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Angry Caique

Donna Leonard

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I need help. I have a 10 year old male caique that started the temper tantrums last spring (2013) and it is only getting worse with no normal intervals. You all know what they do when they are mad but he never gets out of this mode. He is dropping weight, he has gone from a normal of about 175 grams to 157 grams. He rejects his pellets now (harrisons) but will eat some veggies and fruit. I took him to the avian vet in August 2013 and he thought nothing was wrong. He did blood work, some levels were off but nothing that concerned him. When the vet was out of town I begged them to put my caique on Baytril in case something was bothering him. After about a week on it, it was like someone turned a switch and he seemed better. We kept him on that for 2 weeks and put him on an anti-fungal for 2 weeks also. This got him back to normal for about a month and then the whole episode started again. I cannot handle him at all any more. Does anyone else have this issue? He is in with 9 other birds in a room, there is another male caique below him that he cannot see (double stack cage).
 

Anne & Gang

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ok...you say some levels that were off but nothing that concerned him? I think you need to get a second opinion ..also it could be hormones. I have heard that caiques are incredibly aggressive when hormonal. Also you mention that he cannot see the male caique below him ..does he not get out of cage time? what about toys? Also you can bet even though that caique cannot see the other caique, he knows he is there..along with all the other birds...hopefully someone will come on that knows a lot ab out caiques to h elp you. @saroj12 @Irishj9 @Laurie @Akoni
 

Akoni

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I'd agree with getting a second opinion. t doesn't hurt and would help you rule out an underlying medical issue.

Another member on here, Merlie, had constant aggressive behavior from her two caiques for about a year. It sounds similar to what you are going through. She tried Avi-Calm and a splash of herbal tea and it made a big difference in their behavior. She might be a good person to talk to as she's been through it. Her original post is here: http://forums.avianavenue.com/index.php?threads/a-new-beginning-hopeful-a-bit-longish.78984/
 

Donna Leonard

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Thank you Akoni and Anne and Gang for your replies. He does get out of cage time expect when I cannot handle him. I am sending the vet a fax he is a very good vet but I agree I might need a second opinion. I will check Merlie's post too. Thanks again!
 

Laurie

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Hi Donna,

I've only had caiques for about 6 months so I am pretty new to them. I haven't seen anything like what you are describing.

If your bird is losing weight, not eating and the baytril and the antifungal seemed to return him to normal there is a good chance there might be a medical issue. I would definitely get another opinion from another vet. It doesn't matter how good your vet is. Was your vet not concerned about the weight loss and the not eating?

If some of his blood work was off did the vet explain what the differences were and why it did not concern him?

Because of the reasons mentioned above, it seems to me that he might not be feeling well. It does not sound behavioral. And though I have no personal experience with caique hormone yet, I think 10 years old is a little late for hormones to be kicking in that strongly though it could be a factor I suppose.

Like I said, this advice is just based on logic not personal experience.

I hope you can find the little guy some help :)
 

Donna Leonard

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I read that one link that Akoni send and wow, that woman had a terrible time with her bird! Mine is a saint next to that! My caique will eat things he is not supposed to instead of his pellets. If I leave him with the pellets he is not touching them. If I wait a few days and then offer veggies, spaghetti, bread, fruit, he will eat some of that. He acts fine which is weird. The vet observed him and his poops while he was there and said he looked perfectly normal. Well, he did, I have to admit. The vet did go over the blood work and explained things so I was not concerned that something really awful was going on. Some of his levels were slightly off the charts high and low but by little amounts. The vet said if I had not pushed to put him on Baytril, he would not have even thought it was necessary. I have to wonder how accurate these labs are when they are dealing with animals. I also wonder if some things go wacky because they are so streesed whiled at the vet. Even though he had lost some weight when he saw the vet he said that it was not an amount that would concern him. He was saying one poop could be 5 grams in weight. He thought that for his size and his breed he was not in any trouble weight-wise at that point. He also said that trying to get his weight back would not be an indication of his health, that it did not mean just because he would put on some weight that he would be healtier. All that being said, yes, I am considering another opinion. I have moved him away from the others right now and I am going to see tomorrow how his weight is. I am keeping him full of different kinds of foods so he will eat. I really appreciate everyone's input, it helps me figure this out.
 

SunUp

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The bad temperament, weight loss, change in eating habits, and then his subsequent marked improvement when treated with antibiotics strongly indicates he has an infection somewhere. I would look for a second opinion, and get him back on meds.
 

Akoni

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Be sure any veterinarian that deals with your guy is avian certified. I assume you know this as you have several birds, but there are some vets I know of that say they treat birds and can treat simple ailments, but are not avian certified.

Best of luck figuring this out and hopefully you'll have his old personality back soon. :hug8:
 

rockybird

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My boy went through years of aggressive angry behavior. He is now 11 and I think we are past the worst of it, but this is partly because I have changed how I do things. It took me awhile to learn why he was so angry at me. He was angry that I did not pay as much attn. to him as he wanted. He became angry at me for talking on the cell phone and "ignoring" him, not taking him out of the cage right away when I got home etc. He was incredibly stubborn and determined and would stalk me. He would hold grudges for hours.

I now realize that all of this is because he is so focused on me. I am all he has in his confined world, which is defined by walls and a cage. It is not supposed to be like this for him. He is supposed to be living his life with his family and mate, not locked for hours in a cage. While my conure seems to thrive on my relationship and lifestyle, my caique needs more. My conure likes to come out of her cage, but she is also happy to stay in. My caique wants out ALWAYS.

I only have experience with one caique, but this is what I would recommend:
-getting a second vet opinion
-giving him interactive time where it is just the two of you.
-involving both caiques in as much of your life as you can. They really seem to really need the interaction and change in monotony. They also seem to thrive on routine. My caique has coffee with me in the AM. He plays on the shower stall while I shower before work. He plays on the bathroom counter while I get ready. When I get home, he plays on the counter while I make dinner. We eat dinner together in the same room. He plays again while I shower, get ready for bed, etc. In essence, when I am home on a work day, he is out with me. He sleeps in a night cage in the master bath/closet area. On weekends, he plays, grooms,etc while I drink my coffee, check my email, etc. I take him for walks around the house. We investigate closets, drawers, inside of the oven, the laundry room, etc. I let him explore the house (supervised). He loves to take off and look out the arcadia doors, march around his terrain, etc. I put toys on the floor for him to chew on, play with.
-We snuggle a LOT. This seems to reinforce our bond. He will whine and cry when he wants me to cuddle him. He LOVES the attn. At night, I rock him and snuggle him before bed, while he lays on his back in my hand. He EXPECTS this every night. When he is angry, I have trained him to let me lightly drape a tee shirt or light towel over him. He may attack the shirt, but if I do it right, I can pick him right up. I lightly wrap him and snuggle him. He generally calms down right away.
-provide the largest cage you can. My boy has a 4 ft. wide cage. It is packed with toys, especially shreddable toys from igaw.com and oliversgarden.com. He also like toys that he can hang from upside down and fight.
-Personally, if he is losing weight and not eating pellets, I would try mixing in a few seeds and nutriberries. I do not feed pellets (I have tried every brand), but my vet says as long as I provide vegetables and a varied diet than they should be fine. I do give nutriberries, which they eat. Their blood tests have always had normal values.
-Let him eat with you. Set up a space in the kitchen/dining room so that the caiques can eat while you do. Both my conure and caique love to eat when I do. I think eating together is a flock activity. Although they always have food in their cages, whenever I am home and eating, I make them something too. They have cages in the dining room that I got on CL that they eat on top of and it works great.
-Try a night cage. It may help to break up the monotony of his day cage. Be sure to include fresh water and light food in it also.

I really think that these birds can form a very strong bond to their human. They dont understand why they are confined to a cage when they belong with you. Because of this, I think my caique would get very angry at me. Now that I am more responsive to him, the aggressive behavior has significantly lessened. He still gets angry, but the biting has really decreased. I am also more avoidant of him when he is angry. If I see the behavioral changes before bed, for instance, I will still snuggle him, but wrapped in a towel so that I have control over him.

Good luck with your bird. Caiques can be very challenging animals as pets!
 
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Thatdude596

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:wideyed: All of this just talked me out of the cakes for the future! Good luck geez!
 

Donna Leonard

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Scottsdale, Arizona
Hello everyone, well, something new happened this afternoon. At 3:15 I was opening up a loaf of bread and gave Armand a little piece. He took 2 bites and went off his rocker. I have never seen him so darn mad. It was so bad I slowly backed out of the kitchen and waited in the wings to see if it would calm him down if he did not see me. It did not seem to matter. I went back in and by that time his leg was bleeding because he bit himself. I ran him to the same vet, who, by the way, is an aviain vet with tons of experience and he has over 200 birds of his own. He looked him over, thought the weight was fine and that there was nothing wrong with the bird. He said the cut seemd to be a scratch, not from his beak as if he cut it on the cage. I don't think so, he did not move from the spot he was in while he was going nuts. The vet feels he has some aggression issues and could give him some anti -aggression meds but they come with side effects.............sudden death is possible. I declined. I came home with the bird. On the way home (before we were out of the parking lot) he was screaming and attacking his feet. Five minutes later when we were on the highway he gave me a whistle after all the screams. I whistled back. After that he was chirping and whistling and I was rubbing his feet and tail through the cage bars and he was fine! I brought him home, put him in the quiet guest bedroom and let him chill a few hours. I just went in to see him and he is screeching mad and no amount of rubbing his feet or feathers is helping. The vet feels this is just aggression and nothing else, that maybe something in the room has changed (I did change some cages around and he is by one new bird that used be be across from him). I will just have to move the birds around again (I had good reason for the change but that is a whole other ball of wax). This has been a very frustrating day. Thank you to rockybird, I will try your suggestions. The vet also felt that perhaps while we had him on antibiotics he was loving the attention so it might be a good idea to take the syringe with a drop of water in it and give it to him twice daily to handle him and see if that brings him around. I am going to have to be patient and try these things. In the meantime I may take up a drinking habit...........
 

Laurie

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My boy went through years of aggressive angry behavior. He is now 11 and I think we are past the worst of it, but this is partly because I have changed how I do things. It took me awhile to learn why he was so angry at me. He was angry that I did not pay as much attn. to him as he wanted. He became angry at me for talking on the cell phone and "ignoring" him, not taking him out of the cage right away when I got home etc. He was incredibly stubborn and determined and would stalk me. He would hold grudges for hours.

I now realize that all of this is because he is so focused on me. I am all he has in his confined world, which is defined by walls and a cage. It is not supposed to be like this for him. He is supposed to be living his life with his family and mate, not locked for hours in a cage. While my conure seems to thrive on my relationship and lifestyle, my caique needs more. My conure likes to come out of her cage, but she is also happy to stay in. My caique wants out ALWAYS.

I only have experience with one caique, but this is what I would recommend:
-getting a second vet opinion
-giving him interactive time where it is just the two of you.
-involving both caiques in as much of your life as you can. They really seem to really need the interaction and change in monotony. They also seem to thrive on routine. My caique has coffee with me in the AM. He plays on the shower stall while I shower before work. He plays on the bathroom counter while I get ready. When I get home, he plays on the counter while I make dinner. We eat dinner together in the same room. He plays again while I shower, get ready for bed, etc. In essence, when I am home on a work day, he is out with me. He sleeps in a night cage in the master bath/closet area. On weekends, he plays, grooms,etc while I drink my coffee, check my email, etc. I take him for walks around the house. We investigate closets, drawers, inside of the oven, the laundry room, etc. I let him explore the house (supervised). He loves to take off and look out the arcadia doors, march around his terrain, etc. I put toys on the floor for him to chew on, play with.
-We snuggle a LOT. This seems to reinforce our bond. He will whine and cry when he wants me to cuddle him. He LOVES the attn. At night, I rock him and snuggle him before bed, while he lays on his back in my hand. He EXPECTS this every night. When he is angry, I have trained him to let me lightly drape a tee shirt or light towel over him. He may attack the shirt, but if I do it right, I can pick him right up. I lightly wrap him and snuggle him. He generally calms down right away.
-provide the largest cage you can. My boy has a 4 ft. wide cage. It is packed with toys, especially shreddable toys from igaw.com and oliversgarden.com. He also like toys that he can hang from upside down and fight.
-Personally, if he is losing weight and not eating pellets, I would try mixing in a few seeds and nutriberries. I do not feed pellets (I have tried every brand), but my vet says as long as I provide vegetables and a varied diet than they should be fine. I do give nutriberries, which they eat. Their blood tests have always had normal values.
-Let him eat with you. Set up a space in the kitchen/dining room so that the caiques can eat while you do. Both my conure and caique love to eat when I do. I think eating together is a flock activity. Although they always have food in their cages, whenever I am home and eating, I make them something too. They have cages in the dining room that I got on CL that they eat on top of and it works great.
-Try a night cage. It may help to break up the monotony of his day cage. Be sure to include fresh water and light food in it also.

I really think that these birds can form a very strong bond to their human. They dont understand why they are confined to a cage when they belong with you. Because of this, I think my caique would get very angry at me. Now that I am more responsive to him, the aggressive behavior has significantly lessened. He still gets angry, but the biting has really decreased. I am also more avoidant of him when he is angry. If I see the behavioral changes before bed, for instance, I will still snuggle him, but wrapped in a towel so that I have control over him.

Good luck with your bird. Caiques can be very challenging animals as pets!
I really enjoyed your post! It sounds like lots of good advice. I will keep this all in mind as my guys get older. Thanks!
 

Laurie

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Wow! Donna I have never heard of such a think, caique or not. Keep us posted.

You can also do fruit juice in a syringe and he will probably like it and the added benefit is that he will be all trained to take meds if he needs them in the future!

Maybe he is just bored, that could be the case with the food too. I use treats as a bribe to get mine back in their cages. I used to use the same treat everytime but since I started varying the treats they are SO eager to go back to the cage. They never know what they are going to earn a part of a cashew, almond, pistachio, pine nut, nutriberry or freeze dried veggie.

Rotating some of the toys every few days really makes a difference too.

Hugs to you and Armand :hug8:
 

Irishj9

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I agree with what the others have said, many good suggestions there. Why are the two caiques not housed and playing /preening together?

I have 8 of these ( ok only 2 years old) but they occupy themselves with each other. I have none of this clingy screamy aggressive beheaviour, ( though I am MOBBED when I go in).

Exercise, playtime, variety is where I would concentrate, dissipate all that negative energy if you can, while continuing to examine other possible physical causes.

Good Luck

JP
 
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Laurul Feather Cat

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I have NO experience with caiques. But I do have one thing I want to stress: Just because he settled down a bit when he was put on Baytril does not mean he actually had or has an infection; I have had birds who feel nauseated or less healthy when given a med and what I thought was a med that was working and elimination a problem was actually causing an adverse reaction in my bird: and that adverse reaction made the bird look like they were getting better.

Perhaps you could try giving your bird juice from a syringe or even cooked cereal from a spoon as a bonding activity. If he lies pasta, get him some pasta from the natural grocer that is NOT enriched with iron. Excess iron in a bird's diet can lead to behavioral problems. This is the reason why birds should not be given cereal or pasta made for humans because it is enriched with iron.
 

Donna Leonard

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I will keep everyone posted, thanks for all your suggestions and helpful hints. The puzzling part is that Armand's lifestyle has not changed since we moved here 7 1/2 years ago and this is happening suddenly. I will try the fruit juice in the syringe, I had thought about that, he likes OJ and I did not know about having iron in the pasta, thanks LFC because he loves spaghetti and I have been giving him that! I will stop immediately and see what else I can find. My male Eclectus has also become aggressive but only in his cage. Once I get him out he is fine, and that I can handle. He started by attacking the water bottle when I would change it and little by little he became more aggressive when I came around the cage. He growls and hits the bars with his beak but I towel him and get him out and he is a lovely bird. We think he is just protective of his cage and home. I dread looking forward to the next day with Armand. The vet also said maybe I am fooling around with him too much by taking him out of his cage and moving him around. He thinks I should leave him be in his cage. I was just trying to distract him from being mad. Oh well, I am not a bird psychiatrist!
 

Donna Leonard

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Oh, to Irishj9 I don't house the males together because I understand that two males will fight to the death. They were not raised together, RePete, my other male came later. I tried in the beginning to get them together outside the cage and they started latching on to eachother and going at it. That had to stop I believe they would have killed one another!
 

Donna Leonard

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update......I did as the vet asked, put his cage back where it was before he started the aggressive behavior. That was a mistake. He went nuts for hours screaming. I pulled the cage away from the other birds. Screaming persisted. I finally put him back in his travel cage and moved him to a bedroom out of earshot to calm him down. He does not want to come to me, he gets out and runs away. If I try to pick him up he flies off. He does not want any toys I give him. He just wants to hang off the bars and scream. I am about to throw in the towel I don't know what to do. If I try to pay attention to him he starts mouthing his feet.
 

Akoni

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If this has been persisting since last Spring, I doubt it was due to a change in the environment, and your moving the cages around (while well intentioned) may have scared him. In the last few posts you've made, it almost seems like he is afraid of you... flying away when you try to pick him up, not wanting to go to you, etc.
Picking his feet- could this be the start of self-mutilation?

Anyone? :bump4:
 

Donna Leonard

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Yes, I think I may have scared him by toweling him to take him out of his cage but there is no other way to handle him. I just took him some treats as a peace offering. He won't take them and he started to attack his foot. For 10 years he was the sweetest bird, I don't understand and the only thing I can think of is there is some underlying disease or disorder the vet is not catching even though we had this extensive conversation yesterday and he really believes the bird is not sick.
 
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