Parrot / Bird Information & Care
General Care of the Eclectus
Nutrition is one of the most important concerns in the care of the Eclectus. It is generally agreed that they need optimal amounts of natural Vitamin A in their diet. Also, because of their long digestive tract, we must provide ample amounts of fiber daily. They seem to thrive on a diet based on a wide variety of foods including fresh fruits and vegetables, sprouted seeds and beans, brown rice, beans and peas, high-fiber cereals, a variety of nuts and seeds, and high-quality pellets which are not artificially coloured.
The favourite fruit of most Eclectus is the pomegranate. Unfortunately, it is seasonal and available for a very limited time. Other favourites are apples, grapes, papaya and mango. Cantaloupe, melons, berries, citrus fruits, kiwi, banana, cherries, peaches, pears, apricots, figs, guava, and nectarines are also good sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and enzymes which are essential and not only aid in the digestion of food but also stimulate the production of antibodies essential to the maintenance of good health. One of the easiest ways to insure an adequate supply of daily enzymes is to feed sprouted seeds, beans, and peas. Sprouts are truly a "live food" and raw, live foods are what our birds are biologically adapted to consume.
The favourite vegetable of most Eclectus is corn. They like it fresh, cooked, frozen, dried, or "plumped" by soaking shelled dry corn kernels and then cooking until soft. Another favourite veggie is sugar snap peas. They also like carrots, pole beans, celery, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, sun chokes, greens (such as parsley, mustard, turnip, collard, beet and dandelion), and all hot peppers.
Eclectus also relish cooked beans, brown rice, pasta, and whole wheat bread. In addition, it is good to offer quality protein foods several times a week. Chopped hard-boiled egg with the shell is an excellent protein food which Eclectus eat very well. Bits of well-cooked fish and turkey may also be offered.
Young Eclectus rarely attain their full body weight until the age of two years, therefore we need not worry about the calorie content of their food when they are very young. A dish of nuts and seeds can be offered full time as long as they also eat their fresh foods. Most Eclectus have such good appetites that this is not a problem. In older birds who have been given a predominately seed diet, it may be necessary to offer the nuts and seeds in the afternoon after they have consumed their fresh foods. Contrary to some things that have been written, seeds do provide health benefits to parrots. They contain the B-complex vitamins, vitamins A, D, and E, unsaturated fatty acids, protein, phosphorous, potassium and calcium. A good mix of seeds for the Eclectus is millet, sunflower, oats, wheat, buckwheat, pumpkin, sesame, and hemp. Young Eclectus are especially fond of pine nuts, which are soft and easy to eat. Other raw and unsalted nuts which may be offered are pecans, walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, hazel nuts, peanuts and fresh chestnuts. A few high-fiber, salt and sugar-free cereals which can be added to the seed and nut mix are shredded wheat squares, which the young Eclectus is particularly fond of, and Cheerios and Granola.
Foods which we never should give to our Eclectus include pork, avocado, chocolate, and any foods which contain high amounts of alcohol, salt or sugar.
Water is of course very important too. Birds cannot metabolize high amounts of chlorine, fluoride, and other chemicals added to our city water supplies, so it is necessary to find a source of the purest water possible for our birds. Do not add chemical vitamins or other supplements to your bird's water, as the bird can become dehydrated if he finds the taste objectionable and does not have enough foods with high water content to supply the necessary liquids to the diet.
Teflon in any form must be avoided. When over-heated, it can kill a bird within minutes. Most of us are aware of this coating on cooking utensils, but teflon seems to be found in more and more household articles. There are teflon-coated burner bibs which can give off deadly toxins every time the burner is heated, teflon-coated irons, ironing board covers, electric fry-pans, and others. The most recent horror stories of teflon-related deaths in birds involve the very popular bread machine. Most of them have teflon-coated baking pans inside which are heated for hours as the bread bakes, emitting deadly fumes with sometimes disastrous results to birds in the house. Some bird owners avoid buying products with teflon coating, except for one fry pan used properly for preparing eggs, and even that pan is kept in a special place so that other less diligent cooks will not mistakenly overheat it. Do not use sprays of any kind near your Eclectus, including hairsprays, cleaning fluids, spray starch, etc.
Young Eclectus who have been handfed and given the proper attention enjoy being cuddled but can become tired or over stimulated if handled excessively. Also, it is not a good idea to give them more attention when they first join your household than you can continue to give them in the future. They should be provided a darkened quiet place to sleep for at least twelve hours a night. When feasible, some birds enjoy having their cages covered at night as it makes them feel more secure. In all areas of care, moderation should be used. With the proper care, your Eclectus will provide you with years of delightful entertainment and companionship.