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Rave 06-04-2014 12:19 PM

First time Eckie owner, need advice.
I adopted a beautiful male Eckie a few days ago, and I think I may be in a little over my head! I'd really like some advice on a few things.

The former owner didn't exactly mention their dietary requirements, just giving me a bag of seed mix (Doctors Foster and Smith) and a small bag of natural-colored pellets (he did mention that artificially-colored pellets tended to cause problems). I did a lot of reading up on their diet and what I could feed him afterward, and I've bought fruits and veggies, but I'd really like some advice as to what else he should be eating, if there's a better supplemental food to the fresh food than what I was given, and if I should eliminate the pellets from the getgo. Right now he really likes grapes and cabbage, but strawberries end up in the bottom of the cage.

I've noticed that every so often, he looks at me, lowers his body, spreads his wings out about halfway, and flaps them a little. Should I be concerned about this? I've looked up videos of wing flipping and it doesn't look anything like it. His former owner used to allow him out of the cage to fly (I haven't yet, as he's not yet acclimated to me and the change in location), so I'm thinking he's trying to tell me that he wants to get out of his cage to fly, but I'm extremely paranoid ATM and want to ask someone more knowledgeable than I am.

Max (the boisterous boy Eckie) has a very piercing shriek when people leave the room. Is it possible that, with time, this can be toned down?

Thanks in advance for any help!

Terry57 06-04-2014 12:58 PM

Re: First time Eckie owner, need advice.
Hello and welcome!
Here is a link that has some good info about an eclectus diet:)
I would love to see pictures of Max! How old is he?

labell 06-04-2014 01:13 PM

Re: First time Eckie owner, need advice.
That hunkering down and slight flapping is just his way of saying he is excited to see you. If he is used to flying I would work on getting one room flight safe so that he can fly it does help them burn up some energy since they don't play with toys as enthusiastically as some other parrots.

The call of an eclectus can peel paint off the walls but even with all of mine it is not something I hear often. Just give him some time to adjust, letting him out of the cage will also help with this if he is used to being out for large amounts of time.

Selestine 06-04-2014 02:19 PM

Re: First time Eckie owner, need advice.
I buy a ten bean mix at the grocery store and add brown rice to it -- soak for a few hours and then simmer 15 minutes. Then I split it into 1/2 cup bags and throw in the freezer. My ekkie gets most of a bag every morning (I'm not positive exactly how much, since I also give some of the bean mix to my kids birds, but most of it is for my ekkie).

He also gets a generous helping of sprouts with his bean mix, cooked sweet potato and some assorted fruits. Not every day, but at least a couple of times a week I put a half an uncooked corn cob on a skewer and hang it in his cage (he goes insane for this).

In the afternoon he gets a bowl of mixed chopped veggies (things like hot and sweet peppers, kale, celery, snow peas, cilantro, various herbs like oregano and rosemary, etc.. basically whatever is on sale at the grocery store) and a handful of pre-bagged broccoli coleslaw.

About a half hour before bedtime he gets some of the Volkman's Eclectus mix seed (the eclectus seed isn't fortified with any vitamins). I don't really measure.. somewhere between 1tsp and 1Tbsp. 3 days a week he gets some of the conures Harrison pellets. If I make scrambled eggs for the kids for breakfast, he gets some. Usually about once a week.

Zephyr does that cute thing too where he hunkers down and almost quivers. He does it a lot when my husband comes home from work (his favourite person). He always sits with us at dinner time and he also does it when he's begging for something we're eating.

Anansi 06-04-2014 03:14 PM

Re: First time Eckie owner, need advice.
I'll just add to that by saying that vitamin A is very important for ekkies.

Selestine has already given some good food suggestions, and that link by Terry will be an excellent guide for you. I'll just give you a listing of what I give to my eclectus, Bixby, in groupings of maybe five food types at a time: carrots, pumpkin, (both great sources of vitamin A!) endive, bell peppers (red, yellow, orange and green), chili peppers, Swiss chard, brown rice, quinoa, corn, pomegranates, grapes, blueberries, asparagus, jalapeno peppers, Jamaican peppers, squash (butternut, green and yellow), snap peas, broccoli, cactus pears, starfruit, bananas, kale, turnips, granny smith apples, papaya, hominy, dandelions, okra, mango, wheat bread, chocho beans and garbanzo beans, as well as Volkman's Fancy Soak and Simmer for the majority of his legumes and grains. And I offer him a few slices of hard-boiled eggs (with the crushed shells - great for calcium!) maybe twice a month. In addition, I provide a separate cup with a small serving of seeds and nuts each morning.

Rave 06-04-2014 08:10 PM

Re: First time Eckie owner, need advice.
Thank you all so much for your answers! I'm glad to hear that I was just being paranoid regarding the wing shivers. This is my first foray into owning a larger parrot, so I appreciate anything anyone here can tell me. I'm currently browsing ways to Max-proof a room so that he won't be hurt when he eventually comes out.

I don't actually know how old Max is, I only know for sure that he's not a juvenile. I roughly estimated two years, but he's likely a little older. This is Max. (The pic is kind of blurry because I only have a 3DS to use for a camera and it's not great) I know he needs a larger cage and different perches/feeding bowls already, this is a short-term cage for him 'til I can find a good one. I'll take any recommendations there too. ;) Looking for a cage that's a decent size for him that won't be too expensive.

How do you all get them to try different foods? His former owner said Max would "eat anything", but I really don't think he tried him on too many foods. I made a small bowl of romaine lettuce, green pepper, pineapple, and blueberries for him today (trying to settle him onto eating fresh meals instead of just the seed). He liked the lettuce, ate a little pineapple, and didn't try the blueberries or peppers. He went down to the seed not long after I put the dish in, so now I'm thinking he's a seed junkie as well and thinking of removing that dish during meal time, is that a bad idea? He shows great enthusiasm for granny smith apples, grapes, a little bit of pasta, and popcorn (nothing added, stove-popped). It's a matter of persistence, right? Is there any particular place I can order eclectus seed, as well? I don't believe the pet stores in my area (mostly chain stores) even carry anything beyond generic parrot food, though I will check to make sure.

I wanted to ask about his beak, as well. It looks a little long compared to most pictures of the breed I've seen, which is why I have a pic of him in profile in this post. I saw a pic of another eclectus today with a beak just as long, which makes me wonder. His beak doesn't look overgrown and he is not having any trouble eating or beaking through his food. His former owner used to clip his beak with a pair of pliers, the idea of which scares me quite a bit. Would I need to clip his beak or would I be able to get him things to chew that would take care of that? Is there a safe way for me to clip his beak, if necessary, or should I contact the avian vet in my area and take him to have his beak clipped?

Selestine 06-04-2014 08:22 PM

Re: First time Eckie owner, need advice.
Hmm.. his beak is longer than my Zephyr's beak, but I guess I can't really comment on whether or not it is an issue. I do believe I've heard that liver problems can cause overgrowth of beak/nails, but I don't want to freak you out since I have NO idea if his beak is too long or what.

As far as food -- if I left Zephyr free access to seed he'd never eat anything else. It is by far his favourite food, and it isn't really particularly healthy for him (very fatty), which is why I only give him a limited amount at night as a treat. This is also why I don't put his fruits in with his veggie bowl -- otherwise he'd just eat his fruit. So he gets his fruit with his beans and sweet potato, all of which he really loves. Then in the afternoon when he's getting hungry again all he's got to choose from are his healthy veggies, so he eats them.

As far as foods that he isn't eating -- I would just be persistent and keep offering them. My ekkie is much more wary about new foods than the conures and it often takes him a few days to decide he will eat something new that I am adding to his bowl if he's never seen it before. Of course, he does just have things that he won't eat (he hates strawberries and peaches for example and won't touch them no matter how often I offer).

For the Volkman's eclectus seed -- my bird store orders it special for me since they don't get enough demand to keep it in stock. There is also a horse supply store that sells the Volkman seed near me. If all else fails, you can purchase it on Amazon (with free shipping).

Selestine 06-04-2014 08:42 PM

Re: First time Eckie owner, need advice.
Oh, I forgot to mention! One of the best ways I've found to introduce Zephyr to new foods is to eat them enthusiastically in front of him. That usually makes him jealous enough to want to snipe whatever I'm eating, even if he had no interest before.

Anansi 06-04-2014 08:54 PM

Re: First time Eckie owner, need advice.
His beak looks long to me as well, but considering that my experience with eclectus is limited to my own, I'm not in a position to say definitively one way or the other.
You say his prior owner used to clip his beak with a pair of pliers?!? Uhm... Ouch? I've only heard of that being done with a dremel.

As for getting Max to try new foods. Throw a lot of variety his way. And try prepping the foods in different ways. Bixby, for instance, is no longer a fan of carrots sliced or whole. So I started grating them, and that he'll eat. Another ekky might prefer them cooked. It's just a matter of finding his likes. Also, if you find a food that Max goes particularly crazy over, you can mix it in with other food just to increase the possibility of him trying them. Pomegranates are often great for this. Most ekkies lose their minds for pomegranates.

As for removing the seed bowl during mealtime, you might have to do just that. But make sure to observe his eating habits, first. Some birds are just straight seed junkies, but others just have a certain way of doing things. Bixby loves alternating between the dry food and the wet. Maybe he just likes the contrast in textures? I don't know. But whatever works, right?

Rave 06-04-2014 11:22 PM

Re: First time Eckie owner, need advice.
Yep. Pliers. And the guy had several ekkies and amazons besides Max, too. Don't think he spent enough time with any of them. Between that, not mentioning the particular diet that ekkies require which leads me to believe Max wasn't getting what he needed (he called pellets their 'candy', for goodness sakes), and my beloved Indian ringneck parakeet passing away the day after I brought Max home, you can see why I'm particularly paranoid about things going wrong.

Thank you, everyone. I still have a lot to learn about my new friend, but it's no longer so overwhelming. Being able to ask people who have experience with ekkies instead of just relying on Google and contradicting sites has been a big help.

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