About Eclectus Parrots

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Valley Aviary

Breeder of Beautiful Eclectus Parrots

 

"Dr Marshall considers the Eclectus parrot to be the most intelligent of parrot birds. Smarter even than the famous African Grey,

who has been considered to be the best talker of all." 

Bird Health

Parrots as Pets

"Eclectus parrots are gentle, sweet-tempered, undemanding and quiet birds with an excellent voice-tone quality similar

to that of an African Grey."  Laurella Desborough 

Eclectus Parrot

Eclectus parrots come from the Australia region.  There are eight subspecies from various surrounding islands.  The Solomon Island Eclectus come from the Solomon Islands.  For a map of the area click here.  The Solomon Island Eclectus is one of the smallest of the subspecies and often considered one of the most gentle.  The Red Sided is similar in looks but larger.  The Vosmarie is larger than the Red Sided and the female looks quite different with a purple chest and a bright yellow trim on her tail and yellow "V" in her vent area.  These are the three main subspecies seen in Canada.  

Our Solomon Island Eclectus

We work hard to raise a healthy, happy baby parrot.  When you purchase a parrot from us it is up to you to continue the work and training to ensure a fun, loving and rewarding life together.  This page provides basic information to help you prepare for your new parrot.

1.  Socialization

Our Eclectus babies are handfed to help them become a good companion bird.  Eclectus parrots are highly social creatures and are considered a flock bird.  They like to eat when you eat and do things together with you.  The baby bird depends on you to fulfill its need for social interaction.  Your family is its new flock.  For a healthy, happy pet we recommend spending at least two hours a day with your new baby Eclectus out of the cage and interacting with you.  This can be as simple as taking the baby bird with you to do chores.  Of course some one on one training time is required to have a happy pet.  The more time you can spend the better. 

In order for your new Eclectus to accept all the members of your family, each member needs to spend a significant amount of time with the new bird.  The Eclectus will need to develop a relationship built on trust with each family member.  It is unrealistic to expect the Eclectus to accept someone who only spends a few minutes a week with it.  They need to build a bond of trust.

Eclectus are sweet birds that respond well to kisses on the beak accompanied by soft, affectionate vocalizations.  Talk softly and give physical affection, but do not force it on the baby bird.  Your baby bird will probably like to be petted on its back, but it is rare that a Eclectus likes its head scratched or even touched.  

Training is a very important part of  having a happy pet.  Eclectus are highly intelligent and need to learn appropriate behaviour.  We recommend reading Sally Blanchard's book, 'The Companion Parrot Handbook'. 

The Eclectus parrot explores and learns with their beak, occasional nips are part of the parcel, these should be gently discouraged.  We say that Eclectus lead with their beak.  Before they step up onto your hand they will check with their beak if it is a safe place to step onto.  They are not reaching out to bite, they are merely checking if it is secure enough to step on.  Don't be afraid.  Let them check it out.  Don't pull back.  Once they see it is safe they will step up.  

Talk softly to your new bird and be gentle.  Remember you are earning its trust and teaching it to be gentle.  Never strike or scream at your bird even if you are hurt.  Repeating a firm 'no bite' message combined with moving the bird to distract it should do the trick.  Do not shake your bird to the floor as this may result in injury and distrust.  We teach our babies the word 'gentle' while we softly rub their beak.     

When you handle your baby bird with confidence it helps the bird to feel safe and secure.  Don't be afraid of your new baby bird.  Parrots are sensitive to the non-verbal messages we give them.  Once the Eclectus parrot is comfortable with you, don't be surprised if it starts to preen your hair and clothes.  The baby bird is simply taking care of one of its flock.

Always supervise interaction between a parrot and small children.  

2.  Diet.  For more information on Eclectus diet click here.

We wean our baby Eclectus on the following diet.  It is not critical that you follow it 100%, but try to keep the basic nutrients similar.
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Lentil/Wild Rice/Veggie/Cooked Grains Mix.  We use the recipe at the bottom of this page.   

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Birdie Bread.  For recipe.

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Fresh Fruit & Vegetables.  Make sure you have a large variety every day.  This can include: apples, oranges, carrots, grapes, pomegranate, corn-on-the-cob, celery, kale, jalapenos, greens, peas in edible pods, bananas, pears, broccoli, cauliflower, mango, peach, kiwi, sweet potatoes, green veggies, etc.  Most green vegetables are a good source of vitamin A and calcium.  However spinach can bind calcium and should be avoided in excess.     

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Sprouted mix that includes: mung beans, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, spicy lentil, and fenugreek.  Do not give sprouted alfalfa.  For more information on sprouting and mix combinations click here.

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Roudybush Pellets, as a supplement.  Do not feed a diet of pellets & seed mixes.  

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Do not feed avocado as this is poisonous and can kill parrots.  

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Spray millet or almond as a treat.

Give your baby bird fresh food and water in clean dishes daily.  We recommend three dishes; one for water, one for the bean/rice/veggie mash and one for fresh fruit & veggies and sprouts.  Eclectus love and need fresh fruits and veggies daily.  Make sure they receive fresh foods daily.   The cooked food should be removed within 4 hours; sooner on hot days as they spoil quickly.  The same is true for the frozen reheated fruits & veggies.  These spoil more quickly than do the fresh fruits & veggies.  If food spoils there is a danger of mold toxins and aspergillosis for your bird.   

 
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If your bird is eating a well balanced diet, it does not need supplemental vitamins or minerals.  

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Parrots do not need grit.  Do not supply grit regardless of what well intended friends may say.  Grit can impact the digestive track.

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A seed mix can be offered sparingly as a treat.  Be careful about offering too much seed because your parrot may eat the seeds at the exclusion of the other foods that provide better nutrition.  Birds that eat only seeds usually become fat and sick.  About 1 Tbsp each evening is ok.  

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Parrots enjoy human food.  The are a flock animal and want to eat what you are eating.  You can feed them what you are having, just watch the fat and salt content.  Also, Eclectus should not have artificial preservatives or chemicals in the food they eat.  They can also have problems with artificial coloring and flavouring.  

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Parrots should not have any beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol.  Chocolate, especially dark chocolate such as Baker's Chocolate, causes kidney damage and can be fatal.  Don't panic if your bird gets a hold of a Hershey's Kiss.  Milk chocolate, such as that found in most candies contains very little real chocolate.

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Eclectus love to make soup of their water.  They dip their food into their water before eating it.  Because of this they need to have their water dish cleaned regularly.

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Eclectus may have problems with or be allergic to peanuts, corn, wheat, or soy.  These ingredients are in many of the pellets.  Because of this and other reasons many people feel eclectus do better on a NO pellet diet.  If you wish to have a diet for your bird that excludes pellets, please see the health link at the bottom of this page.  Also for more detailed information on their diet see the health link at the bottom of this page.  

3.  Housing

Get as large a cage as you can afford and have space for within reason.  We recommend:
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Approximately 2 feed deep by 3 feed wide by 3 feel tall or larger.

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1-inch to 1 3/16 inch bar spacing.

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At least three non-dumpable food dishes.  Preferably stainless steel.

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Natural wood perches, such as manzanita or ribbon wood.

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Powder coating or stainless steel.

We encourage you to buy a high quality cage.  Cages vary significantly in construction quality, coating quality, and features.

We use newspaper for cage bottoms.  Today's newsprint is non-toxic.  Do not use ground corn cob, ground walnut shells, or other such substrates because your bird may ingest these, which may result in an impacted digestive tract.  Also, with a little dropped water and food, such substrates make excellent growth media for bacteria and fungi.

If you often have evening company that stays late, consider a sleeping cage for your new bird.  Ecelctus babies need 12 hours of sleep each night.  The baby will complain if it is trying to sleep and you are visiting.  It is better to have another cage in a private room where your baby ekkie can go to sleep.

4.  Toys

Eclectus love their toys.  They are not very destructive and your toys should last a long time.  It is important to have enough toys so you can rotate them.  Eclectus like to examine every part of their toy.  They love small easy to hold foot toys.  They like the small balls or bell tumblers that you buy with a bell in the center or the whiffle balls.  Eclectus also like crunchy toys, just like they like the seeds in their fruit.  Toys like pinecones, leather, crispy grasses, palm, paper picks, pinatas, wood shred balls, foot toys and many others.  Foraging toys are also important for Eclectus.  They like to have something to snuggle up to like a stuffed animal.  The Eclectus have a play time where they can become quite excited and attack their toys.  This is not a good time to pick up your bird.  Let him release all his/her energy before spending time with your Eclectus parrot. 

Most of our Eclectus like swings, boings and bouncers.  We prefer the large round swings or orb swings.  In addition, we suggest a couple of hanging toys.  Hang the swing and other toys with the quick ("C") links that close rather than the ("S") key-chain rings because birds may get their nails and beaks caught in the latter.  If need be, get quick links from a hardware store and replace the S-rings yourself.  There has been some implication of standard quick links and high zinc levels in pet birds.  Stainless steel quick links are available.

Avoid toys that have soft cotton rope.  It is easily unravelled, and your baby may get its feet caught, which can result in serious injury.  Don't worry about wooden chew toys being quickly destroyed.  Eclectus are not in the same league as Cockatoos or Greys when it comes to chewing.  Eclectus' toys last much longer.

Consider a T-stand or free standing play gym for your baby ekkie.  If the cage is not located in a central family area, your Eclectus will enjoy being on a stand with the family when you are home.

5.  Care and Safety

Before you bring your baby ekkie home, find an avian vet who you can trust.  Check references, because good dog and cat vets often have very little experience with parrots.

You should have a first-aid kit on hand that includes: 
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Kwik Stop, needle-nosed pliers, and vet wrap.  Use Kwik Stop to stop bleeding after a nail clipping or it your baby should accidentally tear a toenail.  Cornstarch will also work.  

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Pliers are used to pull a broken blood feather, if it is bleeding profusely and you can't get your bird to the vet immediately.  

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DO NOT use Kwik Stop on a feather follicle after pulling a blood feather because it may kill the follicle.  Instead, apply pressure with your fingers until the bleeding stops.

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Vet Wrap is a self-adhering bandage that can be used to bandage an injury until you get to your vet.  Unlike other bandages, birds cannot take off the vet wrap.

When you are treating a bird for a injury, you need another person to hold the bird firmly in a towel.  Hold the bird by the head with three fingers - the thumb on one side of the head, one finger (pointer finger) on top, and one finger on the other side of the head.  An alternative way to hold a bird is to make a circle out of your thumb and forefinger just around its neck.  You can hold the bird tightly without worrying about choking it.  Unlike humans, a parrot's trachea is fully enclosed in cartilage.  The other hand should encircle the body below the breast.  Do not hold the bird too tightly around the breast.  Parrots do not have diaphragms, and holding the bird too tightly around the breast can stop their breathing.

Watch your bird and monitor its health.  Parrots will go to great lengths to conceal illness from flock members and predators.  A sick bird may not appear obviously sick until it is too late.  If the bird's feathers lose their lustre (unless ready to moult), its poop doesn't look normal over and extended period of time, it has a runny nose, or it sits with its feathers fluffed while perching on two feet, take the bird to a vet.  If a bird is really sick, it will stop perching and eating and sit in the bottom of the cage, typically with feathers fluffed.  To see more information on poop, etc. click here or check our articles page.

Baths are an important part of parrot care.  Some birds like to take a bath in a large crock.  Others like to take showers with their owners, others like to be misted with a spray bottle.  Shower perches are available for birds.  Don't be afraid to soak your bird - it is good for the feathers and skin.  They can dry naturally, but some birds love a blow dry with the unit held a foot or so away on a warm, slow setting.  Not on a hot setting as many blow dryers are Teflon coated.   

Our birds are all fully flighted and your baby will arrive fully flighted.  Birds are able to get lift from a draft and their tail feathers so even with a clip they are able to fly outside where there are drafts.  We believe that the ability to fly gives a more confident pet that will bite less.  Also, many injuries occur when a bird walks along the floors, falls or is dropped.  If a bird is dropped or scared of being dropped it will not want to come to you.  It is up to you to do the research and decide for yourself whether or not to clip.  Click here for a good article on wing clipping.

If you choose to clip pay close attention as new feathers grow in.  No matter what you are told, don't clip just one wing.  This unbalances the bird, and the resulting uncontrolled flight may result in injury.  The goal is to have enough primary flight feathers clipped so that the bird can flutter or glide to the floor rather than hit with a thud and become injured, but cannot gain altitude indoors.  Most avian vets will groom birds for around $10.  

Ceiling fans, mirrors, open toilets, uncovered windows, and uncovered pots and pans are major hazards to a unclipped or insufficiently clipped parrot.  Show your bird the windows and mirrors and they can learn to avoid them.  Also give your new bird a tour of the house.  

We know you love your bird, so hopefully it won't be too traumatic to rid yourself of TeflonTM   products. When overheated, Teflon, which really includes all non-stick surfaced products, gives off an odourless toxic gas that will kill your bird. Besides cookware, don't forget such items as irons and ironing board covers. Because it's so difficult to find irons that don't have a non-stick surface, simply change the location of its use to a totally separate area of the house that is well-ventilated.

Your kitchen may contain other hazards. The self-cleaning cycle on some ovens can be lethal. We know of one person who lost two large Macaws and nearly lost two more to a self-cleaning oven. If you must use the self-cleaning cycle on your oven, remove your bird from your house first, and ensure that the house has been totally ventilated before returning your bird. And, we have heard that some cook-tops and ovens have a coating that burns off the first time the stove is used and can cause respiratory arrest. We have heard of several birds that have been killed by new stoves.

Other items reported as dangerous include plug-in and spray aerosols. Parrots have incredibly efficient respiratory systems and, are therefore, sensitive to concentrations of vapours that don't bother other animals or people. As a general rule, if something emits strong odours, it may be injurious to your bird. And, never spray an aerosol around your bird.  This includes scented candles.  

While on the subject of poisonous items, you should that know certain "organic" items are off-limits. Items that can be dangerous include peach and apricot pits and some houseplants including philodendron and dumb cane. You may hear that apples seeds are toxic. Apple seeds do contain cyanide, but in such tiny amounts that you don't need to worry about coring apples before feeding.

For a listing of household dangers click here.

Birds need sunlight just like we do. It is best to purchase a light that is for birds.  For more information on lighting contact Parrotdise Perch.  They sell lighting for birds here in Canada.  

Finally, Eclectus are perhaps the worst parrots about hiding dangerous obesity. They add fat in the body cavity. They do not show us that they are obese by developing fat breasts. We recommend weighing your Eclectus monthly to ensure that it is not becoming obese.  Obesity leads to fatty liver disease and other illnesses and will shorten the life of your pet.  This is also the best way to find out if your bird is ill.  

6.  Pet Sitter Information: 

Pet Sit Pet Sitters 

7.  Recommended Eclectus Group

Click to join EclectusPetOwnersGroup 

Click to join EclectusPetOwnersGroup 

8.  Recommended Reading 

(click on the picture below - Eclectus! - to order any of the books in the box).  

          Eclectus Books and Video Tapes from Avian Publicat

"Good Bird" by Barbara Heidenreich

"Parrot Problem Solver" by Barbara Heidenreich

"Parrot Behavior & Training" DVD by Barbara Heidenreich

"Eclectus Parrots" by Katy McElroy.  

"Companion Parrot Handbook" by Sally Blachard

"The Beak Book" by Sally Blanchard

Top of Page

Bean/Rice/Veggie Mash Below

More Articles

Eclectus Diet

Eclectus Handout

Eclectus Body Language

Harmful Plants

Teflon

Safety

Recipes

Sprouting

Health

A Variety of Articles

 

Also check out the Life After Weaning articles.  These are very good and quite helpful:  (these articles take you out of our website - you may want to bookmark this site first)

Article I - Life After Weaning - Your Companion Bird & You  

Article II - Life After Weaning - Your Companion Bird & You 

A Good Article on Biting.

 

 

Mike's Manna Mash


Ensure that you have a container large enough to mix the mash in before you begin. The mash recipe makes approximately 18 quarts of food for a whole recipe. If you are making a half or quarter recipe the container can be appropriately smaller. 

Begin by thoroughly rinsing & then soaking the following ingredients for at least 8 hrs.    

1/2 cup dry black-eyed peas
1/2 cup dry pinto beans
1/2 cup dry kidney beans
1/4 cup dry green split peas
1/4 cup dry yellow split peas
1/2 cup dry garbonzo beans (aka chick peas)

1/2 cup dry black beans
1/2 cup dry soy beans
1/2 cup dry wheat berry grain (aka pearled or hulled wheat)
1/2 cup dry pearled barley (aka hulled barley)
1 cup great northern beans
1 cup wild rice  

After soaking these ingredients, add or remove water to just cover the bean mixture. The trick is to not have a lot of water left when you are done cooking the bean mixture. You do want a small amount left, and you do not want to discard the water as it will contain nutrients that are vital for the proper balance of the mash.   Bring the mixture to a boil on high heat, for about ten minutes. Then reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue to simmer, uncovered, until there is only a little water left. You will need to stir the mixture occasionally throughout the entire cooking process.   Place the following frozen ingredients in your mixing container.

3 pounds frozen corn
3 pounds frozen peas

3 pounds frozen carrots
3 pounds frozen green beans  

Mix the bean mixture into the frozen products. Add the following ingredients.  

1/4 cup alfalfa powder
1/4 cup kelp powder

1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

Cut up and lightly steam 3 medium sweet potatoes and add to the mixture.  

Cut up and lightly steam 4 medium white potatoes and add to the mixture.  

Chop the following ingredients into bite size pieces and add to the mixture.  

3 medium zucchini
4 large tomatoes
6 large bananas
6 medium apples (remove the core and seeds)
4 oranges (peeled)
1/2 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)

1 mango (peeled and pitted)
2 papayas (peeled, leave the seeds in)
1 1/2 pounds green grapes   Mince the following and add to the mixture.

1/2 pound of fresh parsley
1/2 pound of fresh mustard greens

Mix the mash thoroughly and then freeze it in portions.

 

Birdie Bread

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For every 1 cup of left over salad/grain mix (this can be a combination of the raw chopped veggies, and any combination of cooked grains/legumes mixed together): add......      (I have been using 1 cup of mixed raw chopped fruit & veggies & 1 cup of the above recipe for cooked bean/rice/veggie mix then add the below ingredients)  

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2 cups whole grain flour, rice flour.   (I have been using corn meal)  

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2 whole raw eggs (include shells)  

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Assorted spices (cinnamon or ginger)  

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About 1/2 cup of seed or raw/dry grain (or chopped nuts, unsweetened coconut, slivered almonds, dried fruit, apple sauce, quinoa, oat groats, etc.  

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Enough sugar-free liquid to make a nice thick pour-able batter.  (about 1 1/4 cup).   Any juice as long as it does not contain sugar.  

Bake in a 13" x 8" x 3" glass pan for 45 - 50 minutes at 350.  You can 'grease' the dish with coconut oil or olive oil on a paper towel.  

This bread may be very useful to help a bird to gain weight.  It is also a source of protein (eggs).  It is extremely versatile and you can vary it from batch to batch.  (You could also put sprouts into the bread).  A cube of this birdie bread could be an excellent supper meal when you are in a hurry.  It could also be an excellent replacement for pellets.  

Stefanja

 

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The Complete Pet Bird Owner's Handbook (Revised Ed    Read BEFORE You Buy or Adopt a Bird!    Avian Medicine: Principles and Application (Abridg 

 

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Last modified: November, 2007