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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Heavy metal poisoning in parrots

Heavy Metal Poisoning

I have received many calls over the years from people whose parrot died suddenly and for no apparent reason, leaving the owners baffled and distraught. After questioning them about the symptoms and the events leading up to the parrot’s death, it’s often clear that the most likely cause of death was heavy metal poisoning (HMP). Sadly, many people don’t know or understand the very real dangers that heavy metal poisoning (or heavy metal toxicity) poses to parrots.

HMP occurs when a parrot ingests a particle of heavy metal.  Once ingested it begins to poison the parrot, affecting the kidneys, blood cells, intestines and nervous system. This makes the parrot very ill and can cause rapid death. Continue reading

Heavy metal poisoning in parrots

 

Heavy Metal Poisoning

Heavy Metal Poisoning is a silent killer, over the years I have received many calls from people whose parrot has mysteriously passed away leaving the owner (and sometimes even the vet) baffled. Upon questioning the owner about their parrots symptoms, I have discovered that their baby actually died from heavy metal poisoning.

One owner had recently purchased a new toy for their parrot, believing that the toys sold at pet stores are safe, they didn’t give it a second thought when hanging it in their parrots cage. That night their beloved male eccy passed away shocking and devastating the owners when they went to get him out of his cage in morning.

Usually what happens is our ever inquisitive parrots investigated their new toy, chewing and exploring them only to accidentally ingest a small particle of heavy metal. It only takes the smallest flake of metal to cause serious issues with our birds and unless medical advice is sought immediately, the consequences can be devastating.

Sadly, so many people have no idea that the toys they hang in their parrots cage have the potential to poison them fatally. Bells, metal housings surrounding some toys, metal parts, chains and even cage latches can all be made from heavy metal and when chewed can kill our parrots in a matter of hours.

Be wary of rope toys, the rope can be chewed by our kids exposing the metal underneath and this can rust or oxidise if exposed to the elements. The particles from this can make their way onto the rope or be chewed directly off the metal potentially leading to heavy metal poisoning.

The following metals are the killers:

  • Brass
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Lead
  • Aluminum
  • Rust from oxidised metals

Heavy Metal Poisoning must always be taken very seriously. It only takes the smallest amount of metal to poison your parrot, symptoms may occur quickly and if left untreated, death is assured.

The main symptoms of Heavy Metal Poisoning or H.M.P are:

  • Abnormal Droppings – bright green or blood colour
  • Lethargy
  • Shallow respiration – their tail will bob up and down with each breath
  • Regurgitation
  • Weakness
  • Falling of perch
  • Dizziness, unable to stand up, can’t walk, stand or fly
  • Diarrhoea
  • Sudden feather picking, irritated behaviour
  • Fluffing up their feathers to retain body heat.
  • Head tilting abnormally
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased defecating

If your bird starts exhibiting any of the above symptoms, you need to get it to a vet as quickly as possible. It’s not worth waiting to “see how everything goes” as many birds die needlessly because their owners were hesitant to take their baby to the vet.

Playing it safe

We can help keep our kids heavy metal free by adding the following chelating agents to their diet:

  • Cilantro (fresh)
  • Coriander (fresh)
  • Chinese Parsley (fresh)
  • Brazil nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds or Pipitas – helps remove zinc and magnesium
  • Sunflower seeds – not too many

Adding these foods on a regular basis can help flush out any toxins that may have built up in our kids systems and it also helps to keep their liver and kidneys in tip top shape.

Prevention is the key, as caring parrot slaves we need to religiously check our birds environment and our own home for any signs of dangerous metals that may harm our precious kids. Heavy metal poisoning kills yet is so easily preventable, be pro active, double check everything and in doing so you are saving yourself from the potential loss of your precious parrot.

My Parrot keeps BITING me! Please help!

We recently had a great discussion in the Parrot Chatter forum about the biting habits of Parrots. Feel free to click on the link below to view the forum thread and as always, if you’d like to join the discussion you can register here. Enjoy!

http://www.eclectusparrotbreeders.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=183

What Spirulina and Bee Pollen can do for your Parrot

We recently had a great discussion in the Parrot Chatter forum about the health benefits of adding Spirulina and Bee Pollen to your Parrot’s diet. Feel free to click on the link below to view the forum thread and as always, if you’d like to join the discussion you can register here. Enjoy!

http://www.eclectusparrotbreeders.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=173