Eclectus cuttlebone?

by Michelle Liggett
(Mineral Wells, TX)

Ziva goofing off!

Ziva goofing off!

Just a quick question - I have a year old eclectus girl - Ziva....
I have had a few parakeets over the years, but this is my first large parrot. My internet searches don't tell me specifically if she should have any sort of cuttlebone in her cage. I keep her nails trimmed, and will probably have to dremel her beak this week a bit, but, otherwise, she gets pellets specifically for eclectus, same for the other parts of her diet, including soft food. I think she is getting fed correctly, but am concerned about this issue. I don't find any info about it. Help will be appreciated!

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Jun 04, 2011
her beak is ifne
by: Anonymous

her beak is a good length. It doesn't need to be trimmed. Unless it is overgrown & you have access to an avian vet you should not get her beak dremeled. My eclectus has had his beak dremeled without any problems. It only happened once & was not necessary after that.

The lower mandible is usually never dremeled as it's usually not necessary. They grind their lower mandible down easily. It is normally the upper mandible that is dremeled. If the lower mandible requires dremeling she should see a vet asap to make sure there are no health issues causing this.

Jun 04, 2011
Eclectus cuttlebone?
by: Linda

Tracie covered your question very completely. I only have one thing to say about dremmeling the beak--you may wish to not do that. The reason for that is that many birds have had their tongues cut off during the process. In fact, I stopped taking my birds to an avian vet because that's what she did. She was fresh out of her internship and not that experienced, and she used the dremmel on them. When it was time for them to go to see her, I had a horrible time getting them out of cage and into carriers because they hated the dremmel.

We now take them to an avian vet who uses clippers and does a very good, safe job clipping the beak. Beak work is normally best done by an avian vet because of the possibilities of beak bleeding.

If you and your beautiful bird are doing okay with the dremmel, it is okay to keep doing it, just make sure tongue is always away from tool end, and you'll be okay.

Your bird may like more wooden toys to chew on which helps keep the beak honed down some.

Your Ziva is a very lovely girl and very lucky to be in such a loving home. Thanks for being a good example for anyone reading these letters!


Jun 04, 2011
by: Anonymous

I keep a cuttle bone in my eclectus cage. He will munch on it when he likes. Cuttle bone will give your eclectus calcium. There is no reason why you shouldn't add one to her cage.

My avian vet also recommends I place my eclectus on a fresh healthy human food diet & seed & pellet on the side. He has many years experience in eclectus parrots, so it just shows that even the experts can advice such a diet, not just breeders. Everyone has their own view & their own opinion. Do your research on the eclectus, take her to an avian vet that is familiar with eclectus & decide for yourself.

Google eclectus parrots or Eclectus diets. Something like that & you might be able to find more info. Also ask your vet. All vets are different & have different advice. Follow your vets advice if you think it is right or reasonable.

There are actually very few breeders online that state all pellets are bad. IMO that is an over exaggeration. Most breeders, as well as vets AND depending on where you live, will recommend a stable diet or everything healthy & in moderation. It is up to you to research & decide for yourself what is best.

Jun 03, 2011
Avian Vet
by: Michelle Liggett

I live 50 miles W of Ft Worth - when I did a search for an avian vet that was a reasonable distance away, I came up with nothing after an exhaustive search online. I have a good horse vet, excellent actually, and an excellent dog vet. I've owned livestock, dogs, cats, etc, all my life, and, while I know this does not predispose me to knowing all things about a parrot, I did do extensive research prior to acquiring Ziva, as I wanted to be sure she would be the best fit for me in my saddle shop. She is my constant companion here, and accepts the noise of the machinery without an issue. She does not become still and inactive, nor does she crash around the cage (her cage is butted up against one of my noisiest sewing machines, right next to where I sit to do most of my seated work) - but, rather, carries on as nothing is amiss, and will move in closer to the machine and me, to watch me stitch the leather, and, if the leather gets close enough to her cage, she will try to pick at it. I don't know of too many birds that would be so tolerant and at ease in here, but she is great. About 3 times a day, she gets revved up, starts practicing her words, whistling, mumbling quietly - I expect she is trying to say new stuff. I can understand 'Pretty Girl', Tickle Tickle, Hello, and starting to understand a few other words. She is on track, from what I have researched, with speaking words, as she is just a year old.
If I had an Avian Vet to take her to, I would. I am not sure a dog/cat vet will 'know' any more about Ziva and her species than I already know myself. I also know that dremeling her beak in the wrong way can cause serious issues, so I don't take that lightly. I am her first owner - I also intend to be her last owner.
The pic of Ziva is recent - does her beak look 'overgrown' in this pic? My feeling is that, while it is not necessarily looking 'bad', it has a small, sharp, tip on it, and there is what looks like a small 'growth' line, like an egg tooth, etc. My instinct tells me that, because this tip is only about 1/8", that is all that I would dremel back, and I would taper and buff it on each side to maintain the same shape of the tip, just taking it back slightly. I've also watched a few videos regarding dremeling a beak, and it is almost exactly what I imagined to be correct to do. A question is - When, if ever, is the lower mandible ever dremeled, or is it even something necessary? Does a parrot normally only overgrow the upper beak, and the lower is usually used more when foraging, playing, etc?
Help would be appreciated in finding an avian vet that is close enough to me to be useful - I'm afraid if she were ever to be sick, that an accessible vet would be paramount...not someone that is more than 2 hrs or more away, one way!
I appreciate the opportunity to ask additional questions here, as well as to be able to post pix of Ziva!

Jun 03, 2011
Eclectus doesn't need a cuttlebone
by: Tracie

Your Eclectus does not need a cuttlebone. The site is a good reference site and well as others you may find doing a search.

Glad to hear your bird is on pellets, so many people read breeder sites that tell them all pellets are bad, and our avian vet has seen Eclectus parrots for over 30 years and says those on good pellets have less illness and problems than those on homemade diets.

If your bird has not seen an avian vet yet, then please take your bird for an exam. An overgrown beak can be a sign of liver disease. The person before you may have not fed the bird properly. Also, remember that a bird can bleed to death if you mess up the beak trim. A breeder almost killed my bird dremmeling the it's beak.

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