Settling in your bird

Before I touch on this subject I would like to mention how important it is that you do your research. Do it before and continue to do it after you receive your bird. There is no such thing as knowing everything you need to know about the Eclectus Parrots. Believe me, you can still find a lot to learn years after having them. You will always find something new to learn about them and keep up with the times. As time moves forward, so does knowledge, education and understanding of a lot things when it comes to any parrot. What may have been the right thing to do 5 or 10 years ago, may not be right today, so keep up to date with your research.

If you've recently adopted an unwanted Eclectus or you're considering adopting one, you may or may not know

the full history of the bird and even if you know or keep in touch with the previous owner, never presume will be told everything you need to know about the bird's past.

Eclectus are a very curious, happy go lucky and jovial bird. They love to entertain and be entertained. If they get the chance to get into something that interests them, they'll do anything to get there!! They can be a mischievous bird and are always full of life, once they get to know you. You will never have a dull moment in your home if your Eclectus is happy in his home. Some re homed Eclectus parrots are not like this because they've either had a rough past life or have not been taught to play or be be social and trust humans. Bringing an Eclectus parrot out of it's shell and into it's more natural form can be a very slow process but is always worth it to see the end result. It's important to be patient, no matter how long it may take. Your new Eclectus needs to learn that you won't hurt him and he needs to learn to trust you and humans.

Any Eclectus that is new to your home, re homed or young weaned juvenile will need time on it’s own to adjust to it’s new surroundings.

Avoid handling your new bird. Your new Eclectus should be placed in a reasonably quiet area to start with. He will most likely feel more comfortable if he is in a quiet area and not surrounded by busy sudden movements and people everywhere. Some people opt for placing them in an area that the bird can see everything that goes on in the house, but one that isn’t over the top busy. If you choose this option just keep an eye on your bird. If he’s appearing frightened or withdrawn then place him in a quiet area.

Slowly move around his cage every now and then, while you're working around the home. Continually talk to him sweetly, offer an occasional treat through bars. Almonds are often Eclectus parrots favourite nut but don't hover over his cage continually, let him have space.

Don't try to dominate your new bird. It will be the very last thing your bird is thinking about. Generally the Eclectus parrot is known as a family bird. They love and need to get into the thick of things in their family home, like to be the centre of attention and are happy to please their humans. You are family, not a hierarchy to them so don't attempt to dominate them or things could go pair shaped very quickly for.

Learn their body language. This is extremely important for you to understand what you bird is trying to tell you. If he looks unhappy, back away. If he bites, it was for a reason and you need to learn why. If you can see he's about to bite, leave him alone. Avoiding being bitten is a lot better. Learn his body language.

Have a small variety of toys handy. Play with them from outside his cage and see if he takes an interest in what you're doing. If an Eclectus has not been raised to play with toys he will not know how to play with them and may be quite fearful of them, so start with neutral colours and don't shove them in his cage expecting him to know what to do. Make sure you know if he's OK with toys before you leave them in his cage.

Over a little time you can also use various colour toys, various sizes and noises and observe his reactions towards all of them. If there is a particular toy he's taken more of an interest in then work with this toy for a while.

If there is a particular toy he appears to be more fearful of or is aggressive towards then put this toy away for a while and try something else. All Eclectus parrots have their own individual likes and dislikes when it comes to toys.

If your Eclectus is reacting badly to everything then you may want to try toys that don't make noise and have neutral colours, small toys like foot and chew toys.

For an Eclectus parrot that has never been taught to play, this can be a very long process, weeks, months, even a year or so to get him to play with one or two toys. Be patient and very persistent with this. Make toy playing look really exciting and make it look like your Eclectus is missing out on something. Incorporate toy playing with foraging.

Give your new Eclectus fresh branches, flowers and leaves to chew on. No matter how unsettled he may be in his new home, he'll be very grateful to have something enriching like natural branches.

An Eclectus parrot that been on a poor diet can come across aggressive. A simple change in their diet may fix this. An Eclectus that's been raised on a limited diet can also be a very fussy eater and can be very hard to convert, but never think it's impossible and give up. You can reserve a plate for your Eclectus, a baby plate with pictures on it. Use this plate at all times when trying to offer new foods. Sit at his cage and eat some of the food. Make it sound really yummy, keep offering him some. You may want to consider offering treats like sunflower seeds, nuts etc. More than likely he is familiar with these sort of treats and will be more willing to take them than anything else. Although these are considered unhealthy junk foods, they're a very good food to offer the fussy eater when trying to convert them or get them to trust you and it won't be a permanent thing. You can soak the seeds or nuts for better nutrition and you can add them inside a food you're trying to get him to eat.

Eclectus parrots as a species generally enjoy eating soft foods such as fruit and vegetables so continue to offer these daily and try to keep the variety as large as you can. You may also like to experiment with these foods by cutting them thicker, thinner, grating them, placing them onto skewers (kebabs) etc. If your Eclectus shreds the kebab it's a great start!! All of this requires patients and persistence. Never expect miracles to happen.

Don't remove the foods your Eclectus is used to eating straight away. Removing a food they're familiar with and replacing it with a food they're not familiar with or become fearful of may cause them to starve. Never presume your Eclectus will eat just because it's really hungry. If the food is unrecognisable to them or they dislike it they may not touch it at all, n o matter how hungry they will be.

When you see your Eclectus eat, then sit with him and eat too. Eclectus Parrots like to be involved in all family activities including eating meals together. When they see you eat a meal, they are most likely to go to their food bowl and eat as well. This makes them feel like they're part of the family and part of the household.

When you see your Eclectus becoming a little more at ease and curious about you and your home, open up his cage and just sit by him with the cage door open. Encourage him to come out but don't expect it. Make sure the house is quiet and safe, incase he was to panic and take flight. Is he clipped? Clipping is your choice but for this stage it might be a good idea to clip him for the time being. A new frightened Eclectus can take flight suddenly, hit wall, doors, windows or escape.

Some may be more eager than others to get out and investigate you more closely or your home. Others may only prefer to come out and sit at the top of their cage and observe, and others will prefer to stay in their cage just a little longer. Don't force them out. They will come out when they're ready to.

An Eclectus cage is his castle and more importantly his security. He needs to feel safe and comfortable in his cage. It is the only thing an Eclectus can retreat to without being disturbed, so treat it as his castle and keep your hands out.

You can coax your bird out of his cage by placing a favourite treat in your hand and placing your hand on the outside, end of his cage door so if he wants the treats he needs to go to your hand to get it. If he takes a few steps toward your hand but no further, give him the treat for going this far. Continue to do this until he has the courage to step up on your hand. Alternatively if he's a little more fearful than usual you can place the treat on the top of his open cage door and take a step back to let him come out and take the treat. You can do this a few times and then try doing it with the treat in your hand a few times afterwards.

Once he has stepped up onto your hand you can either place him on top of his cage to observe everything for a while or you can take him for a walk through the house to show him around. Be very observant. If he's still very nervous he may feel a little more comfortable being placed on top of his cage first and once he's gotten used to being just out you can then take him for a walk around the home.

Introduce him to everything and everyone in the home. Offer him a treat for everything he does that's desirable like moving towards you, stepping up on your hand, coming out of the cage, going back into the cage, walking around with you. If you're offering him seed or nut treats start to offer fruit and veg or healthier treats as well and give him a good variety.

Don't attempt to physically handle him unless you're sure he's ready for this. If he isn't and he bites you, it's your fault, not his.

Unless an Eclectus has been raised to enjoy cuddles and physical touching you shouldn't attempt to cuddle or pat him. Eclectus parrots by nature love your closeness and company but don't enjoy being touched. You may lose a finger if you try. Most Eclectus parrots are content to sit on you or near your face. They love close contact what's known as 'beak to cheek' contact, but for most that's as far as it goes. If you're not able to trust your Eclectus enough to give him close  contact then don't do this.

Learn your birds body language and eyes. I have found the Eclectus parrot very easy to read when it comes to their eyes. Their eyes say it all! From content to anger, fear, mischief. Their eye and body language is the only way they're able to communicate with you and learning this can help you to avoid being bitten. An Eclectus parrot is very good at giving their feelings away.

Some Eclectus parrots go to their new home in a very small cage so save up and buy a larger one, buy a mansion if you can! A new cage can give the bird a feeling of a new life.

If the cage is a suitable size or funds don't permit you to buy a larger cage you might like to try redecorating it instead. This should be a gradual change as most parrots take some time to accept change. Change just a couple of small things, let your Eclectus get used to this before making more changes. If your Eclectus isn't accepting of the changes then you may like to wait until he is settled into his new home first before making changes. Some Eclectus just prefer to have their old stuff because they're familiar with this.

keep one or two toy boxes handy. Gradually fill them up but don't place them into your Eclectus parrots cage unless he has a very large cage or he is confident with the toys and the toy box. If he isn't confident in these you can place the toy box outside of his cage but in his view. Most Eclectus parrots like to acquaint themselves with new things in their life, but they don't always accept something new if it's been trust upon them suddenly, so let him see his new things without having to be in contact with them.

A change in their name can often give them a new lease in life.....It is OK to change a parrots name. They do learn their new names very quickly and a name change can often help speed up the process of adapting in their new home. Particularly if the bird has come from a terrible background. A new name can mean a new life.

Little Bob

A few simple things to help your new Eclectus

Things you can do to help an adopted Eclectus

Buy a new or larger cage

Redecorate the old cage

Toy Box

Change his name

TIP: Slow and steady always  wins the race. No matter where your bird has come from or how old it is, the slower your pace with a new bird, the faster you will gain it’s trust and the faster it will learn to adapt and accept you. Don’t push the bird into anything it is not ready for.