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Eclectus advice

Omar1234

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Hello everyone and thank you for reading this, I am a new bird owner and I could REALLY use some advice.
Last week my family got our first pet birds. We aren't sure how old they are because the previous owners didn't give us very much info. However we believe they are both around 8 years old.
Chula (the female) is a very pretty bird but we are a little afraid of her. She seems nervous, and timid. Sometimes she screams loudly and smacks her beak into the cage. It seems almost agressive.. I try to speak to her In a soothing voice and it seems like she likes it when I say "pretty bird". My family is afraid to try to touch her but she has come out of her cage by herself and crawled on top of her cage just to relax I guess. Once we received her, we realized she had been plucking her belly and all of her feathers are gone. They have slightly started to grow back since she had been here. Chula is worrying me but our other bird is the one that makes me sad :'(
Paco is a very good boy, he's pretty and sweet. Yet, he only let's me pick him up. He won't even walk towards any other person except for me, and he cries when I walk away :( I have school every day and I feel so bad because he always wants me to pick him up. He mostly stares at his own reflection, and from time to time he crawls on the side of his cage. Most of the time he spends outside of his cage he even sleeps on the top of his cage. He scares me sometimes because he likes to put his beak in my mouth and he has bitten my ear pretty hard once. I am also afraid that he is sad because I don't always pick him up :'( I'm trying to teach him how to bond with me without me having to pick him up everytime. He crawls to the edge of the cage closest to me and looks at me while I say "Paco!", "paco's a good boy" but he never talks to me until I walk away :/... Paco also had a broken toe when he was given to us, sometimes he must get startled and he falls in his cage. He even tried to fly off my shoulder once (but his wings are clipped so it didn't work very well). I'm worried he's gonna hurt his little toe worse :'( I think about them both at school all day.
They have plenty of toys but I'm worried they aren't getting enough exercise.
Well thanks to anyone who is reading this, I wish I was better at describing the way they act.. I just feel so sad when I'm at school because I feel like Paco is lonely. Please everyone I'd appreciate ALL the advice yout can give. Diet, bonding, training, everything... thanks alot everyone.
 

sunnysmom

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Hi and welcome to the forum . I don't have Ekkie experience but I'm sure others will answer soon. It sounds like you are off to a good start if Paco is already bonding with you. Can you tell us a little more about what their cage set up is like. Do they share a cage? Separate cages? In the same room? What are you currently feeding them?

@EkkieLuv ? @Chopper ?
 

Omar1234

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Thank you sunny, and yes I'll share some more about their diet and cage setup.
Paco has a big green cage with a few hanging toys inside,food and a big perch. He is able to climb on top of the cage and he has more food, water and toys up there. Chulas cage is smaller, but she climbs out as she pleases and goes onto the top of Paco's cage. They don't interact often , but my mom said while I was at school that Chula was agressive towards Paco..
Since we have had them we have fed them apple slices, peas, green pepper slices, cranberries/raisin, and peanuts. My mom also bought a bird food that has sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, corn, soybeans, and a whole bunch of other seeds and whatnot.
I am also concerned because I fed him a little popcorn , and some cracker but then I heard they can't have salt.. so I stopped giving them junkfood. I hope this helps, sorry for the long paragraphs :)
 

Omar1234

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The food we recently bought is called "KAYTEE" small parrot and conure Gourmet big bites diet
 

Yoshi&Reza

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Have you taken them in for a vet visit?

Eclectus are known to not have the strongest grip so perches other than the normal dowel perches would be great for them. Rope is good for the perches and boings. Grapevine is great because in one branch in can have variety that helps exercise their feet.

Eclectus are also known to be more calm and like to hang out and watch what is going on around them.

Diet for eclectus is one of the most important aspects. Their seed can't be fortified in any way. Volkmann's makes a seed blend for eclectus. I would completely take out the peanuts and any dried fruit unless it is an organic variety that doesn't have any preservatives. Eclectus are very sensitive to certain foods. Corn can sometimes create a problem so it is best to give that maybe once a week or so. I would type eclectus diet in the search here on the forum.... there are many great threads that have great diet guidelines.
 

Yoshi&Reza

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The food we recently bought is called "KAYTEE" small parrot and conure Gourmet big bites diet

I would stop giving this as soon as you get a eclectus safe replaacement. Try to find Volkmann's food or some of the vendors here on this forum have good options. Until you get their diet settled, I would also not give pellets. Fresh is best for the bulk of their diet.
 

Omar1234

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Thank you for the links Yoshi, I'll start checking them out. Why is the current food we are using bad ? Is there any specific foods I should avoid feeding them ? Thank you for all this help I really appreciate it
 

Yoshi&Reza

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Eclectus have a longer digestive system so any extra vitamins (fortified) can overload them. Some things that can come from that are wing flipping, toe tapping, and plucking.

You should not feed peanuts, preservative loaded dried fruits, salty foods, avocado, chocolate, and there are plenty more. It is easier to look at what their diet guidelines are and just stick to that.

Sorry, I forgot to say WELCOME!! ;)
 

Omar1234

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Thank you again Yoshi I'm still looking at those links.
I know that Chula was plucking before she got to our house because her belly had no feathers but it has been a week and we can see the tiny feathers starting to poke out.
Paco recently started to do this thing while he's perched he kind of crouched and his wings start to shake in a strange manner. ., we thought he was trying to fly but could it be "Wing flipping"? I don't really know what wing flipping or "toe tapping" is. These are my first birds.
 

Hankmacaw

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Peanuts should not be given to any parrot. They are very high in fats and your bird has the possibility of getting an Aspergillosis or Aflotoxins from them. Other nuts that are much better are walnuts, pinon nuts, pistachios and almonds are the best, because almonds are low fat and high in calcium.
 

Omar1234

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Thank you hank! That's going In the notebook.
I am also very concerned about something I just read in another forum. I heard that it is bad for birds to come in contact with human saliva.
Paco's previous owner (for whatever reason!!) Allowed Paco to stick his beak and head into his mouth..so everytime I get Paco on my shoulder he is sticking his beak in my mouth, and when I say "no Paco" and turn away slowly, he bit my ear and now I am nervous to hold him.
I don't want his beak near my mouth :/ it's too much for me.
 

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Hankmacaw

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We all avoid letting our parrots from eating anything that has touched our mouth or food that we have taken a bite of. Mammals (us) have gram negative bacteria and Avians (our parrots) have gram positive bacteria and therefore have no defense against our bacteria.

Just a word here about other pets you may have. Keep your dogs, cats, snakes, lizards and ferrets COMPLETELY away from your birds. Dogs, cats etc. will kill your bird in an instant and cats and dogs carry pasturella bacteria which is extremely deadly to a bird.

I never ever allow my parrot on my shoulder. Remember that all pirates have two things in common - a parrot on their shoulder and a patch over their eye. Others do allow their parrot on their shoulder, but it really isn't safe nor prudent.
 

Sweet Louise

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@Hankmacaw :
"Remember that all pirates have two things in common - a parrot on their shoulder and a patch over their eye." that right there is truly funny. I never attributed the eye patch to the parrot, but after having been bit on the lip and afraid it was going to be my eye, I can see it now. You do need to really know your parrot and even then the fight or flight can be quick. I have seen plenty of birds very interested in the mouth and teeth...I think they can't figure out the defective beak on humans...
 

Omar1234

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Good advice hank! Wow thanks I understood that very well. Paco is definetly more than 5 years old when we got him the owners said he was around 8 years. Do you think I will be able to teach him to stop bad habits, such as sitting on my shoulder, and putting his beak near my mouth. It seems like when I say no and turn away he gets upset and nibbles me.. he hurt my ear earlier today..I'm afraid he is too used to his old habits, and they will be irreversible.
Also the previous owners said that when Paco says "rain" it means he wants to take a shower with you . Is it safe to take him into a shower? How should I go about stopping his old habbits, and training him.
I want him to change his ways, but I still want him to be a happy bird
 

Omar1234

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Oh and thank you too sweetLouise , sorry I thought you and hank were the same person for a moment
 

EkkieLuv

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Welcome to AA, Omar! And more importantly, welcome to the world of Eclectus parrots! I'm glad you found your way here - it's a great place for advice. I hope I can be of help to you regarding your new fids. You gotten some good advice already. I'll try not to repeat anything. I inserted your post below so I'll type in bold italic.

Hello everyone and thank you for reading this, I am a new bird owner and I could REALLY use some advice. Last week my family got our first pet birds. We aren't sure how old they are because the previous owners didn't give us very much info. However we believe they are both around 8 years old.
Have you had parrots before? Do you have any futher history on them, such as whether or not they were a breeding pair? How long have they been with you now?

Chula (the female) is a very pretty bird but we are a little afraid of her. She seems nervous, and timid. Sometimes she screams loudly and smacks her beak into the cage. It seems almost agressive..
One of my boys does the beak banging thing, mostly just with me. He is very bonded with my husband so for whatever reason doesn't like me near his cage. However, I can handle him just fine. She may be defending her space and you may be right about the nervousness. Sounds like she needs some more time to trust you.

I try to speak to her In a soothing voice and it seems like she likes it when I say "pretty bird". My family is afraid to try to touch her but she has come out of her cage by herself and crawled on top of her cage just to relax I guess. Once we received her, we realized she had been plucking her belly and all of her feathers are gone. They have slightly started to grow back since she had been here. Chula is worrying me but our other bird is the one that makes me sad :'(
You are doing great, speaking softly. Sometimes it takes a long time to earn their trust. My Tigger had not been handled in over 2 years when I got him. It took months just to get him to touch my skin. He was terrified of my hands. So just keep being patient. Spend time with them, make them part of your everyday routines when you can. They are pretty laid back for the most part and like to be where they can see what't going on but don't always have to be in the middle of the action.

It's great theat Chula is getting plenty of time outside of her cage and that she feels comfortable enough there to come out on her own! You mentioned her belly, which is why I asked about the breeding possibility. Sometimes females will pluck their chest when they are brooding. But it can be from stress as well. It's great that they are growing back! That's a good sign.

Paco is a very good boy, he's pretty and sweet. Yet, he only let's me pick him up. He won't even walk towards any other person except for me, and he cries when I walk away :( I have school every day and I feel so bad because he always wants me to pick him up. He mostly stares at his own reflection, and from time to time he crawls on the side of his cage. Most of the time he spends outside of his cage he even sleeps on the top of his cage.
Paco sounds like he is very drawn to you. (The boys are my favorites ;)) What is the "cry" like when you walk away? It sounds like he was probably handled a lot in his previous home and used to being with a person. Does he seem interested in toys at all? You might try setting up a portable perch for him. That way you can let him be near you in different areas of the house but not necessarily ON you all the time. I have something similar to this but it's mounted on a tray to catch poop and whatnot. You can improvise and make something! The back of a chair works, too, in a pinch - just put newspaper on the floor to catch poop for easy cleanup! If he seems to not want to stay on the perch, offer him a small treat as soon as you perch him there. Ekkies are generally food motivated! A positive reinforcement for doing the action you want them to do is a way to tell him "good job" and "it's fun to do that because you get rewarded". You can also offer a foot toy or something to keep his attention. Foot toys can be as simple as a popsicle stick or small vine ball, a twist of paper to chew up, etc. Anything he is interested in holding/playing with. You might have to experiment a little to find what he likes.


You mention that you are in school all day. Can I ask how old you are??

He scares me sometimes because he likes to put his beak in my mouth and he has bitten my ear pretty hard once. I am also afraid that he is sad because I don't always pick him up :'( I'm trying to teach him how to bond with me without me having to pick him up everytime. He crawls to the edge of the cage closest to me and looks at me while I say "Paco!", "paco's a good boy" but he never talks to me until I walk away :/... Paco also had a broken toe when he was given to us, sometimes he must get startled and he falls in his cage. He even tried to fly off my shoulder once (but his wings are clipped so it didn't work very well). I'm worried he's gonna hurt his little toe worse :'( I think about them both at school all day.
Has his toe healed? What kinds of perches does he have in his cage and what size are they? Dowel rods commonly come with cages and are pretty slippery. It's good to have a variety of textures and sizes to keep their feet healthy and strong. My boys have sizes in range of 3/4" - 1 1/5" or so. They like grapevine, rope, un-sanded java wood... natural branches seem to be a favorite. No surprise there. :) If you have access to bird-safe wood from outside, you can offer them fresh branches as long as they have not been sprayed with pesticides or anything. Give them a spray down with the hose and let them dry. Here is a great site for many references, but this is the safe wood page: Wood / Trees / Bushes Considered Safe for Birds

They have plenty of toys but I'm worried they aren't getting enough exercise.
Paco recently started to do this thing while he's perched he kind of crouched and his wings start to shake in a strange manner. ., we thought he was trying to fly but could it be "Wing flipping"? I don't really know what wing flipping or "toe tapping" is. These are my first birds.
This behavior sounds like what my Tigger does. He's not a big flyer so when he wants to fly to me but isn't confident enough to, he does that crouch/shake thing. Wing flipping is different... it's an involuntary and intermittent slap of the wings against their side. You can see a little bit of it in this video:

Toe tapping is also involuntary and can be a reaction from stress or injury but can also be diet-related if they are sensitive to certain fortified foods or common allergens (corn, soy, wheat). This is a great toe tapping video:

These two things often occur together but not always. I would not worry about what Paco is doing. He's very likely just wanting to fly but afraid to. I think you said he's clipped? You can try flapping exercise on your hand (if his toe is healed and he can comfortably grip). When perched on your hand, move your arm down kind of quickly so that he's prompted to naturally flap his wings like flying. It is a good exercise as long as it doesn't freak him out or cause him to take off and fly into something. So just be careful and give it a try to see how he responds.


Do you think I will be able to teach him to stop bad habits, such as sitting on my shoulder, and putting his beak near my mouth. It seems like when I say no and turn away he gets upset and nibbles me.. he hurt my ear earlier today..I'm afraid he is too used to his old habits, and they will be irreversible.
I think it's totally possible to redirect bad habits. In my opinion, being on your shoulder is not a BAD thing. My boys all love being on my shoulder - but I can trust them not to bite my face and I have the experience with them so I'm able to read their body language. I know when they're getting frustrated or feeling nippy and move them to a perch or their cage. It's all about AVOIDING the bite. Parrots bite - it's just unavoidable if you live with them! BUT there are *almost* always signals before they bite. You will have to learn what Paco and Chula's are. Some things to watch for are eye pinning, open beak and low body stance, pushing you with their beak... Since Paco is apparently in the habit of playing with mouths, since you are not letting him do it, he is responding with that nibble/bite because he's not getting what he wants. Be very careful letting him near your face when he is like that. Try distracting him with a toy to take his attention away from your mouth. If that doesn't work, remove him from your shoulder to a playstand, reward him for going to the place you put him and give him something to play with, etc.

Sometimes they just get stubborn and won't be deterred. They're like 3 year olds. LOL But rather than get to the point where they bite, redirect the energy or put them back in their cage. Bites can be really nasty but they are usually avoidable! Even so, I keep several aloe plants in my house. If you're ever scratched or bitten, put some fresh aloe on it right away and it will heal up quickly. :)


Also the previous owners said that when Paco says "rain" it means he wants to take a shower with you . Is it safe to take him into a shower?
Yes, it's safe to take him to the shower and showers are great for them!! I would start by showing him the bathroom and shower, turn on the water, move the shower door or curtain, things like that to acclimate him to the bathroom. See how he acts. He might be fine or it might scare him a little... but you'll be able to tell. Once he's comfortable with all the commotion that happens in the bathroom, let him hang out on the curtain rod or door while you shower. Be happy, talk to him, let him know what fun it is to be in the water. LOL Sounds silly, but you are his flock now so he will take cues from you! If he wants to step up for you and get wet, then go for it! Try holding him near the water, a gentle spray, and see if he leans toward it. Sprinkle water on him with your hand or deflect the shower spray onto him. My boys don't like being directly under the shower spray but some do... you'll have to figure out what Paco likes.

Showers help to soften feather sheaths when they're molting or, like Chula, when they're growing them back in. If you're not ready to take Chula for a shower, you can try misting her with water from a spray bottle.

My boys like to go "bowl diving" I call it when I run the vacuum cleaner! LOL Here's a video just for fun :-D

WOW - this got really long. I'm sorry!! Being new to ekkies can be really overwhelming. There's a lot to learn but you've already taken the right step in finding a place like AA for support! There is a lot of crazy info on the internet so just be careful and do your homework and always ask questions! :) We're here for you!
 

Chopper

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Hi and welcome. Ekkieluv gave you great information and advice. Ekkie's are wonderful birds. Give them time to get to know you and they will be your best friends.

Please don't let the diet scare you. It is doable and you and they will survive the extra work. No, they aren't supposed to have salt but a treat now and then won't kill them. Don't continue giving them salt but what you have given them won't hurt them.

Again, welcome it is so nice to have another ekkie parront on board.
 

EkkieLuv

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I wanted to post diet info in a separate space here - mainly because it's so important for ekkies. This site - diets
is very comprehensive and I think very good. Go through the links on the left and take time to read it all. You will hear opinions from both ends of the spectrum and everywhere in between about what is right and good. As I mentioned before, do your homework ;)

More great info here - Psittacine Cuisine

My boys get all fresh and homemade food with the exception of some "store-bought" mixes. Those mixes are offered in small amounts - think side dishes or treats, not main course:
  • Higgins Worldly Cuisines
  • Dr. Harvey's Veg to Bowl
  • Dr. Harvey's What's Cookin'
  • Phoenix Foraging Unpellet Mix (excellent stuff!)
  • Volkman Eclectus Seed Mix (on occasion, not daily)
  • Nutriberries as special treats

Stuff I make:
  • Bird Bread (lots of recipes out there!)
  • Sweet Potato Puffs (Cook sweet potato mixed with chopped veggies and made into little balls, rolled in coconut. Freeze and defrost as needed)
  • Chop... details below.
  • They are always offered fresh greens (kale, spinach, etc. whatever I bought that week) and veggies (usually what I find in season and organic when possible). They're not really crazy about fruit unless I'M eating it. LOL Then they want some - they'll usually try banana, apple, cantaloupe, berries. I don't typically put fruit in their bowls because they always toss it out.

Ok, about the CHOP. Chop day is a big production at my house - and it's just what it sounds like - a bunch of chopped stuff. :) But I make it by the sink-full then freeze it in smaller portions for defrosting as needed. They get this for dinner daily. I mix it with rehydrated Goldenfeast Bean Supreme but you can serve chop all by itself, too. Basically it contains the following:
  • Variety of cooked beans - Volkman Soak & Simmer is a good blend or sometimes I just use a variety from the grocery store (black, kidney, garbanzo, pinto, etc.). They should be fully cooked!
  • Variety of cooked grains - brown rice, millet, barley, quinoa, buckwheat.
  • Chopped/diced/shredded Seasonal veggies, organic when possible - you can go crazy here. Staples in my chop are carrots, bell peppers, green beans, zucchini, yellow squash. Sometimes I add hot peppers, cabbage, broccoli, whatever looks good at the market!

Hope that helps you on the diet stuff! As for pellets, if they ate them in their previous home, you can still offer them a good pellet. Choose one that is NOT colored or artificially fortified. TOPs is a good one. Goldenfeast Golden'obles is also good.

If you have trouble getting them to try fresh/homemade food, eat some yourself, make a big deal about how yummy it is, etc. They'll watch you! You can also check out my blog that is all about parrot-safe human dishes to share with your fiddies! :) It's at Beak Bites!

Please ask if you have more questions! This is all a lot to absorb! :)
 
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