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New Senegal Advice?

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New Senegal Advice?

Postby robidium » Thu Jul 29, 2021 3:51 pm

Hi all,

I recently adopted Taco, a 7-8 yr old senegal from a refuge. Not sure if he is male or female, although he was recorded as male.
:senegal:
I brought him home one week ago, but we first met over a month ago at the refuge. When we first met, he seemed to really like me (stepped up right away and went to my shoulder, leaned for head scratches, etc).

However, now that I have him home he does not seem keen on me at all--in fact, he decided that he liked my dad, who was here for a few days after Taco arrived to help with my move and has now left.

For me, he will not step up unless he has flown somewhere and ended up on the floor. He will take treats, but if I do not have a treat outstretched he will scream at my finger and make as if to bite me (not sure if he's actually trying to bite, as he hasn't so far even though he could've many times), and then move away. He also growls (I think, it's like a somewhat high humming sound) even when he is coming over for a treat.

I'm continuing to interact with him, but I don't think I've seen much progress yet. I usually spend 1-2 hours throughout the day trying to interact with him, but he still seems very wary of me and irritated by my attempts to connect with him. I open his cage door most of the time, so far he stays either inside or on top of his cage.

He was completely friendly with my dad, and would step up no problem and go to his shoulder, lean in for scratches, etc.

I would appreciate any advice, thanks!
robidium
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 2
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal
Flight: Yes

Re: New Senegal Advice?

Postby Pajarita » Fri Jul 30, 2021 11:59 am

Hi, Robi and Taco (if he was listed as a male, he is a male because Senegals are sexually dimorphic and can be visually sexed), welcome to the forum and thank you so much for adopting instead of buying a baby!

Now, please allow me to clarify a couple of points. When birds are in a rescue, they pretty much 'like' anybody who pays attention to them because they are desperate to belong to somebody -
they've not only lost their owner, they were left with nobody to take their place (volunteers come and go and even the ones that are more 'stable' are not there every single day or even all day long). As to him liking your father... well, a lot of 'abandoned' birds do tend to 'attach' themselves to people who resemble somebody who was kind to them in the past. So a parrot that had a good male role figure will go to another male that, somehow, resembles him (things like clean-shaven vs a beard, bald vs hair, hair color and, most of all, demeanor). It is entirely possible that your father reminded him of either one of his previous owners or a kind volunteer. To make a long story short: do not worry about this. It means nothing in the long term.

Please don't take this the wrong way but you are expecting waaaay too much, waaaaay too soon. Parrots take months to begin to feel comfortable in their new homes and up to two years to feel completely at home so don't feel bad about his aloofness, it's completely normal. What you need to do is change your approach because, instead of helping him with the transition, you are making things more difficult for him (and for you!) by asking him to perform 'personal' interactions that require a large amount of trust (asking a bird to step up implies that the bird knows for a fact that you can be trusted 100% and that stepping up will not result in something he doesn't want -like putting him back in his cage, for example). A new owner should never try to interact physically with a newly rehomed bird until the bird indicates that she/he is ready to take the relationship a notch higher. For a good long term human/parrot relationship, the human needs to allow the bird to decide the pace and the degree of the relationship. You can start physically interacting with a dog from the first time you see it but you don't do this with a cat and you certainly do NOT do it with a parrot. Parrots are highly social and love attention and interaction but ONLY from people they trust and, because they are prey and not predators (like dogs are) they are distrustful of humans (we look and act like predators), and because they are undomesticated (breeding them in captivity does not change their DNA, needs or instincts) and not domesticated and bred to be people-oriented (like dogs have been bred for thousands and thousands of years), they take their time, observe you and how you interact with them, put two and two together and arrive at a conclusion: this person can be trusted or this person cannot be trusted. So you need to make it so he gets to the 'you are to be trusted' conclusion.

All my birds came to me from somebody/where else. I don't have a single bird that came to me as a baby so I have a bit of experience getting them to bond with me and I have found that the best thing one can do is give them time and room. When I bring a new bird to my home, I keep him in its cage for the first couple of days so it can get used to the new home sights, noises, smells, humans, routine, etc. Then I start opening the door to the cage at dawn (same as I do with my other birds) but I do not ask them to come out (it's their choice) and I do not put my hand in the cage or address them in any other way but to say 'Good Morning', praise them (this goes a loooong way with them), telling them that I love them, making kissy noises, etc but I never ask them to step up to my hand (and I never change their names, that is terribly confusing to them (parrots understand the concept of names and use them, same as people do) and disrespectful (how would you feel if your new boss decided to call you by a name different than your own?). At the beginning, I only let them out right before I serve breakfast (I take out the leftover dinner and water when there is the merest sliver of light in the sky) in the morning and dinner at dusk because they always go back in to eat on their own but I leave them inside the cage during the day for a few more days. Once they are eating their new diet (I never got a single bird that was fed correctly by the previous owner) without a problem and have began to anticipate actions (like my opening the door to the cage, serving breakfast or dinner, etc), I allow them to stay outside the same as my other birds (this time of the year, I open their cages at 5:45 am and put them back at 2:30 - 3 pm, serving their dinner at around 6:30 -6:45 pm). I talk, whistle, sing and dance for them in the morning, give them a special treat (high value item which you will need to identify) when they go back into their cages (and, sometimes, a treat during the day for no particular reason - you should NEVER try to train a bird that has not bonded with you so these are not 'rewards', these are gifts from me to them to win them over) and praise them A LOT (all parrots understand and love praise). Aside from that, I simply observe them without them noticing (parrots do not like strange people staring at them, it's what a predator does) and make mental notes of quirks, likes, dislikes, words/actions they react to and wait for them to 'tell' me they want to have a more intimate relationship (they might fly to my shoulder on their own, ask me to step up or for a head scratch, etc) and what they want, I give them.

As time goes by and by mere repetition, they start learning commands like "Go home" to go to their cages, "No!", "Don't touch", "Be nice", etc. Sometimes, I have to use a command with a single bird because that particular bird is the only one that does something specific... For example, Javi Caique (which, like the greatest majority of my birds came to me because of aggression) is the only bird I have that understands the command "Don't pinch" and he learned it because this is something that I've had to tell him practically every time he steps up to my hand as he came with the bad habit of biting the hand where he steps up to. He used to bite hard in his previous life and, although he never actually bit me (not once - and I had to handle him from day one because I flew to Miami to pick him up one evening and flew back together the following morning), he used to nip me kind of hard at the beginning but now he only pinches a bit (more for show and out of habit than anything else) and stops when I I tell him: "Don't pinch!" (he stills bites everybody else, including my husband who has to use a stick). So, you kind of adapt to what the bird does and slowly, gradually and with A LOT of patience, start guiding him to a better place.

But you have a way to go before you get to the point where you start correcting a bad habit -not that you should put up with them, mind you! It's only that parrots need to be won over, wooed if you will, so one should always kind of give them the upper hand at the beginning.

So my advice to you is to relax and don't worry too much about his behavior now. Evaluate your husbandry (strict solar light schedule, diet, housing, never-changing routines, etc) to match his needs, have patience and wait for him to learn to trust you. The-days are now getting shorter and if you live inn USA, your bird is going into breeding season (sennies are short-day breeders) but, if you keep him at a strict solar schedule with full exposure to dawn and dusk, he will stop producing sexual hormones by January (he, most likely, was not kept at a solar schedule at the rescue so he could be overly hormonal, too)

Senegals are FABULOUS birds! (I have a male and a female, both given up for high aggression) They are beautiful and of a pretty perfect size (not too big, not too small), they eat well, are great fliers, are affectionate and bond very deeply with their humans and are HIGHLY intelligent (my male sennie is, BY FAR, the most intelligent bird I have or ever have had and I have cared for hundreds). What they are not is good bathers, patient or 'easy-going', independent parrots... They require an inordinate amount of one-on-one and out-of-cage time and do not take kindly to treatment they regard as unfair so, whereas other species will resign themselves to situations they do not like, a Senegal will bite the heck out of you (they are fearless little things and super hard biters - my male sennie was the ONLY bird that made me dread walking into the birdroom) and can be screamers even though they are considered a 'quiet' species among parrots (which they most definitely are when they are happy). They are also intensely stubborn (that high intelligence...) and will NOT give in one inch when they feel they are in the right and you are in the wrong. I know that it sounds like they have a lot of 'defects' but, in truth, they don't and are super easy going when you give them what they need.

I hope I was of help to you and, if you still have a question or a doubt, please feel free to come back with it.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 18387
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: New Senegal Advice?

Postby robidium » Fri Jul 30, 2021 3:50 pm

Thanks for the thoughtful advice @Pajarita, I will make sure to refer to your post as I work on my Taco husbadry.

Some clarifications: I've heard that Senegals are sexually dimorphic, but Taco seems to have conflicting traits. Ex: he was significantly smaller compared to the two other male Senegals at the refuge, and has a longer green vest ending between his legs, which I've read indicates female, and undertail coverts are mostly yellow but do have some hints of green.

I did not change his name, and I doubt the refuge did, they are a specialized parrot rescue. Included with his adoption fee was his cage, carrier, and all his toys, as well as some of his food-a seed mix, and Harrison's pellets. I've also been trying to give him fresh food, but I have yet to find any veggies he likes. He likes basically all fruit so far, although I hope I'm not giving him too much. I've read fresh fruit/veg should be about 20% of his diet, but I'm not sure if I should give him 20% fruit if he won't eat veggies? I love fruit myself, so I will probably always have lots of selection for him.

I live about the 48th parallel, so I would be interested in advice on how to institute a proper solar schedule!

I will back off on the physical interaction-I already don't stick my hands in his cage other than needed. He will take treats from me now, he comes up to me to get them if he knows or thinks I have something good. Should I continue to hand feed him treats?

Thank you for your advice, I want to make it as easy as possible for him to get more comfortable around me.
:senegal:
robidium
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 2
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal
Flight: Yes

Re: New Senegal Advice?

Postby Pajarita » Sat Jul 31, 2021 8:50 am

My male sennie is smaller than the female. Some species have males smaller than females (like lovebirds, for example) but, even if that was not the case, birds are like people, some are big, some are small, some are skinny, some are plump, etc. It has to do A LOT with the breeding (well-fed birds that are allowed to fly and breed only in season will produce bigger, healthier babies).

I do not agree with the 'little fruit' thing... I had an argument with Dr. Harrison about this because he also recommends it as, according to him, they have too much sugar but, in my personal opinion and experience, this is bunk. For one thing, fruits have fructose (which birds digest and metabolize naturally and with ease) and not sucrose (the sugar we use in our coffee) but, aside from that, fruits are also full of vitamins, fiber and water so the actual amount of fructose they end up eating is not really that significant. Then you have the fact that birds do not eat what we call veggies (green beans, potatoes, carrots, corn, etc), they don't grow in their natural habitats, plus, lots of what we call veggies are fruits (tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, etc). And, to put the icing on the cake, if you observe wild parrots feeding, you will see that they eat A LOT of fruit. Granted that their fruits are seasonal and not available all year round but what I do is give them more root veggies during the winter (carrots, all kinds of squashes/pumpkins, potatoes/sweet potatoes) and, although I do give them fruits, I try to give them less of ones that are exclusively grown during summer (like berries, for example). I was born and raised in a South American country where we have wild parrots and, when I was a girl, my parents had a summer house with a large backyard with some fruit trees. One of these was a huge fig tree and, at the end of the summer, when it was covered in ripe figs, we used to have to get up VERY early in the morning and literally fight the parrots for them :lol: A flock would come and eat, eat, eat, coming back each morning to eat more until they were all gone - and they always got the best ones, too! :lol: I feed my birds as much fruit as they want to eat and all my birds are healthy and in perfect weight (which, for them, is actually a bit on the skinny side, just like wild birds would be when there is plenty of food to go around). So give him fruit without worrying about it but do insist with the veggies, too.

Where you live, you can follow a strict solar schedule without a problem. The trick of this is to expose them to dawn and dusk because it is the different spectrum that only happens during these two events that turn on and off their internal clock (research avian photoperiodism). So, the right way to do is as follows: open the drapes/blinds or uncover the bird's cage when there is the merest sliver of light in the sky without turning on any artificial light. Where I am (NE USA). this time of the year (because it changes constantly with the seasons), it happens around 5:30 am. Then, when you see the sunrays streaking into the room through the window, you turn on your full spectrum lights overhead (watch out for the specifications, you need a CRI of 93+ and a Ktemp of 6000). When the sun is halfway down to the horizon (right now, this happens around 6pm here), you turn off the overhead lights and, once night falls and the bird is asleep, you cover the cage or close the blinds/draperies/shades.

Yes, continue giving him treats BUT, if these treats are protein food (which they pretty much always are because their high value items are always protein) and you free-feed protein food, then you can't. The proper diet for him would be a low protein breakfast (I feed gloop and raw produce) and a high protein dinner (seeds, nuts, nutriberries or, if you have your heart set on them, pellets -which I do not use because I do not think they are the best dietary option for a parrot - I feed mostly nuts and a bit of seeds (I also give them a multivitamin/mineral three times a week this time of the year -I reduce it to twice a week during the cold weather months because the diet of a wild bird is not that nutritious during the off season). When you feed low protein breakfast, you can give more high protein treats during the day (I don't but, when I have a new bird, I do make a bit of an exception at the beginning) - try giving him unsalted cashews, they are my sennies high value item and lower in protein than other nuts.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 18387
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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