Eclectus rooster killed its chicks

by Bruce Buchanan
(Corpus Christi, TX)

Hello, I am a breeder of Eclectus parrots with two pairs. We also have one pair of Red heads. I have been doing this for about 10 years and have had great sucsess and quite a bit of enjoyment. We hand raise our babies, they turn out to be quite tame and have made great pets for their new owners. Their have been problems over the years but we have learned how to deal with them. I have learned a lot about the Eclectus and am always interested in new discoveries about this wonderful breed.

I have never lost a chick in 10 years till last Friday. Friday night I got home and as I walked into the house I saw over a TV monitor that we use in our nest boxes that Jade a 16 year old rooster was killing his 3 week old chicks. He was ripping them apart. I jerked open the nest box but it was too late they were both quite dead. Jade had torn them apart in ways I don't want to speak of, it was much more then just killing them. He had just done this minutes before because they were both very warm and my wife said she had been watching Rose the hen feeding them about 5 minutes before I got home.

Jade has been with Rose for 4 years now and they have produced about 16 chicks that each time has been book perfect with no problems. In the past Jade has been seen feeding the chicks directly and pypassing Mom. (perfect father) Jades first mate of abou 9 years died of an anurisim and he was then put with Rose. Jade probably has produced over 100 babies with out this problem.

I have tried to understand if any thing has changed in our bird room or if any activity is different. The only thing that I can see is we moved the Amazon cage to a new position a little closer to Jades cage 4 weeks ago. I have now replaced that cage to its origional position just incase.

I can not remember beeing as depreesed as I am now for a long time. I figure that the biggest problem is that I can not concieve of this hapening and don't know what to do or think about this. I have always been able to reason out the problems of the past issues with my birds. I don't know how to proceed with this one. I at least I know that next time there are chicks in this nest box I will remove Jade from the cage and hope that Rose will feed them on here own till I can pull them for hand raising. A note that might be different about what my wife and I have done for years is, we remove the chicks from the nest box every evening for handeling starting at about 2 weeks. At about 4 weeks we start hand feeding them and returning them to the box for parent care. This has worked well for us and the birdes are just as tame as they come. When they are about 5 to 6 weeks we pull them to finish hand raising or deliver to a quite reputable pet store for finishing.

If any breeder has knowlage of this horrible thing please let me know. I am quite lost and depreesed.

Thanks for the ear load,
Bruce Buchanan

Comments for Eclectus rooster killed its chicks

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Dec 20, 2009
Eclectus kills chicks
by: The Vet

This is a very rare occurrence in eclectus parrots. I have never seen this in them before. My suspicions are that it is related to moving the amazons. I also find it very unusual that the male helps to feed the chicks. That is not how it is done in the wild. Also these birds are very private, especially during breeding season. It is best not to disturb them while they are nesting. The Amazons are probably very noisy and this could have disturbed the eclectus.

Dr B

Dec 19, 2009
Eclectus rooster killed its chicks
by: Linda

I have never bred the Eclectus and have bred Amazons, Cockatiels and have handfed just about all the species, and have never seen or heard of anything quite like this. I do, however, think moving the Amazon cage MAY have set him off if it was too close.ANY changes during the time of mating and egg laying can get the birds upset. To this extent, I'm not sure. The fact that you have bred this bird successfully before makes this a mystery.

One thing that could be wrong here is that your male may need to be seen by an Avian Vet to check and see if this could have been phyically based. If he has contracted any kind of infection or may have some other internal physical problem, then he would behave differently. If he feels bad, he would destroy the chicks before he has to do so much work.

Many of them revert to their wild selves and attack people. This is common with the Amazons, Cockatoos and Macaws, and anyone breeding them needs to have done their homework beforehand. With the above mentioned birds, I'm not talking about little bites, I'm talking about full out attacks on any human who does not understand how wild birds become when breeding.

I would take your male to an Avian Vet soon as you can and BEFORE another breeding. If he has some physical problem, he may do this again and/or attack his mate. The Cockatoos will kill their mates without provocation. I would suggest having a full examination done on this bird before you put it back in the cage with his mate for her own protection. Once he has tasted blood , this may be the beginning of the end for him. So, please be cautious to the maximum and remove him to another cage in case he decides to attack her as well. This makes me very nervous because I've seen Too, Lovebird, and a few softbills literally tear their mates apart, so err on the side of caution.

Have the Avian vet do a complete workup on your male with bloodwork, testing for infections/parasites. It will be money well-spent. If he receives a completely clean bill of health, I'd only put them together for actual mating and then remove him. If you have to help Rose out by taking babies a little earlier then so be it. If vet DOES find some problems, then this bird will need to be treated. Talk with your vet about options.

I'm SO sorry for your losses, and my heart goes out to you in the biggest way. Do not feel guilty as you did not see this coming and were not able to prevent it. It does not bring back the babies, but you can know that it was not your fault.Shedding some tears for their little lost lives is appropriate as is mourning their loss. You are innocent of any wrong-doing.

I would keep the male in another cage until the Avian Vet has had a chance to give him a good going over. Protect Rose at all costs. Talking to another Eclectus breeder would also be a great idea if none answer your letter on this site.


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