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Old 08-20-2018, 07:23 PM
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Exclamation Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice

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I always knew Cairo was an occasional toe-tapper from the previous times I had met him. This morning, I woke up to him toe-tapping like crazy.

Now, the night before, he didn't really eat much for dinner. I chalked it up to stress from the microchipping and the fact that he really wanted out to fly (he kept wanting out instead of eating his food completely). So perhaps it's the lack of vitamins/minerals from him not eating all his dinner before bedtime.

Here's his current diet (everything chopped):
- Snow peas
- Bok choy (xiao bai cai and shanghai greens, to be specific)
- Broccoli
- Chillis
- Butternut Squash
- Blueberries (small amount)
- Cherries (smaller amount)
- Honeydew/Rock Melon (small amount)
- Starfruit (not currently in this dinner/breakfast)
- Strawberries (not currently in this dinner/breakfast)
- Red bell pepper/capsicum (not currently in this dinner/breakfast)

I try to feed him less fruit and more veggies, but we're in Asia so I don't have all the veggies I would have access to in the US and I'm not sure what local veggies are ok for him (if anyone has any context for veggies in SG/Msia, that'd be great). And I try to mix things up by not feeding the same fruits each time.

He also gets an occasional banana slice from my partner. And he has a coconut husk (emptied out already) that he enjoys biting.

What should I cut out ASAP? He's not (yet) gnawing at his feet like Jasper did, and I'll remove the blueberries just in case he's like Jolly (blueberries + something else), and I've purposefully never fed him corn at all. But what else can I remove, and what can I safely offer instead? I'm so worried to the point of thinking to add back some pellets into his diet (the vet said to sprinkle some so that he gets all his vitamins and minerals, but I stubbornly thought that he's an ekkie and folks here know better since pellets typically trigger toe-tapping) - I'm just doubting my judgement calls with this little one.

I'll be calling up the only other avian vet this morning to see if they do blood tests. I do anticipate hearing a negative in response. My only other alternative would be the Bird Park, but they feed nectar formula to their ekkies instead of a proper fruit/veggie diet. So I don't know how much local support I've got. So, help me, ParrotForums, you're my only hope.

And now as I finish typing, his wings are twitching a little But at least he's finishing his breakfast? I'll have my partner keep an eye on him while I'm at work today to see if it stops/decreases after his food intake.
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Last edited by charmedbyekkie; 08-20-2018 at 09:04 PM. Reason: added local details
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Old 08-20-2018, 07:36 PM
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Re: Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice

Start with the blueberries. Someone here (I forget who it was) once found blueberries were the cause of toe tapping for their bird.

Ekkies are adapted to lower nutrient content food (less nutrient dense). So if you have any suspects, start with nutrient dense food.

Make sure there only 2 fruits at most in any dinner. I’d also like to see some carb fiber in there, brown rice being a good start.
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Old 08-20-2018, 07:40 PM
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Re: Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice

Quote:
Make sure there only 2 fruits at most in any dinner. I’d also like to see some carb fiber in there, brown rice being a good start.
A quick question about the rice part (I've been trying to do research before I add it), I remember growing up in the US and brown rice looks different from the brown rice we have here in SG. Can I interchange 'brown rice' with red rice? Or should I just go to an expat store to be safe about 'true brown rice'?
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Last edited by charmedbyekkie; 08-20-2018 at 07:42 PM. Reason: added in quote for context
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Old 08-21-2018, 05:48 PM
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Re: Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice

The food you are feeding him seems to have higher sugar levels. My Ekkie toe tapped with pellets but also temperature change. Our furnace broke down and the temp changes in the room were extreme. I feed mine red rice and quinoa mixed in mashed sweet potato and Ceylon cinnamon. I have learned to try to cut back on the fruits due to the sugar levels. He also gets an almond and a half a walnut every day and I have given him more greens. You could also add hot peppers. Sometimes toetapping is related to food and other times related to environment. Don't panic just yet. Try to cut back on the sugar foods and increase the greens, squash, nuts, grains etc. Give it a couple of days to see if it stops.
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Old 08-21-2018, 06:43 PM
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Re: Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice

I hope Katie reads this! Her Jasper had a terrible time with wf/tt and after months finally got it under control. I'm sure she could offer advice!





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And a Grey 'teil, BB...a.k.a. The Beebs
that was 18 weeks old 5/20/2016,






Rest in peace,my precious Smokey..4/2015 at 28 years young
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Old 08-21-2018, 07:14 PM
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Re: Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice

Just to update, I've removed all fruits from his diet for now with the exception of a banana treat when my partner shares his daily banana with Cairo.

We've noticed that his toe-tapping/wing-flipping starts only before his mealtimes. During the day yesterday, he was fine. Last night, he didn't really want to eat dinner (I think it's because I'm still figuring out how he likes to eat things and because he wanted to spend more time outside), but I then minced things smaller to encourage him to eat, which worked to an extent. This morning, I heated up his food to help, and he really took to it for a while, but I think he still isn't used to the concept of two set meals each day. This evening, I'll be adding in some brown/red rice, mincing, and heating everything up.

Quote:
I hope Katie reads this! Her Jasper had a terrible time with wf/tt and after months finally got it under control. I'm sure she could offer advice!
Because of this, I'm wondering if it's more like Jasper's situation with a drop in calcium levels. Maybe he gets stressed/active during the day and doesn't want to eat all his dinner, which drops his calcium both times? Unfortunately, the alternative vet clinic is closed on Tuesdays and Public Holidays (today being a PH/Wednesday), so I'll only be able to see if they do blood tests tomorrow.

Quote:
My Ekkie toe tapped with pellets but also temperature change. Our furnace broke down and the temp changes in the room were extreme.
I'm wondering if this is our case. We live in a tropical country where the outside temperature is always 24-33 Celsius (75-90 Fahrenheit). Inside, however, everyone is obsessed with airconditioning, which means inside temperatures can go 17-24 Celsius (60-75 Fahrenheit). He mostly stays indoors with us, and we alternate between using a fan and an aircon. But at night, we use aircon, so I'm wondering (since his meals are typically around the times that we use aircon) if your case of extreme temperature change might be the cause of the worsening of his toe-tapping. I know he has a history, but perhaps our aircon isn't helping.

Quote:
He also gets an almond and a half a walnut every day and I have given him more greens.
As for the nuts part, he's incredibly driven to practice his training and learn new stuff (gets bored and up to trouble sometimes if we don't do that), but he also expects a treat each time. We're trying to clicker train him, but I suspect it'll be sometime. We break almond slices into tiny parts, but I'd say he still gets the content of probably 3+ whole almonds a day. Should we be trying to cut back on his number of treats?
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Old 08-21-2018, 08:09 PM
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Re: Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice

I would offer pellets or something during the day. Most bird species are not designed to eat two meals a day....this is physically and psychologically hard on them. I don't understand this trend. That saying I have zero experience with ekkies!!!
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Old 08-21-2018, 08:20 PM
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Re: Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice

Birds wings and ways (winged wisdom) has a great article on this toe tapping. I hope you find success in the cause and the cure.
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Old 08-22-2018, 07:25 AM
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Re: Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice

I wouldn’t make too many food changes all at once. There is nothing wrong with fruit in his diet, just in moderation. I would go very slow and minimal with pellets. Try giving him a little cooked egg yolk 2 or 3 times a week.
My ekkie is definitely a grazer. He has food in his cage all day. I add frozen mixed vegetables to his fresh chop. He gets a 40 ounce bowl of food morning and lunch and a smaller bowl around 4 pm. Food is finally removed at 7 pm.
See below for pics of his chop.
Air conditioning shouldn’t have an effect on him.
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Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice-0925e342-18e8-40f7-89e9-1f6e00adbf61.jpg  
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Old 08-22-2018, 10:35 PM
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Re: Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice

I do leave his breakfast and dinner in his cage because he doesn't eat a lot in one sitting most times, but I was trying to do the two-meal schedule because health reasons (his fresh food might go bad within a few hours) and training (I was reading on the forum that set mealtimes help treats have meaning). I know most of the ekkie owners here don't recommend pellets and actually identify pellets as a cause of toe-tapping, so I'll leave it out for now to see if we can't solve this with fresh foods. I'll just have to figure out a safe way to leave food out for him to munch on during the day.

That being said, his toe-tapping has stopped (for now). I'm starting to keep a record of his weight (he's finally ok with standing on the kitchen scale) and his diet, so I can eventually identify the source of his toe-tapping.

Big shout-out to Chris, though, for continually encouraging me to add rice! Cairo's really taken to his meals after adding some brown/red rice I don't know if it's the warmth of the cooked rice or the texture, but he digs right in now.

Right now, his diet is:
- bok choy (shanghai greens)
- broccoli
- snow peas
- butternut squash
- chilis
- brown and red rice
- small amount of starfruit

If he's ok with this for a few more days, then I'll try adding something new and see how that goes!
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