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Aggressive Electus?

Valakyria

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Two weeks ago I obtained a female eclectus parrot (a year or younger) that I was told was tame and did not bite. However on the second day of having her she did bite me when I was fixing a perch. It wasn't super hard, but it did hurt a lot as I have fibromyalgia (more intense pain). Needless to say this made me a bit wary of her, and as such I haven't tried adjusting her cage anymore (though I have a lot of stuff for it). I have been giving her treats (peanuts and an occasional banana chip) in order to win her over, but it doesn't seem to be going very well. Where she was before, she had a massive bowl in her cage filled with peanuts. Also, when I give them to her she tends to snatch them rather quickly.

Currently she wakes at 8:00am and sleeps at 8:00pm. I have been giving her chop in the morning mixed with sprouts or something else. She likes the stuff I add to the chop, but wont eat the chop itself yet, so there is a lot of wastage. I remove her chop usually 2-4 hours after and replace with her seed mix (not what I want to feed her, but that's what she's used to), then remove it before bed. For a few days she was going to her top perch so I could change her food, however she did start to run down a lot as I was taking it (I thought she was eager to eat, but I may have been wrong). Today however, after giving her her chop at 8:00am I have been unable to remove it or feed her anything else and it's already past her bed time (I ended up just putting her to bed with the chop still there). She has been rushing down to her bowl and either holding or sitting in it, pinning her eyes, fluffing up a bit, screaming/yelling and trying to bite me. I am trying to do the right thing, but I don't have very much experience with birds or making them like me (I also have an untamed love bird who I don't know how to tame). If anyone could recommend any advice I would appreciate it. My goal is to have her outside the cage for the majority and to teach her some tricks, but it doesn't seem like this will be happening anytime soon.
 

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Hi. I'm sorry you are having these problems. There are people here far more experienced than me to advise you but for now concerning the food bowl, my grey does this when he is hormonal and I give him something tasty to munch on before I remove the bowl, like half a walnut in shell or something else he really likes. Guarding the bowl becomes far less important than the treat for him. Bowls comes out and no confrontation. Hope this helps.
 

Valakyria

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Hi. I'm sorry you are having these problems. There are people here far more experienced than me to advise you but for now concerning the food bowl, my grey does this when he is hormonal and I give him something tasty to munch on before I remove the bowl, like half a walnut in shell or something else he really likes. Guarding the bowl becomes far less important than the treat for him. Bowls comes out and no confrontation. Hope this helps.
Thanks for replying. I have given her peanuts before, however, she will either accidently drop it and then complain, or rush down to eat it over the food bowl. So that might not work very well. I will try it out though and see if I can then remove the bowl quick enough. Hopefully it goes well.
 

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Gosh, two weeks is a blink! She's telling you that she's not used to you yet at all. I had to get creative about getting access to the cage for a while. No promises that your girl won't always be touchy about her things, but I suspect she'll relax a little bit as you two get to know each other.

If you have some major things to get situated (rope perches take me forever) it worked well for us to do those things out of eyeline for a while (a month or so) and eventually I could leave her on a perch in the kitchen and she would watch me. I used a sleep cage in the beginning, so I that was the easiest place for her to be for bowl changes and cleaning and rearranging. Now she's really only hypervigilant when there are hormones in play, and it's restricted to certain areas.

I highly recommend small food dishes that you can hang around the cage. A treat in a dish while you take a bowl will eventually turn into a habit, and in the meantime may give you a second or two to avoid a bite. Try not to react, and try your best to avoid a bite or a confrontation especially in the beginning.

She will probably try the chop eventually, just add more of what she is eating... There will be lots of waste, but good compost, at least for now. I don't know if I missed anything. You can call it cage aggression, but she's probably just very wary still. I've definitely catalogued lots of similar antics with Monaco. There's a thread called Monaco monologs in the ekkie section that might ease some of your concerns or at least lend you some company with this stage of the process.

It's hard at first! It's so very worth it when something clicks and she trusts you... It will come.
 

Monaco

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Oh, right. Peanuts. Definitely try some better nut/treat options. Not only high fat to protein value, but can harbor aspergillosis. Almonds are a favorite, walnuts are great (but also higher fat). Try to find some freeze dried fruit and veggies (I found some in my grocery store) for either treats or to add to the seed mix. I like Higgins celestial blend if you want a recommendation for a change, I use about a tablespoon in her pellet blend, a little extra in foraging spots if I need a distraction (yep, I still occasionally need those.)
 

Valakyria

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Gosh, two weeks is a blink! She's telling you that she's not used to you yet at all. I had to get creative about getting access to the cage for a while. No promises that your girl won't always be touchy about her things, but I suspect she'll relax a little bit as you two get to know each other.

If you have some major things to get situated (rope perches take me forever) it worked well for us to do those things out of eyeline for a while (a month or so) and eventually I could leave her on a perch in the kitchen and she would watch me. I used a sleep cage in the beginning, so I that was the easiest place for her to be for bowl changes and cleaning and rearranging. Now she's really only hypervigilant when there are hormones in play, and it's restricted to certain areas.

I highly recommend small food dishes that you can hang around the cage. A treat in a dish while you take a bowl will eventually turn into a habit, and in the meantime may give you a second or two to avoid a bite. Try not to react, and try your best to avoid a bite or a confrontation especially in the beginning.

She will probably try the chop eventually, just add more of what she is eating... There will be lots of waste, but good compost, at least for now. I don't know if I missed anything. You can call it cage aggression, but she's probably just very wary still. I've definitely catalogued lots of similar antics with Monaco. There's a thread called Monaco monologs in the ekkie section that might ease some of your concerns or at least lend you some company with this stage of the process.

It's hard at first! It's so very worth it when something clicks and she trusts you... It will come.
Thank you for commenting. What do you mean by out of eyeline? Do you mean just not looking at her while putting things in (because that's how I got bit in the first place), or taking her out of the cage first. If it's the later, when would you recommend that I take her out? I was planning on waiting till she was more comfortable with me, but that may take a long time and I need to replace her perches (dowel and in my opinion, too small for her feet) and give her more toys (foraging and to destroy). Once everything's in I'll have to try placing a treat in the cage and see if that works.

I'm not worried too much about the wastage of food as she's still adjusting, just that she wont let me remove it and am worried about bacteria and her getting sick. I have however, been managing to change it in the morning. She doesn't care about her water bowl and when I put in back in I am able to quickly take the food out. Do you have any suggestions to try and reduce her wariness and get her more comfortable with me? Or do you think I should continue with treating her and talking softly? I just assumed that a tame bird that didn't bite might of at least let me interact with her cage and possibly let me hold her at this point. Though I've only ever have untamed birds that never let me handle them, and 1 hand raised cockatiel when I was younger that took to handling right away. I will check out the thread you mentioned though hopefully that should be of some help :)

Oh, right. Peanuts. Definitely try some better nut/treat options. Not only high fat to protein value, but can harbor aspergillosis. Almonds are a favorite, walnuts are great (but also higher fat). Try to find some freeze dried fruit and veggies (I found some in my grocery store) for either treats or to add to the seed mix. I like Higgins celestial blend if you want a recommendation for a change, I use about a tablespoon in her pellet blend, a little extra in foraging spots if I need a distraction (yep, I still occasionally need those.)
Are peanuts really that bad? The most she has had with me so far is probably around 6 a day. I knew they were fatty and didn't want to give her too much. That's why I haven't tried walnuts yet as I thought they were even worse. However, I do have some whole walnuts that I sometimes give to my rats, so I could give her one every now and then if they are ok. I will try the almonds out and buy some next time I go in town. The seed mix contains a lot of sunflower seeds, some smaller seed, some small dried fruits (that she doesn't seem to eat), some coconut and a couple of nuts, but I usually remove them if too many come out. I looked up the food you suggested and unfortunately I can't find any in Australia at the moment and to ship it here would cost way too much. I'll keep an eye out for it though. I did try her on some Vetafarm Paradise Pellets (which are meant to be good) the other day. Surprisingly she tried some straight away, so I am adding a few sprinkled on her chop till she gets used to them. So hopefully I'll be able to phase the seed mix out soon and if anything just use it as treats. I have also given her a small bit of dried apple to try, though it is pretty high in sugar, so that would probably be a very rare treat. Do you have any recommendations on healthy treats that could be given everyday? I just don't want to feed her the wrong thing and am still trying to figure things out. I looked up freeze dried foods and I couldn't find many at all, plus they were over 70g sugar per 100g, so I don't think those would work.
 

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Just to save me reading the whole thread again what food/pellets were recommended to you?
 

Valakyria

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Just to save me reading the whole thread again what food/pellets were recommended to you?
When I got her I wasn't reccommended anything. Just given her food and told she loves peanuts. However in this thread I was reccommended 'Higgins celestial blend', though I haven't really found it yet in Australia. I have just started her on some vetafarm paradise pellets though and she did try them.
 

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I'm not sure what is available in oz, but @Shezbug might have a couple of resources.

Out of the room entirely is what I mean by out of eyeline. You can try just out of the cage if you can't put her in another room. Anything that will give you a little more time will help, and if she's not stressed by watching you touch her things, even better.

It's probably a good idea to offer your hand for a step up if she's not stressed out by it. Surely she's been handled before? If not, you can start with a perch and target training.

You can break up those walnuts into pieces if she likes them, a half broken into pieces might get you access to the bowls for a day. Walnuts are excellent in minerals and nutrients, so I can forgive their fat content. Slivered almods were perfect for training in the beginning for us. She now refuses them, but it kept the calories down at first when we had lots of things to practice.

Fruit, veggies she likes, any coveted food item is a viable treat option. It will take time to learn her preferences. Chunks of bird bread, pieces of egg, all sorts of things are worth their weight in gold here, but it's taken time to get a list...and she changes her mind sometimes.



For @Shez, I suggested Higgins celestial, but anything without sunflower seeds and with a little variety would do.
 

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I’ve never seen any Higgins here but I do know a few who do feed one of the vetafarm pellets to their Ekkies and have done for years.
 
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Shezbug

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@Monaco is the Higgins a seed mix or ??
 

Monaco

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@Monaco is the Higgins a seed mix or ??
Oh! Yes, it's a safflower blend with cinnamon sticks, coconut flakes, anise, and several other things...interesting and healthy things with seed goodies. I hope you guys have something like that available there.
 

Valakyria

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I'm not sure what is available in oz, but @Shezbug might have a couple of resources.

Out of the room entirely is what I mean by out of eyeline. You can try just out of the cage if you can't put her in another room. Anything that will give you a little more time will help, and if she's not stressed by watching you touch her things, even better.

It's probably a good idea to offer your hand for a step up if she's not stressed out by it. Surely she's been handled before? If not, you can start with a perch and target training.

You can break up those walnuts into pieces if she likes them, a half broken into pieces might get you access to the bowls for a day. Walnuts are excellent in minerals and nutrients, so I can forgive their fat content. Slivered almods were perfect for training in the beginning for us. She now refuses them, but it kept the calories down at first when we had lots of things to practice.

Fruit, veggies she likes, any coveted food item is a viable treat option. It will take time to learn her preferences. Chunks of bird bread, pieces of egg, all sorts of things are worth their weight in gold here, but it's taken time to get a list...and she changes her mind sometimes.



For @Shez, I suggested Higgins celestial, but anything without sunflower seeds and with a little variety would do.
According to the pet shop, her previous owner was meant to have handled her a lot, though I'm not really sure how much. As she did bite me I am very wary of trying to get her to step up just yet. But I will have to try eventually, maybe with gloves first. I do plan on doing target training with her, but I still need to do a bit more research on it before starting. I'll try her on the walnuts and see about getting slivered almonds, hopefully she likes both. I'm still learning her preferences, though she seems to like peas, corns, sprouts, strawberry and mango. I'll try some of the other foods you recommended though.
 

Valakyria

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I’ve never seen any Higgins here but I do know a few who do feed one of the vetafarm pellets to their Ekkies and have done for years.
So, would you say that vetafarm is good for them? Or would you suggest something else?
 

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According to the pet shop, her previous owner was meant to have handled her a lot, though I'm not really sure how much. As she did bite me I am very wary of trying to get her to step up just yet. But I will have to try eventually, maybe with gloves first. I do plan on doing target training with her, but I still need to do a bit more research on it before starting. I'll try her on the walnuts and see about getting slivered almonds, hopefully she likes both. I'm still learning her preferences, though she seems to like peas, corns, sprouts, strawberry and mango. I'll try some of the other foods you recommended though.
The bite was related to a stressor, so I would definitely offer her the opportunity to be curious well away from any interaction with her bowls. Definitely without a glove. Those can be very scary...anything new coming at them can be as triggering as the issue with the bowls.
 

Valakyria

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The bite was related to a stressor, so I would definitely offer her the opportunity to be curious well away from any interaction with her bowls. Definitely without a glove. Those can be very scary...anything new coming at them can be as triggering as the issue with the bowls.
I'll have to try it then, without any gloves. Though her bowl is right next to the door, hopefully she won't think I'm doing something to it. I did give her a treat before reading your message and she seemed like she tried to come out of the cage, though I panicked a bit and shut the door before she could (wasn't expecting that as she hasn't come that close to the door before). Hopefully that wont affect anything.
 

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I'll have to try it then, without any gloves. Though her bowl is right next to the door, hopefully she won't think I'm doing something to it. I did give her a treat before reading your message and she seemed like she tried to come out of the cage, though I panicked a bit and shut the door before she could (wasn't expecting that as she hasn't come that close to the door before). Hopefully that wont affect anything.
Oh, dear. I totally understand your fear, but it will help so much to try and settle it. They're excellent little mirrors, and seem to know our emotions better than we do. Maybe try opening the door, and sit in the room with her. She'll go back in eventually for food water or a comfortable perch. Next time you can know more about how she moves, and what she's interested in. Then maybe you will be less fearful. Sit next to the cage with the door open after that, and have a peanut, and see if she'll stand on you to retrieve it and let her make all the moves. After that you'll know what you both need to practice.

Try hard to keep fear low and be curious instead. It will help you both.
 

Valakyria

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Oh, dear. I totally understand your fear, but it will help so much to try and settle it. They're excellent little mirrors, and seem to know our emotions better than we do. Maybe try opening the door, and sit in the room with her. She'll go back in eventually for food water or a comfortable perch. Next time you can know more about how she moves, and what she's interested in. Then maybe you will be less fearful. Sit next to the cage with the door open after that, and have a peanut, and see if she'll stand on you to retrieve it and let her make all the moves. After that you'll know what you both need to practice.

Try hard to keep fear low and be curious instead. It will help you both.
Thank you. I'll have to set up something for her to exit the cage on as her wings are clipped. I was told they weren't but when I got her one was cut a litte and the other is really short. I though maybe that could have contributed to her bite as well. But I'll be sure to try everything you mentioned and try to keep the fear as low as possible. Hopefully everything works out :)
 

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Oh! Yes, it's a safflower blend with cinnamon sticks, coconut flakes, anise, and several other things...interesting and healthy things with seed goodies. I hope you guys have something like that available there.
Ohhh I wouldn’t know I’m sorry.

I have only been buying bigger
seed for a very short time for Birdie and he doesn’t really eat much of a variety.

Some of the stores (not big franchise ones) seem to stock some mixes but I really have no clue what’s in them.

Maybe try Queenslander aviaries, birds-paradise, aviumbirdsupplies, or Chappy chirpers (this last store was recommended by fashionfobie)

@fashionfobie might have more ideas on places to get better seed mixes.
 

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FYI:- pet store employees and owners will say whatever they think you need to hear to be comfortable buying the animal they want to sell.

So, would you say that vetafarm is good for them? Or would you suggest something else?
I can’t suggest or recommended anything in particular for your ekkie I’m sorry.
I just know a few people who own ekkies and do feed them pellets and fresh foods and when I’ve mentioned that many people say ekkies should not have pellets they’ve all answered they’ve heard the same information but their ekkie came to them eating pellets and has been on vetafarm pellets it’s whole life with no known ill effects.
I can’t give my word or opinion, only sharing what has been said to me.
 
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