Our Purpose, Philosophy, Policies and Practices

Laurella Desborough

Our purpose in keeping and breeding eclectus parrots is to do our best to make sure the eclectus subspecies continue to exist in aviculture and in the wild. At a meeting with the late Dr. Ulysses Seal of the Species Survival Commission of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, we discussed conservation of avian species. I asked him what needed to be done. He stated that two actions were needed to save species: conservation of species in the wild and captive breeding of species in aviculture.

According to scientific research, habitat loss poses the single greatest threat to wildlife worldwide. When birds have no place to find food, no place to seek shelter and no nest sites for raising future generations, those birds will become extinct in the wild. Given that threat, it makes sense to preserve genetics through the propagation of living specimens, both birds and animals. While there are individuals and organizations who actively fight against the keeping and breeding of birds and animals in captive situations, these individuals and organizations have not presented an effective means for permanently protecting habitat in other countries or preserving species by other means. We all enjoy seeing the birds and animals in the wild and hope that they will continue to survive there. But it simply makes sense to have a back up plan in case species are lost in the wild. Island species, such as the eclectus parrots, are especially at risk of extinction. The successful propagation of the California Condor and the Spix macaw are evidence that captive propagation does preserve species and also provides the opportunity to return them to the wild if habitat remains.

Since the early eighties I have focused on the eclectus parrots, keeping them as pets, breeding them, hand raising some young, having some young parent raised, observing and recording their development with photographs and notes and then writing articles about them. Additionally, I spent five full days studying and photographing the eclectus skin specimens in museums in order to learn the physical details of each subspecies so I would be able to apply that knowledge to accurately identify eclectus subspecies in aviculture. These activities were carried out to fulfill the purpose of responsible captive breeding and have additionally provided information for articles about eclectus parrots which have been published in various bird magazines.

In order to assist with the supporting and saving eclectus subspecies in their country of origin, a special project was initiated with the help of the Eclectus Group, an organization of eclectus breeders, www.eclectusgroup.org This project is designed to fulfill the purpose of conservation of species in the wild. It is hoped that with these two actions, captive breeding and the conservation project, that eclectus parrots will continue to exist on the planet for many years. See the article on Conservation on this website.

Our philosophy about bird keeping and bird breeding is based on the fact that humans have been associated with birds from the earliest days and that these activities are not only traditional, but beneficial for birds and humans. I believe that by working with birds, learning about them, understanding them, and appreciating them, that our lives are enriched. For the birds, it means because of our interest and understanding of birds, we will do our best to see that they are protected, their habitats preserved and their future secured. We humans have more interest in protecting birds and animals with which we are familiar. Therefore, for most people who keep pet birds, and for the few who breed birds, they are more likely to take constructive action to conserve birds in the wild and to protect them in aviculture, than they would without this meaningful personal contact with birds.

Our policies with regard to the sale of birds are designed to provide the buyers with quality pet birds and to provide follow up support as needed or requested. We only sell weaned young birds as pets, never unweaned. We believe it is stressful to young chicks to change hand feeders, and that inexperienced hand feeders are very likely to make serious mistakes in brooding and feeding chicks. We do not want to put these vulnerable sensitive intelligent babies at risk. On occasion, we also offer breeding pairs of several eclectus parrot subspecies.

We provide a contract which specifies the warranties for health and which identifies the birds by subspecies and by band number so that each bird’s unique details are noted in the contract. In order to assure the client of receiving a healthy bird, young pet birds are examined by an avian veterinarian prior to delivery to the new owner. Additionally, we provide a packet of information about eclectus parrots and their care, including detailed information on diet, caging, behavior and handling. It has come to our attention that there is a very significant amount of misinformation about eclectus parrots on the internet, both on websites and on facebook. Therefore, it seems to me to be critically important to provide accurate information based on many years of experience with both adult and young eclectus parrots, including pets and breeding birds. Our goal is healthy, happy birds in homes with clients who are properly informed as to how to provide quality care and as a result they are happy with their birds. I am completing a book on basic care for pet eclectus parrots: check this website for further information in the coming months.

Our avicultural practices are designed to provide the best possible environment for our breeding pairs and our young birds destined for pet homes. Over thirty years of experience with many eclectus parrots has provided us with some basics in terms of what works best for these birds. Appropriate diet and housing, remaining fully flighted, and being able to socialize with others are all considered very important for maintaining healthy happy birds.

Our pairs do not breed all year long because we do not consider that to be the best way to maintain the health of the pair. Nor do we breed all pairs every year. We simply take down the nest box and that stops the reproductive cycle for the hens, although it does make them angry.

At some point most pairs are allowed to completely raise and fledge chicks for their satisfaction and for more competent future breeding birds. Young eclectus, both hand reared and parent reared are then flocked in a large open flight so they can enjoy flying, learn to socialize and to interact appropriately with each other. Eventually as these birds mature, they will select future mates from among flock members. Young birds that select their own mates have a greater likelihood of successful reproduction as adults.

With the young birds destined for pet homes, we generally remove them from the nest at two to three weeks, depending on the pair. These young birds are then set up in the nursery in heated brooders and fed ZuPreem hand rearing formula. We generally raise only a few birds at a time so that we can enjoy them and ensure their proper socialization. These youngsters are reared in our house and remain fully flighted in order to develop their ability to fly well, to increase their intelligence and to insure their self confidence. Most pet owner clients are happy to keep their birds fully flighted to maintain their health and their beautiful feathering.

Sometimes potential buyers want to visit the aviary and see the chicks or the pairs. Since we have a “closed aviary facility” and follow USDA biosecurity protocols for birds, we do not have any visitors at our facility. These biosecurity protocols are in place to prevent the accidental transmission of disease to our birds.

Download USDA_BioGuide_Eng_8-2006.pdf

It should also be noted that with most parrots set up for breeding, the birds may be stressed and traumatized by the sight of strangers in their vicinity. Parrots do not behave like dogs and cats around strange humans. If parrots are not used to strangers, they are extremely upset when strangers are near. In some cases they will destroy their eggs or chicks and even harm or kill their mates! So our visitors are limited to our avian veterinarian and state or federal agents who inspect breeding facilities for official permits.

In order to assure the future of aviculture, we do assist new bird breeders with information and guidance when they are starting out to keep and breed eclectus parrots. I believe it is important to provide accurate detailed information about the unique behavior of eclectus parrots in a breeding situation and to provide such information about the proper care and rearing of young chicks. When bird breeders work with many different species of parrots and birds, they often do not learn the unique details that matter in terms of a specific species. This can be especially important in the case of eclectus parrots since these parrots do differ in so many ways from other parrot species. Then there are all those rumors about eclectus parrot behavior that are based on statements by individuals who are misreading behavior cues and/or who are misinterpreting the behavior they have observed. Therefore, for the benefit of the birds and their owners, we often find it necessary to correct misinformation and to provide accurate information to both pet owners and bird breeders.


Deforestation in Indonesia is reducing native birds and animals habitats. That is why it is important to maintain a viable gene pool for the eclectus parrots in the US and other countries.

IMAGES IN GALLERY:  Excavators clear intact peatland forests and build drainage canals in an oil palm concession owned by PT Andalan Sukses Makmur, a subsidiary of Bumitama Agri Ltd. The concession, next to Tanjung Puting National Park in Kumai District, Central Kalimantan, is habitat for numerous endangered species including orangutans and proboscis monkeys as well as ramin. Greenpeace mapping analysis and field investigations reveal large-scale development in the concession between February and October 2013, including clearance of intact peatland forests inside buffer zones identified on the HCV assessment for the concession.

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For anyone who may have questions about any of the above: purpose, philosophy, policies and practices, please Contact Laurella

©2014  Laurella Desborough