Eclectus Diet

Eclectus Diet

Eclectus Diet

Eckies love fruit and quite literally can’t get enough of it. Some prefer vegetables but I know all of ours choose fruits over their veggies any day. Parrots like their fruit ripe, but not overly ripe to the point of being spoilt. Never give your parrot ‘seconds’ from produce stores or farmers markets. Always buy your Eckie human grade fruit, which you yourself would be happy to eat. Ensure that you thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables to remove potential pesticides or harmful chemicals.

We provide each Eclectus with stainless steel bowls 12.5 cm wide and 6 cm deep. This is filled to the brim with fresh fruit and vegetables every day and it always polished off come nightfall.

We feed our own Eckies the following food ratios

  • 60% of their diet is made up of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • 20% sprouted seed/legumes/pulses
  • The remaining 20% constitutes their hot meal

Always ensure you feed your Eckie more vegetables than fruit. Fruit is high in sugar and if consumed in too larger quantities can lead to unwanted weight gain. We always feed our kids 2/3 vegetables to 1/3 fruit.

Your Eckie’s appetite will fluctuate throughout the year. moulting, the onset of winter, growth phases and even hormonal changes will increase your Eckies appetite. I know our feathered kids eat us out of house and home when they are moulting. It is quite normal for juvenile Eckies to eat like teenage boys until they are approximately 8 months old. Their appetite starts to settle down after this time. Our clients are often amazed at just how much their new babies can consume.

Moulting

When a parrot moults, old feathers fall out and are replaced with new ones. It takes a large amount of energy for parrots to produce pinfeathers, especially if they are heavy moulters. Feathers are made from keratin which is a protein. If a parrot is not provided with protein rich foods to supplement this output, their body will be depleted.

Moulting can make our feathered kids cranky and moody and who can blame them. I would be pretty grumpy if I had pinfeathers sprouting from every direction. From my experience, increasing protein levels in our parrots’ diet helps overcome crankiness and eases them through this uncomfortable time.

The following foods are high in protein

  • Cooked meat and chicken
  • Boiled eggs (cooked right the way through)
  • Almonds
  • Pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas)
  • Lentils and pulses
  • Chia
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet corn

At Parrot Haven, we have our own special moulting diet. We feed our moulting kids a cooked meal 3 times a week

Tips

Paw Paw helps restore the natural flora in the bird’s crop and gut.

Sweet corn is used when a bird has been sick and lost condition. It helps to put weight on a sick or underweight parrot.

The following should NEVER be fed to your Parrot

  • Avocado, both flesh and seed contains toxins deadly to birds
  • Rhubarb
  • Apple seeds
  • Seeds from stone fruit
  • Lettuce, has little nutritional value and can cause diarrhoea and lead to dehydration
  • Onions
  • Any raw meat
  • Garlic
  • Cheese, can cause crop impaction
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Soft drinks
  • Milk or dairy products, some birds are lactose intolerant and can also lead to crop impaction
  • Fatty foods or takeaway, e.g. Chinese food, beware of additives such as MSG, preservatives and un-natural flavours
  • Alcohol

Parrot safe foods

  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Banana
  • Blackberry
  • Blackcurrant
  • Blueberry
  • Currant
  • Cherry
  • Coconut
  • Date
  • Dragonfruit
  • Fig
  • Gooseberry
  • Grape
  • Grapefruit
  • Guava
  • Huckleberry
  • Honeydew
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Lychee
  • Mandarin
  • Mango
  • Melon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew
  • Watermelon
  • Rock melon
  • Nectarine
  • Orange
  • Paw Paw
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Plum/prune (dried plum)
  • Pineapple
  • Pomegranate
  • Purple Mangosteen
  • Raspberry
  • Rambutan
  • Redcurrant
  • Star fruit
  • Strawberry
  • Tangerine
  • Tomato (fruit only not the leaves or stem)
  • Watermelon-see melon
  • Pumpkin
  • Celery
  • Zucchini
  • Beans
  • Carrots
  • Red chilies (parrots don’t have capsaicin receptors. This means they do not feel heat from chilies)
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet potato (raw or cooked)
  • Sweet corn
  • Spinach
  • Peas
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Asian vegetables
  • Snow peas
  • Asparagus
  • Berlotti beans
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Broad beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Common bean
  • Garbanzo
  • Green bean
  • Lentil
  • Lima bean
  • Mung bean
  • Navy beans
  • Peas
  • Peanut
  • Pinto beans
  • Runner bean – Raw
  • Span peas
  • Snow peas – Raw
  • Amaranth – raw or cooked
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprout
  • Celery
  • Ceylon spinach
  • Collards
  • Dandelion
  • Endive
  • Garden rocket
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Pak Choy
  • Pea sprouts/leaves
  • Sorrel
  • Spinach
  • Watercress
  • Wheatgrass

 

Eclectus molting information

 Care for your Eclectus during their molt

Kirsten 068

After shivering through the cold winter months, Summer is finally here. It is a time for sunshine, weekend barbecues and relaxing by the pool. It is also the time when our Eckies begin to molt.

Parrot Haven is home to 25 Eckies and one precocious yet very special African Grey parrot and at the moment, all our feathered kids are molting. Our place is decorated with scatterings of feather casings, white fluffy down and the odd primary or two. The aviary is a variable smorgasbord of feathers, from tiny petite head feathers to beautiful tail plumage.

This happens twice year at Parrot Haven however the pre Christmas molt is always the heaviest. Molting can certainly take it’s toll on our parrots. I can only imagine how irritating it must be walking around like a pin cushion, as hundreds of new feathers erupt through the skin.

As parrot slaves, we must understand that molting affects our kids moods, dietary needs, appetite and even sleep patterns. It certainly takes a toll on our kids bodies and we must do all we can to ease our kids through this time.

What is molting?

Molting is a process where old feathers fall out and are replaced by new ones. Feathers are made from a protein called keratin, just like our hair and fingernails. Unlike skin, keratin is unable to repair itself. If a feather is damaged or frayed, it will remain that way until the parrot molts.

The importance of protein

When a parrot molts, protein is taken from the Eckie’s body. If a parrot is not provided with protein rich foods to supplement this output, their body will be depleted.

An Eckie suffering from protein deficiency will be tired, lethargic and irritable. It will prolong their molt and the newly molted feathers will look dull, lacking their trademark glossiness.

It is very important to feed your Eckie foods which are high in protein, such as:

  • Cooked meat and chicken
  • Boiled eggs (cooked right the way through)
  • Almonds
  • Pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas)
  • Lentils and pulses
  • Chia
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet corn

Change in appetite

Molting affects our Eckies’ appetites. Some kids become ravenous eating machines, while others become very fussy eaters, craving certain foods and rejecting others. Monitor your Eckie’s appetite carefully when molting, and take note of specific foods they crave. Our feathered kids listen to their bodies, and will source foods that will help ease them through molting.

 Moodiness

Molting can make the demurest of Eckies cranky and short tempered. Their body is working in overdrive to produce hundreds of pin feathers and many become irritable. Please, do not take this personally as many people have experienced this with their feathered kids.

My hen, Red, is terribly short tempered while molting. I know there is very little room for error and if I mis-read her body language, I will receive a nasty bite. As much as this hurts, I don’t take this personally. I know that once she has finished molting, she will return to her sweet self.

Everyone copes with their Eckie’s moods differently. Some ignore cranky behavior, leaving their kid alone until they are in a better frame of mind. Others distract their Eckie by offering a new toy or food treats.

Some Eckies become little sooks. They seek the love and comfort of their owner and demand cuddles and affection. This too is normal. Some of our hens seek extra cuddles while molting. Once they have molted their neediness reduces and their moods return to normal.

Aloe spritzes

Aloe spritzes help moisturize the skin, keeping it soft and supple. This allows the developing pinfeathers to break through the skin more easily. It is simple and cheap to make.

We buy 100% pure aloe gel from our local health food store. We then put 1 tablespoon of aloe into a spray bottle and fill it with a cup of warm water. Our kids love being misted by the warm, moisturizing water, and the aloe gives their feathers a spectacular sheen.

Some people choose to use a pre-mixed aloe drink. Please ensure there are no additives before using this.

Sleepy time kids

Molting takes its toll on our kids’ small bodies. It takes a lot of energy to grow hundreds of feathers, and our Eckies become tired and lethargic. Your Eckie’s sleep routine may change around molting time.  Many will take long catnaps during the day. Others will want to go to bed earlier, or sleep in. They need this extra sleep; it helps the body recuperate, so when playtime rolls around, they are re-energized and ready for fun.

Lots of extra love

Molting is a stressful time for our feathered kids. They feel itchy and out of sorts. Some kids become despondent when they molt. They know they look scruffy and it really upsets them. They are such sensitive little souls.

As devoted Eckie parents, we want to do everything we can to help our kids through this difficult time. So let’s give our molting kids an extra special treat to show them how much we care. It will make your Eckie feel very special.

For more information about the Eclectus Diet please visit our website

The Ultimate Guide to Eclectus Parrots contains 380+ pages of content dedicated to assisting owners care for their Eclectus.

It contains chapters on The Eclectus molt, diet, training, emergency care, bonding and much, much more

.Eclectus care

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Parrot safety

Keeping your parrot safe during the holiday seasonEclectus Care

Christmas is the most magical time of the year. Trees are decorated, tinsel draped and lights are strung turning our home into a twinkling fairy land. This is also a time when parrot owners must take extra precautions to ensure their featherd kids remain safe during the holiday season.

Parrots are curious critters, they simply love to explore and get into as much mischief as possible. Sparkling decorations capture their attention and it is almost impossible for our parrots to resist the temptation to chew. Many Christmas ornaments contain heavy metals such as glitter, tinsel, wire hangers and metallic parts. If a parrot ingests particles of heavy metal, the results could be devastating.

When heavy metal particles are ingested, they begin to poison the parrot, affecting the kidneys, blood cells, intestines and nervous system. This makes the parrot very ill and can cause rapid death. However, prevention is better than cure and once parrot owners understand the dangers, they can take steps to ensure their kids remain safe during the holiday season.

Keeping our parrots our of harms way is relatively simple. We encourage owners to be vigilant and monitor their parrots while they are out of their cage. Always ensure decorations are hung well away from your parrots cage. It is amazing how far a little foot can reach through the bars of a cage, especially if there is something on the other side that piques their interest.

Please, don’t let your parrots play on or under the Christmas tree. If they were to chew an ornament they may accidentally ingest particles of heavy metal. Lights also attract our feathered kids attention and if chewed, could result in a nasty shock. Exposed wires pose a threat as they are made from heavy metals so please, keep your parrot away from the tree, lights and any decoration.

Glitter transfers very easily and it is amazing how quickly it can spread throughout the home. This can pose a threat to parrots who enjoy walking around on the ground or playing on the floor. When the parrot preens, they may accidentally ingest particles of glitter.  Be sure to vacuum regularly to remove small pieces of tinsel and glitter.

Owners must also be careful when adorning their home with plants. Some commonly used Christmas plants pose a threat to our feathered kids. Holly, Mistletoe, Poinsettia and some evergreens are poisonous and potentially deadly to parrots. For a comprehensive list of safe and deadly plants please visit http://www.eclectusparrotbreeders.com/parrot-safe-plants.html This list was provided by a qualified Horticulturist with over 25 years experience in his field.

Let’s keep our parrots safe and be mindful of the following items:

  • Glitter
  • Metallic gift wrap
  • Tinsel/angel hair
  • Decorative lights and electrical cords
  • Ornaments
  • Some decorative plants
  • Scented candles
  • Open fire places
  • Yule logs – some contain heavy metals
  • Christmas ribbon and bows
  • Metallic table confetti
  • Bon Bons – often made from metallic paper
  • Non stick cookware – ’tis the season to cook!
  • Young children and guests – please monitor your parrots stress levels and ensure your guests understand the importance of parrot safety.

This being said, the holiday season should be a relaxing and enjoyable time for all involved. Once we understand the potential dangers in the home we are able to keep our kids safe so that everyone can enjoy a wonderful and festive Christmas.

For more information about keeping your parrot safe in the home, please visit our website: http://www.eclectusparrotbreeders.com/dangers-to-eclectus.htm

Eclectus care

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The Ultimate Guide to Eclectus Parrots provides detailed information and teaches owners how to confidently care for their parrot. Filled with real life examples and amusing anecdotes, it gives insight into life through your parrot’s eyes.

 

 

Bringing your new Eckie home

Bringing your new Eckie home

The long awaited day is finally drawing near. Soon it will be time to bring your new Eckie home. Our clients tell us they feel both elated and nervous. Some have waited a very long time for their new addition and are almost bursting with excitement and anticipation. Whether you are purchasing a baby or adopting an older Eckie, you want to make a good first impression and ensure you start your relationship off on the right foot.

Saying goodbye to everything they know

The most important thing to remember when you bring your Eckie home is that they may be very scared. They have left the comfort of their home and many are meeting their new family for the very first time. Some Eckies are lucky enough to live close to their new human flock, while others must travel great distances. Either way, it’s new, it’s scary, their carer or old family is nowhere to be found, their siblings are gone and they are all alone.

They have no way to communicate effectively and no one understands what they are saying. Some Eckies come from breeders or owners who understand their body language and know exactly what they want. They can communicate easily and know their every need will be met. They lived an idyllic life filled with love, friendship and routine. Now it is gone and they don’t know how to cope. They are pining for their family, breeder and siblings and are don’t understand why life has changed. I liken this transition to a young child being left alone in a foreign country. They don’t know anyone, their parents are gone and they can’t speak the language. The child would be terrified and our feathered kids are no different.

First impressions count

This may sound clichéd, but it’s true. First impressions are lasting and you want your Eckie to know that you’re someone they can trust. This is why it is so important to follow a few simple rules to help pave the way for a fantastic relationship.

The first week is going to be the hardest for both owner and Eckie. The owner wants nothing more than to snuggle their new kid and shower them with love, toys and all the goodies they have bought. The Eckie is overwhelmed by the change—their world has been turned upside down and they have no idea what to do, where they are or who to trust.

It is up to us as loving parents to put our own desires aside and do all we can to show our kids that we can be trusted and their forever home is going to be filled with love and happiness. To assist with this, we can prepare our family and friends for the new arrival so everyone understands what they must do during the settling-in period.

This is a short excerpt from our book: The Ultimate Guide to Eclectus Parrots. This chapter explains how to settle your Eckie into their new home. This is a critical time for both Eckie and owner. Follow our technique and you will be setting yourself up for success.

Included in this chapter:

  • Keeping the children happy
  • Selecting a primary carer
  • Local pick-up
  • Travel cages
  • Preparing your Eckie’s travel cage
  • Eckie Eve
  • The big day
  • Airport pickup
  • Using your Eckies name
  • The drive home
  • Home at last
  • Why won’t they eat?
  • Feathered extroverts
  • Kick back and relax
  • This is what we advise our clients to do
  • Don’t create a rod for your back
  • The all important routine
  • Tough nuts to crack
  • Please show your Eckie the respect they deserve
  • Your hard work will be rewarded

Eclectus Parrot Book

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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.

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.

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 Parrots – How Do You Source Reliable Information?

Over the years, we have helped hundreds of people with their questions on Eclectus Parrots. Everything ranging from Eclectus diets and behaviour to hormones and emergency care. Having bred Eclectus for over 11 years now, Kirsten has a unique perspective that  has proven invaluable to not only Parrot Haven clients, but for people  all over the world.

The internet is rife with “info” about Eclectus Parrots-and some of it is even true. Don’t always believe what you read. That is sound advice especially in the copy+paste internet age where bad advice can spread like a wildfire. Information repeated has the tendency to become fact when it shouldn’t. Accurate information is extremely important especially when the difference can mean life or death for your precious bird.

If you can’t get an impression of the person providing advice on their own website, chances are there is a reason for that. Be careful. People experienced in a breed of parrot are easily identifiable

Where to go for advice?
The responsibility for gleaning sound advice rests on your shoulders. Do your homework. Before taking anyone’s word for it-find out who they are. There are a lot of websites on Eclectus Parrots but sadly many of them plagiarise information in the attempt to sound like an authority when they are really nothing more than hobbyists who are ill-equipped to provide sound follow-up advice. There is nothing wrong with being a parrot lover and wanting to help, but often when people have to make someone else’s work look like their own, information becomes distorted. Suddenly advice on where to place your new Eckie’s cage goes from ‘a quiet area of the house’ (which is sound advice) to ‘a busy area of the house’ (which is not sound advice).

If you can’t get an impression of the person providing advice on their own website, chances are there is a reason for that. Be careful. People experienced in a breed of parrot are easily identifiable. Take a quick tour of any breeder’s website and get a feel for who they are. If you have trouble doing that then you should probably move on.

What makes good advice?
When Kirsten is approached by a parrot lover in need of help, she not only provides advice, but she explains the reasoning behind the advice. This is extremely beneficial for two reasons. First, it helps people understand the difference between the alternatives – why one method is better than the other. Secondly, it helps make advice memorable. People remember information that they understand.

When people have questions about why their Eclectus is behaving differently, Kirsten is able to explain the various phases of development that all Eclectus parrots have. She is able to do this because she has bred them for over 11 years and keeps companion Eclectus as well.

Help spread good information
For as efficient as the internet is for spreading misleading advice, it can be a wonderful tool for delivering good information too. Back when we setup our first website, our goal was just that – to help dispel so many of the myths about Eclectus parrots and educate people on the best ways to care for them. We have been elated to have helped several people reunite with their lost parrots through our blog. The Parrot Chatter forum that we setup two years ago has also been a fun way for us to keep in contact with our wonderful clients and other parrot lovers we’ve had the honour to meet.

We are working hard to help get the right information out there. The best way to help is to arm yourself with the right advice and repeat it. Information that is repeated has a habit of becoming fact and when it’s the right information then everyone wins – especially our Eckies!