New to the World of Eclectus!

NewEclectusFamily

New member
Mar 6, 2017
1
0
Hi All,

My family had found a lost/wandering little female Eclectus. We've never had any experience with parrots before and have been trying to see if we are able to find her family but it looks like there's no hope of finding her home. We have decided to care/love her, but are finding it difficult to find all the resources available about her species. I was hoping to get some tips and words of wisdom. She was molting when found, appears to be eating and drinking well. We have tried to give her spinach, almonds, apples, tangerines, berries, bananas, sunflower and chia seeds...but it looks like she dislikes everything except the apples, tangerines, sunflower and chia seeds. Are there any tips on what to feed them? I just ordered a bag of Eclectus variety seeds. She seems very shy and nervous (tends to try to bite, looks like as a sign to leave her alone). Seems to trust and gravitate towards my dad (who had found her outside under a car, just after some rain had fallen).
 

Owlet

Well-known member
Oct 27, 2016
2,754
1,889
Colorado
Parrots
Lincoln (Eclectus), Apollo (Cockatiel), Aster (GCC)
I suggest throwing out the sunflowers and possibly canceling that seed order unfortunately. Seeds are pretty much a no go when it comes to ekkies as they absorb nutrients really easily and seeds are super fatty. This is what I told someone else.

You will also need to take measures to prevent egg binding. I'm not entirely sure how egg binding happens as ive only had a male bird so hopefully another users can inform you about that.

Some pellets are okay to feed but most are corn based or just contain a lot that's not suitable for ekkies. There's a avian store near me who's owner is very knowledgeable in ekkies and pointed me toward this brand of pellets along with fruits and veggis.
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sou...6ECxRhzoqufDMQoTA&sig2=LA_dhuUl7Woo-ABzUsdqMg

At least I believe this was it, I'll have to double check next time I go in. As for crop mixes these are two I've used that I've found very successful with my ekkie though a breeding female would need a stable calcium source in addition. Which might be why the eggs were translucent, not enough calcium to build a sturdy shell.

Brocolli
Yams
Blueberries
Strawberries
Mangos
Kale
Red, yellow, green bell peppers
Quiona
Oats
Zuchinni

---

Squash
Brocolli
Beans
Yellow bell pepper
Oats
Kiwi
White dragon fruit
(I think that's all, I forgot to write this one down so I might be missing something)

You have to be very careful on what you feed ekkies. Never give them too much of one thing and the more variety in a mix the better as they won't be getting too much of one thing in a single serving. Too much nutrients of one thing can very quickly lead to toe tapping and wing flapping which can be very annoying to an Ekkie and even after completely cutting out what is causing it, it'll take a few days to clear up. Imagine being unable to stop tapping your foot and flapping your arms. That's what it is to them because it's muscle spasms.

Keep nuts to a minimum, I use almonds as a treat for Lincoln and he gets maybe 4-5 a day. I use almond slivers though so I can do 20-25+ training exercises throughout a day using them. DO NOT feed ekkies corn. Other parrots can handle it in minimum but it'll quickly lead to toe tapping for ekkies. No sunflowers either or really seeds in general. Too fatty. Ekkies need a lot more fiber than other parrots too, brocolli would be great for that.

Ekkies have very unique diets compared to most other parrots making them one of the most difficult parrots to feed or so I've learned. They make great companions though if you take up the challenge. Thank you for taking in this girl, I'm sure she'll open up to you as you work with her. I also suggest taking her to the vet ASAP to get blood work done and what not to make sure she's all healthy and good.
 
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chris-md

Well-known member
Feb 6, 2010
4,354
2,134
Maryland - USA
Parrots
Parker - male Eclectus

Aphrodite - red throated conure (RIP)
Hello and welcome to the forums! That you for taking in this sweet little girl!

are you ready?

Please note electus are a bit...unique in the parrot world, most notably for their diet. They have a low fat dietary requirement, which means little in the way of seeds. The big consideration is they need higher fiber and higher vitamin A content.

To whit: they have a longer digestive tract. This means their food is in contact with intestines for longer periods of time than most other birds. This extended contact time means they are much more efficient at extracting nutrients from their food than other birds are.

Dietary implications here are that they need high fiber to sustain the long voyage through the digestive tract. It also means that vitamin enriched food items (typical pellets, think VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS) can prove dangerous for ekkies. This is because they are so adept at extract vitamins from their diet. Super extraction powers makes it much easier to literally overdose them (hypervitaminosis) on nutrients.

To sum: a fresh vegetable and whole grain diet is best (fiber!) with lots of vitamin a containing veggies such as peppers (anything red/orange/yellow, really) is the staple. Then a bit of tropical fruit - anything colored throughout is going to be the most nutritious. Low sugar is also key for them.

I do want to warn you about what is coming here in the next couple months or so: HORMONAL SEASON!! This is a season where hormones can overtake even the sweetest of parrots. Every bird experiences it differently, but you are looking for nesting behavior - seeking out dark holes such as under the couch, increased aggression (protecting the burrow), newspaper shredding, possibly egg laying. Among others. This will likely be a difficult period. My boy becomes very aggressive to whee he is unhandleable and must stay in his cage for a few days.

If you notice this behavior, please note there is nothing you can do to stop it. BUT IT WILL END. This phase typically lasts just a couple weeks, then she will be back to her normal, sweet self. But especially if aggression appears, you have a basis for understanding where it is coming from. And you know it will go away on its own, you just have to be patient and wait it out.

I point this out because many people start seeing aggressive behavior in their animals, don't understand it, and wind up rehoming the poor thing. It's important to understand there is always a reason for aggressive behavior; and occasionally its hormonal which means it will go away. I want you to be prepared for this IF it arrises, because its due to appear in the next month or so.

Make sure you have a sufficiently large cage - 2'x3' at a minimum. And plenty of out of cage time. You have quite literally adopted a toddler, a puppy even. They crave interaction, attention, and want to be where the action is. a cage with a playtop or a separate play stand is the best approach here.

Begin immediately with some training such as target training, the parrot version of the "come" command. Some husbandry training such as this are GREAT bonding exercises and helps establish a common language.

So much more that can be said, but this covers the biggest ones:

1. diet - fiber and vitamin a heavy. Fresh veg and whole grain diet - lots of leafy greens, barley, BROWN rice (no white), assorted red/orange/yellow veggies - MAKE THEM EAT THE RAINBOW. Fruits are important but because of the sugar content should be the minority
IF YOU MUST FEED PELLETS, BUY PELLETS THAT ARE NOT VITAMIN ENRICHED AND NOT COLORED. if she is a picky eater, chuck it ALL into a food processor, or otherwise chop it up really tiny - we call this making chop (I just spent 7 hours making some last night for my boy). With such small pieces they can't be selective eaters and have to eat everything

2. Hormones are right around the corner. If you see odd or aggressive behavior, back off for now and ride it out. This too shall pass in a couple weeks.

3. big cage, lots of out of cage time. training!

Lastly - screaming, this is a big one that needlessly causes countless rehomings. Needless because MUCH of the screaming from birds indoors, if not from being ignored, is actually TRAINED behavior. If she screams, do NOT yell at her, do NOT bang the cage. If screaming occurs, walk out of the room. You can re-enter, yelling and screaming with content that she's being a good girl and bring a treat, when she suddenly gets quiet. The histrionics of anger and frustration from the human surrounding screaming are what make it appealing to the bird. "HEY LOOK, I SCREAM AND THIS HUMAN COMES RUNNING TO ME MAKING ALL SORTS OF FUNNY NOISES". If you are unsure how to react if a screaming episode occurs, stunned silence is better than any word you might say at the bird to try to make it shut up.

Birds don't understand punishment, only really positive reinforcement. Teaching them what you don't want them to do (screaming) doesn't work. Only teaching them what you DO want them to do (quiet, or talking) does. You're in a position now to prevent any screaming issues. IF SHE SCREAMS, NOBODY COMES RUNNING TO HER. NOBODY ENGAGES HER DO YOU UNDERSTAND???? DO NOT ENGAGE.

Sorry, this is so long. But it covers some of the most immediate issues you'll be facing with her. It sounds daunting, but I promise, its actually not that bad. You MUST think of them like quite literally children, and it will suddenly make all the sense in the world how they need to be cared for. Love, interaction, space, good diet, and a touch of understanding.

CAUSE AND EFFECT - CAUSE AND EFFECT - CAUSE AND EFFECT
 
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chris-md

Well-known member
Feb 6, 2010
4,354
2,134
Maryland - USA
Parrots
Parker - male Eclectus

Aphrodite - red throated conure (RIP)
Ok, now that ive had a shower and sobered up a bit (2 glasses of pinot Grigio in), let me distill the wall of text invade you don't care for the details:

1) DIET - heavy on veg and whole grains. Some tropical fruit is great too. Occasional seed but easy on all fatty foots such as seeds and nuts

2) attention, affection - they want to be with the family, cage where you spend the most time. Lots of out of cage time. If possible, she is it of cage when you are home. BIG CAGE!!

3) hormones are coming. You can't stop it, you have to grin and bare it. She cat exhibit any combination of symptoms listed in my previous post, and she may only experience them lightly, or she may get heavy into it. Varies based on individual. It lasts maybe 2-3 weeks, and ultimately fades.

4) If she screams you do not respond in any ways, except to walk out the room. No yelling or screaming back. Screaming is greeted with nothingness. Silence is heavily rewarded.
 
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