What is the typical size and weight of the most common pet Eclectus species? (Grand, Vosmaeri, Red-sided and Solomon Island)
The Eclectus is a medium size parrot with a wingspan of two to two and half feet. The length of the commonly available Eclectus subspecies ranges between twelve to fourteen and half inches. In my opinion, weight "ranges" are not useful because the ranges of the various subspecies overlap each other. Partly because of cross breeding between subspecies, there are large Solomon Island specimen that weigh as much as small Grands and Red sided specimen. Therefore, the “ranges” are less than helpful, if not meaningless, in my opinion. Generally speaking, of the commonly available subspecies, the Solomon Island Eclectus is the smallest and the Vosmaeri Eclectus is the largest but otherwise, weight "ranges" can cause new Eclectus owners to worry when their Eclectus does not fit the "average" description, which often is equated with "normal". Even the generalization that the Solomon Island Eclectus is the smallest and the Vosmaeri Eclectus is the largest of the commonly available subspecies can be challenged since some Aruensis Eclectus parrots, which many experts consider a large Red sided rather than a separate subspecies, are larger than some Vosmaeri specimen.
I believe it is more realistic to use a general weight range based on an average of the combined weights of all the available subspecies. Such a range was established by a well-known and highly respected avian veterinarian and researcher, Dr. Susan Clubb. She worked with hundreds of Eclectus pairs and babies of the commonly available subspecies during her years of research at the Avicultural Breeding and Research Center in Loxahatchee, Florida. Dr. Clubb averaged the weights of adults of the most commonly available Eclectus subspecies and published this range in the reference book, "Psittacine Aviculture". According to Dr. Clubb, the average weight of the adult male Eclectus is 430 grams with a range of 388 to 524. The average weight of the adult female Eclectus is 452 grams with a range of 383-549 grams. Eclectus babies reach their maximum weight at the age of seven weeks. At fledging, they lose approximately ten percent of their top weight at seven weeks. Eclectus parrots continue to grow until the age of two years and add a slight amount of weight between the age of two and three years.
AFTER LIVING TOGETHER FOR OVER A YEAR, MY SIX YEAR OLD PAIR IS FIGHTING. IS THIS SITUATION HOPELESS?
I know just how frustrating to you the behavior of this pair must be! I have had bonded pairs get into squabbles before, but just when I was sure that they hated each other and never would get back together, I would catch them mating! I can understand your hesitance to leave them together, and I am not recommending that you do so because you know them better than anyone, but it is rare for Eclectus to actually cause major damage to each other. It is my guess that she is "driving" the male to remedy something that is not to her liking. The females tend to expect the males to make everything "just right" for them. (Sound familiar)? ;) I once removed a nest box and the female pestered the male so much by lunging, mock attacking, chasing, etc. that he started plucking out his feathers and I had to separate them until I could restore the nest box. Then she was completely friendly toward him again and they resumed making babies.
Eclectus usually are not fussy about the configuration of their nest boxes, but you might consider placing a second one in their aviary to see if she does prefer a different type. Also, the nest box location is a consideration. Is it located as high as possible? Is it private? You can hang branches or even a towel near the opening if it isn't. Some breeders are known to get aggressive if given certain pellets, especially those containing spirulina.
Your diet sounds good and the only change I would recommend is the addition of sprouts and seeds. Sprouts sometimes can make all the difference and I know of several breeders whose production plummeted when seeds were removed from the diet. If you do not want to bother with sprouting, add lots of green foods--kale, collards, mustard & turnip greens, broccoli, kohlrabi, etc. Also, you might consider giving them hard boiled eggs with the shell for extra protein.
I agree with you that the female certainly could have bitten the male, had she really wanted to.....I think that she was just bullying him for whatever reason. If you fear for his safety, you could put them in separate cages side by side until they start hanging out as close together as they can get and until he tries to feed her through the bars of the cage. At that time, you could re-introduce them to the aviary, and possibly give him a few days there alone first, within her view, to let him establish dominance of the territory.
As was suggested by someone else, you certainly could try giving them other mates, but if that isn't feasible, you could give them another chance to get back together, because Eclectus are famous for believing in that old song, "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with"......
ARE HICKORY NUTS AND BLACK WALNUTS SAFE FOR ECLECTUS PARROTS?
I have fed both these nuts to my Eclectus with no ill effects, but hickory nuts are really hard to crack and they are so small with such a small amount of nutmeat inside that your birds had better appreciate your efforts! And shelling black walnuts will stain your hands almost permanently! The meat of black walnuts is not toxic but other parts of the plant are. If you have dogs, do NOT let them eat the black walnut shells! They are poisonous to them.
WHEN CAN MY 2.5 MONTH OLD MALE ECLECTUS HAVE A BATH?
I think that Danny Boy is trying to tell you something when he dunks his head in his water dish~~like "I'm ready for a real bath, Mom"! My babies don't seem to enjoy their baths as much as the older birds, but I think it's good to get them in the habit of spritz baths daily, and drenching baths two or three times a week. Especially in Winter when most of our houses are very dry, bathing helps to keep moisture in their skin and that can prevent feather destruction brought on by itchiness. Just to be on the safe side, you might ask the breeder why she recommends waiting until he's three or four months old, because she must have had a reason for saying that. Perhaps she was worried that he would get chilled afterward, but just wait 'til you see how he loves the blow dryer! At least I haven't seen a young Eclectus yet that didn't get that dreamy look in his eyes and appear to love every minute of it.
What cage size would you recommend for a single pet Eclectus?
A good general recommendation for the new Eclectus owner is "the largest affordable cage that one’s home will accommodate”. Eclectus parrots are active birds and they need ample space for recreation and exercise. Horizontal space is more critical than vertical space although a tall Macaw cage with living space that extends to the floor provides enough room to include a spiral rope toy (Boing) which Eclectus parrots especially enjoy. Interior cage space should be at least 30" wide, 24" deep, and 36" high. More space is preferable to less space and daily time out of the cage is important for both exercise and the social interaction that is essential to the well being of the gregarious Eclectus.
Do you feel toe tapping and wing flicking are indicative of a specific problem or are they a general indication of illness? What have you seen causing these symptoms in the past?
Answer: No one seems to know for sure what causes toe tapping and wing flicking and many vets never have heard of it. Toe tapping is a rhythmic opening and closing of the foot. When this happens, sometimes the bird's nails click on the perch in the process and I guess that's how it got the name, but a more accurate description might be "foot clenching". Wing flicking is a quick popping motion of the wings which also is a repetitive motion. I have wondered if the bird might simply be correcting its wing position as they "droop" because the bird is weak. That is only my guess and may be totally inaccurate.
One suspected cause of these problems is the oversupplementation of vitamins and minerals. Some parrots have had the problem when a vitamin and mineral supplement was added to a pelleted diet, which already contains both. Since pellets are designed to be a complete diet, the addition of most supplements will cause hypervitaminosis which seems to cause foot clenching or toe tapping and wing flicking in some birds. I hear more about it in eclectus, but that may be because I only have eclectus and read and hear more about them than other parrot species. Eclectus are said to have a longer than average digestive tract, and therefore are supposed to be very efficient at assimilating nutrients from their food. A good varied diet is sufficient.
Low calcium has proved to be a problem for some birds exhibiting the symptoms. Dr. Dave McCluggage, a holistic vet of Colorado, says that most testing in birds is not very accurate. He recommends the addition of calcium if a bird tests "low normal". Amazingly, toe tapping clears up within an hour of the administration of supplemental calcium in some cases. NeoCalglucon, available without a prescription from pharmacists (about $25) is the calcium of choice. Whether it works because calcium is a chelating agent or because it corrects the calcium deficiency is unknown.
Another suspected cause is metal toxicity. There are many ways that birds can get zinc, lead, and other heavy metals into their system. Many of the quick links that are used to attach toys to cages contain zinc. Even the very popular California Cages have zinc in the paint if they were manufactured before 1996. Most birds don't mouth or chew cage bars enough to create a problem, but it seems that a few have done just that. The tests for metal toxicity are expensive but if they are positive, chelation treatments can quickly rid the body of its toxic overload and therefore end the toe tapping and wing flicking symptoms. Some cases are resolved with Aloe Detox, which is a liver cleanser available at health food stores. There are several articles on my web site detailing its use.
I feel sure that someday, an avian vet will come up with a definitive answer to this mystery, but as it stands now, only a few vets have even heard of it. It's very frustrating for owners of birds that develop the symptom/syndrome/or whatever it should be called. I personally never have seen it but have a few close friends who have experienced it with their eclectus parrots.