Jason Badham

About Jason Badham

Since 2008, I have been a proud Eclectus owner and have had a passion for these unique parrots. During an exhaustive search for reliable information about Eclectus Parrots, I met Kirsten who specialises in Eclectus. The depth of her knowledge and willingness to share this greatly impressed me. Shortly thereafter, we both began working on her website together in a concerted effort to help spread her valuable experience as far as we can.

Why the relationship between breeder and “aviary bird” matters

One of the things that really impressed me about Kirsten before coming to Australia was how involved she was with her breeding birds. As an Eclectus owner myself, I was always curious about what the parents of my Eckie hen was like. What kind of personality did they have? Were they quiet, curious or playful?

Unfortunately in the avicultural industry, it is a common belief that a breeder must not interact very much with their breeding parrots. “Feed them and leave them” was the phrase that I heard a lot. For other parrot species that may indeed be the case, however for Eclectus parrots Kirsten has proved otherwise.

Being a parrot lover, taking such a hands-off stance was something that Kirst could not do. Having raised her very first Eclectus pair (Red and Sprout), she was heavily involved in their everyday lives. They grew up in her home and she included them in many of her daily activities like cooking, cleaning and taking care of her son. To this day, Red still loves to be included when Kirst is preparing a meal – helping chop up fresh vegetables (taking small ‘tasting bites’) and talking extensively while we both work in the kitchen.

As she grew her Eckie flock, the routine stayed the same. Once they all had a large outdoor aviary to share she would spend a lot of time with them watching their personalities grow and seeing friendships and couples form. This became invaluable as they started breeding.

Having such a strong bond with her breeding Eclectus enabled Kirsten to know what personality traits her babies would develop

This insight helped Kirst to pair a baby with a client in a way that few other breeders have. During her interview process, Kirsten would try and understand what a potential client was like and what kind of baby they needed. If the individual was approved for one of her babies, then she could pair them up. Sometimes this process required the client to wait as much as a year before they could have a baby, but the results were worth it.

Our testimonials page is full of clients who have been matched perfectly with a baby Eclectus – because of the time Kirsten spent with her breeding kids.

This interaction has not inhibited their breeding. Red – one of our best breeders – often hatched and raised 3 babies at a time. All of her babies and in fact all of our babies raised here at Parrot Haven have always been extremely healthy with very strong personalities.

Kirsten has always believed that if her parrots were happy, then they would breed happy babies–and that has proved true every time

We have recently taken some video footage of us in our communal aviary which shows the kind of relationship that we have with our kids. Not only do they enjoy our interaction with them but sometimes it is difficult for us to leave as they simply will cling onto us and not want us to leave the flight!

Aviary Time from Parrot Haven on Vimeo.

Having this kind of bond with our parrots is absolutely heartwarming and we wouldn’t trade that for anything. Now that our kids are retired we’re able to enjoy a perfectly healthy ‘pet’ relationship with them because they have always been treated as members of our flock. This has helped their transition from breeding to pet happen seamlessly.

If you are looking to buy an Eclectus parrot – please do as much research as you can about any potential breeders you wish to purchase from. Not all breeders are the same and in our experience, many breeders can be downright deceitful. It is important to ask any potential breeder the kind of questions that will help you ascertain whether or not they are worth their salt as an aviculturist. If you have any hesitation about a breeder, then move on until you find the right one. When you do find a reputable breeder then spread the word. Once enough people start demanding better standards in the industry then the industry can make a change for the better!

Abused Eclectus gets a new lease on life – George’s story

Amongst all the emails Kirsten gets, some have a silver lining.

A friend of ours down south has done some amazing work in rescuing abused and neglected parrots. She not only provides a stable home to birds in need, but she has also successfully reunited many lost parrots to their grateful owners. Her work is nothing short of amazing.

Recently Kirsten was contacted by her with a story of her most recent rescue – George. George had 3 previous owners and apparently his first owner had been horribly abusive to the poor little man. George had part of his left wing cut off and when his first owner decided he wasn’t wanted anymore – actually tried to starve him to death.

Help rescue eclectus parrots in need

This brutal treatment fostered some aggressive behaviour in George as you can imagine. Coupled with the fact that he had 2 separate homes after his first “home” – he was highly distrustful of people. When our friend saw him advertised online, she didn’t hesitate to buy him with the hopes of finally giving this little guy a good home. $1000 later, she had a completely plucked and distrustful Eclectus male.

Knowing that he would require a great deal of rehabilitation, she committed herself to helping him no matter what. Now, months later George is on the amazing road to recovery! He has stopped plucking himself although he is still very bare from having plucked for many years. The diet she put him on has added much needed weight to the little man helping his behaviour improve in the process. Our friend now reports that he has become quite chatty and even has a companion of his own!

While there is still work to do to help him in his recovery, the progress she has made has been amazing.

Can you help a parrot in need?

Having been in the breeding business for over a decade – the focus for Kirsten has always been to find the perfect match for her baby Eclectus to start with so that there aren’t so many stories like George. However there is also a great need out there to provide abused or neglected parrots with a good permanent home and George reminds us in a very personal way how much of a need there is.

Rehabilitating parrots is not something that everyone can do and that is understandable. Before taking on any parrot – Kirsten has always tried to provide as much information as possible so that the prospective owner is well equipped to care for our babies.

When committing to care for a bird in need, the birds needs are different and the skill set required to successfully rehabilitate them are different

It takes a great deal of patience. You have to be strong and willing to accept the many bites from a distrustful parrot. You have to be committed to see them through their rehabilitation and not give up on them. If they have had many prior homes, this process can take a great deal longer.

It also may require visits to an avian vet so there is a financial aspect to consider too. Our friend spent $500 in vet bills to help treat George’s medical conditions.

It’s not all bad however

Watching the personality of an abused parrot blossom can be the most rewarding experience. Another close friend of ours who is a regular on our forum helped to rehabilitate her Eckie hen and love that these kids give in return is amazing. When they do finally ‘accept’ that you truly care about them and are not going to abandon them like everyone else in their lives has, the love they give you is very precious.

Rehabilitated parrots are often the most loving companions you could ask for. It may take a lot of work to get to that stage, but if you are serious about helping them, then it will happen

If you are in a position to help, then try contacting your local parrot rescue centre. Most countries have centres dedicated to parrots for just these cases. Here in Australia, our own  Parrot Rescue Centre helps to re-home many birds with varying pasts.

If you know a first-hand case of a parrot who is neglected, then take action. The sooner a parrot in need gets the help they desperately need the better. If you can provide a permanent home to a parrot in need, then you would be doing one of the most loving acts toward these beautiful birds.

Lost Eclectus Parrot – Please help us find Jax [UPDATE – FOUND!]

missing eclectus male

Last night at approximately 6:30pm Jax flew out of his owners house and is missing. If you live in the Milton area around Carriage Way in New South Wales, please be on the lookout for a 2 year old Eclectus Male named Jax.

[update 26/8/13] Jax has been found! Jax flew onto a mans shoulder roughly about 6km away from his home. A lot of thanks goes to the gentleman who helped return Jax to his happy home.

Purchasing a parrot online

Parrot Haven babies are always in high demand. There have been times when clients have waited over 8 months for one of our precious babies. Sometimes we receive emails from people wanting to buy our Eckies from different countries. They are disappointed when they discover they can’t buy our baby and ask if we can recommend a breeder who raises their babies in the same manner we do. We provide them with a list of questions to ask breeders, to ensure they are buying a healthy, well socialized baby from a highly experienced aviculturist.

The joys of technology

There are many places people can find parrots for sale online. Sites ranging from specialist breeders  websites to forums and even free ad sites that allow people to post pets for sale along side bus tickets.

When looking for a companion parrot – we always encourage people to arm themselves with as much knowledge as possible before they commit to a breeder. This knowledge not only helps them care for their parrot to the best of their ability, but also prevents them from being scammed by people posing as breeders. Some people have little to no experience hand raising parrots, sadly, it is the baby parrots who are affected.

Know your breeder

It is extremely important to understand who you are buying from. The internet has revolutionised many industries – opening the way for people to conduct business so much easier. However it also provides more unethical people a mask to hide behind. This was proved to us recently by an individual posing as an experienced breeder. This person claimed to be a specialist breeder with many years experience. We knew this was not the case and when we chose not to promote his newly started breeding business we were met with verbal threats of physical harassment. The email we received was so disturbing that we were advised by our lawyer to report it to the police.  We were deeply disturbed by his defamatory comments and threats of harassment. We worried what type of environment the baby parrots were being exposed to. How was this affecting them and shaping their upbringing?

When buying a pet parrot online it is important to exercise caution. Whether you choose to buy direct from a breeder, a pet store or an online ‘trading’ site – do your homework. Take the time to ensure the person you are buying from really does have the credentials they promote. This may save you from a great deal of heart ache later.  Here are some tips we recommend:

Know who you are dealing with

While talking with the person you are interested in buying from, try to ascertain who they are as a person. This may sound strange, but it’s an important step because you want to find people who are committed to their craft and raises their babies in a loving, caring environment.

Baby parrots are in the breeders care 24/7 for many months. The aviculturists hand raising technique and the time they spend with their babies helps shape the baby parrots developing personality

Ensure your chosen breeder has a great deal of experience working with  parrots. You want to feel comfortable in their ability as a breeder because you will need to turn to them when you have questions as your parrot grows and matures

We set up a forum dedicated to helping our own clients and others who were unable to receive the help and follow up service they required.

Sadly, some people are merely intent on making a quick sale. We advise people to buy from a breeder who truly cares about their babies. One who understands the personalities of their breeding parrots and babies. One who can match you with your perfect feathered friend. I believe it is very important to choose a breeder who has spent many years working and specializing with your chosen species of parrot.

We have met a few people via our forum who bought a parrot and later discovered the breeder did not offer the follow up service they claimed on their site. This is where doing your homework pays off.

If someone claims to have 5 or 10 years experience, ask for testimonials from their past clients. If they have been working in the industry for a long time they will have a solid clientele and a good reputation with many testimonials.  Ask the breeder if you can contact 3-4 of their past clients. Don’t feel strange contacting them. If a client is happy with their parrot, they should be more than happy to promote the breeder.  Ask about their experience with the breeder. Do they provide a good follow up service? Do they truly care about their babies and their clients? Are they knowledgable and professional. If you have any doubts or the testimonials sounded false, move on to the next breeder on your list. This is a big decision, you want to know you are buying from the best breeder possible.

Be respectful

Professional aviculturists are extremely busy, their life revolves around their parrots and spare time is a rarity.  We always appreciate clients who email us first to organize a time to chat. If you do call, be sure to ask the breeder if it a convenient time to talk. A little courtesy goes a long way and I know we are more likely to part with one of our precious babies when the client shows respect.

It is important to have a list of questions to ask your breeder. Take the time to write these down before you call.

You can learn a lot about a breeder simply by talking to them. Those who are truly passionate about their parrots will stand out. This is not something you can fake, true commitment comes from the heart. Be sure to contact a number of breeders, never buy from the first place you call. This will help you compare different breeders and find one that is right for you. Don’t feel bad about asking the breeder questions. A professional breeder who truly cares about their birds will understand why you are asking. They want to know their baby is going to a loving, forever home and will be more likely to part with one of their babies.

Follow up

Maintain contact with your breeder during your babies hand raising process.  Emailing is a great way to do this. We setup a forum for exactly this reason, we wanted our clients to be a part of their babies life and watch as they grow and develop. Ask for photos of your baby as they grow. Always be polite and acknowledge that you appreciate their time. Again, professional aviculturists are very busy. On average, Kirsten receives between 50-60 emails from Eckie owners asking for help and advice – some emails come from breeders with questions about their neonate Eclectus parrots. It takes time to respond to everyone – she does this while caring for 25 Eclectus parrots and writing her book. So be polite and respectful. If you think of questions you forgot to ask while on the phone, ask them via email.

If needed, schedule another phone call as a follow-up. This helps the breeder appreciate that you are excited about your new parrot baby and committed to your decision. It will also help them get a sense for who you are. When Kirsten was breeding, she would get to know each of her clients individually, talking with them sometimes on a daily basis via our forum. This helped her find the perfect baby for her client. Every parrot is unique, no two are the same and an experienced, caring aviculturist will want to know their baby is going to a home that suits their personality.

When the lines of communication are open, then it’s a good sign that you are dealing with a person who is honest and wants the best for their baby parrot.

Be safe

Sadly, the selling of unweaned parrots and birds who have been raised poorly by inexperienced ‘breeders’ occurs all too often. We  actively help  people nurse sick parrots back to health or assist those who have bought unweaned parrots. This is the down side to aviculture, some breeders may not take their responsibility seriously, to the detriment of both the parrot and the new owner.

If you see an ad that looks suspicious or unethical (such as an ad for an unweaned parrot), please take the time to report it to the site administrator. The selling of unweaned parrots is grossly unethical and ultimately dangerous to the poor baby parrot. Aviculturists must take their responsibility seriously. Raising a baby parrot is hard work, it takes a great deal of knowledge and skill to ease them through their different developmental stages. Professional breeders know how to raise large, healthy parrots. Please, don’t buy unweaned parrots, leave the hand raising to the professionals.

If things go wrong

Some people buy a parrot from a seemingly reputable breeder or individual and things go terribly wrong. We had a forum member who this happened to. It turned out the baby parrot she bought was in poor health and almost died because he had been weaned far too early. This resulted in astronomical vet bills. The correspondence between the “breeder” and the buyer escalated into a heated situation.

If you have purchased from a breeder or individual who has threatened you in any way, then you need to report the incident to the local police. They can file an incident report and if needed pursue the matter further.

Needless to say, any breeder who uses threats – no matter how empty – should be avoided.

Help improve the industry

Sadly, there is a harsher side to aviculture. Kirsten has recieved countless emails over the year from people who have purchased unweaned babies, birds from inexperienced breeders and even those who rescued abused parrots. She has actively helped educate people, sharing her knowledge so that people demand nothing but the best from their breeder. This education goes beyond care and maintenance for Eclectus Parrots – we try to educate people so they may make a good decision when it comes time to buy a baby parrot.

When people start demanding better service and care from the breeding industry, then things can change. Help encourage responsible breeding practices by interviewing your breeder and asking the right questions. When you find a reputable breeder, then spread the word. These people need all the support you can give.

From Breeding to Companion – Red’s Story

At the beginning of this year, Kirsten made the decision to give our breeding parrots a break from breeding. Some of our kids had been breeding for over a decade and while they’ve enjoyed some breaks throughout the years we felt that a longer term hiatus was needed.

Even before I became involved in the breeding side of Kirsten’s work, I was always amazed at the relationship she had with all of her breeding parrots. One of the things that fascinated me about her breeding technique was that it was ‘unconventional’ in the sense that she would interact with her breeding pairs. Because of this interaction, she knew each and every one of their unique personality traits. This in turn gave her the ability to match the personalities of their parrot babies with her approved clients.

Red was always one of our best breeders. She would consistently hatch and raise three Eclectus babies when she bred. After about 3-4 weeks she would tell Kirsten “I wanna come in for a shower”. This ‘call’ was Red’s way of telling Kirst that she was ready for her babies to be picked up and for Kirst to take over the rest.

Every time we pulled babies from her nest box, Red would always watch us while Sprout – ever so curious – couldn’t resist the urge to hop onto our shoulder and watch what we were doing close-up. Once we gently placed her babies into their mini carrier, we always showed Red that her babies were okay – and we always made it a point to thank her. We respect the work and effort that all of our breeding kids put forth.

We’ve never treated our breeding parrots like machines and we honestly believe that they can understand this.

When we pulled all of the nest boxes, the majority of the hens adjusted to this change quite easily. We stocked their flight with plenty of toys and fresh parrot-safe branches and they have been getting along quite happily.

Eclectus hen enjoys a snack of popcornRed on the other hand showed a great deal of interest in where ‘Mum & Dad’ lived and soon began lifting her foot up and looking up at the house when we would visit with the kids. We brought her a travel carrier which she stepped into quite happily and we brought her inside with us. Ever since then she has been an amazing pet. She helps Kirsten cook meals, prepare the fruit and veg that we feed the kids every day and she quite happily perches next to us when we work inside. She showers regularly with us and her vocabulary has grown amazingly!

So what makes all of this newsworthy? Red has been breeding for over 10 years. Typically when a breeding bird is retired, if they are sold as a companion parrot, the transition from ‘work’ to ‘play’ can be quite difficult for birds to adjust to. If the breeder has spent little time with their breeding parrots then suddenly being put into a situation where they are surrounded by people can be extremely difficult for them to handle.

Eclectus parrot henKirsten has tried very hard over the years to balance her breeding technique with an insight into what the parrots experience. Being empathic is a good way to live not just when it comes to human relationships. While her method may be non-traditional from a breeding standpoint, the results speak for themselves. We both have the most amazing companion parrot in part due to the way Kirsten has raised and cared for her all these years.

Red is just one story, but each of our kids has their own equally unique story. Our hope is that over time other breeders who share this same level of care for their birds will also enjoy the success we have.

New Site Design Launched

We’ve been hard at work recently upgrading and improving the quality of our website. While our site has been active since early 2010, the content has been offered by Kirsten for years.

We’re thrilled to see the success of our site as we continue to provide information and advice to people who contact us from all over the world. We have made many enhancements and have greatly expanded the amount of content in our continuing effort to  assist people who are eager to learn as much about these beautiful parrots as possible.

There is still work to do, we are currently working to improve our Parrot Chatter forum and we’ll be re-launching that soon as well, so stay tuned! In the meantime, have a look at the new design and let us know if you feel there are ways we can improve.

Questions a Reputable Breeder Should Be Asking You

Over the years, we have had the privilege of matching the perfect homes for our precious Parrot Haven babies. Kirsten is one of the few breeders who takes her responsibility to her Eclectus Babies seriously. It’s not just about raising healthy, happy and confident parrot babies – our responsibility includes finding a home where our babies will be happy.

A breeder worth their salt cares more about finding the right home for their baby parrot than they do about making a sale

Reading through the long list of client testimonials on our site is one indication that we have successfully done this. This success is owing in part to Kirsten’s rigorous interview process where she puts potential Parrot Haven parents through their paces. While some may find this process intimidating, the purpose of this is to quite simply gage the level of commitment that a potential client has toward our Eclectus babies.

No one is expected to be an expert. It’s okay to not know the answers to her questions, but what we really want to know is; are you going to take your responsibility to our baby seriously?

An Eckie’s Life
A lot of sacrifice goes into breeding for both the breeder and the Eckie parents who made your baby for you. It’s not simply a matter of “just feeding” the breeding pairs and pulling babies. There are health checks, special diet routines, care and maintenance for the aviaries and thats before a baby is even hatched! Once the baby is hatched, specialised diets are provided so that the baby is getting the right kind of nutrition from their Mums (who are fed by the male Eclectus).

Once the babies are ready, they are removed from the nest boxes to begin their hand-rearing. Baby Eclectus Parrots are fed every three to four hours. Our babies are fed a non-diluted Tropican™ formula which is world renown for being the ultimate in nutrition for baby parrots. Each day we spend time socialising with the babies in preparation for life with their new family. After 2 ½ months, we then begin the transition to solid food as we introduce new babies to fresh fruits and vegetables. As they progress to their new diet they also start exercising their wing muscles with rigorous “flap-practice”. Not too long after they begin taking their first little flights.

Within a period of 3-3 ½ months a baby Eclectus Parrot goes from hatched to weaned. The process during those months is exciting, busy and exhausting. So while you contemplate buying a fully-weaned, hand-tamed Eclectus Parrot baby, remember all the work that both the breeder and the breeding parents have gone through.

What to expect from a reputable breeder
Naturally, given the hard work involved in breeding, a good breeder is not going to have the “first come, best dressed” attitude. No breeder should ever sell a parrot to an individual without first understanding a potential clients aptitude in caring for parrots. Each breeder will have their own process for handling this, but as a potential buyer, you should be wary of any breeder who doesn’t show this level of concern over their parrot babies.

If a breeder cares for their young parrots, then you can expect to be asked the following questions:

  • Have you had a parrot before? (if so, what kind?)
  • What made you choose this breed of parrot to buy?
  • What do you know about this breed?
  • Are you familiar with the proper diet these parrots require?
  • How much time will you be able to spend socialising with the parrot?
  • What is your family life like? (eg, are you single, married, with children? The purpose of this question is to gage whether a parrot baby that is more outgoing and energetic is more suited to you, or one with a calm demeanor)
  • What other animals do you currently have?
  • Do you know about the dangers of Heavy Metal Poisoning?

These are only a few of the most basic questions that Kirsten will ask of potential clients. The answers to these help her gage if the client is even ready for an Eclectus. Often, people will contact us wanting an Eclectus parrot without really knowing the level of commitment required to keep a happy and healthy Eckie. There have been occasions where once people realise how much is involved in an Eclectus, they decide to look into purchasing a smaller breed of parrot – or putting off their decision to buy altogether until they have done a little more research.

From a financial point of view, this might not make much sense – but that is what separates reputable breeders from the rest of the herd. A breeder worth their salt cares more about finding the right home for their baby parrot than they do about making a sale. In the 11 years that Kirsten has been breeding parrots – she has never once had a baby not find the right home. On occasion, it may require more time to find the right person, but it always happens.

Whether are looking to purchase a hand-tamed parrot or simply after reliable information about your parrot species be sure to find the right source. Look for a breeder or an individual that is passionate about parrots and their care. Make sure they have the experience to support their advice. Doing so benefits you, the breeding industry and most importantly the parrots themselves.

Lost Parrot – Looking for an Eckie hen named Sohni [UPDATE – FOUND!]

We are asking for your help to locate a lost Eclectus hen. Her name is Sohni (pronounced like ‘Sony’) and she took flight on Saturday evening 27, July. Her approximate location is at Plahn Street in Frenchville Rockhampton.

Your help is greatly appreciated.

[UPDATE: We are thrilled to announce that she was found this evening! She was found in a neighbour’s garage and stepped up to her rescuers with ease. She was returned to her mum and now everyone is doing really well! We want to thank the helpful neighbours to found and returned little Sohni and we wish Yvette and her family a very happy week!]

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