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Lack of education and false information explains Eclectus Parrots high incidence of diet-induced medical and behavioral problems. These birds are generally single person birds with excess hormones that causes aggression at a very young age with unique diet and financial issues for many companion bird owners
Dietary factors are well recognized contributors to common Eclectus diseases and behavioral issues, however studies to improve diet and pet care are limited and education to alter dietary feeding habits have had minimal impact and lack of consensus.
In captivity, Eclectus are commonly fed according to granivory standards Cockatoos and Amazons), which explains their high incidence of diet-induced digestive and behavioral problems.
Such problems are averted and remedied by adapting to their feeding schedules, specific nutrient requirements and following a correct digestive model: closer to frugivory with adequate mental stimulation and preventing overages of specific nutrients.
Frugivory and granivory aim to maximize processing of food as quickly as possible with the rapid absorption of essential nutrients. Fruit pulp being soft and wet spends most time in the proventriculus and less time in the undeveloped gizzard being processed whereas the opposite applies to parrots like amazons, cockatoos, african greys, and more who rely mainly on fibrous and dry foods.
Fresh is key, but the variety/type and preparation are just as important. Choosing the correct fresh fruit and vegetables closest to their natural diet, nutritional requirements and avoiding exposure to digestive irritants can become a daunting task and potentially put your Eclectus at risk for common illnesses including neurological conditions such as toe tapping, wing flipping, plcuking, fungal and bacterial infections.
In the wild, abundant native food choices with soft skins and juicy flesh constitutes the greatest part of the diet. Arboreal in habit (Emergent- the top of the canopy) the soft wet flesh of the food is moisture rich with natural antioxidants and antihistamines that have high levels of vitamin A and E. The remainder of the diet is composed of arils, leaf buds, blossoms and nectar and the occasional seed/nut.
But it is not just fresh food (also referred to as 'chop') that is missing from the commercialized diet. It is also the balance of nutrients and general composition that has puzzled people since the popularity of Eclectus spiked in 1940. So lets address some common myths, anatomy, and find functional solutions so our companion birds can live long and healthy lives instead of a life of silent suffering.
Eclectus unique anatomy and attributes:
* A wide thoratic esophagus
* Elastic proventriculus
* Regulated crop emptying times (regulated eating times)
* Rapid movement through the gizzard and small intestine
Eclectus digestion is a key function that has previously been put under the category ‘long digestive tract’. When really statements like these have lead to further issues with eclectus diets, in turn causing health issues (low weight, feather discoloration, allergies, liver disease, tattered feathers and self mutilation) over supplementation and poor nutrition which leads to behavioral (screaming, biting, wing flipping, feather plucking, and ‘freeze’ factors).
The false generally accepted solution: A diet that consists of large quantity of natural colored pellets, readily available green vegetables, some fruit and high quality seed mix. Breeders and even veterinarians adopted this new diet plan without question, leading to even more confusion and issues with the eclectus species.
This study consisted of years of: Field studies, Observational studies, Anatomy, Analyzing literature, Companion bird testimonials and Lab work.
High moisture content
Higher Glucose and Fructose
Specific Nutrient Ratios
Low- Moderate Protein (all aminos- not just 'beans')
Low- Moderate Fiber
Scheduled Eating Times and Type
Fruits comprise 55%
Vegetable matter comprise 32%
Nuts and seeds- less than 10% (those that are IN fruit- such as blueberry seeds)
Other (nectar, pollens, other) 3%
In total, Eclectus in the wild consume 85% moisture content. It is vital to their digestion. NO commercial food can provide that.
Dehydration is one of the most prominent concerns with commercial diets, that easily can prevent proper digestion and fecal impaction.
Physical and chemical attributes of the wild diet that ensure proper digestion:
Abundant hexrose (fructose and gluclose) and starch from seeds is primary energy source. Digesting fat in the duodenum is a lengthy process in their unique anatomy. Therefore, Eclectus produce triglycerides in the liver (which are abundantly present soft fleshy fruit) which replaces the need for high fat. Excess fat from seeds or pellets slows digestion causing digestive distress. Eclectus parrots prefer carbohydrate rich, protein and lipid poor wild diets.
Lack of essential hextrose causes lethargy and 'upset stomach', adding to the myth that they are sedentary parrots.
There are multiple types of fiber:
We need to put a higher focus on soluble fibers and less insoluble fiber. By breaking down the fibers in specific foods they are more easily digested.
Intermittent foraging behavior:
In the wild, Eclectus eat mainly twice a day. The intermittent feeding habit of eclectus parrots initiates gastric secretion; Gastric secretion of hydrochloric acid is key to solving functional digestive disorders and this is triggered before the consumption of food. Companion parrots should be fed regularly two times per day and witness their food being prepared or have a small snack prior to the meal.
Foraging opportunities should be available all day, but special care needs to be taken to prevent food spoilage- causing fungal and bacterial infections in Eclectus. These commonly cause lack of appetite, sour breath, lethargy, liver and kidney complications. Unfortunately Eclectus are masters of hiding their illness until it is too late.
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Acacia meloanoxylon (Black wattle),
Alphitonia petrei (Pink Ash),
Alphitonia whitei (White Ash),
Alphitonia excelsa (Red Ash),
Canarium spp., Cinnamomum olivieri (Black Sassafras),
Cupaniopsis anacardioides (Tuckeroo)
Claoxylon spp. (Brittlewood),
Dodonea lanceolata var. subsessifolia (Hopbush),
Dillenia alata (Golden Guinea tree),
Diploglottis diphyllosteia (Northern Tamarind) Grewia papuana (Grewia),
Glochidion spp. (Buttonwoods),
Lagerstomera archeriana (Native Crepe Myrtle),
Leea indica, Mackinlaya confuse,
Melodorum leichhardtii (Acid Drop)
Micromelum minutum (Lime berry)
Macaranga tanarius (Blush Macaranga)
Macaranga involcrata (Macaranga)
Polyscias elegans (Celerywood)
Ptychosperma elegans (Solitaire Palm)
Salacia chinensis (Lolly Vine)
Syzygium aqueum (Watery Rose-apple),
Syzigium luehmannii (Lilly Pilly) and
Syzygium suborbiculare (Lady Apple)
Toechima daemelianum (Cape Tamarind)
Tetracera nordtiana (Fire Vine)
Terminalia sericocarpa (Damson Plum),
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