Questions and Answers

Can I buy a Baby and Hand raise it Myself?

It is a common misconception that you need to hand-raise your baby bird in order to form a strong bond. This is a myth and there is no credence to the belief whatsoever.

In the wild Eclectus parrots form bonds with their parents until it's time to leave the nest. Once fledged, they integrate into a flock, which consists of their siblings or unpaired adult birds, and they stay with them until they find a mate of their own. Forming an extremely strong bond with their parents would set them back developmentally, emotionally and even physically. It's not natural for a baby bird to never leave home and the same applies to our hand-raised parrots. I often find my own babies pulling away from me emotionally when they begin to fledge, as if instinct is telling them to do so.

From a breeders perspective

We spend countless hours with our baby Eckies. It takes approximately 12 weeks to raise each parrot from neonate to weaned bird, and in some cases even longer. During this time, I watch them go through different developmental stages. As young babies they are completely trusting and dependent on me, but this gradually changes as they grow older. They soon discover a desire for independence. I liken this to a teenager preparing to leave home. Once the babies learn to eat by themselves they are no longer reliant on us for their feeds every day. I become less important to them and they turn to me less and less for nurturance.

As hard as it is to have your babies pull away from you, it is a positive step in their development. I know that once our babies settle into their new home, they will form a strong bond with their new owners, as they become their flock. Leaving our home is a healthy step toward integrating into a new home and becoming an important and much loved member of their new family.

Even if you hand-raise a baby from the day they hatch, they may still not bond with you. They may choose another person as their 'mate' and this is their choice. It is up to us as humans to respect this rather than force them into doing what we want.

Is follow up service important?

Finding a breeder who offers a good follow up service is invaluable.

When I first became an aviculturist, I discovered many breeders were unwilling to share their knowledge or even help with the most trivial matter. I vowed when I sold my birds, I would provide a wonderful follow up service.

It is important to choose your breeder carefully. Ask them if they provide a follow up service. I have received countless emails from people seeking help and advice. They bought their parrots from other breeders only to discover they do not offer a follow up service. If you find a breeder who offers a good follow up service, place them at the top of your list.

What hand rearing formula did you use when breeding?

We used Tropican hand-raising mash produced by the Hagen Avicultural Research Institute (www.hagen.com). All babies leave Parrot Haven with perfect plumage and in optimal health.

Which hand feeding technique is the most nurturing?

There are three different techniques used to feed unweaned parrots. Spoon feeding, syringe feeding and crop tubing. Spoon-feeding is the preferred technique when raising companion parrots. This manner of feeding is the most time consuming, and messiest, but, it is the closest we can get to simulating natural feeding technique of the hen bird. Spoon-feeding allows the baby to pump for their food as they would with the hen bird and gives the baby the one-on-one interaction they need.

Which makes the better pet, males of females?

Almost every client I talk to asks the same question, "What is the difference between the males and females?" This is a tricky one to answer as it varies with each parrot's personality, temperament, how they were hand-raised and their parentage, etc. It is impossible to sum up the differences between males and females in one easy sentence. For detailed information, visit our page 'The Battle of the sexes'.

How long do Eclectus live for?

A healthy Eclectus may live for over 60 years. Becoming an Eckie owner is a lifelong commitment. You must be 100% committed to your decision and ensure you are providing your Eckie with their forever home. One where they feel loved, safe and can live a long happy life.

Where can I find more information?

We have recently published a book entitled 'The Ultimate Guide to Eclectus Parrots'. This book covers all topics relating to the proper care of Eclectus Parrots.