Caique Severe Itching - Excessive Grooming

by Thomas

Hi to everyone,

Thank you in advance for taking time to answer this question.

I have a 1 and a half year old caique and only recently he has suddenly started to act as if he is very itchy, constantly grooming himself to the point when he opens up blood feathers (and as a result makes them bleed).
He does this almost without rest at times... right now he has broken several feathers on his legs, belly and upper chest.

The only thing that has changed since he started is the following:

Fed him pistachio nuts.
Mixed a tiny bit of palm oil in his usual mix (Tropican).
Gave him a little it of Harrisons pellets to try.

The only other thing that comes to my mind is that I had a shower with him and he was on a ledge in the shower - there may have been (although very unlikely) a little bit of shampoo/soap there.

It started very recently and almost all out of a sudden, however he seems to have an appetite, his poop is normal and he still vocalizes OK every now and then... the only problem is that he is ALWAYS grooming and acts all jumpy as if he has an itch... and as a result opening feathers that should not be.

i posted something else a while back about dark rings around his eyes - but these have seemed to clear up after I stopped taking him for walks outside when it is sunny (I think it was UV exposure)

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Sep 06, 2017
Severe leg itching - avoid Raw Pistachios !!
by: Anonymous

In desperation I was all over the Internet because our 16 year old Caique suddenly experienced severe itching in legs. Yep, had her for 16 years now -hard to believe.
Anyways, found this thread. Thanks!! You guys just solved the mystery! But it is not just dyed pistachio nuts that will create severe itchies. I'll share what I found out via the internet.
Pistachio nuts are related to cashews. Both contain a compound called Urushiol which is the same volatile chemical in poison ivy!! Yes, indeed!! It can cause severe contact dermatitis. Roasting apparently eliminates this compound.
I just checked our bag of organic pistachios and sure enough, they are raw.
I think what can happen with allergies is similar to people with histamine sensitivities, in that it can take awhile for the allergic reaction to really build up in the body and then, some line in the sand is crossed and, POW!! insane itching. I realize now that it makes sense that her left leg was worse. She is a left-footed parrot!! I kept thinking "contact dermatitis" but I was at a loss as to the cause.
I will stop giving her pistachio immediately. Vet did blood work yesterday and results will be in tomorrow. Crossing my fingers that her liver is still ok.
So thanks to you all for this thread. It may be old, but it is invaluable. Please leave this thread here forever so that other parrot people can find it in the future. Much appreciated!!

May 23, 2011

i am taking care of a ciaque {dont know age but he has had for a couple of years} she has just started itching really bad especially around the top of her feet.
what can i do. vet says she doesnt have mites.i had her checked.
also i bought some parrott food and it has raw peanuts in shell, i was told all peanuts were toxin to ciaques.have you heard this?
thanks so much for your time.

Editor's note: you posted your question as an answer, where others will not see it. Peanuts cause allergies in birds often.

Aug 11, 2010
Caique itchy
by: The Avian Vet

Yes, the UV will darken the skin. Good deduction. Only carry your bird outside if he is in a cage or carrier to keep him safe from escape and injury from predators ? EVEN IF HIS WINGS ARE CLIPPED

For the itchy skin, it is possible that it is a nutritional problem, so giving the Harrison's and Palm oil are excellent, continue those. It could be infection form bacteria, fungi, or Giardia. It may also be a low humidity issue. You need to have your bird seen by an avian veterinarian to rule out medical causes.

Dr B

Aug 10, 2010
Severe Itching
by: Linda

Hi and thanks for writing because your bird is having a SEVERE ALLERGIC reaction to something and you must take him into the Avian Vet immediately and as an emergency if you have to. Never feed birds Pistachio nuts as the dye they put on them is toxic to birds.Basically, feed no nuts including peanuts as they are all too high in fat and low in protein for the birds. The Tropicana Palm Oil is also toxic to birds. So, between the nuts which is where most of the reaction is coming from and the oil, your little bird is in serious trouble, and this will NOT stop until Avian Vet has given him an injection to halt the allergic reaction. It could continue into anaphylactic shock, and your bird will die, so RUN, DON'T WALK TO THE AVIAN VET'S.

Tracie carries organic red palm oil, Sunshine Factor , and it is the only Palm Oil I recommend. It is cold pressed and is not hydrogenated, so it has to warmed a bit in a glass or jar with warm water to get it to a liquid state so it can be used. Just put the oil bottle into the jar or glass with warm, not hot water and let it warm up so it is liquid. Keep the Palm Oil refrigerated after opening and using.This is concentrated oil, so only use a drop or two and mix with the pellets to make them more tasty.

Let us know how things go, and I hope you are in time before he gets worse with this.This is a life-threatening emergency, and there is a link on this site for help in finding Avian Vet if you don't already have one. The phone book is also a good resource.


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