A Healthy Diet For Your Companion Eclectus Parrot
In the long run, the basic good health of your eclectus parrot depends upon what you do or do not feed the bird. Over the years, when we have received older eclectus from pet owners, we have often found that they were not in the best of health due to poor nutrition. These were loved birds, not cast offs. They received what their owners believed was a good diet. However, there were certain problems with those diets. This has caused us to be concerned about proper diet for companion eclectus. Stick to what nature has provided; it works.
Working with eclectus parrots for over 18 years we have found the following to be important considerations for companion eclectus:
- Feed each day a varied diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, sprouted seeds, and dry seeds.
- Feed a good quality natural colored pellet in small amounts three times a week.
- Avoid all manufactured foods (human or bird) containing preservatives or color additives.
- Avoid all seed mixes or treats containing added vitamins, preservatives or color additives.
- Avoid fad diet items such as blue-green algae and home remedies with unknown effects.
- Avoid fatty foods such as french fries and processed foods such as hot dogs, bacon, etc.
- Read the label of any item you plan on feeding your bird and follow 3, 4, and 5.
- Be sure to provide dark leafy greens such as commercial dandelion, endive, or swiss chard.
For the morning feeding we serve one cup full of soft foods to each young bird under 3 years of age. Young birds are still growing and developing during this time and need excellent nutrition. This cup will contain a base diet to which other items are added.
The base diet is as follows:
Sprouted sunflower (sprout just showing), sprouted safflower, sprouted wheat, corn, kale.
Defrosted yellow corn, defrosted green peas, chopped apple, chopped celery, 2 to 3 grapes.
Wash well and rinse well all fresh vegetables and fruits. Additional items for the soft food dish might include: broccoli, zuccini, cucumber, green beans, bell peppers, crooked neck squash, pear, kiwi, various melons with seeds, pomegranates, papaya with seeds, fresh cranberries, blueberries, cherries, etc. Sweet potatoes and yams (baked hard not soft) are relished as is fresh yellow corn on the cob. Chard and kale can be cut in 1/2 inch strips.
For eclectus parrots under six months of age we like to provide half an ear of fresh corn on the cob as a daily item, spiked on a stainless steel rod attached above a perch, and one spray of millet too.
We provide the natural color pellets in a separate bowl, about one tablespoon per pair youngsters.
We also provide Volkman Custom Eclectus Mix, which contains a great variety of seeds, with some nuts, dried fruits, coconut, red pepper, dried vegetables, and no additives. We give 1/3 cup of the Volkman's in winter months and 1/4 cup in summer for one pet bird or for one pair of breeding birds.
Companion eclectus can share items from your meals as long as they are well cooked and not touched by human mouth (we do not want to add our gram negative bacteria to their systems). They love scrambled eggs, small pieces of chicken (minus the skin) or fish, baked potatoes, cooked veggies, spaghetti and pastas, unprocessed cheese, plain yogurt (unsweetened), whole wheat toast, and some birds will even eat soup. The bird's main food consumption should be its own food.
Obviously, you do want to feed the bird at a routine time in the morning, somewhere between 7 and 9 am, and a routine time in the evening. Soft foods can remain in the food dish from morning till evening, but should be removed then. Always wash food bowls before replacing food items.