A CAIQUE ON CAFFEINE AND SUGAR
By Sally Blanchard
When I got my Caique, Spikey LeBec at 10 months old he was a mess and seemed to be addicted to caffeine loaded soda pop. About a week after I got him, I took him to a meeting to educate workers about parrots at a humane society in the San Francisco Bay Area. We were all sitting around a table and I asked a friend who was good with parrots to watch him as I started to speak. He was like greased lightning and headed straight for a glass of cola. Before she or I could grab him he had sucked down enough of the liquid to hugely extend his crop. Once I got him out of the glass, he waddled off like a drunk looking for more. He was one wired bird. People had to hold their soda in their laps and keep him away. There was a veterinarian at the table and she said it would take a little while for him to get over his caffeine and sugar high. Took about a half an hour for him to act "normal" again but having him for such a short time, I was unsure what normal was for him. He was either 100% on or almost like a zombie. I knew the reason was what he had been eating and drinking before he came to live with me
If he even saw a soda can or bottle anywhere he would go nuts trying to get to it. I got him off of this addiction by giving a little bit of natural fruit juice instead. He came to me eating, in my opinion, the worst pellet on the market (Pretty Bird) because of its horrible ingredients and obviously what he was drinking. Since Caiques eat a lot of fruit in the wild (high energy birds do need more fruit) I was able to get him to eat healthy fruits first then gradually got him to eat vegetables, grains, and just about everything I fed him. He really settled down once he was on a healthy fresh food diet. He still behaved with high energy because that's what most caiques are like but he didn't have the horrible swings! He became the celebrity caique who everyone loved when they met him.