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Breeder birds

Maggiemae

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Hello, I need any help or advise. I am considering purchasing a pair of eclectus. The person I am going to purchase these birds from said he had them for two years and had 4 chicks over the two years. They are aged 6-7 years old. The female was always a breeder, the male was a pet turned breeder. Male is friendly he said… female is calm once away from her nest. My questions are… can I ever train these two to become pets? What age do they stop learning new words and commands? If there is ever a time they aren’t laying fertile eggs I would like to train them. Also at what age do eclectus really stop producing fertile eggs… is 7 getting too old for them to breed? Also do you suggest I hand fed these babies or let mama do it? I have some experience but not with eclectus. I am determined to learn and open to anything you might have to say. Thank you!!!
 

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Zara

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Hello, Welcome to the Avenue :)

Did you buy these birds to be companions and train or for breeding purposes?
 

Maggiemae

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Hello, Welcome to the Avenue :)

Did you buy these birds to be companions and train or for breeding purposes?
I have read breeding birds never become pets…I don’t know if people with experience with eclectus were successful with turning breeder birds into pets. I would like them to breed for a couple of years since that’s is what they are doing… but eventually I would love to just have them become more pets. Now I read that they lay eggs until around 10 years… but I also read they only lay eggs until the age of 8. I can’t seem to find real hard information on the eclectus. I plan to keep these birds for the rest of their lives… so I want to be able to give them a good life even after they no longer mate. I’m not sure that makes sense.
 

Destiny

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Just to clarify, are you planning to let them breed because that is what you want to do with this pair of birds or because you think it is what the birds want?

You do not need to allow your birds to continue to rear babies until they stop laying fertile eggs. In most cases, not breeding is the best option for captive birds. Breeding is a time and resource-expensive activity. Birds tend to live longer and healthier lives when they are encouraged to breed less or not at all.
 
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Maggiemae

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I would actually like to have a couple of chicks whenever they do mate
 

Destiny

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To answer some of your questions, any bird can be trained as long as you have time and patience. The problem with training a bird who is actively breeding is that you will be dealing with a lot of hormonal behavior while also competing against the bird's mate and offspring for its attention. This will stack the deck against your training goals and make it a lot harder to make progress. Not impossible, just noticably more difficult.

A former breeder would be easier to develop a relationship with, compared with an active breeder. But you would need to enter into the relationship with the right mindset and build trust slowly. You don't really train a bird to be a good pet. You teach them that you can be trusted. Once you establish trust, you can work on building the relationship into what you want from your pet.
 
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Maggiemae

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Thank you so much… I did think it was possible with patience. I’ve always heard you can’t do anything with breeders but I don’t at some point they just won’t breed and I want to then work with them since I’ll always have them for life. I want to give them a good life regardless.
 

Destiny

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I think it is a question of priorities, to a certain extent.

If your first priority is breeding, you should leave your breeders alone, because human interaction is an unwelcome distraction at best and actively disturbes the breeding process at worst. It is often better to minimize handling to reduce unnecessary stress so parrots that are kept primarily for breeding get less socialization.

In contrast, if your first priority is having a well-adjusted companion animal, you should discourage breeding, because in a home setting, horomonal behaviors often presents as problem behaviors like cage aggression, biting, nest or mate guarding, and object destruction or cavity seeking. These are normal behaviors for a breeding parrot, but not so great for a pet parrot. You can interact with a pet parrot while their hormones are raging or while they are caring for young ... but your attempts might not be welcomed by your pet due to the bad timing.

If you decide to breed your pet parrot or try to become friends with a breeding parrot, you can expect that the bird's natural behaviors and survival instincts are going to make the situation more complicated.
 
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