it once a week to keep their bone supplies topped up ready for their next period of laying.

Check out our Poultry range on our online shop! Click here for more information

Posted by: calinnova | October 28, 2011

Calcium in birds

Why calcium? – By Malcolm Green of The Birdcare Company

Calcium is one of the most misunderstood nutrients in bird keeping. This article is intended to explain what happens when birds are calcium deficient and how to prevent this problem occurring.  But before we get to that it is worth noting that a recent American survey showed that 98% of pet birds studied were getting less than the recommended levels of calcium in their diet. Calcium deficiency is a real problem!

We will look at the role of this important mineral at three stages of the birds life cycle. Firstly breeding hens. Then growing chicks. And finally in adult birds.

Egg Binding – Prevention and Treatment

There are lots of old wives tales told about egg-binding in cage and aviary birds. Whilst a few cases have medical causes the majority of cases have calcium at their root. This part of the article is intended to explain how calcium is involved in egg-binding and how proper calcium supplementation can prevent its occurrence, increase clutch sizes and improve hen health.

When a hen manufactures an egg she draws calcium from her bones to make the eggshell. In a healthy, well-fed bird the bones contain about three eggs worth of calcium. A number of problems can stop the bones from providing enough calcium to make the shell and when this happens the hen has three options. In reality most birds will select a combination of these three:

1. Stop laying – calcium deficient hens lay smaller clutches. The reverse of this is that diets rich in bio-available calcium enable hens to lay larger clutches.

2. Produce thin or soft shelled eggs – these eggs cannot control their moisture content so most dehydrate and a few (in humid conditions) may water log. Whichever happens – they die!

3. Steal calcium from other organs – when this happens the calcium is removed from nerves and muscles. These organs need calcium to work properly. So when the calcium is removed they stop working properly. The hen is partially paralysed and cannot expel the egg. This is egg-binding.

Generally egg bound hens are found on the floor of the cage, struggling to fly well and with their legs well apart. All of these symptoms are caused by poorly functioning nerves and muscles. However these symptoms are not always present. I know of conures in particular who have been flying around perfectly well. But their owners have expected more eggs and sure enough, after an oral dose of bio-available calcium, they have laid an egg within a couple of hours!

The traditional veterinary treatment for this egg-binding is an injection of calcium. This works very well though it is expensive, risky and invasive. Oral treatment, with a highly bio-available liquid calcium/magnesium/vitaminD3 supplement, works equally effectively but is far cheaper and less stressful for the bird. Old-fashioned remedies like applying oil to the vent and holding the bird over a hot kettle do not address the fundamental problem. They are risky and unreliable.

As usual prevention is better than cure. This is achieved by addressing two factors:

1. Ensuring the bones are full of calcium – this simply involves a weekly dose of bio-available calcium to all non-breeding birds. For Eclectus and African Greys we recommend twice weekly administration.

2. Exercising the bones’ ability to quickly pump calcium into the blood – the above regime ensures this is achieved. By feeding both high and low calcium levels in the diet the bones are regularly forced to move calcium in both directions. This ensures that the hormonal functions involved in this process are working optimally.

Strangely, providing good quality calcium every day can actually have the reverse result to that you desire. If all the birds’ maintenance calcium requirements are satisfied from the gut then the bones slowly lose the ability to quickly pump calcium back into the blood. Egg-binding can result from this over supplementation.

When the hen starts to lay, she needs to replace the calcium removed from the bones so we increase the of calcium administration to five days a week. This keeps the bones topped up. We continue this frequency until the chicks have reached full size.

It is easy to see why this technique increases clutch sizes as the hen always has plenty of calcium and she is storing it and releasing it very efficiently.

Splayed Legs – Prevention and Treatment

This is another area were lots of theories are banded about by well meaning bird keepers.. Whilst a few instances have medical or environmental causes the majority of splayed leg cases have calcium at their root.

We are all aware of the role of calcium in bone formation. In the rapidly growing chick the bones are consuming large quantities of calcium. If the diet is deficient in calcium, or vitamin D3, there may not be enough calcium to go round the whole body. If the nerves and muscles go short of calcium they stop working properly. For nestlings this means that the leg muscles are unable to hold the legs together and support the chick’s weight.

For larger birds like ostriches, uneven muscle function tends to cause the leg to twist outwards at the hips until the toes point out sideways.

Leg rotations are virtually impossible to treat. Though proper bio-available calcium supplementation will stop the problem getting any worse but is unlikely to reverse the deformity. For splayed legs setting the legs into an appropriate splint and simultaneously treating with calcium will normally return the legs to their normal condition if caught early enough. Sibylle Faye’s web site has some information on splinting amongst its huge amount of bird keeping data (

As usual prevention is better than cure. The same regime described for egg-binding prevention will also prevent splayed legs.

Young birds can also suffer from other calcium related problems. Rickets (soft and bent bones) often accompany splayed legs. Slightly later in life young birds go through a period of hardening the bones up by increasing the calcium density. This is just the same in human children. If they are not getting enough calcium at this time the bones get all the calcium available and nerves and muscles again get starved. Birds will be weak, struggle to fly and perch, and, in extreme cases they may be so paralysed they can’t stand up. In many finches and canaries these birds are found on their backs. Again they respond quite quickly to oral supplementation.

Adult Birds -Nervousness and Aggression

All sorts of issues can be involved in aggressive or nervous behaviour in our birds. Perhaps the most underrated issue is also the most common – you guessed it calcium again.

Calcium is very important for nerve function. Without it the nervous system (including the brain) doesn’t work properly. People, animals and birds without enough calcium in their bodies will be frightened, chronically stressed and are potentially aggressive. Given a good calcium supplement regularly will restore good nerve function and calm the animal.

An excellent example of this is given in our story about a rescued Cockatoo whose diet was so poor that calcium deficiency was only one of its problems. This bird had been at the rescue centre for twelve months and they still could not put a hand in its cage safely! Just a week of vitamin and calcium therapy and this bird was being handled for the first time. This is an article well worth reading from our web site: (

The problem can also occur in birds whose diet may seem to be quite adequate. We recently had a call from a zebra finch breeder whose show team was far more nervous than the rest of his collection. The only difference between the two groups of birds was that the show birds were getting vitamins and minerals and the rest were not. We postulated that they were calcium deficient and recommended a regular dose of calcium. Within days the problem was fixed!

Of course the whole flock was actually calcium deficient. The vitamins were simply giving the show team more energy and vitality so they showed the symptoms more clearly. So, if you have any birds whose behaviour contains fear or aggression, try calcium supplementation first!

Why is calcium difficult to supplement?

All bird keepers have grown up with being told that all they need to do is give cuttlefish bone and grit to satisfy their birds’ calcium requirements. Unfortunately this is dangerous advice. Solid forms of calcium are very difficult to dissolve in water. And if it isn’t dissolved it can’t be absorbed into the bloodstream. This problem is made worse if vitamin D levels are also low or other minerals are present in the diet.

Very efficient calcium supplementation can be achieved with pre-dissolved liquid products which also contain vitamin D3 and magnesium (for muscle function). The products available do vary considerably in strength depending on the supplier. In the UK we have some products with just 5,000 mgs per litre right up to CalciBoost with 33,000mgs per litre! CalciBoost (or Calcivet as we call it in Europe) was the first product of its type in the European market and it is still the strongest more than five years after its introduction.

Want to top up your birds with some calcium – CLICK HERE >

Posted by: calinnova | October 24, 2011

Wild Bird Universal Winter Food

Wild Bird Universal Winter Food

Many will consider a good diet high in vitamins and essential minerals of utmost importance and wouldn’t dream of intentionally under nourishing our loved ones, including our pets.  We recognise the value of a good, balanced diet in both humans and animals.  However, during our tough, bitter winters, how many of us regularly feed our native birds with scraps of stale bread, fat balls or nutrient deficient wild bird foods?

Millions of well-meaning Britons do exactly this every year, without realising the potential harm they could be doing.  Certainly wild birds in winter need lots of energy to keep warm but they also require a whole host of vitamins, minerals and protein in order to fight off infections and flourish.  During the UK’s increasingly bitter months, our little wild friends often find it difficult to forage for food so it’s not surprising that as a result, many wild bird populations are in decline.

The Birdcare Company’s Wild Bird Winter Universal food uses the firm’s 17 years of experience in avian nutrition. We have developed a fully supplemented food that will appeal to a variety of garden birds from robins, tits, wrens and dunnocks to sparrows, finches and buntings, giving them everything they need to remain healthy.  You really will enjoy watching them go mad for the stuff!

Wild Bird Universal food has a broad spectrum vitamin, trace and macro mineral supplementation along with limiting amino acids and some superb health promoting herbs. These herbs support immune and digestive function whilst also protecting from common wild bird diseases such as coccidiosis.

Feed in a seed feeder for the tits and finches and sprinkle on the ground for soft bills like blackbirds, robins and dunnocks. Bring your winter garden to vibrant life!

If you are ordering products from EquiFeast or The Birdcare Company with a value of over £25 get up to 20 kgs of Wild Bird Universal Winter Food with no extra carriage charge.

Difficult behaviour, which includes stable vices like box walking, weaving, crib biting and wind sucking, can have so many different causes from back pain through bad teeth to poor saddle fitting. Ulcers are another, sadly common, cause of difficult behaviour. Surprisingly common is inadequate nutrition.

Supplements can use two ways to deal with behaviour:

1. Sedate the horse with herbal preparations.

2. Ensure the nervous system and brain is properly nourished and functioning.

At EquiFeast we are not keen on the sedatory approach as it merely covers up the problem and doesn’t get to the root cause. Ensuring efficient nervous system function works exceedingly well in many horses but only if the supplementation addresses all of the nutritional inadequacies!

It is our belief that if a horse has inadequate supplies of one nutrient it almost certainly has shortages in others too. This is why our Cool, Calm and Collected supplement is more broadly based than ANY other nutritional ‘calmer’ on the market. Indeed it contains ingredients that we believe are very important that are not included in any other products we know of. So its chances of success are much higher.

Improving brain function is rarely a quick fix. Horses still remember the circumstances that frightened them before the supplement so Cool, Calm and Collected becomes a training aid by:

  • building confidence
  • reducing distractibility
  • improving concentration

This makes it a training aid not a sedative. But this means that it makes a genuine long-term solution to many behavioural problems. And this means improvements in all sorts of spheres from hacking to dressage and jumping. We incorporate this technology in WINNINGEDGE and look what is did for Harry Meade’s Midnight Dazzler in just a few weeks – and how it continued to help this horse in all phases of eventing for months and years.

Timing can also be crucial n the early days/weeks of use. A very few horse exhibit mood swings as they struggle to keep a balance of nutrients in their system. This all resolves itself when the loading period is complete. For some horses this takes just a few days but for most 3-6 weeks is more common.

Customers have always been very willing to share their experiences with us so please feel free to read some of them.

Cool, Calm and Collected is a unique product. It is used differently from other ‘calmers’ – most notably in the fact that it is only used five days a week.

Posted by: calinnova | October 7, 2011

The Future Of Horse Calmers

The Future Of Horse Calmers

The horse calmer market will either produce a zillion new products confusing customers even more, or it will change dramatically and grow. The current market is certainly mature as it is no longer growing strongly and we are seeing all sorts of product differentiation going on. We don’t just have magnesium calmers, tryptophan calmers or B vitamin calmers any more. We have various mixtures of all these. We have chelated magnesium and inorganic magnesium and blends of these. We have magnesium with herbs and magnesium with probiotics and magnesium with tryptophan. In fact any combination not already in the market will probably be there very soon.

None of these variations make the market any bigger. These product differentiations are all about maintaining or nibbling away at market share. And in truth they do nothing to adjust the real balance of power which is dominated by a combination of retail distribution dominance and big promotional budgets.

The reason that the market will not get significantly bigger is because the technology is mature. All of the products work in a certain number of horses and fail in the rest. Our estimate is that the best magnesium supplements work in about 25% of “difficult horses”. The other technologies lag behind that. Or to put it another way existing calmers fail in about 75% of horses they get tried on.

Horse calmers are not yet in the “saturation and decline” phase of the life cycle. There are still a lot of potential customers who haven’t even tried one yet. But, exacerbated by the economic climate the outlook for calmers isn’t particularly rosy.
Yet not all products are constrained by the classical life cycle curve. Do you remember the original brick sized car phones? How many technological developments have come along and transformed the car phone into the hand-held mobile phone and eventually to the all-singing, all-dancing gizmos we nearly all carry whether we live in advanced countries like ours or the depths of darkest Africa.

And the secret to beating the life cycle trap is technology. Something has to come along that makes a significant difference technologically. It must make the product better or cheaper or more versatile. Chelated calcium calmers are exactly that for the horse supplements market.

Trials and careful product monitoring tell us that calmers based on organic (chelated) calcium work in about three times as many difficult horses as magnesium based calmers. That makes chelated calcium calmers an approach that can take calmers to another level commercially.

At the risk of oversimplifying things imagine the market for calmers in four quarters. Current technology satisfies about one quarter and three quarters of target horses get a relatively poor response.

Chelated calcium calmers have the potential to work in three quarters of difficult horses. There is some overlap with magnesium calmers so let’s imagine that magnesium retains its current position, calcium calmers take two quarters and one quarter remains unsatisfied. This means the calmer market is potentially three times its current size. That is a very exciting prospect.

So what does that do for the product life cycle curve?

It may accelerate the decline of magnesium and tryptophan calmers but this impact will be relatively modest. But it opens up a huge new potential market in horses where traditional calmers have failed. Even if this scenario is over-optimistic a doubling of the calmer market would be very welcome to most supplement suppliers right now.

And how does this fit into traditional marketing strategy? Perfectly. In the mature stage of product life cycles firms battle for market share by product differentiation. Tinkering with existing technologies simply juggles market shares a bit and possibly postpones the price cutting phase but introducing new technology (if it is good enough) revitalises the market and kicks the life cycle back into the growth phase.

The use of organic calcium supplements in horse calmers is a patent pending technology owned by Calinnova Ltd. (trading as EquiFeast) They are offering non-exclusive licences to manufacturers of horse supplements, feed balancers and feeds around the world. Manufacturers that are interested should contact them on 01453 836974 or email More information is available at or 

Retailers interested in this technology should use the same contact for details for existing products available to them.

Posted by: calinnova | September 22, 2011

Lethargy – The Great Evasion?

Lethargy – The Great Evasion?

By Malcolm Green – Research Director at EquiFeast

It is quite common for us to get horse riders commenting to us that their horse lacks energy. On the face of it this is a very sound reason not to consider a calmer. But you would probably be wrong if you thought that!

As with many things, a little serendipity opened our eyes to the fact that many horses actually use lethargy as an evasion. In my case, the lucky break was with my wife’s horse Joker. He had spent a number of years as a riding school horse – in fact he is the horse I had most of my early lessons on. He hated it and during that time he perfected two things. The first was an incredible ability to buck even the best riders off if he didn’t want to go on the cross country course and the second was a wonderful but unenthusiastic plod round the school. When Sally bought him he continued in his well-practiced ways.

Even when we started to develop our horse calmers, Joker was not a horse we regarded as a candidate. However, he was available and easy to experiment on so various different formulations were given to him. We noticed that he started to become far more co-operative! Both his energy levels and his enthusiasm improved. He started to learn better, move better and even win the odd unaffiliated dressage and show jumping competitions. Interestingly the bucking has also stopped.

Is it all in the head?

As you can imagine, riders with lethargic horses are not the most common people to knock on our door unless they also have other significant behavioural issues. However, one such springs to mind and that is Brooke Gardener- Wollen who came to us with exactly this problem and she was struggling to make the times cross country at BE 100 events. Within a couple of weeks loading with WINNINGEDGE Silver she found Bonmahon Bouncer was more energetic and they have ridden three double clears and picked up foundation points at every event since. Now they have reduced the amount of starchy feed they give as this was not helping and now it is not needed.

So let’s consider how this may be working. My first thought is that we have simply helped Joker’s brain to function better. This enables him to concentrate and be more co-operative. The calcium and magnesium in our core Cool, Calm & Collected nutrients are all designed to help brain function. It is also possible that we are helping the muscles too. The bio-chemistry of muscles and nerves is basically the same involving all four of the major cations (calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium). So correcting deficiencies in any of these has the potential to optimise muscle function.

Which of these is it? Well it is probably a bit of both.

Starch or fibre?

WINNINGEDGE worked for Brooke even when her horse was getting plenty of starch in its diet so starch appears not to have been an issue, although it can be. Soon after a horse eats starchy foods, the blood glucose level goes up. The automatic response to that is to produce insulin which pumps the excess sugar away to be stored as fat. This lowers the blood glucose levels. Dr Kathleen Crandell of Kentucky Equine Research tells us that if your horse is burning glucose, as it will when working, at the same time as insulin is pulling glucose out of the bloodstream this double whammy can cause abnormally low energy levels. Hardly what you want in the middle of competition. This is most likely to occur a couple of hours after a starchy meal.

High fibre and oily diets don’t cause this sharp peak in blood glucose levels, don’t produce a significant insulin response and so don’t pull energy out of the bloodstream. So riding soon after a high fibre diet is not going to result in low energy level and it is absolutely safe. This is particularly useful during the loading period with any of our brain food supplements as any short term early improvements are likely to show about 45 minutes after consuming the supplement.

There are many other bonuses to high fibre diets including far less risk of ulcers, colic, equine metabolic syndrome or laminitis.


One other cause of lethargy is overtraining. Type it into Google and you will find loads of human references to this condition and a few of our customers have reported this problem and corrected it by changing their horse fitness training regimes. It’s worth considering if you have a problem.

We welcome your questions and comments on this article.

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