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Old 12-09-2009, 04:56 PM
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Question My Sun conure has a crazy twitch

My Sun conure (Tumbala) has this crazy twitch. For no apparent reason he will just start twitching his head. He kinda looks like a crazy person when he does it. I was just wondering if this is a common thing with birds or even just conures and if so what does it mean (if anything). Or maybe he really is a little crazy (I think he might be) . Also he likes to move the bottom part of his beak to one side then stick his beak up against my fingernail right in the corner of his mouth and then just shake his head against my fingernail. He does it so fast I can't even record it with my phone because it barely looks like he's moving. And again I was just wondering if this is a common thing or is he just wierd.
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:43 PM
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Re: My Sun conure has a crazy twitch

This (at least the second part) sounds like something Auggie does. He gets wound up and that energy has to go somewhere. He'll often put his beak on one of my fingers and fail around almost looking like he is thrashing a kill he has made, though he doesn't bite down. Often when he gets in this mood I'll give him my keys and he'll beat the crap out of 'em for a while.
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:20 PM
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Re: My Sun conure has a crazy twitch

my macaw grinds his beak. but i don't know about the crazy twitch....
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:08 PM
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Re: My Sun conure has a crazy twitch

Head twitch could be a symptom of low calcium. Calcium regulates muscle cell elasticity and action -contraction and expansion- that's why mild low calcium levels cause cramps and severe cause seizures.
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Old 12-10-2009, 04:54 PM
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Re: My Sun conure has a crazy twitch

Low calcium? So does he need more milk? I'm guessing there is some expensive test I can get done at the vet but the twich is minor...not like a seizure. So does anyone have any ideas of what might give him the calcium he needs? Maybe I need to do a search on what foods are high in Calcium. Actually he does like milk but I worry because milk can be kinda fattening and he is a little over weight according to the vet. We are working on switching him to pellets to help with his weight. Anyway I will see what I can find out but if anyone has any ideas I would appreciate it.

As far as the beak/finger grinding it seems to make him happy. It's not like he's trying to kill anything though...more like he's getting into a good scratch. He just closes his eyes and shakes his head up and down real fast against my finger. He always does it when I first get him out of his cage and then many more times thoughout the day. Also if I stick my thumb and finger out (kinda like I'm going to pinch him) and say "Love Tumbala" he will immediately stick his beak between my fingers and start shaking his head up and down.

Anyway...Thanks BC for the low calcium idea. I will look into it further.
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Old 12-10-2009, 06:35 PM
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Re: My Sun conure has a crazy twitch

As far as the twitch, your vet can do a check-up to make sure your bird is healthy. Extra calcium for your bird can come in the form of: almonds, yogurt, dark green veggies and or cuttlebone. Also, if your bird likes eggs, hard boil and egg and mash it up with the shell. The shell is a wonderful source of calcium. Birds are lactose-intolerant so no milk. Keep us posted.
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Old 12-11-2009, 04:19 PM
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Re: My Sun conure has a crazy twitch

Well, you can find all kind of sources of calcium but unless the bird is exposed to direct sunlight (and that means no glass between him and the sun) for, at least, 30 minutes a day, he would not be able to absorb any of it because without sun, they cannot produce vit D3 which they absolutely need for calcium absorption so I would recommend you use a supplement made for birds (Calciboost or an equivalent) BUT you need to be very careful with it because, if you give him too much, he will end up with fatty liver.
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Old 12-15-2009, 02:02 PM
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Re: My Sun conure has a crazy twitch

Thanks Beatriz Cazeneuve and justwingingit for the info. It was really only a few months ago that he was at the vet and they said he was in good health execpt for being a little over weight. Unfortunately if he needs sunlight to absorb the calcium then there is nothing I can do for a few more months. I live in Michigan and it is cold here right now but I will talk to the vet about the supplament. I did not know that birds were lactose-intolerant. I don't let him have a lot of milk because of his weight but many times when I have been eating a bowl of cereal he has dipped his head in for a drink. I didn't think it was too big of a deal. So does it make him feel yucky? Maybe that's why he's crabby bird sometimes?! There are just so many things you have to worry about when feeding a bird and he's naughty because he will try to eat things that are really bad for him! I try to be careful with him but I keep finding things I'm doing wrong. He's deffinately been a learning experience. But I will keep trying to learn everything I can because I'm sure we will have more birds in the future. I'm hooked!
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:03 PM
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Re: My Sun conure has a crazy twitch

You are welcome. And, yes, you are absolutely right, having a bird and trying to do right by him is not even a learning curve... unless you consider something that goes on forever and ever a learning curve. But don't feel bad, I've had birds my entire life (I hand-raised my first Quaker when I was about ten and I am now in my mid-fifties), read two entire 4 ft long shelves of bird books, done thousands of hours of research and have only now began to scratch the surface of all that there is to know about them so, my dear, welcome to the Never-Ending-Learning-And-Most-Frustrating-And-Humbling-Experience Club of Bird Keepers!
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