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Adopted by a Senegal but she does not like my husband

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Adopted by a Senegal but she does not like my husband

Postby Shari » Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:26 am

Hi all! I recently adopted a Senegal although I feel it's really the other way around. I have had birds in the past including Cockatiels, canaries, and an Orange Winged Amazon parrot. Been really missing having a bird in my life so found a bird that needed a home. She is around 15 years old according to the owner whom I met with, was attacking and biting other people in the apartment. She was really attached to her owner so I knew a transition would be difficult. We brought her home and I've been going very slowly with her. My husband who has never had a bird before wanted to interact with her right away although I told him it's best to give her space, especially since she has bitten people in the past. She took to me right away and I'm thinking she might be linking me to her original owner. She will now get on my hand or shoulder and loves to be head scratched by me. She also allows my older son to scratch her head but he is too scared to try to let her on his hand. My husband saw how well she interacted with me and although I warned him not to interact with her yet, had let her out of her cage when I wasn't home and tried to let her up on his hand and she gave him a nasty bite. When I got home I bandaged him up and told him that we have to take it slow and work on the socializing. I also explained to him that these parrots are often one person birds although training will help but that it would take awhile. Unfortunately my husband can be stubborn and a few days later, let her out again when I wasn't there and again got bit. So now I told him not to physically interact with her at all except to give her treats but to not let her beak get close to any skin surface. I'm hoping that with time when she is very comfortable with me, I can start training her to be more social. She does do an odd behavior when she is close to me that if my husband walks into the room or gets close to me, she lifts her wings halfway, puffs up and stalks even closer to me like she is being possessive. I watch her very carefully in case she tries to bite me or maybe turns around and goes after my husband. So far she has only displayed this. I try to ignore this behavior but don't want it to continue if it is hurting the socializing situation. If anyone has any pointers would love to hear it. She is super sweet with me but just does not like my spouse which is too bad because he loves animals and really wants to interact with her. Thanks so much!
Shari
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Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Re: Adopted by a Senegal but she does not like my husband

Postby liz » Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:18 am

Welcome to the forum.

Does he love animals or does he love to own them? The fact that he let the bird out twice after being told not to and at a time when you were not home makes me think he intends to demand the birds attention.

I wonder how he treats the kids.
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Re: Adopted by a Senegal but she does not like my husband

Postby Loriusgarrulus » Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:50 am

I would be tempted to put padlocks on the cage doors and keep the keys to myself till your husband and senny have a better relationship.
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Re: Adopted by a Senegal but she does not like my husband

Postby Wolf » Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:19 am

Well right away I must say that she is being protective of you and is trying to warn your husband to keep his distance, however if he does not listen to her the at some point she will attack either you or him. if she can't drive him back she may attack you to get you to move away from him. This is a normal behavior and no amount of training will change it.

Senegals are very often one person birds, it is the nature of the way that they bond and again training will not alter this. This does not mean that she may not gradually accept him as part of her flock but it does mean that he is going to have to learn about her body language so that he can get a basic understanding of some of the things that she is trying to tell him and then after he shows her that he is listening or trying to and that he respects what she is trying to tell him he has a chance of winning her trust enough for her to include him as a flock member.

My Senegal is naturally curious and will fly over to strangers and be nice to them so it is possible that your husband reminds her of another male figure with whom she did not like and is taking it out on him. They have long memories and are known for holding a grudge.

Even though Kiki, my Senegal chose me as her special human she literally ate me alive for nearly a year before she figured that I had paid her blood price for whatever she was mad about and now she rarely bites me and when she does mostly I just ask her what she is doing and she quits.

He will have to learn to control himself and work with her instead of trying to make her work with him if you understand what I am saying. it takes patience and lots of it to win a birds trust when they are like this, but it is worth it in the long haul.
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Re: Adopted by a Senegal but she does not like my husband

Postby Pajarita » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:29 am

Welcome to the forum, Shari and sennie (what's her name?).

When I first got my Zoey Senegal, she was the same way: she loved me at first sight and hated my husband with a passion. She would actually fly over to him just to bite him -that's how bad she was! Prior my having her, she had bonded with her owner and hated his wife. They tried everything, the wife feeding her, clipping her, restricting her to a room, etc with no success - every time she could manage it, she would bite the wife. After a few years of this, the wife gave the man an ultimatum, it was the bird or her! So I flew from NJ to Ca to pick her up (I had known this bird through a birdsite for years and had followed the saga from the beginning) and the same morning she was delivered to my hotel, I let her out and we have been close friends ever since. Fast-track to today, 5 years later, and she no longer attacks anybody. My husband can make her step up (to a stick) and put her in her cage, she will take treats from him and, even when she flies to his shoulder, she will not bite him. So tell your husband that there is hope :lol:

She sounds hormonal so I am wondering if she was kept at a human light schedule in her previous life (the 'shrugging' you describe is a breeding display although my hen doesn't do it -the male does). The most important thing is for her to not be hormonal because hormonal birds will not reduce their aggression no matter what you do so you need to keep her at a strict solar schedule and reduce protein during the winter months. Aside from that, she can be let out when both of you are in the room (she is not clipped, right?) BUT he cannot show any kind of affection for you or even get too close or she might react by biting you. Tell him to talk to her, offer her treats but to ignore her when she is with you. If she flies to him to bite him, he can wear protection (my husband used to wear a hoodie with the hood on and tied close around his head) until she accepts him. It might take a while because she has already bit him twice and it's always a real bad idea to allow them to bite us as the best way to teach them not to is to avoid bites at all cost (birds are big on 'precedent' :lol: ).

Why don't you tell us what light schedule, diet and daily routine she is on so we can be more precise on the proper husbandry?
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Re: Adopted by a Senegal but she does not like my husband

Postby liz » Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:14 pm

I am really concerned about you and your Sennie. If you husband does not understand what you are telling him he will never try to understand the Senegal and push it farther than it wants to go when you are not home.

There are many dangerous idiots in the world who think torture is the way to break the animals spirit into submission.

I really really hope I am wrong.
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Re: Adopted by a Senegal but she does not like my husband

Postby Bird woman » Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:11 pm

My husband does the same thing when a new bird comes in until he gets bloody enough to stop. I've since keep the new bird quarantined where he doesn't have easy access to because I get real tired of 1 step forward and 2 back. He never study's about birds let alone the specific species that come in and thinks the years of being around these birds makes him all mighty expert :lol: I provide ALL THERE CARE AND IT WOULD BREAK HIS ARM TO EVEN CLEAN A WATER DISH. well he reeps what he sooooo's as most of the fids would rather use him for a chew toy or just not pay any attention to him , except Riki my big mollucan and she here lately has been coming to me more and more. AND THATS DADDYS GIRL! BW
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Re: Adopted by a Senegal but she does not like my husband

Postby Shari » Thu Jan 19, 2017 7:09 pm

Thanks so much everyone for the replies and welcome. Her name is Karmi and we have had her now for a week. I believe she is hormonal because she is rubbing her rump against me sometimes and making cooing noises (have to say it sounds adorable) but I don't encourage and I'm making sure not to stroke her back. Just scratching her head. The shrugging and puffing up has gotten really bad today when my husband got home from work. I put her back in her cage when she did this but she started running back and forth along the bottom front of the cage obviously wanting to come out. Waited till she calmed and settled down then I let her out again. She immediately ran to me, climbed up my leg and did the puffing again. I asked my husband to ignore it and I did as well but again watched her carefully as I know she may attack me to get me to retreat. My husband is not happy about this display so I am unsure of how to handle this. On one hand I am glad that she feels comfortable with me but don't want my husband to be jealous of the bird and vice versa. Is there really no training I can do with Karmi to help this situation? I have the time to put into training Karmi although I have never trained any of my birds in the past. Am definitely willing to try. As far as the light, am not sure what they did with her before. With us, as soon as the sun goes down (around 5:30pm), I cover her cage and she immediately quiets down and I think goes to sleep. I just got her a new bag of parrot food called Vitakraft Care Complex and fill the bowl every other day. I plan to monitor her feeding though when I start her training so that she will work for the treats. Her wings are trimmed so that she cannot fly but I do plan to let them grow out and allow her to fly and go through the steps of teaching her if she has never done that before. She is really a sweet bird and I am very motivated to put in the time to help her become a valued part of our family.
Shari
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Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Re: Adopted by a Senegal but she does not like my husband

Postby Bird woman » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:57 am

You haven't had her for very long at all so don't worry so much. You need to get a bird light for her and this will help you to regulate the solar schedule a lot easier. Right now she is so new she is trying to bond with you and looks at your husband as a threat. The ideal situation will be to eventually have her except him as a flock mate. Let him give the treats when your not within site or ear shot. Try not to get to close to him where she might get jealous. Free feeding this time of the year is a no no. Remove food before bed and early am give fresh food veggies and a little fruit , you will do much experimenting with different healthy foods before figuring out what she will eat and how she likes her food with much waste. The key is repetition, just because she won't eat it for a day or a week doesn't mean she won't the next. You must feed large varietys to get the best nutrition for your girl. Are you sure she is a she? I have some parrots that like there food chopped small and some that like there veggies whole some like it warm and some cold as there are 10. They have to contionusly be introduced to healthy foods with a lot of waste to recognize that it is food. Eating with your bird really helps this as they always want what you have , so keep it interesting. I feed my fids chop in the morning a few pellets in the afternoon and at night they get a more substantial dinner with healthy grains, beans ,chopped veggies and some seed and a nut or two. My birds get two pieces of fruit daily and different kinds for full nutritional benefits. Blueberry , canalope , apples , oranges , papayas etc. always organic if available. Everything MUST be washed throughly as there are many pesticides used on our foods. Well this should get you started. BW
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Re: Adopted by a Senegal but she does not like my husband

Postby Pajarita » Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:16 am

OK. Let's go point by point.

1. If you've only had her one week, she has not really bonded with you, she is in what we call the 'honeymoon' period and, if she is that aggressive during this period, chances are, she will be even more aggressive once she starts feeling comfortable in her new home. Let me explain. The honeymoon period is, essentially, a survival mechanism. Basically, the bird is in its best behavior because it's completely unsure of the new humans and the new home so they behave the best they ever will in order not to create friction or call undue attention to themselves. Once they start feeling more comfortable, they become much more assertive -and that translates into nips and bites if the bird decides anybody is not doing what they should be doing. This does not mean that she will not bond with you. It just means that the behavior you see now is not what you will get later on.

2. Yes, she is overly hormonal. The rubbing you mention is masturbation and birds only do it when they are 100% sexually frustrated so you need to get her endocrine system back on track and that can only be done through a strict solar schedule which does not mean covering her cage when it's dark outside but exposing her to both dawn and dusk for, at least, one hour. This means that her cage needs to be near a window (so she can get the twilight) and that the lights overhead should not be turned on until the sun is completely out and shining into the room through the windows. In the evening, it's the opposite, you turn off the overhead lights when the sun is halfway down to the horizon and allow night to fall naturally - then, once it's completely dark outside and the bird is asleep in her roosting perch, you cover the cage with a black-out material (this is only necessary if the cage will be exposed to any kind of light, whether it's from another room or from a street lamp coming in through the window). This time of the year, the senegals are hormonal because, in their natural habitat, they breed in the fall, when the days are shorter and the food is plentiful after the summer rains but, in captivity, if we don't regulate their diet, they become hormonal also this time of the year.

3. Light. Yes, you need a special light but NOT a 'bird' light because all the lights labeled 'avian' are nothing but reptile lights that have been relabeled and which have a too high Kelvin Temperature (this makes the light too red and it brings them into breeding condition). You need to get a full spectrum light that has a KTemp between 5000 and 5500 (but I would get a lower one for now so you can bring her hormonal production down a bit) and a CRI as close to 100 as you can. I am now using Dr. Mercola's but, as I change them often (you need to change the bulbs every 6 months because they 'lose' the full spectrum after this time), I do research every time and, if I find a better one, I get that one (I have switched lights many times because manufacturers would, sometimes, produce one that is great for us and then stop).

4. Diet. The food you are feeding is no good. You can't free-feed seeds. Period. I am sorry but there is no two ways about this. If you do, the bird will end up with liver disease and nutritional deficiencies. Mind you, I am not saying that you should not feed seeds (I do it myself) but you can't just fill up a bowl with seeds and just leave it there. Parrots diets in the wild are not just seeds. They do eat them but these are 'green' seeds (the seeds inside the fruits) and they have to eat the whole fruit first before they get to the seeds. You can choose from a number of foods: chop, mash or gloop. People now use whatever name they want but they used to mean different things. Chop was just fresh veggies and fruits chopped up and frozen in individual portions (people use ice cube trays). Mash was the same thing but put through a finer chopping in the food processor (I never even liked the idea of a veggie/fruit puree for parrots). I use gloop which is cooked whole grains and pulses mixed with chopped veggies or whole veggies that are small in size (like peas and corn, for example). So, in the morning, about one hour after dawn begins to break you feed your bird the healthy food (I serve gloop with one fruit, one veggie and one leafy green but I make it a different one every day) and, in the evening and right after you turn off the overhead lights, you take away this food and put a measured portion of a seed/nut mix (and when I say nut, I don't mean peanuts which are not nuts at all but actual tree nuts like walnuts, almonds, macadamia, etc). For a Senegal, it's about 1/8 of a measuring cup (mine get a couple of nuts -like one almond and half a walnut- and the rest in seeds but the seeds come from a cockatiel mix that has a bit of safflower, a few striped sunflowers and mostly grass seeds). If you don't know what she ate in her previous home, you should find out because, if it was seeds and little else, she is going to need to get a multivitamin/mineral supplement for a couple of weeks, at least, to replenish the lacks. And you should also concentrate on feeding her food rich in betacarotene (they need a lot of vitamin A but you can't give them the final form -too dangerous for their liver- unless they are deficient in it, you need to supplement it by feeding the precursor: betacarotene).

5. Training. Yes, of course you can train your Senegal but I would wait until the honeymoon period is over and the bird is on its way to becoming bonded with you. Why? Because it will work out better for you in the long run. Parrots can only be trained through rewards - whether this reward is a high value item (this is a food item that the bird loves and which it does not get at any other time but when it obeys the command) or through praise. But, in order for the praise to work, the bird has to love and want to please you. They are different than, say, dogs, for example, because parrots are not hard-wired to be eager to please (they don't belong to hierarchical societies where the lower echelons want to please the alphas) so you need to establish a strong bond of love for them to want to do anything for you. As to train Karmi not to react with bites right now - well, the thing is that you can't train a bird in pain not to have pain and you can't train a bird that is sexually frustrated to become 'unhorny' . Birds are not like mammals, their sexual organs are active half the year and inactive the other half. When the daylight hours reach a certain number (which has been pre-determined by the conditions of the natural habitat -meaning when there is plentiful and rich food and good weather), they start producing sexual hormones, their gonads become active and they start to grow, preparing for reproduction. BUT when you keep a bird with long days and too rich food all the time, the poor bird's body doesn't know when it's the time to stop producing the sexual hormones and continues month after month, year after year. This creates all kinds of problems because the gonads grow and grow and become so large that they start displacing other internal organs (which starts as discomfort but becomes pain that never stops) and the poor pet bird, which has no mate, has no way of relieving the intense sexual desire (and that's when they masturbate). Birds that are kept at a solar schedule and with a good diet go through cycles -they start producing sexual hormones but they stop after a few months- so there is never any pain or frustration.

6. Flight versus clipping. There are many problems with depriving a bird of its only natural mode of transportation as well as the one and only predator-avoidance mechanism... from a feeling of chronic insecurity (it can't get away from danger) to physical problems (their respiratory system health is directly linked to flight so, when they don't, there is a pair of air sacs that doesn't inflate and deflate properly becoming, in time, atrophied which, in turn, makes fertile ground for infection) but the other one is that nature did not give birds any other form of exercise. It's like a person in a wheel chair and, if you know one, you also know that it's not only a matter of them not walking, it's decreased intestinal motilily, it's urinary tract infections, it's not sleeping well at night, etc. For birds, it also means that there is no fast way for their body to get rid of bad hormones (like stress and sexual hormones). Of course, there is nothing you can do now and, if you decide to allow her remiges (flight primaries, the long feathers in the wings) to grow back, you will have to wait for her molt but I am just telling you this so you also take it into consideration when it comes to her 'moods'. She is between a rock and a hard place, the poor thing!

And I bet after reading all of this, you are thinking to yourself: "SHEESH! And I thought a bird was an easy pet to keep!" Nope, they are not. I would rather have 20 dogs and 20 cats than 2 birds :lol: Compared to dogs, cats, guinea pigs, etc. they are super complicated to keep healthy and happy and because most people have no idea, the poor things end up been rehomed all the time because they start biting, screaming, plucking, etc from the inadequate care... But, as difficult as it sounds, it really does become second nature after a while and you start doing it mechanically so it's not as if it's not doable, it's only that it means a HUGE change in the way we do things.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
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Location: NE New Jersey
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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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