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!

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.

Beware of Unethical Breeding Practices

During this past year we have received an alarming number of emails from parrot owners who purchased their babies from seemingly reputable breeders only to find out later that their precious babies had pre-existing health conditions. When they tried to contact the breeder later they were either completely ignored or they could not provide the owner with information regarding the health and condition of the breeding parents – because they did not know.

After a bit of research, we’ve discovered a couple of practices that we believe are extremely harmful – not only to the unfortunate people who purchase these babies, but for the treatment of the breeding parrots in general.

Selling Third-Party Weaned Babies
One such practice that two of our Parrot Haven clients had experienced was the selling of third-party weaned babies. Third party basically entails someone outside of the breeder whom you are purchasing from is the one who has hatched and in some cases raised the parrot baby. What this means is that the “breeder” that you are buying from has not raised your baby. In the case of one of our clients, the breeder they originally bought from did not even know how to contact the individual who originally sold them the Eclectus baby!

The dangers of this practice are fairly obvious. The most detrimental aspect being that it encourages an anonymous breeding industry where the quality of life for the poor breeding birds and their babies is often neglected.

Aviculture is a serious profession. You are dealing with very fragile lives and the life of any parrot cannot be treated with a ‘trial-and-error’ attitude.

While Kirsten has always had a passion for Parrots – she did not even approach breeding until she had done extensive research both with Parrots and with the species she wanted to specialise in – Eclectus. This research took her years, during which time she consulted with other experienced breeders like Rob Pollard who is well respected in the field.

Breeding requires a lot of work and total commitment for the people involved. Eclectus Parrots are very difficult parrots to hand-raise due to their finicky eating bahaviour. Because of this, a breeder who wants to earn a solid reputation needs more than just passion. They need to be committed to their passion. This is where the anonymity of third-party breeders creates problems.

Answers to questions like these are difficult to impossible to ascertain:

  • How passionate are they about breeding?
  • How long have they been breeding?
  • What is their breeding setup like? (i.e. how are their breeding parrots housed, cared for etc.)
  • What diets are the breeding parents fed?
  • What formula are the babies fed? (With a lot of ‘backyard breeders’ babies are fed baby food designed for human babies not parrot babies. Each parrot species will have their own dietary requirements so it’s important to feed the right parrot babies the correct formula.)
  • Have the breeding parents ever suffered health problems?
  • Was the baby parent raised or were they hand-raised from the egg?

Answers to these questions help the potential parrot owner decide if they even want to purchase from the breeder and if your breeder is selling a third-party baby then they may not even know the answers to these questions.

It is important to ask any breeder the question up front: “Do you raise your own parrot babies or do you sell parrot babies from other breeders?” If they do sell parrot babies other breeders, then the choice is up to you whether to follow up with additional questions regarding the health of the parrot parents and the baby.

No Follow-up Service
Another problem we’ve helped people with, is the terrible lack of follow-up service offered by some breeders. One of our clients purchased their first Eclectus from a breeder with seemingly high reputation here in Australia, only to find that they would not offer any follow-up service after “the sale” was made. In the case of our client, they incurred a vet bill of over $1000 only months after they brought their new baby home due to a pre-existing condition.

Unfortunately – unless people know to ask – they often find out too late that some breeders really have no interest in their own parrot babies once they are sold.

This is a terrible practice because ultimately the parrot babies end up losing. Breeders who are not committed to their own parrot babies are probably not interested in finding appropriate homes for their babies and will typically sell to the first person who calls. This is extremely sad as Kirsten has turned more people down than she has ever sold to. After 11 years of breeding, that is a lot of people!

If you are looking for a good breeder, be careful of any wording that may alert you to a low level of commitment from them. Often if they advertise that “all sales are final” or that “the parrot is your responsibility once you have them in your possession”, then chances are you should be very cautious.

A reputable breeder does not need to worry about what happens when their parrot baby is sent to their new home if they have done their work and found the perfect home in the first place. If they keep their breeding parrots in good health, there is no reason not to offer follow-up service. If they have raised their parrot baby on a balanced, top-quality formula, then again they should have no worries about providing follow-up service.

Over the years, Kirsten has provided so many people with help at no cost because she cares about the welfare of pet parrots. Often, when she has asked people if they have contacted their breeder, the response is usually “I tried”.

We work extremely hard to encourage positive change in the way that parrots are kept as pets and how they are bred. The best thing you can do as a hopeful parrot owner is be aware of the dangers. Look for the warning signs of an unethical breeder. Most importantly, interview the breeder you are interested in purchasing from. If they are worth their weight in gold – then they will respect that you care about the health of your future parrot baby and how they are raised.

Hopefully, when enough people can do this then perhaps these breeders may change their ways and in the end, the parrots will win.

Eclectus Parrot Breeders

Parrot Haven has a new communal aviary

Parrot Haven's conventional avaries Our Eckies enjoying their large flight

Proof that you can breed Eckies in a communal setting.

Eclectus Parrot Diets – Do you know what your breeder feeds their breeding parrots?

When choosing a baby Eckie, it is imperative to ask about the health and diet of the parent birds.

The following  is a small excerpt from our book: The Ultimate Guide to Eclectus Parrots. This chapter explains the importance of choosing a top quality breeder and the   questions to ask when buying your companion Eclectus.

What diet are the parent birds fed?

Parent birds must be fed a top quality diet. The health of the parent birds directly influences the health of their babies. Feeding Eckies a diet lacking in calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals, will produce weak babies prone to illness.

Ensure that you purchase your baby from a breeder who feeds their breeding Eckies a variety of fruit, vegetables, proteins and legumes. Request a photo of their daily diet and photos of the parent birds. Their condition will help you gauge whether they are in good condition and excellent health. Look for shiny plumage, bright eyes, shiny black beaks on the hens, and bright orange beaks on the males.

book-cover

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Hand raised Eclectus Parrots – Best Reputation

Welcome to Parrot Haven, specialist breeders of gorgeous hand raised Eclectus Parrots.

Parrot Haven Baby Update

Our baby girl Zina, soon to leave Parrot Haven to her wonderful new home.

Its time for our gorgeous Zina to leave Parrot Haven. As hard as it is for us to say goodbye, we know that she is going to a wonderful loving family and is going to adore her new boyfriend ‘Homer’ in no time !

Thank you to Adrian for adopting our beautiful girl, she really is a snuggly little baby !

At Parrot Haven, all our babies are raised in a loving family environment, spoon fed and spend hours socialising and playing with us.

We pride ourselves in raising healthy, confident and top quality Eclectus Parrots who are hand raised specifically to become a lifelong member of your family.

We have our own forum dedicated to everything eclectus with a special focus on Parrot Haven Kids, we update photos of your babies regularly and are in contact with our clients on almost a daily basis, helping when needed, sharing the successes of our birds in their new homes and chatting about our gorgeous parrots.

Our website and blog is filled with all the information you need to know about these magnificent parrots so please take the time to read through my articles as becoming a parrot owner is a lifelong commitment and we only sell to the very best homes.

All babies sold are been born here at Parrot Haven, we know the personalities of each of our babies parents, this is very important when purchasing a companion parrot. We are a closed aviary and we do not take in outside eclectus and raise them as our own.

If you are interested in become a Parrot Haven baby owner, please email me to organise a time to chat over the phone. I match all my kids with the perfect homes as every one of my kids is different and care needs to be taken so both our parrots and clients are 100% happy with their new baby.

info@eclectusparrotbreeders.com

Join our forum to meet other Parrot Haven baby owners, chat to them about what its like to own an Eclectus Parrot and see our Testimonial Page on our website to hear our success stories.

Feel confident in buying an eclectus from the Top Eclectus Parrot breeder in Australia. See our testimonials and join our forum to meet many happy Parrot Haven clients.

Hand Raised Eclectus Parrots For Sale

Welcome to Parrot Haven, specialist breeders of gorgeous hand raised Eclectus Parrots.

Parrot Haven Baby Update

Last week Jaffa and Banjo made the long flight from Cairns down to Hobart arriving safe and sound.

After spending the night sleeping and recovering, they were fully rested and ready to spend time with their new family. Dan and Sarah are so happy with their new babies, both Jaffa and Banjo have been enjoying lots of cuddles and spending time getting to know their new family. Jaffa is already starting to talk and they have settled in perfectly.

Thanks to Dan and Sarah for giving our gorgeous Eclectus kids such a wonderfully loving home!

Cuddly hand raised Eclectus Parrots 'Jaffa and Banjo'

 

 

 

At Parrot Haven, all our babies are raised in a loving family environment, spoon fed and spend hours socialising and playing with us.

We pride ourselves in raising healthy, confident and top quality Eclectus Parrots who are hand raised specifically to become a lifelong member of your family.

We have our own forum dedicated to everything eclectus with a special focus on Parrot Haven Kids, we update photos of your babies regularly and are in contact with our clients on almost a daily basis, helping when needed, sharing the successes of our birds in their new homes and chatting about our gorgeous parrots.

Our website and blog is filled with all the information you need to know about these magnificent parrots so please take the time to read through my articles as becoming a parrot owner is a lifelong commitment and we only sell to the very best homes.

All babies sold are been born here at Parrot Haven, we know the personalities of each of our babies parents, this is very important when purchasing a companion parrot. We are a closed aviary and we do not take in outside babies and raise them as our own.

If you are interested in become a Parrot Haven baby owner, please email me to organise a time to chat over the phone. I match all my babies with the perfect homes as every one of my kids is different and care needs to be taken so both our parrots and clients are 100% happy with their new baby.

info@eclectusparrotbreeders.com

Join our forum to meet other Parrot Haven baby owners, chat to them about what its like to own an Eclectus Parrot and see our Testimonial Page on our website to hear our success stories.

Feel confident in buying an eclectus from the Top Eclectus Parrot breeder in Australia. See our testimonials and join our forum to meet many happy Parrot Haven clients.