Eclectus Pair - What to do?
Posted 15 December 2010 - 08:10 AM
In her previous home she was down on the floor alot and the male would follow her. She hasn't been on the floor in the week that we have had her b/c I have given her space apart from him. Her feather chewing had gotten worse over the past month or so at the same time her floor excursions started so I wonder if she started chewing more b/c the male was hounding her?
The male is not tame. I am training him to step up. He is afraid of hands. When I have picked him up, he gets absolutely panicked and is panting breathless. He bit me bad the first day, but I hung in there and he hasn't bit me since. But he is dreadfully afraid of my hands and does not want to step up or come out of the cage. I am waiting for him to do it in his time. I did have his wings trimmed to help prevent broken blood feathers since he was thrashing about quite a bit when I put my hand in the cage, but he is settling down now.
The lady that trimmed his wings is an x-breeder and she said I need to separate the pair if I ever want to tame the male. So I separated them. I am spending a lot of time with both of them individually - several hours a day with each. The male did kind of dive out of his cage on my hand today and yesterday so I took him for a walk and he let me scratch him. But he is still plucking his neck feathers. He is otherwise fully feathered and I am very worried that he is going to pluck his whole chest. However, I am ignoring the plucking b/c I don't want to stress him out on that account. The female is still chewing on her feathers as well.
They eat a healthy fruit/veggie/TOPS pellet diet. I am only giving nuts for treats. The vet could not find any physical source for their feather issues. I put them each in their own sleep cage at night in a quiet dark room so they are getting plenty of sleep. I have bathed them almost every day.
Should I separate them at night only. Or should I separate them during the day AND night until our family can bond with each of them individually? Or should I have separate night and day cages, but let them hang out on the tree together during the day? Or should I leave them together 24/7?
We adore both of them and are really enjoying them. I want them to be as happy and comfortable as possible and to be as much a part of our family as possible.
Posted 15 December 2010 - 04:36 PM
It sounds like he is very dependent on her and needs to be close to her for security. Also, just because she will let anyone hold her does not mean that she is relaxed. This is just how she is, compared for instance, to his panicking.
When he comes close and she moves away, you can't assume she doesn't want anything to do with him. If she was "unhappy" she would beak or bite him.
I urge you to start over with them and give them both a chance to get used to your household. Let him settle in for MONTHS before you insist on holding him, especially with your hands. They both need to learn to trust you and know that they are safe there. When they realize this they will come to you.
I happen to disagree with the person who told you that you have to separate them in order to have a relationship with the male. Male Eclectus are very aware of everything going on around them. If you keep them in the same cage (assuming this is what you decide to do) and allow her to come out on her own before you pick her up, he will see this. Let him understand that you won't force him to do anything he doesn't want to. Just move slowly around him and talk gently. He will learn that he is safe and will eventually want to interact with you.
Do you know what their diet was in their previous home? If you are feeding a better diet you may see less feather destruction. Would you consider sprouting? Offering sprouted legumes along with some cooked grains in addition to the vegetables and fruits you offer would be a good idea.
I know it's hard to leave birds alone when they first come to your house. But I think observation of these two for a few weeks would be the very best thing you can do. You may want to keep a journal because it's hard to remember what you observe and rereading your observations may give you insight later.
How are they when it comes to sharing a food dish? I think this can tell you a lot about their relationship.
Edited by sodakat, 15 December 2010 - 05:21 PM.
Posted 15 December 2010 - 06:42 PM
OK. Yes, she was beaking him when he was inching her over and wanted to go back to the cage when he was doing this. Now that he is not on the tree, she does not want to leave the tree or go back to the cage. But she is still picking at her feathers - they both look guilty and stop picking when I "catch" them at it so I think they were being scolded for it before. They came to me eating out of separate bowls so that is what I have been doing.
We don't make her to step up unless she has to go back to her cage b/c we're going out or it is bed time. She does like car rides. I have been taking her to school to drop off our kids and pick them up. She was still eating when it was time to go this morning but when I said car ride, she stepped right up. She also really likes walks (she wiggles her tail).
He came flailing out of his cage last night so I took him out for a walk - it really calms him down. We practiced a little laddering. He perched for a short while when we got home, then was ready to go back to the cage. He was whining this morning so I thought he might be ready to come out. I put my hand in the cage and gently lifted his foot. He turned around, but did not flap or thrash. He eventually turned around and he is other foot landed on my hand too - to his surprise. I slowly removed him and put him on a perch. I let him just be comfortable and watch things. He was not panting this time b/c he didn't flap around. I had him step up and ladder for about a minute, treat reward, then back to the perch. We did that twice. I filled a bowl with plastic caps in assorted colors/shapes. He threw one down and I praised him - much to his surprise I think. We went for a short walk and he was ready to go back to the cage.
It IS going much faster than I expected. He was was not previously handlable. I do think it is easier to tame birds if you have on that is already tame. We have cockatiels and one loves to be scratched and I have taught them both tricks. So I have been scratching them, doing the bat trick and having them flip over my finger in front of the ekkies. He in particular takes a keen interest. He also sees everyone step up and come out of the cage. (I always have my birds step up to get out of the cage so they will also step up when I need to put them back in b/c occassionally I get a call from school to pick up a child or bring a forgotten lunch... and I need to go right away).
Has anyone else had experience with a pair where one is tame and one is not? I'd really like to see what I can learn from others. Thanks!
Posted 16 December 2010 - 06:55 PM
My little green guy NOSHED on cranberries, snap peas and persimmon that I hand fed him last night. He likes crackers too, so I need to find some bird friendly ones for him.
He is getting out on a perch every day now. A couple of times an hour, I do a quick step up exercise. I have him step up on my hand, ladder back and forth once, then say stay. Then back to the perch for a treat. He isn't flying off me in a panic now that he realizes I am not going to hurt him or make him stay on me. He is a very sweet little guy. I am really falling in love with both of them.
Posted 16 December 2010 - 08:31 PM
Can I make a suggestion on the sprouting? Start with lentils, garbanzo beans, and if you can find them, mung beans. Don't try any of the large beans because they need to be cooked and are not safe for birds when sprouted.
To make things easier, I sprout each type in a separate container. I like those flat gladware-type semi-disposable containers that are about an inch and 1/2 high and maybe 10 inches long. I put a layer of dry beans in the container then cover it with an inch of water and let them soak overnight. Then I drain and rinse them and leave the rinsed beans on the counter in the container until they start to get tails. That usually takes between 24 and 36 hours. My house is cool also, so it will work for you. Rinse them when you think about it, like maybe twice a day (once is fine if you forget)... but the point is to keep them damp but not in standing water. Once you can see tails you can rinse and refrigerate them.
Posted 15 March 2011 - 07:18 AM
This has been pretty hard on all of us. Teddy was the life of the party around here. Everybody loved him including our female. She paced across the top of the cage and flapped her wings, looking for him for quite a while. I finally sat down with her one night and told her there was no more Teddy and I wept. She made this grunting sound and I am pretty sure she understood. She is a sweet, sweet girl and spends a lot of time on my shoulder. We take her everywhere we can take a bird, but I really hope to get another male eclectus as a companion for both of us. Unfortunately the adoption fee and the vet bills have really taken their toll. ):
Posted 15 March 2011 - 12:58 PM
My Rose is very devoted to me yet has been a great partner to LaFitte. I don't think it's an either/or situation for birds.
I too am looking for another male, although SIE not Vos, and I am frustrated at the high prices I've seen on birds people wish to rehome. Apparently people are paying the same to rehome an adult as they do for a newly weaned baby, if craigslist and ebay classifieds are any indication.
I'll keep you in mind as I search for a male this year since we are looking for different subspecies.
Posted 15 March 2011 - 02:09 PM
Posted 16 March 2011 - 11:19 PM
Posted 17 March 2011 - 02:00 AM
Posted 18 March 2011 - 01:01 AM
My recently acquired TAG baby was an only chick and there was an Ekkie that was one too, so they were put in the brooder (I think) together and grew up together and became best friends. When we got Opal (TAG) her best buddie really missed her. She was such a great bird, getting along with all the babies, the breeder kept her for her personal bird! She named her Miss Molly.
Aww, that is so cute! I just love seeing different breed befriend each other. My female eclectus does tolerate our male and female foraging at the bottom of her cage. Early on my ekkie preened our female tiel's mohawk, but now I think it was more out of curiosity than anything else. I would never leave them unsupervised though. (Once we did forget to shut the tiel's cage door and found our female tiel perced on our ekkie's cage like she owned the place or something. (:
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