We will cover basics and advanced foraging enrichment and parrot toys to better the life of your Eclectus:
Dont be surprised if they dont touch a toy made for African greys, Cockatoos and Macaws.... the wood is often too hard for Ekkies, as they are generally not 'chewers' instead they are 'peelers'. On average I spend $100/month on toys per Eclectus- this prevents them from destroying furniture, home goods and engages your bird’s mind in a variety of ways. Stimulation is key to preventing boredom related behaviors and also promotes your bird’s physical and emotional health.
There are 4 styles of Enrichment: Chewable, Foraging, Fresh and Exercise.
Chewable: Shredding capabilities- this helps mentally stimulate and physically develop dexterity. Soft woods and natural items dont stand a chance with a temperamental Eclectus!
Foraging: 'Procuring food' strengthens independence in Ekkies, Vital due to their 'spouse nature' (Please see the Exquisite Eclectus portion of this site). Use a diverse selection of stimulating bird-safe materials to hide dried or fresh which can/should be consumed over time is ideal..
Fresh: Fresh material (in the form of a skewer, bouquet or baffle basket with appropriate edibles. Baffle baskets and skewers are even more desirable because your Eclectus will can climb, reach and twist for their nutritional reward. While these are extremely important, they can also pose a safety issue as they need to be removed/cage cleaned after a few hours.
Exercise: Swings made from safe materials are a fabulous way for your Eclectus to stay active. I know mine personally fly, land swing and hang upside down the majority of the day. These should be made with bird safe materials- and ALWAYS remember to clean them.
*However, Eclectus are sensitive to many of the common elements in commercial toys (certain dyes). I highly recommend combining natural items from reputable providers (often small mom and pop shops, below I can recommend a few) with unlimited fresh food foraging mid day.
Light, easily destroyed woods are the ideal 'Chewable' items. These are not often found in big box stores. I highly recommend the providers at the bottom of this page.
Ekkies wont be able to 'destroy' these items, so they can be reused after cleaning. Shells jingling, the bells ringing and spacer beads adds dimension to an otherwise boring toy. I rarely use colored items, but I make some exceptions.
Drilling holes in almonds, dried or freeze dried produce (fruits and veggies) either placed inside or strung is ideal.
A bit of more difficult, a little tearing, and elbow grease reap huge rewards! I love to wrap items in leaves and pin them together with SS.
A large favorite- many of which can be foraged by humans in their own neighborhoods. Make sure they are safe and disinfected properly (remember the microwave).
Connecting toys, making cargo nets, and just plain fun!
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