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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 38546
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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I have a parrot caique who is around 7 months old, don't

Customer Question

Hi i have a parrot caique who is around 7 months old, don't know the gender. ive had him since he was ten weeks old and hand reared him. The problem i have with him is that on a daily basis he bites his wings as though he's got a bad itch there. He like rotates his head and just starts to go mad and bite part of his wing and also as he's doing it he makes noises and looks as though he is having a seizure. it's so hard to explain as ive looked everywhere and cant find any info on any other birds doing this. Today whilst on my shoulder he started to mess up his long wing feathers by bending them and ruffing them up, it's like he doesnt care about his feathers. As for how he lives, he is let out the cage daily for several hours, only time he is in the cage is when someone comes over since he likes flying on peoples head. so he is out most of the day. he gets lots of attention from all the house members, we play with him lots. i will admit he doesnt have the best of diets as we just give him parrot food, he hardly gets any fruit. you think that's the problem? malnutrition? i wish i could send you a video on here since it would help me so much showing you what he does and his condition of his feathers. maybe i could email you or send you a video through another source ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
just seen the option where i can add flies. perfect. please give me a day or two to get a video of him doing it and posting it here before you reply. thank you
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. I'll watch for the video. You'll need to upload it to YouTube or a similar app and then give me the link to it. The add file icon won't work for videos. If he's a "seed junky" he's going to be deficient in vitamin A which results in dry pruritic (itchy) skin and so malnutrition needs to be an important consideration in such a bird. Seeds should compose less than 20% of his diet. A diet of mainly seed and nuts has excessive fat, carbohydrates, and phosphorus; marginal protein; adequate vitamin E, and are deficient in amino acids, calcium, available phosphorus, sodium, manganese, zinc, iron, vitamins A, D3 (necessary for efficient absorption of calcium), K, and B12, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, choline, and available niacin. Ideally, a balanced pelleted diet such as can be found here: or here: should be fed as well as hard boiled egg yolk, pancakes and cornbread, the tops of fresh greens, dairy products such as yogurt and cheese, fresh fruits such as apples, pears, melon, kiwi, and berries, vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, beets, asparagus, cabbage, sweet potato, and squash, and even tiny pieces of meat.

Here's how you might transition him to pellets: