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Eclectus Screaming at 6 months

Sarah_K

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Hey everyone,
I am relatively new to the Ekkie world. I am the proud owner of a 6 month old eclectus boy named Benji. I got him when he was just over 4 months. He was super quiet for 2 weeks, then in the last month and a half every time he sees me he caws really loudly. It will only start if he can see me and totally quiets down and barely makes a peep if he can not see me. Even if he is out on his tree stand and I am on the couch, he will scream out loudly for hours. If I am lucky and he does quiet down, if I try to praise him or give him a treat, it just starts the screaming up all over again.

He plays well with toys. His weight has gone up like 20 grams since I have had him. We have been to the vet twice and he is perfectly healthy. We tried doing some comfort hand feedings with baby bird formula at night and he never wanted to take it. He otherwise gets veggies and fruits twice a day, with some organic pellets at night.

Most of what I have been reading is that some Eclectus do this when they are younger and grow out of it. My question is, anyone know how long it typically lasts? I can put up with it but my husband and neighbors are not as appreciative of the noise. Any other advice or help from Ekkie owners would be greatly appreciated.
 

EkkieLu

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Welcome Aboard! I'm so glad you're here!

He wants to be near you. He gets all excited when he sees you and wants more attention. This will nearly cease once he's getting what he wants. Ekkies are very friendly and crave time together. Sergei would be happy totally living on my shoulder! So I do everything I can possibly do safely with him there. He knows that when I set him down and walk away that I'll be back to get him as soon as I can. He only did the screaming thing for a few days and once I upped his shoulder time, he has never done it again.
Think of it as you coming home from work and your kids all scream and run to you for hugs and want to sit on your lap and cuddle...well you get the picture! They were quiet and content until they saw you!
 

Milo

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At this point I would not reward the screaming, just like you're doing This is an excellent time to start some clicker training and teaching him to play independently! If you haven't already, introducing foraging into his routine would also be beneficial to him. Occupying his time with foraging will give him less time to scream, and it's good enrichment for humans to figure out new and fun things for them :) If you'd like, I can give you some "low tech" foraging ideas that are really simple to set up and will help keep him occupied :)

Having an area in your main living space where he can see you but not necessarily be physically on you would also help at this point. Rosco has a playstand in our living room where he can see us and we can chat, but I also have some toys and foraging set up for him. This way we chat, he feels like he's a part of the flock, but he engages in different behaviors and is not relying solely on me to give him affection and mental stimulation.

He's still a baby, but it is still possible to confuse birds by engaging in pair bonding behaviors while they're still young. Hand fed birds don't know that they're birds. Keeping him physically on you or spending most of your day interacting one on one with him can ultimately backfire, especially once he hits sexual maturity and he starts to see you as a mate. I see this sort of thing weekly, sometimes multiple times a week at work. It's not saying that you can't interact with your bird, but simply shaping how you interact and creating a healthier bond between you and your bird. By helping him to learn to play with toys and be more independent now you're going to help set him up for healthier behaviors later.

Hang in there!
 

Sarah_K

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Thanks for the replies. It just doesn’t make sense cause I don’t think it’s screaming for attention. As soon as I am out of his site, even 30 seconds after I leave, he completely quiets down. He is very good at playing when I’m not around. He has destroyed multiple toys already. He loves to turn balsa wood and cork into total shavings. Also, he can be just sitting on my arm and screaming up at my face. It feels so opposite of bird attention screaming and I just don’t know what he wants.
 

aooratrix

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Could he be hungry? I'm not an ekkie person, so I'm just shooting in the dark.
 

Milo

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Can you get a video?
 

Sylvester

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Thanks for the replies. It just doesn’t make sense cause I don’t think it’s screaming for attention. As soon as I am out of his site, even 30 seconds after I leave, he completely quiets down. He is very good at playing when I’m not around. He has destroyed multiple toys already. He loves to turn balsa wood and cork into total shavings. Also, he can be just sitting on my arm and screaming up at my face. It feels so opposite of bird attention screaming and I just don’t know what he wants.

I too am wondering if he is hungry.
 

Leanna

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Milo rarely makes any noise, quieter than any bird I've known. But when he does, it is always when I'm in sight and not talking to him. I think it's because he thinks I'm ignoring him.
 

Sarah_K

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I can’t figure out how to upload the video I took on my iPhone, but literally it’s him standing on my hand just looking up at me and screaming is little head off every 5 seconds.

I thought he was hungry too but I’ve tried to do hand feedings, spoon feedings, and offer 24/7 food. He gained 20 grams but still screaming : (
 

Leanna

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Is he scratching at all? He could be molting. 6/7 months is when they normally start to molt. Milo scratched much less when I got a humidifier.

Does he have access to sunlight? Milo gets moody if he doesn't get to bask in an east facing window like a big lizard. They are an Australian species so they're used to intense sunlight.
 

Sarah_K

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No scratching and while his cage isn’t in a window, sunlight does come through a large portion of the day.
 

fashionfobie

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No scratching and while his cage isn’t in a window, sunlight does come through a large portion of the day.
Depending on the type of glass a lot of UV will be blocked. Modern homes use low-e glass or double glazing systems. If you want UV light he will need some time in the sun uninterrupted by glass. Depending on your relationship you can train him to go on walks in a bird safe pack/backpack or you could set up an outdoor area he can spend some time in. This area needs to be designed for outdoor use. Standard cages are not safe to protect against predators.

:) Just a suggestion. I am spoiled with UV where I live.
 

Sarah_K

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Major breakthrough everyone!!! I’ve been working with Jamie and Dave from birdtricks and they recommended doing some indoor flight training to help Benji use up energy and see if that helps the screaming. I am so happy to say that after about 10 flights across the bedroom to follow me, he totally quieted down and is just happily preening and sitting on his play stand. He is chilling and hanging out which is something we haven’t been able to do in weeks cause of all the screaming. So happy and excited that I am able to really enjoy my bird today.
 

Leanna

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Aww that's great! I love birdtricks! I can't wait till Milo's feathers grow out enough to do the same.
 
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