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Old 10-10-2019, 10:24 AM
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Eclectus: preparation guidance for first time owner

Hello,

I'm new to the forum and I do not own an Eclectus parrot but am preparing myself to bring one home within the next 2-3 years (maybe 4 but hopefully it will not be that long). Looking for a Solomon Eclectus.

I understand that special diets and care need to be taken into consideration as they are different from most parrots down to their difference in the colors of a male vs colors of a female.

I have been looking up breeders just to educate myself on the signs of a quality breeder vs an unscrupulous breeder. I've ordered a book by a vet that you guys have recommended on here through reading your forums (waiting for the book to arrive) and read your experiences with different personalities found among eclectus parrots even though most of them were male and I am interested in a female, and I understand females tend to be more aggressive than males which is something I don't mind. I've seen photos on what large birds can do, and am willing to accept responsibility. I use to work in an animal hospital and I use to be around horses regularly and have nearly been killed by a horse I knew quite well and mounted back on him moments later after telling him he was a very bad boy (only reason I'm not around horses anymore is for the same reason I will not get a parrot right now... financial obligation towards special veterinary attention). Aggressive animal behavior doesn't easily scare me away. Disease will.

There are a lot things I would like to know that I cannot find online (aside from wiki-how if it even has what I'm looking for) and would like some insight.

1st: What is the best way to acclimate a new eclectus to a home with 2 kids (my kids will be 7 and 8 years of age if I bring home the bird in two years) a live-in man (he sleeps in the bed with me, helps cook dinner, helps take care of the kids and dogs, loves animals as much as I do, helps clean the house and does his own laundry), and 2 large dogs. (The dogs will be almost 9 and almost 10 in 2 years so there is a chance that they might not be around in 2 years).

2nd: Do eclectus show any warning signs before they bite or are they like cockatoos where there is no visual warning sign you just feel this heightened energy all of the sudden? How do I train them not to bite? (wiki-how had a special thing on eclectus no-bite training but I would like some insider help and if there is a different approach with male vs female.)

3rd: When a female is showing hormonal behavior, what do you recommend to stop her from doing this?

4th: I read that eclectus like to eat eggs if they are well cooked. ... Could I feed the female eggs that she has laid or is that a "don't do it"? (Don't look at me that way.) Can they have cooked steak?

5th: Are they possible to potty train? I have potty trained a budgie before but... that's a budgie. Took a ton of patience. Potty training my daughter took more patience. Rabbits are the easiest to potty train.

6th: I live in the USA. So far I've only found one Eclectus breeder and while they do have a lot of positive reviews, there were two negative reviews that concerned me and the fact their aviary isn't open to the public is more concerning (am I overreacting? Please let me know.) What USA (preferably northern Illinois / Southern Wisconsin area but I will make the drive cross country if need be) breeders and aviaries do you recommend? I don't want to adopt a re-homed bird. I feel like that would be for a more experienced Eclectus owner. Plus I wanna raise it from 4 months old.

7th: Will they get "too jealous" if a newborn baby arrives? I DO NOT want more kids. I have a son and a daughter. But, accidents can happen. If jealousy does happen, how do I correct this? How do I go around this?

8th: What is the most humane training method to teach an eclectus not to scream?

9th: What type of people would make the best person to will the bird to if something happens to me? Should I educate my friend that has an african grey about eclectus parrots? Should I just rely on my spouse or kids? (I love horses and every year there is an equestrian that is killed by their love of being an equestrian. There's always a risk when you deal with an animal that weighs as much as a car and has a mind of it's own.)

I want to be as educated as possible when I get this bird as they do live a long time (I'm 29 now, so by the time I get this bird they will pass away by the time I'm in my early 70's if not later).

I know each bird has their own unique personality, so considering this all the information I can get to prepare myself and my family to have this bird not only survive but thrive as well as keeping the house hold happy will help even if it is information as simple as how to train them to enjoy a shower and stealing treats from someone's hand is bad manners.

Last edited by 4toes_1beak; 10-10-2019 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 10-10-2019, 12:04 PM
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Re: Eclectus: preparation guidance for first time owner

The more ekkie pros on the forum will probably pop by shortly, but I just wanted to quickly answer you briefly in the meantime.

Before all that, I highly recommend you adopt an adult bird, not a baby. Your baby may be cute now, but that could all change with puberty. And puberty isn't always nice - it could be aggressive (biting/attacking), it could be screaming, it could be masturbating. In addition, ekkies can live up to 50 years or so. Do you have any plans for if a (now) baby outlives you? A more adult bird is more likely to be settled in his personality, more chill overall. Whereas a baby going to teenage years (which can last until they're about 7 or so) will be more attention-needing and bouncing off the walls (at least that's how it feels like to me sometimes).


1. Follow your bird's lead. He might want to fly around a bit. He might want to chill inside his cage.

2. This depends on the individual (another reason why you should get an adult). Our boy normally gently pushes your finger away unless you keep insisting, and then he increases pressure. At the peak of his puberty hormones (which may yet come back since he's not yet 2yo), he would dive-bomb and attack to draw blood without warning. That's hormones. Now that it's died down, he gives warning. He doesn't bite me at all, but he learned he can bully my partner (yay, teenager testing boundaries), so his feathers will swell and his eyes will start pining (by then it's danger zone). Now, females are hormonal in a different way, and they can be more territorial. Until your bird goes through puberty, it's hard to know how they act during hormones time.

3. There's quite a few threads in the forum about hormones. I'll briefly summarise:
- don't allow her in dark areas that she could make a nest (under furniture, in boxes, in clothes, etc)
- don't pet any bird (male or female) anywhere but their head and toes (touching on the body is propositioning them and ultimately frustrating them).
- don't feed warm, mashed foods or too much fruits
- make sure she gets 12 hours of sleep at least

4. Laurella Desborough (one of the reknown ekkie experts in the US) does not recommend giving eggs. She says her vets have autopsied ekkies who have died young and found the cause of death to be clogged arteries from eggs in their diet. People do recommend feeding crushed shells for calcium. Ultimately, it's your personal decision. I don't because Cairo had terrible droppings after the one time I did.

5. Our boy was potty-trained within a weekend. There are a lot of threads about safely training your bird (the key is to not encourage a situation where they hold it in or force it out - you do NOT want them to force out a poo on cue because birds have had a prolapse from this before).

6. IMO, 4 months old is too young for an ekkie. Ekkies are notoriously hard to wean. Some ekkies are on formula up to 9 months old or longer. And they're incredibly picky as well (more than most parrots). They'll be starving, but demanding their formula at the absolute right temperature (not a touch off) and the right consistency. And you just have to keep making the batch of formula until they accept it. Forced weaning is psychologically unhealthy, and forced weaned birds often regress later on. You want an abundance-weaned bird, which means for an ekkie, that may take more than 4mo. I honestly would only suggest a baby ekkie for experienced owners - handling a baby bird is something you need experience for, and puberty needs a lot of assistance as well.

7. This also depends on the individual bird. There are a lot of threads on this forum about jealousy. Some ekkies do get jealous, others don't.

8. There are many different threads on training a bird not to scream. Remember that all training should start from positive reinforcement and understanding. First, understanding why your bird is screaming. Is he in pain from some internal medical condition you cannot see? Is he utterly bored and his intelligent brain cannot handle the lack of stimuli? Is he concerned that his flock is seemingly abandoning him as they go about their lives without him? Then positively reinforce 'nice' sounds - treat him when he makes a noise that you want him to make. (Remember, I'm just quickly summarising, so please look into the other threads for more detailed explanations).

9. This is up to your personal decision. I've even considered this country's national bird park - our little guy takes to tricks so easily, and he could be a great ambassador for his species.
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Old 10-10-2019, 12:17 PM
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Re: Eclectus: preparation guidance for first time owner

LOL, as an aside comment - if you know "a live-in man (he sleeps in the bed with me, helps cook dinner, helps take care of the kids and dogs, loves animals as much as I do, helps clean the house and does his own laundry)", heck give me his name, I will marry the dude! Hope my wife doesn't see this!!
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Old 10-10-2019, 05:06 PM
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Re: Eclectus: preparation guidance for first time owner

Quote: Originally Posted by charmedbyekkie View Post
The more ekkie pros on the forum will probably pop by shortly, but I just wanted to quickly answer you briefly in the meantime.

Before all that, I highly recommend you adopt an adult bird, not a baby. ears or so. Do you have any plans for if a (now) baby outlives you? A more adult bird is more likely to be settled in his personality, more chill overall. Whereas a baby going to teenage years (which can last until they're about 7 or so) will be more attention-needing and bouncing off the walls (at least that's how it feels like to me sometimes).
I greatly appreciate this information on why an adult would be better than a 4 month old.
This information widened my eyes a bit.

This is why I asked about eggs. I've heard of birds having digestive issues after eating eggs but when I saw people giving eggs to them it made me wonder.

Doesn't surprise me that your bird had nasty droppings after eating. Feces are usually my first go-to to see if an animal companion of mine is having a medical issue (Check daily).

I figured adults would have the stress of separation and trust issues, but this gave me a better insight. Better to gain trust than to risk a young one die of starvation. I thought ekkies live up to 40 years. (Maybe I misread where I got that information?) Either way, I would find an appropriate person to will the bird to.
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Old 10-12-2019, 12:34 AM
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Re: Eclectus: preparation guidance for first time owner

Hi! I am, too, an ekkie owner-wanna-be! While I don't have any experience in handling one, I thought we can share and get more advice together. I have been doing my ekkie homework in the past 6 months, and I am hoping to bring one into my family in the next 6 months if all goes well.

Quote: Originally Posted by 4toes_1beak View Post
Hello,

1st: What is the best way to acclimate a new eclectus...
I really like the approach of Bridtrics in this topic. They have a video of brining a new bird home. While that is not an ekkie, I think it applies to many birds.

Quote: Originally Posted by 4toes_1beak View Post
2nd: Do eclectus show any warning signs before they bite or are they like cockatoos where there is no visual warning sign you just feel this heightened energy all of the sudden?
I believe ekkies show signs, but they are harder to read compared to macaws. They natrually freeze more often when scared, but it depends on the bird-sonpality (personality). I am expecting myself to read them, be bit a couple times, and learn from observations.

Quote: Originally Posted by 4toes_1beak View Post
3rd: When a female is showing hormonal behavior, what do you recommend to stop her from doing this?
I think you've got great advices on this one already.

Quote: Originally Posted by 4toes_1beak View Post
4th: I read that eclectus like to eat eggs if they are well cooked. ... Could I feed the female eggs that she has laid or is that a "don't do it"? (Don't look at me that way.) Can they have cooked steak?
I personally won't be feeding eggs or steak regularly. I've seen other ekkie owners complianed about them stealing filet mignon from human plate...I figure it's not great for them, but once in a while we will have to forgive a hungry thief.

Quote: Originally Posted by 4toes_1beak View Post
5th: Are they possible to potty train?
I believe they are, but how easy depends on the bird again.

Quote: Originally Posted by 4toes_1beak View Post
6th: I live in the USA. So far I've only found one Eclectus breeder and while they do have a lot of positive reviews, there were two negative reviews that concerned me and the fact their aviary isn't open to the public is more concerning (am I overreacting? Please let me know.) What USA (preferably northern Illinois / Southern Wisconsin area but I will make the drive cross country if need be) breeders and aviaries do you recommend? I don't want to adopt a re-homed bird. I feel like that would be for a more experienced Eclectus owner. Plus I wanna raise it from 4 months old.
I also am debating between breeder and rescue. You are probably in a better position than I am. I live in the middle of no where, and pretty much no rescue will consider me, except one. Personally, I lean more towards rescue, but I might not have a choice in the end.
I prefer an adult, so I can skip over the teenage period. However, I am terrified if I rescue a bird with hidden disease. My family health is a little compromised already, so I can't invite chlamydia into the house. The rescue I'm in conversation with has not made their quaratine procedure clear to me, and the adoption contract says no guarantee of health.
With that said, I actually feel much more comfortable with a breeder with closed aviary. Some breeders enforce that to prevent diseases. We just have to be very careful to know whether the breeder is legit or a bird mill. I've got some great breeder names from the ekkie facebook groups. I encourage you to join one, too.

Quote: Originally Posted by 4toes_1beak View Post
7th: Will they get "too jealous" if a newborn baby arrives? I DO NOT want more kids. I have a son and a daughter. But, accidents can happen. If jealousy does happen, how do I correct this? How do I go around this?
I should be worried about this. I am planning to have kids in the future. I believe they do get jealous, but we have to manage the relationship. It's doable. Once again, I would refer to Birdtrics: https://birdtricksstore.com/blogs/bi...5cb01771&_ss=r
Quote: Originally Posted by 4toes_1beak View Post
8th: What is the most humane training method to teach an eclectus not to scream?
I think this is debatable in some ways. We have to understand the positive/negative reinforemcent and punishment. Each bird has different things that can be positive or negative. I hope to do my best in training, too.

Quote: Originally Posted by 4toes_1beak View Post
9th: What type of people would make the best person to will the bird to if something happens to me?
I hope my ekkie will live a good life but die before me. If not, I will make sure that I raise bird-loving kids.

Let's help each other in preparing. I hope we both can be great ekkie parents in the near future.
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Old 10-12-2019, 01:32 AM
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Re: Eclectus: preparation guidance for first time owner

Quote: Originally Posted by shinyuankuo View Post
Hi! I am, too, an ekkie owner-wanna-be! While I don't have any experience in handling one, I thought we can share and get more advice together.

Let's help each other in preparing. I hope we both can be great ekkie parents in the near future.
Yes to all of what you said! 😀😀😀 I'd love to bounce information back and forth.
Additionally I've been following "bird tricks" as well. She shows a lot of stuff but I think I need to find a local "parrot" rescue and spend some time around ekkies to really know their body language.

I don't think a rescue would be a good fit for me. I did however find a breeder who has adults available. 2 of the girls are 11 years old! Definitely settled in to their own personality. But that makes me question what's wrong with them, as her adults birds are sold for fairly cheap and she only breeds solomon island eclectus. Nothing else. I talked to her today and she helped ease a ton of my concerns but not all of them.

I can give you her info if you are on the USA continent.

Do you have any other big concerns?
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Old 10-12-2019, 03:45 AM
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Re: Eclectus: preparation guidance for first time owner

If you're concerned about hidden diseases, you can always request their test results. In the US, these tests are easier to get done since everything is done in country.

Rescue birds aren't always there because of "bird problems". Often times the problem is the human side - no time to take care of a bird, new housing situation, spouse doesn't like birds, owner passed away, etc.

If you want a pure blood line for breeding, sure, get a baby with lineage. Otherwise too many birds are rehomed on a regular basis. Someone buys a bird without understanding what they're getting into; they don't spend time or give adequate care; the bird tries to communicate their needs; the owner doesn't want to solve anything and rehomes. Given that they live for so long (longer than cats or dogs) you can imagine how many birds this has happened to, given how many cats and dogs it happens to.

I can't attest to birdtricks, as I don't follow them. But Steve Martin and Barbara Heidenreich are other knwon parrot trainers. These forums also have a wealth of information on training for all sorts of situations - you just have to poke around
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:16 AM
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Re: Eclectus: preparation guidance for first time owner

Quote: Originally Posted by charmedbyekkie View Post
If you're concerned about hidden diseases, you can always request their test results. In the US, these tests are easier to get done since everything is done in country.

Rescue birds aren't always there because of "bird problems". Often times the problem is the human side - no time to take care of a bird, new housing situation, spouse doesn't like birds, owner passed away, etc.

If you want a pure blood line for breeding, sure, get a baby with lineage. Otherwise too many birds are rehomed on a regular basis. Someone buys a bird without understanding what they're getting into; they don't spend time or give adequate care; the bird tries to communicate their needs; the owner doesn't want to solve anything and rehomes. Given that they live for so long (longer than cats or dogs) you can imagine how many birds this has happened to, given how many cats and dogs it happens to.

I can't attest to birdtricks, as I don't follow them. But Steve Martin and Barbara Heidenreich are other knwon parrot trainers. These forums also have a wealth of information on training for all sorts of situations - you just have to poke around

Thank you again for the information! I don't want a pure bloodline fore breeding. Ijist want a "forever baby".
That makes sense what you said about rehoming birds. The number one reason golden retrievers are rehomed is the shed (I have one. She's almost as bad as a husky.) and miniature schnauzers because of their bark and it's incredibly difficult to get them to stop due to the fact that they are a terrier.

This is why I am doing research. I don't want to break anyone's heart (mainly the bird's as we're tougher when it comes to mending a broken heart.)

I'll ask the breeder I found if she can run tests for hidden diseases when I am ready.
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Old 10-12-2019, 01:37 PM
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Re: Eclectus: preparation guidance for first time owner

Quote: Originally Posted by charmedbyekkie View Post
If you're concerned about hidden diseases, you can always request their test results. In the US, these tests are easier to get done since everything is done in country.
Definitely, will have to do that. We have to be alert of the possibility of disease wherther the bird comes from a rescue or a breeder. Unfortunlately, there are bird mills and bad/fake rescues in the market. I wish the world can be simple.

Quote: Originally Posted by 4toes_1beak View Post
miniature schnauzers because of their bark and it's incredibly difficult to get them to stop due to the fact that they are a terrier.
WHAT?! I had a schnauzer 10 years ago. He grew up with me and left me at the age of 11 (organ failure). I honestly thought he was uncapable to bark the first two years because he was SO QUIET. Well...another example of stereotype expectations and individual personality. I have a soft spot for all schnauzers because of him.
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Old 10-12-2019, 01:45 PM
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Re: Eclectus: preparation guidance for first time owner

Quote: Originally Posted by 4toes_1beak View Post

Yes to all of what you said! 😀😀😀 I'd love to bounce information back and forth.

Do you have any other big concerns?
Yes, especially there are so much unknown about ekkies. We will have to rely on each other and the community to do our best. I don't have other major concerns at this point. I feel that I am as ready as I can be for the challenge. There's only so much we can do without a bird.


I will for sure have problem when I get a bird. It's never gonna go as well as we plan.
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