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Introducing two Senegals

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Introducing two Senegals

Postby Laurie Feldman » Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:46 am

Hello. Our older Senegal is 13 years old, male. He was a rescue at age 11 months, and can be very aggressive and temperamental. He will allow only my husband to handle him, though he is affectionate with me. He is fully flighted.

Our new bird is a 4 month old Sennie female, Mimi, hand raised, from a reputable breeder. She is flighted, very active, very friendly with everyone.

We have begun letting them out of the cage together. The male, You-You is surprisingly gentle and patient with the baby, Mimi, who is always chasing his toes and trying to fling herself at him (as she does with us). He watches her with that look in his eye and that fluff in his plumage that Sennie owners recognise as a "happy content" expression. The other day she marched into his cage. They have since spent several supervised hours inside his cage there. She preens his head, beak, eyes, and neck. He cleans her cloaca area and all the feathers on her tummy. He will do this for 15 minutes at a stretch. They both look happy and content. They do a lot of mouthing and sometimes regurgitate to try to feed each other. Shen she gets overwhelming, he hits at her with his beak. He never bites her. We know from the way he bites me, that one bite could be lethal.

At 9 o'clock, their bed time, he went up to his sleeping perch and took his position. (This is his signal that it's time to wheel the cage into the bedroom and cover it; if we don't do it he will call until we do). She began pacing back and forth and calling to me as she does when she wants out of her own cage. She clearly wanted out, a human bedtime cuddle (we do this every night), and to go to sleep.

My instinct is that they will want to be together in one cage. However, I also don't want her to become fixated on him and uninterested in us; nor do I want to stress him. So I'm asking for opinions and suggestions from the forum. Many thanks, Laurie
Laurie Feldman
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 16
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal parrot
Flight: Yes

Re: Introducing two Senegals

Postby Pajarita » Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:18 am

Well, first of all, I think you are EXTREMELY lucky that the adult male is so gentle with the baby. I only have one single pair of senegals so I don't really have a lot of experience with pairing them up but I do know you need to keep them both at a strict solar schedule -which you are not doing right now- or you will end up with problems because it's one thing to have a semi-aggressive male that lives alone with humans and it's a completely different thing to have an overly hormonal adult male that lives with an overly hormonal female.

Mine came to me both as adults. Sweetpea was 11 and Zoey was 7 or 8 (I forget). Zoey bonded to me almost immediately (even though she loves his previous owner, a man, and hated his wife) while Sweetpea took years to become handeable (he has been kept in a small cage for years and years and hated all humanity with a passion). Sweetpea was already here when Zoey arrived and he was already over his relentless aggression. He liked her but she did not like him and it took years for them to reach a point where she would tolerate his perching on the same stick but right now and both as a result of the years of 'mellowing' and the fact that we are going into their breeding season, she has finally allowed roosting together as well as allopreening.

Now, the fact that she is so affectionate with him does not mean that she recognizes him as a potential mate because she is only a baby. Most likely, she sees him in a parental role so her affection for him could change as she becomes sexually mature because, in my experience (I've had three females and one male), they can go either way: love at first sight or grow to love the other. I had two females when Sweetpea came to me and he fell in love at first sight with Tobita and pretty much ignore Cowboy while, with Zoey, it has been more a slow process for both of them although much slower on Zoey's side than his because even though they can fall in love at first sight, they are all very pragmatic about reproduction and end up loving the one they are with.

But, in all honesty, if what you want is advice on how to prevent them from becoming mate-bonded, I am afraid I cannot help you and I seriously doubt anybody else can (despite what they might claim). For one thing, I have never tried to prevent two birds from mate-bonding - quite the contrary, I actually promote and strive to achieve this with all my birds because i firmly believe this makes their life worth-living in captivity. And, for another, these are HIGHLY intelligent birds (Sweetpea doesn't only have a large vocabulare, he actually uses cognitive speech to communicate and, although Zoey does not speak human, she understands EVERYTHING I tell her), they are also fearless and VERY stubborn little birds which are not easy to fool into doing what we want them to do or prevent them from doing what they want to do.

In any case, if you don't free-feed protein food, change the diet with the seasons and keep them at a strict solar schedule, the whole thing will be much easier on you and them.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 15071
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: Introducing two Senegals

Postby Laurie Feldman » Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:14 am

Thank you for such a generous reply. I am happy for them to become mate-bonded (although not sure we want to raise babies, but that's for another time). I just don't want to over stress him by her constant presence - she is all over him very enthusiastically - or to have her start to look for affection from him INSTEAD of us (though she seems to still want to come out and play/cuddle with me on a regular basis).

I am curious as to what "free feed protein" means. The solar schedule makes sense to me, but he's now like a clock, asking to sleep at 9PM and waking only when we wake him up 12 hours later (I want them to sleep 12 hours every night). She, in fact, wants to wake up with the light, so I suppose I should let her, though that will mean putting her down for sleep much earlier. Do you think a 13 year old bird like You-You would get used to this?

Since you're so kind, I have one more question. Both of them fly around the house. They go fast, they cry out happily, and they seem to love it. However, if they do it together, we end up with them crashing into each other or into walls. It gets way too raucous. I had hoped they'd enjoy flying together and that it would be a good experience for them, but for now I'm having them take turns.

Anyway, I'm so glad we have her, and wish we'd done it sooner. He is so happy, so fluffy and content, which I can see on his very expressive face.

all best, Laurie
Laurie Feldman
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 16
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal parrot
Flight: Yes

Re: Introducing two Senegals

Postby Pajarita » Sat Aug 24, 2019 1:51 pm

Yes, I bet she is 'all over him incessantly' - she is a baby of a highly social species which means they are hard-wired to be surrounded by other members of their own species all the time. She is getting exactly what she wants AND needs from him right now (she will become more independent as she matures) so, personally, as long as he doesn't mind too much, I think it's FABULOUS!

Yes, You-You will adapt very easily to a solar schedule. They all do. It's the way they evolved to live, from sunup to sunset, so going back to what it should be will be no trouble for him. It's not even something they can either decide or choose to follow or not follow, it's their body reacting to the different light of twilight - a completely involuntary reflex. The different spectrum distribution (much less blue and more red light), the lowering of the angle of the light and the waning of the intensity slowly morphing into darkness will make him first hungry and then sleepy (the gradual darkness makes their bodies start to produce melatonin which makes them drowsy). It works the same way for every single diurnal species on Earth so he is not going to be the exception. The trick is to expose them to twilight. Some people think that a bird can go from bright light to darkness by covering their cage but nature doesn't work that way (there is no such a drastic change in nature, its always gradual unless you live in the Artic or Antartic circle where they have twilight for months).

Free-feeding protein means putting a protein food in a bowl in the morning and leaving it there all day long - protein food being seeds, nuts, pellets, avicakes, nutriberries, etc. Protein is not that easy to find in nature for hebivores... There are nuts and seeds, of course, but there isn't a single source of protein that is abundant all year round. Plants bloom and fruit in season, not all year round and even when there is an abundant source, say a large grove of trees that produces nuts, it's not as if there were only a couple of birds eating from it so the entire crop is eaten in a matter of days - same with fruits. We had a VERY old and large fig tree in the backyard of our summer house back home and we always spent the entire month of February (the equivalent, in season terms, to August here in the Northern Hemisphere) there, and we would watch the figs very carefully every day to see if they were ripening because, once they started (the ones at the end of the branches and on top of the tree were the first to ripen), we would hurry up to collect them because, in a matter of two days, the parrots would have eaten all the fruit on it. And that's the way all birds eat. Once they find a source, they eat and eat and eat from it until it's finished and then move on to another source -always of a different type of food. So, to a bird, having protein easily available in large quantities all the time is completely unnatural and unhealthy because birds in captivity can only use a portion of the protein the wild birds need (wild birds fly for miles and are exposed to the elements which requires more calories) and the rest becomes fat which ends up being stored as fatty nodules in their livers (hepatic lipidosis - aka fatty liver disease).

They crash against each other because she is not very good at flying yet. I know that she looks super proficient doing it, zooming around the house, but, in reality, they need months of practice to master the art of maneuvering, landing and stopping on a dime. She will get much better at it and they will not crash. I always have 8 and, sometimes, up to 15 birds flying around and they only crash (and not only against each other but also against me :lol: ) for a month or so when the new ones first arrive because, even when when they come flighted and good at it, if they were only birds, they need to learn to avoid other birds in flight. Let them practice and don't worry about them crashing... they will learn, you'll see.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 15071
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: Introducing two Senegals

Postby Laurie Feldman » Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:56 am

Do you think I should let them sleep together in his cage?
Laurie Feldman
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 16
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal parrot
Flight: Yes

Re: Introducing two Senegals

Postby Pajarita » Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:38 am

I would allow them a nap during the day, when I am there to supervise. I would not allow them to stay together overnight until she is an adult and they have bonded as two adults would. I am VERY VERY careful with my birds. I've never been one to take unnecessary risks (I am the pain in the neck that always refuses to go on a roller coaster ride :lol: ) but I have made it into an art form with my birds... One of my mottos is: When in doubt, don't do it!
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 15071
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: Introducing two Senegals

Postby Laurie Feldman » Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:37 am

Thank you - this was my instinct. Currently they are both out of the cage in the morning together for play time, then she in hers and he in his when they go out into the garden (supervised of course). She naps with me, snuggled on my chest. (She surprised me by leaving play with him to come and cuddle with me). Then after nap time, they are together in his cage until the evening when it's clear he's getting tired and she's still got too much energy. He lets her (us) know by batting at her with his head and going up to his resting perch. Then she comes out to play and cuddle and goes to sleep in her own cage. When we go out, they are, obviously, each in their own cage.
Laurie Feldman
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 16
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal parrot
Flight: Yes

Re: Introducing two Senegals

Postby Pajarita » Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:32 am

Good plan! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 15071
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: Introducing two Senegals

Postby Laurie Feldman » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:15 am

Update. Baby Mimi is flighted. The other day she panicked hearing the vacuum cleaner - she had NEVER reacted to it before. She flew into the window and dropped into the sink, where there was a pan of dirty water. Poor little thing was totally shocked. She seemed not to have broken anything, and I comforted her and tried to get her to eat a couple of her favorite things. She was not interested. At that point I thought of taking her to the vet; our big boy had been traumatized once and the vet came over and gave him cortisone to stimulate eating. At this point I was not thrilled either by traumatizing her with a vet visit NOR giving her cortisone. I put her in the big boy's cage, and gave them each a sesame breadstick. Her normal behavior is to drop hers and take his. She just dropped hers and let him eat his.
The next thing that happened amazed me. He dropped his breadstick and began regurgitating, feeding her. He then began to preen and clean her all over her body, including the very wet tail feathers. He did not leave her side all day long. When I took her to nap with me in the afternoon (her ritual), he called loudly for her and I had to bring him into the room with us. She woke from her nap with appetite and ate normally, though he kept trying to feed her and would not move from her side, literally smashed up against her. I decided to let them stay together in his cage for the night; he seemed very happy about that and tried to snuggle next to her, but she did not want to, and when I let her out of his cage, she flew to hers. She is 100% now and I know we need to be VERY careful about noises. They are so amazing....
Laurie Feldman
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 16
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal parrot
Flight: Yes

Re: Introducing two Senegals

Postby Pajarita » Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:42 am

Awwww, what a sweetheart of a good boy! They are not mate bonded and that's why she did not want to roost with him at night (it's always the females who decide which male, when and how). Now, in the future, when one of your birds suffers a wound or a shock, do not try to feed it. The best thing you can do for it is to put it in a hospital cage (everybody with birds should have one) with high heat (a heating pad at the bottom of the cage works best) for a couple of hours.

But do not stop making normal 'noises'. Even when one scares them at first, they always get used to them if you are patient and continue to expose them to it gradually - for example, in the future, when you need to run the vaccum, put her in her cage, cover the half back of it and start vacuuming in another room, stopping every few minutes to come and talk to her. Soon enough, she will be used to it and you will be able to do it while she is loose. I am surprised she got so startled by it because most birds would bathe when they hear a vacuum running (I think they associate the noise with thunder). One more thing, do try not to have anything with water laying around when they are out flying (like the toilet or whatever), they drown very fast.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 15071
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

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