Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman
Trish G asks:
Both are regularly seen by an Avian Diplomate Vet and are in great health, and they eat Harrisons, organic veggies (from the freezer section) and I hide sunflower seeds and pistachios all over their cage for them to hunt, which they do enthusiastically.
We take them camping and sailing with us (my husband is both patient and tolerant!).
Lucy usually lays eggs 1-2 times a year, fall and spring, and I let her sit on them at night for about 3 weeks because I found if I pull them she keeps laying more.
For the last month she’s been biting me quite hard (blood!) when I try to return her to her cage and random other times, and I’m not able to identify why.
Mice chewed a hole in the screen room and I suspect frightened her because she is very jumpy now.
I’m working on getting rid of them.
All this I’m hoping is useful background for you to help me with my question, which is:
If I do the light therapy, can I put her outside during the day or should she stay under the bulb the whole time?
Secondly, Lucy is a wanderer and only ONLY seems motivated to get into some sort of box, trash can, or another cavity.
I want to do clicker training but she seems to be not motivated by food at all, she tosses seeds when I offer them even if I’m not asking her to do anything.
Ever run into that before?
Thirdly, I confess I’m a late riser.
Should I put a light on a timer for the birds to be more in sync with the sunrise?
I usually uncover them around 9 am and cover them around 8 pm.
Thanks for all you do, I love your Sunday morning emails!
Thank you for your kind words.
It sounds as though the birds have a charmed life.
I’m concerned about Lucy’s egg-laying, especially at her age.
When hens are producing eggs, the reproductive system is competing for calories from say the integumentary system (feathers).
The strain on their body is increased exponentially during a molt because of trying to replace thousands of feathers.
Egg-laying should be shut down.
We do this by locking the bird in the cage for 72 hours with a light on for the entire time.
If you cover the cage, cover the light as well.
The bird doesn’t leave the cage.
Plenty of fresh water but just a dusting of food because if she thinks food is scarce she is less likely to enter into the brooding role.
Eggs should be pulled immediately.
I would advocate putting a perch inside the cage door so you can put her on the cage without putting your hand in the cage which is where she breeds so she’s highly protective of that.
We do this for all of our birds-> https://photos.app.goo.gl/XYaMBgLet87WPKG9A
It’s a compromise especially when they are acting out hormonally
Circling back to lighting – after 72 hours, both birds should have a light on top of the cage that goes on and off every 12 hours.
You can’t sync with the sun because the sun is a moving target which is a stress trigger.
When the local standard time was about to reach
Sunday, March 8, 2020, 2:00:00 am clocks were turned forward 1 hour to
Sunday, March 8, 2020, 3:00:00 am local daylight time instead.
Sunrise and sunset were about 1 hour later on Mar 8, 2020, then the day before. There was more light in the evening.
Parrots are indigenous to equatorial areas that typically see 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.
”I usually uncover them around 9 am and cover them around 8 pm.” is fine but the birds should be in the cage when the light turns off and turns on signaling the beginning and the end of the day to their pineal gland.
How Pet Bird Keepers Get The Lighting Thing Wrong
The reason Lucy wanders into some sort of box or trashcan is that she is seeking a place to have babies.
In the wild, they live deep in hollow trees for safety, ergo their (red) coloring which is very hard to see in the dark space they breathe from.
Male Eclectus parrots are green because they spend most of their time foraging for food among trees which are green so it’s a safety mechanism for them.
Female Eclectus parrots have some very unique breeding traits.
They are anything but monogamous and will have sex outside their species in exchange for some tasty regurgitation. (I need to find that post)
If the hollow of the tree she is raising chicks begins to fill with water she will kill the males to save the females.
They are the only species at least that I know of who can actually determine the sex of their offspring’s, more about all that here:
Why Do Eclectus Parrot Moms Peck Their Male Chicks to Death? –
Regarding treats, every bird has a hot button.
It could be Millet, a small piece of fruit, a raisin, unshelled sunflower seed, it takes experimentation and time that you will find something that she’s really into.