New member
Mar 12, 2015
I have a 6 month old female Eclectus named Lucy
I have a quick question about exercise. I keep my female ekkie very engaged with new bought and homemade toys in her cage, so I know she gets lots of climbing around cage time. But I was wondering about exercise outside of the cage. I usually put her on my hand and drop my hand down so that she flaps her wings. This is a game we love, but often she will pant a bit afterward. Is that normal? I want to get her used to flapping her wings, as surely that is good for them. Like I said, she seems to love it, but I don't want to wear her out.



Supporting Member
Jul 10, 2015
Western, Michigan
DYH Amazon
Anytime you get them to flap their wings you are greatly increasing the amount of exercise your parrot is getting. There are a number of things you can do to increase 'flying' type of exercise. By simply adding steps (you moving) to your current 'drop' exercise, you create a more and longer flight like exercise. This can begin from a couple steps and grow to a trip around a room to trips around multiple rooms.

A single 'drop' exercise should not cause a healthy parrot to pant. Even three or four 'drop' exercises. Since, your parrot is panting, whether with a single or a few 'drop' exercises, I would not increase the number you are currently using until you visit your Avian Vet for a full evaluation of its lungs/heart. It is very possible that your parrot has never developed its flight muscles and therefore the lung and heart capacity to support even short flight.

An ever increasing number of young parrots are not allowed to fly prior to their sale. This is resulting in an increasing number of parrot with poorly or under-developed hearts and lungs. The long term affect is the likelihood of shorter overall lives with an include in the number of parrots lost to heart failure.

If your Avian Vet finds your parrot's heart and lungs to be healthy, you can slowly increase your parrots 'drop' flight exercises. If your parrot will allow you to lightly press its chest against your ear, you can hear/measure its heart rate. Panting is an exterior method, but not as clear. Ask your Avian Vet to allow you to hear your parrot's heart and lungs (air sacks).

Assuming that your parrot is healthly enough, the goal would be to slowly increase the exercises, but not to a level that places your parrot into heavy stress. Having heard your parrots heart under the stress of a Vet visit will give you a level you do not want to exceed.


New member
Feb 17, 2014
Has your female eclectus been clipped prior to or since you have gotten her?
There could be two issues here, one as Sailboat said if she was never allowed to fully fledge and develop the muscles she needs for flight than the flapping exercises are going to be more difficult also if she is over weight at all (which I would doubt considering her age).
The other issue is even when female eclectus can fly I have never seen one that enjoys and does it as much as the males do. In the wild females sometimes spend as much as 9 months in their nest holes in a tree. Multiple males come and feed her tending to her every need. She may come out of the nest long enough to copulate with the males but that is right next to the nest hole so it's not like she is getting a ton of exercise.:eek:

Males on the other hand fly long distance daily gathering food to feed all the females they are courting. They are busy green boys, the females once they are mature and have their own nest site not so much.

How long are you playing this game before you are hearing her pant? Has she been seen by a avian vet?


New member
Jul 28, 2015
Charlotte, NC
Blue Fronted Amazon, Cookie..Sun Conure..lil Booger (RIP) Have owned Parakeets, lovebirds, cockatiels, cockatoos, pocket parrot, and quakers.
I would have a vet look at her. Six months old and panting after a lil flapping cant be good. Not sure what her diet is but fats and chloresterols can build up in and around their hearts and liver. I pride myself in trying to feed a healthy diet.. but I have been known to overdo it a bit. Result is a bird that can look healthy but lack stamina. Eventually if left unchecked it we are talking stroke, heart attack, or liver disease. The key is moderation. While in the wild they may burn up fats and calories, captive birds burn much less..hence it builds up inside them. I learned this thankfully before losing one of my featherd kids... luckily.


New member
Nov 19, 2012
Sydney - Blue Front Amazon
Gonzo - Congo African Grey
Willow - Cockatiel
Snowy, Ivy, Kiwi, Ghost - Parakeets
Berry - Cinnamon GCC
My BFA couldn't fly for the first few years of having him, he's about 30+ years old now and I don't think he ever flew. He was overweight when I got him though he's healthy now. I had been doing drop exercises and putting him on a dowel and swinging him around the room for a long time to get him to flap, even going so far as to run around with him.

Only recently, since getting my African Grey, has he now actually attempted to fly (to come after me!) Which he never did before, didn't even TRY to fly. Now after a few times of leaping off the cage to "protect" (bite) me has he really gotten the hang of flying, though he can't stick a landing. He's actually getting height now, as well as distance and it's not just coasting.

Try doing what I did, as well as target training with T-stands or other perches. Teach her to "come here," from a small distance between two perches, and gradually make it wider so she has to really reach or jump. I like to color code things so they recognize "okay" spots to land. Give it time, I'm still working on my grey, though he has to regrow his flight feathers that he chews down!

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