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Eclectus Advice

Mollymco

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Hi all! I just wanted to start a thread for any advice or tips and tricks you guys could have for people looking to get an eclectus/new owners! I don't currently have an Eclectus, but I have been doing a ton of research and am seriously thinking about getting one. I never had a bird before, but I have babysat budgies before and have always wanted one since I was a kid. I know they are a lot of work, but I am more than willing to put in the work and devote my time to one! My biggest question would be if any Eclectus owners have office jobs and have to leave their parrots during the day and if they have had any problems.
 

EkkieLu

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As you've probably already noted in your research ekkies have a different diet from other species of parrot. They must eat fresh organic fruit as the main staple of their diet! They don't really bother with seeds, pellets, or other prepackaged bird foods. I offer mine a bit of everything thats healthy for all birds, but the fruit is a MUST at every meal. They do like some steamed or boiled fresh veggies, but generally just sweet potato, pumpkin, squash, carrots, or broccoli.
I only leave their meal bowls in their cage for about 2 hours at the most after serving because of germs or molds setting in so quickly in a warm, humid environment. I serve them 4 meals a day as fruits go thru the system quickly. Ekkies are designed internally to process the high sugar content of fruit which makes them very different from other birds.
My boy Sergei is a prime example of feeding an ekkie an improper diet. When I got him he had been on a pellet, seed, and nuts diet almost exclusively. Other than his head he was all grey! His weight was fine, but his blood work was way off. And I must say that Sergei is the sweetest, most gentle, loving and loyal little guy i could ever ask for...his wife Lucy, not so much but I still love her too!
Keep in mind that an adult ekkie is only about 100-150 grams bigger than an Amazon, but their beak is at least triple the size and can be very intimidating, especially with no large bird experience.
No matter what type of birdie you decide to get, they will be very lonely without you for so many hours. They like to live in flocks and are very social beings.

Sergei when I first got him:
20180702_191758_kindlephoto-242110482.jpg
 

fashionfobie

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EkkieLu

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I would love to see Ekkies and Toos in the wild some day! You are so lucky Natalie! Closest I've ever been to Australia is Fiji.
 

Mollymco

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As you've probably already noted in your research ekkies have a different diet from other species of parrot. They must eat fresh organic fruit as the main staple of their diet! They don't really bother with seeds, pellets, or other prepackaged bird foods. I offer mine a bit of everything thats healthy for all birds, but the fruit is a MUST at every meal. They do like some steamed or boiled fresh veggies, but generally just sweet potato, pumpkin, squash, carrots, or broccoli.
I only leave their meal bowls in their cage for about 2 hours at the most after serving because of germs or molds setting in so quickly in a warm, humid environment. I serve them 4 meals a day as fruits go thru the system quickly. Ekkies are designed internally to process the high sugar content of fruit which makes them very different from other birds.
My boy Sergei is a prime example of feeding an ekkie an improper diet. When I got him he had been on a pellet, seed, and nuts diet almost exclusively. Other than his head he was all grey! His weight was fine, but his blood work was way off. And I must say that Sergei is the sweetest, most gentle, loving and loyal little guy i could ever ask for...his wife Lucy, not so much but I still love her too!
Keep in mind that an adult ekkie is only about 100-150 grams bigger than an Amazon, but their beak is at least triple the size and can be very intimidating, especially with no large bird experience.
No matter what type of birdie you decide to get, they will be very lonely without you for so many hours. They like to live in flocks and are very social beings.

Sergei when I first got him:
View attachment 303064
Sergei is still beautiful! I’ve definitely heard lots about their diets, and I’ve also heard almonds are a plus, but can’t be fed large amounts. I actually am more fond of bigger birds than smaller birds so I think it could be the perfect size. I do want to ensure before I get one that I do have the utmost time needed to bond, etc! If I took in a rescue or one that needs to be re-homed/older, is it harder to bond with one that’s 5+ years old versus 4 months-1 year? Thanks for the tips!
 

Mollymco

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EkkieLu

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Each Bird is an individual. Spend some time with each Bird you may be considering. See who you click with! The age factor really doesn't have too much to do with if you like each other and want to live together. I knew Sergei and I were a great fit 5 minutes after meeting him. Lucy was abused and I'm still working on gaining her complete trust years later. Personality and temperament is very important. You will have this Bird for the rest of your life!

You wouldn't pick out a boyfriend and move in with him after just one quick look, so think of it along those lines!
 

Les charlson

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Hi. If you throw everything you know about birds diets out the window and can afford to feed them you will be ok. They can be noisy at dusk if alone. The girls are more self sufficient as they spend more time alone in the wild. As long as they have toys, a very large cage and are allowed out when you come home they are ok. They like a routine so they will cope ok if they know when to expect you. I will add a link to their habits in the wild so you can get an idea of why they do what they do.
Most prefer the more laid back male as they are more nurturing and gentle.

Food is key to keeping them healthy.
In the wild their diet consists of fruit, nuts, seeds, flowers and nectar, obtained from the tree canopy. I have a female. She just wants to cuddle all day but will let me know when she is cross.

I feed her mainly fruit and veg. My weekly shopping list includes grapes, green beans, pear, apple, snowpeas, broccoli, plum, bok choy, a passionfruit half so she can pick out the seeds (her fav), whole snap peas, pumkin, whole chilli, capsicum, cucumber and some pomegranate. All raw. She has some frozen peas and corn a few time a week. I offer her 6-7 from this list every day.

To accommodate her need for nectar she has a small amount of Lorikeet wet mix and every few days which she loves and also has a sweet potato mash. She has a bowl of nuts and seed mixed with pellets. (the ones made from alfalfa) and an eclectus mix. The dry mix bowl is available all day. The wet is given for a couple of hours in the summer and longer in the cold months. At night she gets more fruit and veg, Eclectus are slow eaters and don't finish their morning fruit and veg in 2 hours which is why I offer more fruit at night. People mistake their slowness for not wanting much fruit and veg but they are grazers, so on the weekends offer their fruit 3 times a day if you can. Good luck. :)
Eclectus | birdhealth
 

Mollymco

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Hi. If you throw everything you know about birds diets out the window and can afford to feed them you will be ok. They can be noisy at dusk if alone. The girls are more self sufficient as they spend more time alone in the wild. As long as they have toys, a very large cage and are allowed out when you come home they are ok. They like a routine so they will cope ok if they know when to expect you. I will add a link to their habits in the wild so you can get an idea of why they do what they do.
Most prefer the more laid back male as they are more nurturing and gentle.

Food is key to keeping them healthy.
In the wild their diet consists of fruit, nuts, seeds, flowers and nectar, obtained from the tree canopy. I have a female. She just wants to cuddle all day but will let me know when she is cross.

I feed her mainly fruit and veg. My weekly shopping list includes grapes, green beans, pear, apple, snowpeas, broccoli, plum, bok choy, a passionfruit half so she can pick out the seeds (her fav), whole snap peas, pumkin, whole chilli, capsicum, cucumber and some pomegranate. All raw. She has some frozen peas and corn a few time a week. I offer her 6-7 from this list every day.

To accommodate her need for nectar she has a small amount of Lorikeet wet mix and every few days which she loves and also has a sweet potato mash. She has a bowl of nuts and seed mixed with pellets. (the ones made from alfalfa) and an eclectus mix. The dry mix bowl is available all day. The wet is given for a couple of hours in the summer and longer in the cold months. At night she gets more fruit and veg, Eclectus are slow eaters and don't finish their morning fruit and veg in 2 hours which is why I offer more fruit at night. People mistake their slowness for not wanting much fruit and veg but they are grazers, so on the weekends offer their fruit 3 times a day if you can. Good luck. :)
Eclectus | birdhealth
Lots of great tips and advice, thank you!!
 

Milo

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Eclectus parrots are great. They're one of my very favorite species for sure!

You're going to see a lot written about their diet, but it's really not that complicated. Eclectus CAN be fed a pelleted diet in captivity and do just fine. The issue with some pellets seems to be the form of vitamin A that is in the pellet. They seem to be very sensitive to it, but it's not universal amongst every individual. For instance, I've seen individuals do great on Zupreem, but Rosco can't seem to tolerate it. He does great with both Harrison's and Roudybush pellets. My daily diet for Rosco consists of about 3 tbsp of pellets (roudybush large and harrison's coarse) that he forages for, and then a salad of veggies and fruits (also foraged). They eat a lot of fruits in the wild, but in captivity where most birds don't get enough exercise it can cause them to become obese and to encourage mating behavior because of all the extra sugars and calories in the fruit.

Male eclectus are also prone to hypersexual behavior. In companion parrots this will manifest as frequent masturbation, screaming, and feather destructive behavior that's usually seasonal. It's something that can be managed, but starting out with healthy behaviors and encouraging independent playing and foraging will help to prevent it before it starts. Sometimes adding in hormones (usually an implant) once a year about a month before the behaviors usually start in addition to some husbandry changes will help the issue.

Once you get to know them they really are great birds. Their personalities are very different from other species. I find them to be a little more reserved, you can see the wheels turning while they think about things before they act. The females have a reputation for being a little extra spicy (somewhat deserved but they're still great) , but I find the males to be generally really even tempered and easy going. They're very much a sit on the couch and chill bird (unless there's food and then they want that).

If you're going to adopt an older individual that may have some baggage, make sure to visit with them a few times before you bring them home. It can take a lot of time and patience (and sometimes money) to untrain behaviors, and sometimes you won't ever resolve them. Make sure you have some good training resources in place as well as a vet that's experienced before you bring your little one home.
 
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EkkieLu

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I do not recommend a pellet diet for an ekkie. Sergei was fed a pellet diet for years and this is what he looked like. He was totally healthy, according to all vet tests. But at age 20 I changed him to a mainly fresh fruit diet and his vibrant colors are now slowly coming back.

20180702_191758.jpg
 

Milo

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I do not recommend a pellet diet for an ekkie. Sergei was fed a pellet diet for years and this is what he looked like. He was totally healthy, according to all vet tests. But at age 20 I changed him to a mainly fresh fruit diet and his vibrant colors are now slowly coming back.
View attachment 304609
As long as the diet you're offering is complete and you're offering a variety and they're actually eating every component of that diet, that's great. The tendency of a lot of owners is to overfeed their birds or to feed foods in inappropriate proportions and then the birds will pick out the tastiest bits and ignore others, resulting in an unbalanced diet. If you do it right a fresh diet is great, but that doesn't mean that a diet that's has a pellet component is necessarily bad for a bird, and we can't really make a blanket statement about a species without some sort of science behind it, and in this case we just don't have it. I've seen a lot of shaming in the eclectus community for offering them a pelleted diet if someone simply can't do a completely fresh diet, and it's uncalled for.

Like you, what I have to go on is anecdotal evidence. I'm basing this on eclectus that we have seen in our hospital that are in perfect feather in a variety of age ranges that have been offered a pelleted food as a component of their diet for the entirety of their lives. Not all pellets are the same, just like not all birds are the same. Eclectus parrots seem to have a variable response to different brands/types of pellets.

Environmental factors are another thing to consider. I know of eclectus that remain on the same diet year round but will exhibit feather destructive behavior during a particular season. There was a fascinating talk about it at Exoticscon (a veterinary conference) last year in relation to hypersexuality in male eclectus and seasonal feather destructive behavior.

In short what I'm trying to say is that certain brands/types of pellets may cause some issues for some eclectus, but there are a great many out there that do just fine with them.
 

Leanna

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My bird came to me critically underweight and malnourished from a bad diet and it's been a struggle converting him. Here's the bottom line with eclectus: If you can't be bothered to sprout seeds and legumes and don't want to cut up fruits and veg every single day...you really have no business even considering an eclectus. They are sweet and relatively quiet (mine sure is). They are a little shyer than some other species.

Diet will be the main issue:
My main gripe about the whole pellet thing is that the vast majority of pellets are seed and grain based. This is biologically appropriate for most species, but it isn't for eclectus. Grain is not a part of their natural diet so even if you feed just a little, it still isn't ideal for them. This article by Dr. Rob Marshall explains the wild eclectus diet in great detail:
Here’s How to Feed the Eclectus Parrot in Human Care –

If you could find a pellet that was all fruit, sprout and vegetable based with minimal grain that would be appropriate. The trouble is they don't really exist (yet). I do however sympathize that you have to compromise just to get them to eat anything sometimes. That's the boat I'm in with mine, but we're working toward an all fresh diet. I would say he's 10-20% percent pellet and the rest is fruit and vegetables. I use this brand as it seems the closest I could find to fruit and veg based: Eclectus! - The Best Bird Food® BirD-elicious! Origins Wild Diet® The - BirDelicious! Origins Wild Diet® The nuts are whole so you can just pick them out if you don't want them.

I've learned a few tricks for the picking things out nonsense though:
1. The food processor and blender are your friend.
2. You can make bird muffins without nuts, seed or grains. I usually do add flaxseed meal to mine though.
3. When in doubt try pouring some fruit juice in the bowl with the veg.
 

Milo

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This article by Dr. Rob Marshall explains the wild eclectus diet in great detail:
Here’s How to Feed the Eclectus Parrot in Human Care –

.

This article is making a lot of generalizations with no evidence to back it up. Where are the sources and studies to back up these claims?

All birds need fresh fruits and veggies in their diet. If someone won’t do it they shouldn’t have a bird. Period. We know they’re work but to say that because someone can’t do 100% fresh they shouldn’t own an eclectus? That’s extremist and unhelpful.

I agree the best thing to feed a bird is what it eats in the wild, but looking at what birds actually consume and what we have available is usually a HUGE difference. We’re guessing they’re similar. We are putting these birds in an artificial environment and then kidding ourselves into thinking we’re giving them a “natural” diet.
 

Leanna

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It's based on research of wild eclectus. All research on eclectus points to them eating a fruit based diet rather than a grain one, this is based on what researchers observed in the wild. As for the personal qualifications of this article, Dr. Rob Marshall specializes in Avian health. Here's his veterinary clinic's website: birdhealth

I'm not saying fresh fruits and veggies we give are identical or that it's a natural diet, just that it's closer than feeding a food group they wouldn't naturally eat. Again, I'm not disparaging owners who give a few pellets, I'm one of them. I think that can work provided it's the right kind of pellet and the vast majority of their diet is fresh. I wouldn't criticize another owner on what they do as long as their bird was healthy and happy.

You have to use your best judgement on what is best for your bird. My personal opinion is that a 100% percent fresh food seems to have the most success in preventing diet problems in eclectus. I think a lot of people feel strongly about it because many people on this forum have had serious problems that took months to fix regarding the diet of their bird. As for being extremist, I don't think it's that hard. It's just cutting up fruits and veggies, sprouting and giving some cooked legumes/pulses.
 

EkkieLu

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It's based on research of wild eclectus. All research on eclectus points to them eating a fruit based diet rather than a grain one, this is based on what researchers observed in the wild. As for the personal qualifications of this article, Dr. Rob Marshall specializes in Avian health. Here's his veterinary clinic's website: birdhealth

I'm not saying fresh fruits and veggies we give are identical or that it's a natural diet, just that it's closer than feeding a food group they wouldn't naturally eat. Again, I'm not disparaging owners who give a few pellets, I'm one of them. I think that can work provided it's the right kind of pellet and the vast majority of their diet is fresh. I wouldn't criticize another owner on what they do as long as their bird was healthy and happy.

You have to use your best judgement on what is best for your bird. My personal opinion is that a 100% percent fresh food seems to have the most success in preventing diet problems in eclectus. I think a lot of people feel strongly about it because many people on this forum have had serious problems that took months to fix regarding the diet of their bird. As for being extremist, I don't think it's that hard. It's just cutting up fruits and veggies, sprouting and giving some cooked legumes/pulses.
I totally agree Leanna!!! Bravo!
 

Monaco

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Really good information here, guys. I very much appreciate the back and forth.
 

Les charlson

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Really good information here, guys. I very much appreciate the back and forth.
Oh, sprouts are great. My girl loves them and they are similar to leaf tips I suppose. Also my list upthread wasn't everything I feed her. Try a bit of egg, and every fruit that is seasonal. My guys won't eat anything that is imported eg, grapes in winter. They seem to know the difference and they end up on the floor. Go figure. Peanut butter on a bit of toast is good.
The alfalfa pellets aren't popular but I offer them sometimes. I don't think my guys need them and I don't want to overdo the vitamins and create feather problems. Anything leafy like choy sum and asian greens is good too. I also pick grasses but I am on a farm so no toxic sprays. She also loves bits of branch to chew.
I caught her eating a mouse that she had caught and killed the other day. We don't bait here and it somehow got into her big outside aviary even though its snake/mouse wire. I guess she needs more protein. Chickens do the same thing. They are not your average parrot.
 
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