We've had little luck with getting Mango to play with many toys. He tends to just want to sit on our shoulder or a chair nearby and just hang out. However, Calie recently bought Mango a plastic ball that has piqued his interest pretty thoroughly. I refer to it as the 'Birdy Kong' due to its similarity to the red rubber kong toys you can give dogs. We fill the ball with extra confetti paper and wrap a few pieces of nuts in parchment paper. They sort of look like wrapped candies. Mango then pushes this ball around on the ground pulling out paper trying to get to the nuts. Disclaimer: we definitely presented him nuts in wrapped paper for a few weeks before hand, so now he expects all paper-wrapped things to contain food.
Anyway, here are some pictures of him having at it.
I mean, in this case rubber ducky = Brian, but still - bath time is a favorite!
We have noticed he is very particular about WHEN he will take baths though - not too early in the morning, not too late in the afternoon. After 10am and before 3pm though - and you can barely keep him from flying into the shower without you!
I received some apples and caramels from my office this week. Mango decided they were for him!
Brian and I were both surprised when he jumped on the counter and walked over to the box. He tested the stem first, then he dove in!
It amazes us that he a) knew it was something he could eat and b) figured out how to eat it without us cutting it up. I mean, I know they do this in the wild - but he isn't a very "beaky" bird - as in we don't often see him try and take bits of foods we offer him before we cut them up.
Mango is spoiled, and gets (healthy) treats and snacks from us - so I thought I would share one he loves!
We have an air popper, so it's not covered in the bad (read: good) stuff like butter and salt - but he loves crunching it with his beak - and we love the beard he gets! He could give ol' Mr. Claus a run for his money somedays :)
(He also loves walnuts, almonds, dried fruits, pom seeds and coconut - which are all part of his everyday diet, too)
The past few weeks have been quite exciting for Mango!
He is now an outdoor bird!
We have a smaller cage now, that we use to bring Mango outside with us. Here he is for the first time enjoying the new deck!
We're hoping he gets some of the benefits of fresh air and sunlight to help him with his lack of feathers. He doesn't stay out too long, and not in direct sunlight - but he really does seen to enjoy it! He just seems to enjoy being around with us as we do yard work, BBQ with friends and family or relax (and make commentary or laugh with (at) us!).
Since we've been giving Mango his new diet, we've noticed a particular issue. When he was on a pellet diet, the crumbs just drop straight down. Now that he is on a pureed sweet potato and seed diet (in the afternoons) he has become ballistic nightmare. Sweet potato covered seed projectiles cover the surrounding area. We came up with an idea however that has helped cut down on the amount of wall-washing we perform on a daily basis. We went to Menards and bought a piece of plexi-glass and hung it with some adjustable links on the side of the cage where he eats. Now he can safely (mostly) test his seed whipping ability without plastering our walls. We just have to take off the plexi-glass occasionally and wash it.
So I realized that I said I would share Mango's menu - don't judge, he eats better than Brian and I do.
As far as birds go - Eclectuses (Ekkies) are not "normal" birds. Short version: they have a different digestive tract - it's much longer than most other birds, and it is very efficient and getting nutrients out of whatever they eat. Also, Ekkies spend most of their days in the tree tops - so they don't eat a lot of standard "seeds" in their natural diet. A lot of the bird food out there is either seed based, or pelleted - which for most birds is great, since it is fortified with nutrients that they need. For Ekkies, that can cause problems because they can get too much of a good thing (nutrients).
After a bit of researching, and talking with experts - and this is what they recommended:
1/4 cup "fruit salad"
mango, papaya, pineapple, kiwi, pomegranate seeds (that's the "constant" - if something else is fresh when we go shopping, we add that, too)
1/4 cup "veggie salad" - warmed
corn, peas, butternut squash, chickpeas/garbanzo beans, zucchini, yellow squash, northern beans, brown rice and some sort of "green" (dandelion is recommended, but we couldn't find that, so it's varied from kale to brussels sprouts to broccoli)
1 capsule of Flax Seed Oil
1 TBSP mashed sweet potato - heated
1/4 Volkman's Eclectus Mix
10-15 Roudybush rice pellets
All of this seems like a lot of work (and don't get me wrong - it is!); but we are hoping it will help him be a happy, healthy bird (with maybe a few more feathers - that, or he gets a sweater this winter!).
It's been going pretty well for the past four and a half (!) weeks - we tend to go grocery shopping once a week, and then spend Sunday afternoon cutting up all our food for the week (his, and ours for our lunches).
(Mango taste-testing his veggie salad for the week)
He always looks forward to meal times (evidenced by his seed "beard" below from dinner tonight)!
(DISCLAIMER: there are a million different opinions and ideas on what's best out there (like parenting) - this is just what we're trying based on thoughts of our vet and a friend who has worked with Ecletuses and feather-pluckers)
Maggie (and Pebbles) my parent's dogs; came to stay with us Friday and Saturday. As Maggie came to the door, I was standing in the kitchen (Mango on his cage), and as I said "Come here!" - so did Mango! It was the first time Mango has really said anything, with anyone in the room.
My parents came following in, and Maggie ran to the couch to see what this talking "thing" was (much bigger than the little cockatiel at my parent's house!). She could hardly contain herself jumping on the couch, wanting to get as close as possible, and either could Mango. He kept looking at Maggie saying, "Come here" and "Whatcha doing?"
The rest of the weekend was good. M&M continued to get some beak-to-nose time (on the floor), and they really seemed to enjoy each other. Best of all, Maggie seemed to help Mango break out of his shell - because he is now becoming a talking machine while we are in the room. It's been very fun listening to him. He definitely has shared some new words we hadn't "heard" before (from listening in the other room). "Shower" "uftda" - and lots of "garbling" where you can tell he is trying to say something - but hasn't figured it out yet. He has also taken more interest in toys (his purple ball on the floor and little boxes to chew up).
I'm sure we have more to share.. be patient with us :)
It's a well known fact that parrots like to practice their speech when you're not around. The problem is, they tend to break out of their monologue when you enter the room. I wanted to get a recording of his talking just to hear some of his words, but I didn't want to have to record gigabytes of data on my iPad to be able to accomplish it. Thankfully to the ever expanding application space on the internet, I found a an app that has an 'auto pause' function to ignore periods of inactivity. So I was able to set my iPad next to Mango's cage on record, and get a condensed version of a bunch of words he said while we were gone.
Well, that's a little extreme... but today was definitely a very "off" day for us. We don't know if it's because Brian was up at 4:15 this morning to bring Jamie to the airport, so he got woken up early, or if he's missing his old home, or if he is just trying to test the boundaries with us as he gets more comfortable - but, we're glad it's over. Tomorrow is a new day, and we can't wait to see what it brings!
Mango, you were a punk, but we still love you!
(That's a sneak peek of Mango's new diet.. We'll mention more on that later since we are using this as a "diary" to track changes, progress and this crazy adventure!)
We decided to give our little green friend a bath shortly after he arrived. We heard that in the past he liked to take showers in the bathtub. I wasn't sure how well that'd work out, so we went with what I knew best: the kitchen sink.
I was pretty amazed at how well he sat there being washed but even more amazed at how well he could look back up at us with his pathetic eyes begging for it to be over with. So after a few minutes, we gave in and we took him out to dry.
We now had a sopping wet bird and weren't sure of the best way to dry him off. So we attempted a towel, but he was pretty quick to slide out of that.
The next attempt was a bit more successful. Enter the hair dryer (on low). He definitely seemed ok with that. Though maybe it was all the attention.
To ensure future successful bath times, we finished off by giving him a treat at his cage. Where he continued to preen himself until it was nearly time for bed. First bath down.
This is Mango, the main character of this blog. He's an Eclectus parrot, and is roughly 15 years old. He came to us through the www.parrothelp.com bird rescue program in the Twin Cities area. He's an extremely friendly and calm fellow and has an extensive vocabulary that he's only begun to share with us. He is standing on his original cage, filled with toys that he had at his previous home, which all help make his transition to a new house more comfortable.
As you can see in the photo, he is quite enamored with removing his own feathers. Feather plucking is not an uncommon behavior with captive parrots. There doesn't seem to be any sort of general consensus of what causes it, each occurrence is its own special case. His previous owner was very good to him, and he continued to pull anyway. We're hoping we can make some progress with his plumage, but he easily makes up for his avian baldness with his great personality.