Thursday, November 6, 2008

Claudia, Red Sided/Vosmaeri Eclectus

I had been interested in eclectus for several years. I am fascinated by their personalities, and how empathetic and thoughtful they are. I also connected with how sensitive they are to dyes, chemicals, and foods, even more so than other parrots. I had been looking for an ekkie for a while, with several possible adoptions that did not work out, when I found Claudia.

After I had had Claudia a couple of weeks, I noticed she did not eat in adequate amounts, and was on the thin side. Although she would eat the food I gave her, she would eat very little of it. I immediately starting asking questions on forums, and reading books and online articles. I finally found what I was looking for. She had all the signs of having been force weaned far too early, and so had learned to accept and expect he feeling of hunger, and to only eat just enough to stay alive. When you force wean a bird, they have to feel hungry for a while, and become used to conserving their food. It was recommended to start handfeeding again, and allow them to eat that as long as they needed it. This made sense, as the only way I could get her to even go to her food dish was to sit there with it, put her next to it, and hand her small pieces of the food on my fingers. So, I started handfeeding her oatmeal every morning. In the beginning, she refused to eat it any. Eventually, I got her to start eating it, but she would only eat a tablespoon or so, and nothing else for breakfast. Finally, after a couple weeks, she started really relishing her morning oatmeal. Not only would she eat all of her oatmeal, she would go back upstairs and eat all of her breakfast. She soon gained weight, and reached a healthy weight. She also became much happier, much more active, talkative, and became very playful. She also weaned herself off the oatmeal after several months.

She did have a problem with her wings when I got her, due to a very harsh clip, and the fact that she had never learned even the basics of flying or landing. Because of the very harsh clip, the new feathers were very irritating when growing in. She barbered and plucked each flight feather or secondary wing feather that grew in. I thought that if I began teaching her how to fly, she would leave her wings alone.

So, while I was waiting for her wings to grow out, I began teaching her to fly. I would place her on my hand, with her legs hanging over the side of my hand, and would run all over the house, with her flapping her wings. When we came to corners, I would turn my hand, so she would learn to turn her body. I also would toss her on the bed over and over to help her learn to land. Not only did she enjoy these "exercises" she soon learned to love flying. Even while her wings were still slipped, she learned to land well, and as more feathers grew in, she started flying more and more. I now take her outside on a harness, and she will happily fly all over, with me running behind her.

Now she is a very happy ekkie, who eats everything and anything, and is very active. When I got Claudia, she was rather afraid of hands, but she soon started to really get over this fear. She will now let me pull her wings out all the way, and touch most parts of her body. She can also be quite destructive, and if left unattended, will climb all over room and the other bird's cages, destroying anything she can.

Claudia, doing a little fluff.

Playing on the bed

Always remember - bath time is very important and
should always be Loud!

And Claudia watching me dry off after her last large splash.


Maria said...

She is a beautiful and happy girl thanks to you, Meg!

zees5 said...

That is amazing! I love ekkies. My little ekkie just died. I miss her so much. I am glad yours turned out great.

Meg said...

I am so sorry to hear that your red head just passed. Thank you for your kind comments about Claudia; I know you must be devastated. Ekkies are just so special. I would love to hear more about your girl.