Extreme toe tapping/wing flipping?

suley

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Hello,

Yosh(my male eclectus) last night after bedtime noticed he was exhibiting extreme toe tapping and wing flipping. I have seen him toe tap and wing flip before but this seems different because it is happening almost every second. And not only that it was still as frequent by morning time.

In previous times when I noticed him toe tapping or wing flipping it was spaced by like at least ten seconds and would be gone within a couple of hours which to me suggested he was affected by something he ate.

This time it went throughout the night and still going this morning.

He doesnt seem weak or too unhappy as he is playing with he is busy playing with some new toys I bought him but wing flipping and toe tapping at the same time.


I am worried it is possibly metal poisoning? As last night i noticed him licking underneath a washed pot drying on our kitchen bench. It was only for a few seconds though beofore I moved him. Does metal poisoning exhibit such symptoms?

The only other thing i can think of is my wife was making some stirfry last night and had some cooked broccoli lathered in oyster sauce sitting in a bowl
and he was tasting that.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks.
 

rbreck

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How is he doing now? Maybe he just had a belly ache. Maui will flip if I feed him any kind of pellets. I can only feed him fresh fruit and veggie.
I am looking forward to hearing what the pros say on this. Has he ever shared your stir fry before?
 

Birdman666

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Everyone with an eckie should keep a food log. They are suchdiet sensitive birds that this way you have an ongoing idea of what triggered it.

Eckies who toe tap/wing flip should not get fed pellets. Eckies do better on fresh.
 

labell

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It would be a rare occasion for them to start after one small taste of something toe tapping and wing flapping are almost always diet related and it is a build up of something they can no longer tolerate.

Even if the bird is playing and otherwise acting normal these symptoms should always be taken seriously as they can lead to other more serious issues such as plucking and even mutilation. Imagine a muscle tick that won't stop or won't allow you to get good sleep, it is the same sort of thing for them. No one here can really say why yours is doing this. You would need to list everything you feed.

Somethings are more prone to causing it such as pellets, corn, grapes (too many) spirulina... but too much of a GOOD thing can cause it too. Is there anything on that list or something else that he is getting too much of?
 
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suley

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It would be a rare occasion for them to start after one small taste of something toe tapping and wing flapping are almost always diet related and it is a build up of something they can no longer tolerate.

Even if the bird is playing and otherwise acting normal these symptoms should always be taken seriously as they can lead to other more serious issues such as plucking and even mutilation. Imagine a muscle tick that won't stop or won't allow you to get good sleep, it is the same sort of thing for them. No one here can really say why yours is doing this. You would need to list everything you feed.

Somethings are more prone to causing it such as pellets, corn, grapes (too many) spirulina... but too much of a GOOD thing can cause it too. Is there anything on that list or something else that he is getting too much of?

Well on the night in question we added some broccoli and cauliflower to his dinner(for the first time ever) and he also nibbled on some toasted bread(It was just a couple of nibbles didnt even look like he was eating it and didnt seem to like it)

He is a year and 3.5 months old now and for the most part I used to feed him a pretty regular feed consisting mainly of the following in no particular order:

apple
pomegranate
passionfruit
kiwi
corn(boiled)
and a few chickpeas everyday
nuts(usually almonds) and seed mixture

And on a less regular basis I would give him the following:

Blueberries
grapes
peas
beans

And couple of times a week I would feed him sweet potato and pumpkin both slightly boiled and every so often some boiled white potato.

Doesn't sound like a varied diet and I have tried to feed him other stuff but he doesn't seem to take to anything else.

I don't feed him pellets at all.

I freely admit to being haphazard sometimes with what he eats as I have given him little tiny bits of chocolate before and used to give him cheese every so often. Stopped the chocolates very early on and stopped giving him any cheese for a few months now.

The last few months I have got him to start eating rice and he seems to love it.

His toe tapping/wing flipping have sort of come and gone since I have had him. I mean it was quite obvious when I gave him chocolate he started tapping/flipping pretty quickly and when I took him to the vet once who noticed it she made me give him supplements which made it much worse.

But for the last few months he had basically stopped tapping/flipping or it was so minimal I didnt notice it. I usually only ever notice it when he is going to sleep as he sleeps on a perch in a corner of our bedroom.

He eventually calmed down that morning with his tapping/flipping after he ate breakfast and last night when he was going to sleep he was still doing it but they were spaced about 10 seconds apart and they stopped once he fell asleep.

Could it be a buildup of metal? or some other substance that i am not aware of?
 

Delfin

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Pesticides, Chemicals, Calcium deficiency, Food allergies, Metal Toxicity, artificial preservatives and colours can also cause Toe-tapping and wing-flipping. If it persists I would go to an avian vet for professional opinion. Comprehensive blood tests can identify unusual levels of Calcium, metals toxicity, chemicals. Then the avian vet can prescribe the best course of treatment.
 

chris-md

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How soon after you gave him the chocolate did he start tapping?
 

labell

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One thing that concerns me is I am not seeing any dark leafy greens on that list. Eclectus really must have them, kale, arugula, dandelion greens, parsley one or more of these should be chopped up fine and mixed in every meal.
 

Anansi

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Pesticides, Chemicals, Calcium deficiency, Food allergies, Metal Toxicity, artificial preservatives and colours can also cause Toe-tapping and wing-flipping. If it persists I would go to an avian vet for professional opinion. Comprehensive blood tests can identify unusual levels of Calcium, metals toxicity, chemicals. Then the avian vet can prescribe the best course of treatment.

Amen! I would say to try cutting the corn from his diet as, like Laura (Labell) pointed out, some ekkies have a sensitivity to it. But if this doesn't do the trick, I'd do as Peter (Delfin) has suggested and get your bird to an avian vet for blood tests as soon as possible. And I stress that it should be an avian vet. (Though even amongst avian vets it can be a challenge to find one that knows ekkies. Many treat them like they would any other parrot.)

And I wouldn't go back to the vet who prescribed supplements. I'm not saying that supplements are universally bad, as it's really overdosing of supplements that is so dangerous to ekkies, but the truth of the matter is that ekkies are far more prone to overdosing via supplements than other parrots. And an excess of something is most often the cause of toe-tapping/wing-flipping. (With the exception of calcium deficiency.) Your chosen vet should be looking to find the imbalance and treat it, not supplement in a scattershot approach.
 
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suley

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I am taking him to an avian vet in a few hours.

Yesterday changed up his diet. I had been giving him this slightly boiled veggie mixture for the past couple of weeks. It had pumpkin, sweet potato, potato, brocolli, cauliflower, corn and peas. And in it I would mix white rice and I have also stopped this for the time being. I never used to give him rice until recently.

This morning I have given him some foods I have never or hardly given him before. A mixture of some herbs including parsley, basil, mint and dill and some raspberries, rockmelon(cantaloupe), orange and a few chickpeas. Also a few different chilli's. His not happy about it and hasn't eaten much except for the raspberry and a little bit of the oranges and chilli. He is in protest mode.

His tapping/flipping was very minimal last night when going to sleep(about once every 20 or so seconds and it stopped once he went to sleep.

You know what I find weird I have met ekkie owners who only feed their birds pellets and seeds and they have no issues whatsoever(other than boring their birds with such a bland diet). Here I am feeding my bird fresh food and having troubles. Go figure.

The other thing with ekkies is they get bored of foods they used to love. I mean he started getting sick of kiwi/passionfruit and pomegranate(his staple foods) and I was like what else can I feed you buddy cause he doesnt seem to like other fruits.

I have tried to give him many fruits before and other than apples and a little bit of orange he usually hates all other fruit.
 

Anansi

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Any update from the vet visit? (Of course you'd have to wait a few days for the lab results, but how was the physical exam?)

You mentioned changing up his diet, but keep in mind that unless you are removing one thing from his accustomed diet at a time, you'll never know exactly which food was causing the issue. So you should probably start by eliminating corn and then watching for a week or two before moving on to something else.

Of course, if the lab results point to a specific deficiency you can just go straight to that.
 
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suley

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Any update from the vet visit? (Of course you'd have to wait a few days for the lab results, but how was the physical exam?)

You mentioned changing up his diet, but keep in mind that unless you are removing one thing from his accustomed diet at a time, you'll never know exactly which food was causing the issue. So you should probably start by eliminating corn and then watching for a week or two before moving on to something else.

Of course, if the lab results point to a specific deficiency you can just go straight to that.

Didn't end up getting any blood tests at the vet as the vet said his general condition looks perfect.

However tonight he is back to serious flipping and tapping.

I understand your concern with corn but like I said before he hasn't really been eating corn in large amounts for a while anyways as I used to give him too much and he kinda got sick of it.


One thing different I gave him tonight is organic brown rice(for the first time)

I would like to ask one thing how much nuts and seeds is too much? I tend to give him anywhere from a medium tea spoon to a table spoon full of nuts a day and can sometimes give him a lot of chick peas. I ask because in some places they say they are not supposed to have much protein in their diet.

Its 2am where I am now and I woke up to notice him flipping and tapping away even with his head tucked in and sleeping. So upsetting.

Another question I have is - is it possible things like pumpkin and sweet potato(highly nutrition dense) can cause an over supply of vitamins and minerals the same way pellets tend to do causing him to tap/flip? Because if there is one major difference to his diet in the past few weeks is that there is much more sweet potato and pumpkin(everyday) compared to before where it would be once a week or even fortnight. I read in nature they thrive in a nutrient poor environment(hence the long digestive tract). Idunno i'm clutching at straws here.
 

Anansi

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I hate it when vets dismiss the need for a bloodtest because a bird looks to be in "perfect condition". What does it take, then? A wing hanging half off? Vets should know that birds hide their weakness. It's a survival trait. What could it hurt to run a simple test? Sigh.

Brown rice is a really good change, as white rice should be avoided save as a treat.

For seeds, I only give a teaspoon full a day. Sometimes as much as a tablespoon. No more. Nuts I only allow up to maybe 3 in a day for Maya, on average. I allow Jolly to have a little more, since he's such a furiously active flier.

Is it possible that pumpkin and sweet potato are responsible for an oversupply of vitamins and caused the toe tapping and wing flipping? Of course. Depending on an individual ekkie's sensitivities, any of his foods could potentially be the culprit. Both of those foods are rich in vitamin A, which is very important to eclectus parrots, so I'd think it less likely... but certainly not impossible.

Maybe you could start by temporarily eliminating one from his diet. Perhaps both of them given together tip the scales? Worth a shot.
 

Delfin

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I would be seeing another Avian Vet and get a second opinion. Because there are other reasons apart from diet that can cause Toe-tapping and Wing-flipping which can only be identified by a Comprehensive blood test. Just focusing on the birds diet could be a mistake and I would consider all possible causes.
 

Anansi

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I would be seeing another Avian Vet and get a second opinion. Because there are other reasons apart from diet that can cause Toe-tapping and Wing-flipping which can only be identified by a Comprehensive blood test. Just focusing on the birds diet could be a mistake and I would consider all possible causes.

Good point. Considering how severe your ekkie's symptoms seem to be, Peter is right. If it was less prominent at this point, you could afford to wait. But there appears to be a significant issue going on. The best thing to do is find another avian vet as soon as you can. (And as I implied before, vets who suggest not doing a blood test because of the outward appearance of a bird automatically lose credibility with me.)

What I've taken to doing when seeking out a new avian vet for my ekkies, aside from checking out their credentials, is to call and ask the vet a few questions specifically geared toward eclectus parrots. Helps to narrow the field quite a bit. (I took on this habit after wasting $125 on a visit with a vet who told me that I was slowly killing my EKKIE by feeding him fruits and veggies rather than Harrison's High Potency... which he happened to have on hand if I chose to arrange for a constant supply. Really?!?)
 
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suley

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So just an update...

I was trying various different things in the last week and a half.

First I really put a lot of effort into feeding him new fruits and veggies as I didn't try very hard when I first got him and as such he only eats a select few that he likes. I managed to get him to start eating the following - Rockmelon/Pineapple/Raspberries/Strawberries/
Green leafy mixtures(kale/mint/basil/spinach/and more)(he only ever really ate the stalks so I cute the leaves really fine and mixed it in with the rest of his food so he didn't really have a choice there)

Tried to give him some raw veggies as I usually always cook his veggies. Managed to get him to eat some carrot and Japanese Pumpkin(but only after I somehow hung them on his perch somewhere so it effectively became a toy as well)

I also cut out his corn completely as some people suggested.

In the first couple of days his symptoms reduced a bit but then progressively worsened again each night until it got really bad again. I also started noticing him seeming to preen his foot a lot. Not sure if this is normal or he is going crazy from the tapping.

So then I thought ok its gotta be one of the other foods Im giving him and by chance I came across a webpage about food allergies and sensitivities.

So I cut out any and all protein foods except I started giving him corn again and the first night there was an immediate 95% reduction in symptoms so I was very relieved. I will see how he goes tonight.

So its either the protein in the food or that he cant tolerate one of the below foods I have been giving him:

Almonds and other nuts
Sunflower seed and millet with other seeds mixture
Chick peas and other legumes

Once I can confirm his symptoms have stopped I will try adding back the above one at a time.
 
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Anansi

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Wow, so it might be a protein sensitivity, eh? Very interesting. I'm so glad to hear that you might indeed have found the culprit to your ekkie's toe-tapping and wing-flipping! A 95% reduction in symptoms sounds rather conclusive, though watching and waiting before accepting that as the answer is wise. I commend you on trying so many different things to help your ekkie.

Just wanted to point out to you that you might want to limit the amount of spinach you offer your ekkie. From what I've read, spinach can effectively block a parrot's ability to properly absorb calcium. A far preferable dark and leafy green is dandelion. Kale is also good, which you've already added, as well as endive.

And as for the list of possible culprits, almonds and other nuts, sunflower seeds and millet should all be occasional treats, anyway. Regardless of whether or not they are the cause of the toe-tapping and wing-flipping.
 
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suley

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So its been another few weeks and his wing flipping has stopped for well over a week and a half and his toe tapping has stopped about 99%. I still see the occasional toe tap but its almost non-existent.
I still give him plenty of corn and a serving of sunflower seeds everyday but have stopped giving him any type of nuts and rice for the time being.
I think it was just a slow buildup of the protein based foods that sent him over the edge. I cant tell you how glad it feels to have it resolved.
Thanks everyone for all the advice. Definitely took it all on board.
 

drlisaort

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Good news Suley! I guess every Eckie responds differently. I know when I first got Oliver the breeder had him mostly on seed and pellets and of course he was tapping but as soon as I got my hands on him and turned him on to fresh fruits and veggies, including brown rice and beans it ceased 100% never to return. So glad you found your answers....
 
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suley

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So the toe-tapping and to a lesser extent the wing-flipping has returned gradually on and off and sometimes very intensely. Funny thing is his diet has been altered a fair bit with hardly any sunflower seeds or seed mixture.

Here is what I have been feeding him

A little medium teaspoon of corn and green peas and broad(fava) beans in the mornings.

A big quarter pomegranate later on.

Followed afterwards with apples/kiwi/passionfruit

and smaller portions of grapes/cherries/different melon types/strawberries

At night I usually give him a steamed broccolli/sugar snap peas/snow peas/bean mixture. He always throws the broccoli away(like me he won't eat broccoli unless its dipped in butter). He eats the peas of the sugar snap peas and snow peas and has some of the beans before throwing the rest away.

Also will give him steamed sweet potato and pumkin mixed with a teaspoon or so of white rice(he will eat the whole thing just to get any and all rice followed by his droppings turning bright orange for a few hours). Sometimes I will also mix finely diced parsley or kale into it.

As I have posted also in another thread he has been going through a big molt. Not sure if this may cause some kind of imbalance and need for certain foods more than others.

I am at a bit of a loss at the moment and not sure what to try first. I really cannot believe that he can toe-tap with such a good diet. I can only dream to eat as well as he is at the moment.

For some reason I have it in my head that he could be calcium deficient because of the molt and none of the foods in this list are particularly super high in calcium. Am i way off the mark here?

Again any advice would be greatly appreciated. If this keeps going next stop is the vet for a blood test to rule out anything else.
 

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