Advise a future eclectus owner

ortootto

New member
Apr 11, 2016
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Hi All,

Have been a bird owner for the last 25yrs, now it is time to become an eclectus owner.

One male baby is chosen yesterday, and i have about 4-6 weeks till his arrival. I am quite sure i will be able to provide him with a nice home and life. Cage is a for-one cockatoo size cage, in the corner of the room. Cage can be changed to bigger if necessary.

The real issue is the following: paid a visit to the breeder with the intent to buy one male. Yet, a 3 months old female one was brought back to the breeder by another purchaser who changed her mind after a week or so. Thus i am considering to take the female too and i am unsure if it is a good or bad idea.
As my wife and i are workin daytime, probably two birds will be better off than one alone. As both are young i hope there is no big risk of not getting by well with each other on the long run. We live in the city but we have a weekend house at the lake where we spend all our weekends and want to take the birds along.
Birds are hand raised. I am aware that females often have a worse reputation but that does not scare me.
Also aware that eclectus diet even compared to that of the alexandrine's and the amazon's may be more time demanding, also no problem.
Questions (and please correct me if i am wrong):
1. If kept as a couple risk of feeling lonely and its results (such as plucking) decrease?
2. If kept as a couple will they still be interested in human owners or will they disregard us mostly?
3. Also can not decide between two bads: wing clipping or train to wear a harness? (Would not risk outdoor freeflight)
4. Idea is: the male will follow my wife whereas the female me (or not of course...)? Though we think the birds choose, we hope there will be less jealousy if we dedicate ourselves to the birds respectively.
5. Assuming the birds will be out of cage in the morning and in the afternoon for hours a day, what is the absolute minimum cage size for two?
6. Buy one and keep it as the most precious pet but leave him alone daytime or buy two so they are not alone but take on the added dfficulties and risks?
I do not ask the breeder as he is obviously interested in selling two instead of one.

Please advise, i do want to make the better decision. Bird interest is second to none, but we also wanna enjoy.

Thanks
 

JerseyWendy

New member
Jul 20, 2012
20,995
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Hi there, and welcome to the forums. :)

If you decide to get the hen as well, how much older is she than the male baby? Female Eclectus mature quicker than the males, so ideally, if you are/were planning to house them in the same cage, you would get a male first and add the female later.

Since both birds are still really young, your plan 'may' work. However, that doesn't guarantee that once the girl matures, they will continue to get along.

I kept a pair of RS Eclectus in the same cage. Both were hand raised by me. My male wasn't much older than my female, only 4 months. They got along splendidly, and both were extremely social, friendly, and got along with everyone in the household, even with family friends. I never clipped my Eclectus. :)

They were housed in a macaw sized cage, 4' wide, 3' deep.
 
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ortootto

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Apr 11, 2016
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Thanks for sharing. I am one step closer to buying the hen as well. The hen is 3,5 months old, the male is seven weeks old:)
 

littleredhen77

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Aug 30, 2015
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maine
Parrots
cockatiel ((Jake))
eclectus ((ziggy))
while i do not have experience first hand, as i only own one male eclectus, i would be afraid of having one of each because i wouldnt want them to breed, or for the female to try laying eggs. im terrified of egg bound parrots and i feel like that is the single biggest thing keeping me from owning a female bird as a companion to my male bird. female ekkies are so gorgeous and i would LOVE to have one someday, but this scares the crap out of me.

not sure what the percentage is of hens that have complications vs. hens that just lay eggs sometimes and nothing ever becomes of it, but something to think about anyways.
 
Apr 3, 2013
944
23
MD, USA
If I was in your situation (which I'm not), I would personally have two cages. Your birds would still keep each other company throughout the day through communication, but you'd be avoiding any unsupervised aggression, unwanted breeding, and risk of bonded birds that don't want to deal with you. With that being said, bonded birds CAN be socialized with people and be part of the family. It really comes down to what your goals are in parrot ownership. I haven't owned ekkies personally, but just my experience with other species.
 

camo

New member
Jun 30, 2014
383
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Parrots
Gizmo - Male Eclectus Parrot

Pebbles - Female Eclectus Parrot
Hi,

I have a male and a female eclectus. They are both adoptions so different backgrounds. They get along well, and interact with my wife and I. My male (Gizmo) is a bit of a jealous boy, my experience is they will choose who they like the most, and this can change (so you might find it hard to control that).

With wing clipping, I personally don't clip my too, I suspect my female (Pebbles) was previously clipped as her flight skills are not as good as Gizmo (although the last few months she has really been flying around and is improving greatly). One of the big advantages with not clipping when you have 2 is if one is picking on the other, or wants it's space, they can just fly to another perch.

Regarding a single cage, I have only ever owned these two, so can only comment based on my experience, but I don't think Gizmo & Pebbles would get along well together in one cage, unless it was a big cage. My two enjoy there own space at times, especially Pebbles, and I think without having the option to have seperate space, there could be problems.

As for keeping each other company when left alone, my pair have there cages side by side (spaced slightly so beak can't reach toes:eek:). I set up toys a few toys that can be reached from both cages, so they still interact, but have their own safe space when unsupervised.

Hope some of that helps.

Cheers,

Cameron
 

Anansi

Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
Dec 18, 2013
22,301
4,207
Somerset,NJ
Parrots
Maya (Female Solomon Island eclectus parrot), Jolly (Male Solomon Island eclectus parrot), Bixby (Male, red-sided eclectus. RIP), Suzie (Male cockatiel. RIP)
You've already received some good advice above, but a few other things. If you are picking up this female from the same breeder where you got the male, there is a strong chance that they could be related. This would eventually pose some serious issues if you do intend to keep them in the same cage, as they might look to mate once they become sexually mature.

Obviously not cool.

Also, there's no guarantee that they'll get along well enough to share a cage. Some do, as in the example given with the ekkies that Wendy had, but in other cases they may very well attempt to kill each other. I'd personally keep them in separate cages.

Okay, on to your questions:

1) Keeping them as a couple doesn't guarantee that they won't pluck. A lot depends upon how well they get along. If they bond, then yes, they'll definitely benefit from each other's company. But there are certainly bonded parrots who still pluck. You'll want to make sure they learn to self-entertain. Lots of toys and foraging activities will go a long way toward decreasing the likelihood of plucking.

2) Many people have multiple ekkies who still bond with their owners. I'm one of them. So long as you build a strong relationship with each of them, it should be fine.

3) I would definitely go with harness training. Neither of my ekkies is clipped. Maya was never allowed to fledge before I got her, so she rarely flies. But Jolly has been target and recall trained, and flies freely around my house. Works out well. I'm working on harness training him, and Maya is already harness trained.

Even if clipped, you'd want to harness train anyway. You'd be surprised how far a clipped bird could get once outside. But I personally never clip.

4) You won't have any control over whom each bird will choose. My wife also pays a lot of attention to our ekkies, but both have chosen me. There's no predicting which way their preferences may fall. Best bet is for both of you to work equally with each bird. You'll want each of them socialized well with each of you, despite their ultimate preference, either way.

5) If you do still want to go with a single cage, it would need to be bigger than one sized for a single cockatoo. A double macaw cage, at least. IMO.

6) I don't think either option is "right" or "wrong". If you feel comfortable getting two, and you're prepared for the possibility that the two of them could as easily dislike each other as become complete cuddle buddies, and you are ready to take steps to keep them from breeding if there is a chance that they might be related, then I'd say go ahead with it.

But if any of that doesn't sound palatable to you, then I'd go with just getting one.

Hope this helps. Please keep us updated.
 

Brittany741

New member
Feb 9, 2015
384
0
Atlanta, GA
Parrots
SI Eclectus (Ruby) - 11 / Eclectus (Wrangler) - 7 / Eclectus (Pinto) - 6 /
Red Sided Eclectus (Oliver) - 4 mos. /
White Bellied Caique (Dan) - 2 /
Foster Congo African Grey (Molly) - 6
I put a deposit down on my baby boy Red Sided Ekkie who comes home Thursday. Three weeks after that happened, I stumbled upon Persie who desperately needed to be rescued. I had a small window to get her here and some coercing to actually convince them to let her go. Thankfully, they did.

I know both birds were bred in different states. Baby boy was bred locally and Persie was bred in TX 9 years ago. They both have nice cages but very much separate. The chance of someone getting hurt is simply not worth the risk. We invest so much time, money, love, effort, and much more into our flocks. One simple lapse in focus can cause that to all come to an abrupt end.

Through the years, I've fostered many birds. Some have gotten along while others would climb, try to fly, break through, or destroy things to get at another flock member to kill them. It's not worth the risk.

These things take time, but especially that initial bond with you. My experience tells me that investing in that initial bird to human bond should be my main focus with my baby boy coming in. In a few months, I hope to work on introducing them and seeing if they are accepting, tolerant, or sworn enemies. Those statuses can also change quickly for the worse, so staying vigilant is imperative.

I hope you are able to come to a decision with what works best for you and for the birds! One bird is great and so is two, if that's what fits your lifestyle best!
 

coopedup

New member
Apr 8, 2016
383
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CA
Parrots
7y/o eclectus Wrangler
Terrific input, thanks everyone---my baby girl arrives in June and I have been approached about a male rescue. I had the same concerns and I have been told that bringing a male into the house can lead to egg production which is why the rescue has had second thoughts on rehoming the male with me (convo started before i got the baby). With that being said, the resuce bird I had earlier this year was initially given up because she constantly laid eggs whenever her person was home (a woman). The owner found this problematic and troublesome and gave the bird up to a Mccaw breeder, which is where I found her. Egg production is a result of hormones (much like false pregnancies in dogs) and a fixation on a mate---appropriate or not. The breeder who is raising my baby has two breeding pairs and intially she got nowhere because her chosen pairs did not chose each other. While I leave the answer to those who have actual experience, my knowledge of dogs, horses, and other animals suggests that bringing a pair into the home will have random and unpredictable results, and the best way to avoid egg laying/binding is to manage the female with appropriate diet/sleep/etc., information that you will find in most of these forums, if she shows any signs of this. (also daily weighing will give you an indication if she is putting on weight for "unknown" reasons). Obviously I have a bit of bias--i want one of each cuz they are amazing birds....:)
 

jess.reco

New member
Sep 16, 2014
181
0
Downunder - Australia
Parrots
Tequila - Solomon Island
I first have to say Congratulations!!! It's great being an Eccy owner!!!

I've had experience in having a male and female Eccy. I really really really suggest you put them in separate cages. Females are very picky on who they choose as a mate. They are known to kill males. So they may not get along. I have a female Eccy and I've had her for 6 years. We are very bonded. I brought home a rescue male and they DID NOT get along. I ended up finding him a good home as I couldn't keep them together, and it was stressing her out having the male around.

I know everyone else has answered your questions, but I'll input too :)

1. If kept as a couple risk of feeling lonely and its results (such as plucking) decrease?
I don't think it will decrease. Plucking can be brought on by their diet. They can be sensitive. It also can be brought on by not being able to mate with each other if you don't want them as breeding birds. They become frustrated.

2. If kept as a couple will they still be interested in human owners or will they disregard us mostly?
If you put them in separate cages and bond with them you should be fine :) They're very smart birds.

3. Also can not decide between two bads: wing clipping or train to wear a harness? (Would not risk outdoor freeflight)
Wing clipping doesn't stop a bird from flying trust me!!! I've lost a clipped bird to a windy day! Definitely harness train.

4. Idea is: the male will follow my wife whereas the female me (or not of course...)? Though we think the birds choose, we hope there will be less jealousy if we dedicate ourselves to the birds respectively.
They can be choosy lol

5. Assuming the birds will be out of cage in the morning and in the afternoon for hours a day, what is the absolute minimum cage size for two?
Like I said it honestly doesn't matter how much room you give them, if they don't like each other they will seek each other out to hurt them. I've heard it happen :(

6. Buy one and keep it as the most precious pet but leave him alone daytime or buy two so they are not alone but take on the added dfficulties and risks?

I work full time and my female is on her own. She's out in the morning and at night. I give her foraging toys and branches to chew on. She has not plucked at all :)
 

Brittany741

New member
Feb 9, 2015
384
0
Atlanta, GA
Parrots
SI Eclectus (Ruby) - 11 / Eclectus (Wrangler) - 7 / Eclectus (Pinto) - 6 /
Red Sided Eclectus (Oliver) - 4 mos. /
White Bellied Caique (Dan) - 2 /
Foster Congo African Grey (Molly) - 6
I have always kept a balance of genders of all my animals, including birds. Sure, there are always risks but I've found those things we worry about may not be as common as we think. Places like forums and message boards tend to be a concentration of folks with these problems, if they were doing good with no issues they'd have no reason to post! That's why I say do what you want to do. The only way to find out is to try.
 
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ortootto

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Apr 11, 2016
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Thanks Folks to all the smart remarks. The hen's already been here for like 5 days. Unbelievable experience. This bird is a snugglebunny and a feeding machine at the same time. Though the breeder clipped the wing brutally (got bitten seriously he deserved it) the bird does not seem to care, she still flies, after realizing that the wing works differently. So harness training seems inevitable, as some of you pointed out well. I am amazed by how relaxed this lil hen is, never seen a bird chilling out like this before: the bird tends to come closer and closer till she leans to you then falls asleep. One can grab and hold her, no objection. Absolutely no biting (yet). Very very cuddly bird. Call is very rare and scaringly awful but far from unbearable, how come a bird such beautiful and cute sounds like a witch crossbred with a crow shouting into a 100W amplifier. Screeching stops if bird taken out from cage and put by my side on the couch. Otherwise ministry of cutely stupid voices and mumbling. Enormous appetite, not picky, would even try takin my beer as well. Curious, and not making any mistake twice, so seemingly smart. Anyway, it may be too early to cheer after such a short time, yet this bird is a lovely one for sure. Will think about the idea of a cage with separate spaces for two quite quickly. Will be taking her with us for the weekend into the green. Next week we start clicker training too i guess as the basics are already workin well. Thank you eclectus forum:)
 

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