If you or a friend of yours has a bird that experiences problems with toe-tapping, wing-flipping, head-shaking and/or seizure-like behaviors this blog may be of interest you and/or your friend. Read on!Machelle Pacion
Avian Nutrition Specialist
Personally, I have been diagnosed with Partial Complex Seizures. I experience first-hand what many of birds who have seizures experience. Parts of my body twitches and jerks and I often get a 3-5 day migraine after seizure activity.
Not all seizure activity is actually having a full-blown seizure, but it can be.
In fact, in many birds, non-seizure epilepsy is more likely than real epileptic seizures.
It is believed that non-seizure activity may be more prevalent than we realize. And it is further believed it is caused by poor neurotransmitter production affecting a living creature’s ability to “think straight.”
This information aligns with my studies and research surrounding feather destroyers and self-mutilators.
Last night I began experiencing seizure-like behavior. George and I went for a drive after dark, and I saw that the moon was full. I began thinking “Is this what is contributing to my seizure activity?” So I decided to look up medical articles about this. Low and behold I was correct!
This answers so many questions for me about my own health and also the health of our beloved birds!
For the last two days, one of my birds has been wing-flipping more than usual. Now I totally understand why. I also know why I have a migraine today, since the seizures I have usually come right before a migraine. Now, please understand that my seizures are mostly due to the genetic blood disorder I have that influences every bodily function I have, including gut flora production, the precursor to neurotransmitters. Is it even vaguely possible that with more and more in-breeding of birds we are creating blood disorders that result in many of the health problems I incur due to my own blood disorder? I believe this question deserves authentic investigation.
It is very common for birds to vocalize more, even scream, display more hormonal activity, become more aggressive, display ill-behavior and experience more toe-tapping, wing-flipping, feather destruction, self-mutilation and more during both the waxing and waning of a full moon or new moon cycle. Full-blown seizures usually occur during the last quarter moon phase of each month.
Okay, so you will find many online articles disputing the moon as having any influence at all on seizure activity. Are you going to believe your own eyes and experience, or articles disputing what you may be experiencing in yourself and/or your flock? Personally, I believe my own experiences.
Widely published information, now available regarding gut flora confirms that neurotransmitters begin formation in the digestive tract. If the digestive tract is unhealthy and the gut flora therein is also unhealthy, then neurotransmitters will not properly form. Brain health and the ability to “think straight” will most undoubtedly be “off.” “Since gut microbes modify stress responses in laboratory animals, several human clinical trials have been conducted using probiotics to study their impact on stress reactivity and mood.”
I totally believe this is what happens to our beloved birds who experience involuntary jerks and engage in feather destruction and self-mutilation.
I have also learned, by my own experience with seizures that I need more healthy dietary fat than most other people. I have also found this to be true with birds who experience seizure-like episodes.
Far too long companion birds have not had access to healthy food. In my opinion, highly processed food is not healthy food, I really don’t care what anyone says. I strongly suspect that “peer-reviewed” papers are strongly influenced by the wallet. “The proof is in the pudding” so to speak. After decades of only highly processed food fed to our beloved birds, we are witnessing more illness and disease in these beautiful creatures than ever. After generations of flocks being fed highly processed foods and reproducing we are seeing birds experience illness, disease, involuntary body twitches, aggressive behaviors, toe-tapping, wing-flipping, feather destruction and self-mutilation. When will all of us open our eyes and minds to this vital information?
Captive exotic birds deserve better than highly processed foods. In fact, since they are “exotic,” they deserve the best we can do for them!
A small number of us who care for birds are finding that feeding fresh and raw is the best manner in which to feed our birds. This is why our company produces gently dehydrated raw foods to be fed in conjunction with fresh foods. Food is still considered “raw” when it is gently dehydrated. As long as it is dehydrated at 115 degrees Fahrenheit, or less.
Many people don’t have the time to feed all fresh; this is one of the reasons why we developed our Origins Wild Diet foods. Some people don’t have the time to educate themselves on “balanced nutrition.” -There is no such thing as complete nutrition for captive birds; no one knows yet what complete and total diets are for any species of exotic birds.
One thing many of us have and are learning is that exotic birds require really good nutrition. Furthermore, we are learning that exotic birds require both fresh and raw foods to thrive.
If you really want your feathered friend(s) to thrive, switch to a totally fresh and raw diet now. It may take some time for your bird(s) to transition and adjust to this new way of feeding, but I assure you it will be the best decision you can ever make for your beloved bird(s)!
©3.3.18 Passion Tree House LLC – All Rights Reserved
March 06, 2018
Hello Machelle, You are so correct about fresh foods for our fids. Though I’ve had birds for more then 30 years, the dietary challenge came when I brought home my Beloved ekkie “Skylar”. Long story short, I worked 12 hour days and his diet suffered as he was eating the wrong foods and immense feather issues plagued us. I am on top of my game now and though I cook some foods he gets a dry mix bowl and later in the afternoon a wet food bowl of fruits and veggies. The only way I can get carrot, sweet potato (vitamin A) into him is to mash them and they stick to the rest of his bowl ingredients. But my point is that fresh and lightly cooked has turned him around as we are not barbing and chewing our feathers anymore. As your article states a healthy gut is a healthy bird. I am positive he had an overload of bad gut bacteria which I’m sure prompted yeast/fungal issues and so much discomfort that he mutilated his feathers. I also sprinkle a little probiotics on his food for good measure. He also gets some ( No no) yogurt. My board certified avian vet, ( tsk tsk,) says birds are lactose intolerant but she gives yogurt to her fids for the probiotics effect. Go figure…. I give it to Skylar bevause he likes it bit if I had to give any meds (antibiotics) it is best that I have something he really likes to camoflouge and administer it to him. I will be trying the probiotics from your website very soon. Once again, you are so correct about the dietary issues, Thank you for your dedication and knowledge. Marie