Would you buy a bird from us? I think it is a good idea that I take the time to let you know how we do things here. Here are my answers to some commonly asked questions. 

E Mail us with any additional questions you may have, regarding Eclectus parrots and availability of babies. Thank you.

How long have you kept companion birds and how long have you been breeding parrots?

I have kept companion birds since I was old enough to say the word "bird". I was raised with three male German Roller Canaries and when I was about five years old caught my first pet Valley Quail in the back yard. In 1969 I began my love affair with hookbills, and even had a Toucan in my Hollywood apartment, along with a small green parrot and a cage full of Finch. In 1972 I began acquiring Cockatiels and they almost immediately began breeding and nesting in a box on the kitchen counter, where I was allowed to co-parent their babies, taking turns with the hand feeding duties. In 1987 the first Eclectus came into my life. She was followed by a male Vos, and in the last fifteen years many more Eclectus have come along to live with me. I kept and bred Crimson Rosellas for about five years and still have a pet Rosella. I started breeding Eclectus actively in 1995, although I hand fed and reared many of the adult Eclectus that are here today. I was first introduced to Rose breasted Cockatoos by Dale Thompson in 1995, and his fascination with them was contagious. I was hooked immediately. First came my big love, Gertie birdy, who is my precious pet, then another pair and a few more pair. Who can have just one Rosie? I have been breeding and raising Rosie Too babies since 1996.

How many parrots and what parrot species do you own or care for? 

I prefer to say we number over fifty happy, well-fed residents here. I care for two hook bill species exclusively. Eclectus and Rose breasted Cockatoos. I am passionately in love with these two species and in my eyes these are the only two parrot species that exist.

Do you ever sell unweaned babies?

I think any one who sells unweaned babies should face a firing squad without a trial. I consider my babies as my own children and have a responsibility as a conscientious breeder and hand feeder to raise them to an age where they can be on their own in the world. Just as we raise our human offspring, only releasing them to be on their own when we are certain they are ready. If I were to sell an unweaned baby, I wouldn't know if the person uses a thermometer in the formula every time the baby is fed like I do. Serious crop burns could result from formula that is too hot. Formula fed too cold can cause a slow crop, bacteria to form and perhaps yeast infections. I wouldn't know if the baby was being kept at the right temperature or not. Especially with Eclectus, if anything big changes in their world they can refuse to eat. They have to be the most difficult baby parrot to move around, because they are so sensitive and will shut down for days until they get used to the new environment. A lot of ground can be lost in a few days with a baby bird. I think in terms of this is MY BABY and you will not take possession until I am positive I have fully prepared it for its new home. I am painstaking about the hours I spend and the amount of individual care I give each bird. I am especially proud of my well-adjusted, lovable, weaned babies. The thought of me letting an unweaned baby go to a home is enough to give me nightmares. It will never happen.

Do you maintain a closed aviary? If not, do you broker babies?

I have not had a new bird come here since November of 2002 and will not be introducing any in the future. In the past, when a new bird came here to live they were quarantined for at least sixty days in an area far away from the rest of the flock with a separate air space. The advent of Exotic Newcastle Disease has caused many bird keepers, especially myself, to live in a state of extreme bio-security. Since we are under such tight security here, naturally no babies will come here to be "brokered" and no new adult breeder birds will be added either. We are closed! The only visitor I have is a handy man who helps me do "man tasks" I cannot do myself. He has nothing to do with any other birds and is sprayed and gets the foot-bath treatment as I do when I come and go from my premises. I have even worked out a plan with the Gas and Electric companies for them to read my meters with their special gun that takes the reading from the neighbor's yard, so they don't have to walk through my yard ever again. My gates are posted with large fluorescent signs warning trespassers to stay out. I would say we are as closed as we can be without a moat around the property filled with alligators.

Are all your babies routinely incubator hatched?

None of my Eclectus babies have ever been incubator hatched. Although I do have pairs who don't do a good job with the care of their fertile eggs, I have excellent foster parents who take over the task of hatching and feeding of the step-babies with grateful, competent happiness. I keep an incubator for a pair of Rose breasted who lay their eggs out of sync, and I would lose all the babies if it were left up to her.

If parent hatched, how long do your babies stay with the parent birds before being taken from the nest for handfeeding?

My Eclectus babies are left with mom and dad for at least three weeks, and up to four weeks.

Do you routinely give your parent birds a break from breeding or do they produce year round? 

The Rose breasted take their own break! It lasts about nine months. They have a very short breeding season from roughly February to April of each year. Our resident Eclectus breeders get at least a four-month break from their nest boxes during the warmest months of the year here, which are late July through November. Because Eclectus will lay eggs year around, some greedy or uneducated breeders will allow that. In my opinion not giving them a break is very cruel.

Can you provide photos of the parent birds and/or information about their subspecies and background, whether wild caught or domestic raised?

If asked, I could go out to the cage and take a photo of any of my birds, be they Eclectus or Rose breasted Cockatoos. I can give any background information about every pair of birds I keep here. I could send a photo of the breeders on the internet in five minutes. By the same token I can take a photo of the offspring if asked, and send it to you in minutes.

Are the parent birds fed a varied diet, which includes fresh foods daily?

Our day starts at five o'clock here. I put on a pot of brown rice and chopped vegetables and another pot of cracked corn with maybe pumpkin or apple grated into it and a sprinkling of raisins and cinnamon to flavor it up. While that is cooking I rinse and drain the sprouts, and cut up the fruit and additional fresh vegetables on the day's menu. I add hard-boiled egg, tofu, well-cooked bits of chicken or turkey, (all these protein foods aren't served daily of course— usually two protein items a day) very good quality whole wheat bread, some walnuts or almonds and sprinkle powdered calcium over the top, using a bit more calcium for the breeders. I shake the bowls a little to lightly coat the food with the calcium. Who knows how much calcium they actually get that way, but they will get some. In the afternoons they are served a large hook-bill type seed mixture and millet sprays.

What method of handfeeding do you use?

I hand feed my Eclectus babies with a syringe and very slowly. Rose breasted gobble like mad with the feeding response of famished little starving men, but the Eclectus prefer to take their time and taste every bite, running it slowly over their tongues. My babies are given bowls of food and offered soft foods by hand until they get the idea to eat on their own. That doesn't take long! Folks who have my babies always remark at how well they eat, and they will eat nearly everything put in front of them because they are given such a wide variety of foods here from the start. Healthy babies have healthy appetites.

Do you routinely gavage feed babies?

I think gavage feeding is quite like sex without foreplay! Cold and unfeeling. Wham-bam thank you ma'am. People who gavage feed ought to be put on a liquid diet, administered to their gullets with an enema bag and squeezed through the accompanying tube.

Do you give your babies frequent individual attention throughout the day? If so, describe.

I moved my nursery into my downstairs duplex recently so I am spending a lot of time there. I am in my new nursery many hours of the day to hand feed. Certain times of the year (like the Spring) I have babies on varied feeding schedules, so I am set up to sleep right beside the babies I need to feed, possibly every three hours throughout the night. The babies of all ages are talked to, sung to and cuddled many times during my day. As the babies get older and begin to fly they come upstairs to get used to being in a cage and interact with other birds and myself. My only drawback here is there are no other humans around, and we have no other pets such as dogs or cats. Sometimes my babies will take some time getting used to their new houses filled with men, children and other family pets because they haven't seen them here. It can sometimes take them a week or ten days at the most to adjust to all the new entities.

Are your babies raised in isolation or with clutch mates?

I have always put babies together. Years ago when I had a mixed bag of tiny ones to hand feed, brought to me by Dale Thompson, I put babies together from different continents even. Baby birds don't discriminate. They just know that a warm fuzzy body next to theirs is a very comforting feeling. I always find a stand-in buddy for my single babies if I ever have any singles, like a small furry stuffed animal. There are times when I have just one baby and no one to put him with. But if there are two or more and they are of similar size, they are never kept alone.

Do you discipline your babies?

This is a crazy question. Bird babies, like human children, learn the rules of the flock and never need discipline. I never needed to discipline my human child because she knew what was required and never got out of line. Discipline is a word I would never use in conjunction with raising birds. Birds will be birds and discipline isn't in their vocabulary. Behavior adjustment and understanding are.

At what age do your babies wean?

The Solomon Islands Eclectus subspecies seem to wean a bit faster then the Aru Red sided, Red sided and the Vos. SIs wean at about three and a half months to four months. Vos and Aru Red sided wean at four to four and a half months. Rose breasted Cockatoos can wean at eight weeks to ten weeks. Rosies do everything faster! All our babies are "abundance weaned" and offered formula until they flat out refuse it, over and over. Of course an Eclectus baby can wean faster than three and a half months and it depends on each individual bird. No two are alike.

What foods do you offer your weaning babies?

Our babies are fed much like the adult birds. As soon as the babies began to get feathers they are offered millet sprays in their tubs (millet is plumped for five minutes in hot water to soften) which they munch on inquisitively. Sprouts seem to be the all around favorite and qualify as a "soft food" for the babies. I add the brown rice mixture, cooked cracked corn, corn cut off the cob, frozen peas lightly cooked and all types of fruit and vegetables cut up into their bowl of soft food. As a treat, once a day I pop pop-corn for them in a paper bag. The babies think this is wonderful and chew for many hours on the white fluffy pieces of corn in their tubs.

How do you socialize your babies and teach them to enjoy playing?

The babies socialize themselves practically, and are treated as family members from the start. Baby birds are naturally inquisitive and do a lot of exploring on their own here— with my supervision. We have several boing perches with many types of toys tied to the ceiling that hang down the center of the boing arrangement. They have toys hanging in two windows where they can fly to the window and play with the toys and also a box of toys on the kitchen table. Toys are alternated and added to every week or two. Toys are cleaned and retired for a month or so as the birds tend to tire of the same toys over a period of time.

Are your birds encouraged to become good flyers before their wings are clipped, and what wing clip do you use?

Every baby I have ever raised has learned to fly all over the house with a full set of wings from the start, landing precisely where they intended. My house pet birds all are flighted as well as the breeders of course. If a new family indicates to me they want their bird's wings clipped before they take the bird, I start with a gradual wing clip over a period of several weeks. I first clip two feathers on each side, then a few days later clip one more feather and so on, until six primary feathers are clipped on each wing. That way the bird learns it can't fly gradually as the feathers are clipped one at a time, days apart.

Are you available to your clients after the sale for long term follow-up help and do you give your clients your phone number(s)?

Many of my "clients" keep in touch with me by E Mail for years and all of them have my telephone number from the very start. Yes, we stay in touch if need be or just to say hello sometimes.

Do you provide references from people who have bought babies from you in the past year?

I could easily do that. I have saved many pages of good references from people who have adopted my babies over the years.

Do you provide a written health guarantee with ample time for the buyer to get a vet check to determine that the bird is healthy?

I don't use a written health guarantee. It is a verbal guarantee that the baby is healthy with plenty of time allowed for the new family to get the bird to the vet for a check up. My babies are absolutely guaranteed.

Do you have your babies microchipped, leg banded, or do you leave the issue of identification up to the buyer's discretion?

Because several old-time breeders started me out this way, I close-band all of my birds. Just the way I learned to identify my birds. If someone asked me not to band a baby for them, I would certainly leave the band off at their request and have done this before. In fact occasionally I leave a baby in the nest too long and their feet become too big for the band to fit over, so they go un-banded. I have never had a bird get their leg band caught on anything or have any trouble with a band in all my years of bird keeping.

Do you have your babies tested for Psittacine Beak & Feather Disease before the sale?

No, I never have done this, but would have the test done here with my avian vet, at the request of the new family for the added expense of the vet visit and test.

Do you have your babies vaccinated against Polyoma?

In all the years I have been raising babies I have had three people ask that the Poloyoma shots be given before they took their bird. I charge them only the additional amount for the vet visit and the price of the two shots.

Have you ever had any major health problems in your breeding establishment or has your flock ever experienced multiple unexplained deaths?

We are as clean as a whistle!

Are necropsies performed 100% of the time in deaths from unknown cause in your establishment?

Every bird death here gets sent in for a necropsy to UC Davis. Thank goodness we haven't had many and none recently.

Does anyone smoke in your birds' airspace?

I have never smoked cigarettes in my whole life and don't even know anyone who smokes either. No worry at this point, because no one visits me and if they did and they smoked, I have loaded shotguns.

How often do you clean your cages or aviaries and what disinfectants and pesticides do you use?

Outdoor cages are cleaned every day. Cages with nest boxes containing eggs about ready to hatch or babies, are given a quicker cleaning because the hens come out and are very upset at my futzing around their area. Eclectus setting hens glower at me and are very curious. Rosie hens want to rip my face off and scream in my ears when I stay too long cleaning. Not worth prolonging my cleaning routine for them. They could break eggs and hurt babies possibly. When they are done with motherhood, their cages get the mega-cleaning job. Indoor cages are cleaned daily. I use vinegar, GSE and baking soda for my cleaning. All food bowls are brought in the house daily (I have two sets of bowls) and scrubbed in hot water and GSE with a bit of mild detergent by hand. Because we live in paradise we don't have many pests to worry about. An occasional ant invasion is discouraged by mint extract diluted with water and sprayed on the ant's parade. No pesticides are used in my yard and sometimes the grass is knee deep, but I refuse to use Roundup or other obnoxious chemicals anywhere near our home.

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