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Senegal parrot , lost contour feathers on back and belly

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Senegal parrot , lost contour feathers on back and belly

Postby DExUS » Thu Dec 24, 2020 3:58 pm

Hi guys,
My 8 years old senegal has lost his green feathers on the back and his belly.
He has only the white ones (underwear).
It happened to him several months ago, it took like 1 month to grow them back.
Now he lost them again, but it's about 2 months and they dont grow back.
There are some like stubb feathers but they don't grow, or he bites them off, I dont know.
Never seen him to pluck a feather by intent.
His stool is way more watery than usual, but only sometimes.
He has his normal mood, eats a bit less.

Does anyone have any experience with this kind of issue ?

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DExUS
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 5
Location: Slovakia
Number of Birds Owned: 7
Types of Birds Owned: Budgies, Lovebird, Senegal Parrot
Flight: Yes

Re: Senegal parrot , lost contour feathers on back and belly

Postby Pajarita » Fri Dec 25, 2020 10:17 am

Hi, DExUS and Sennie! Welcome to the forum. My dear, I am afraid that he is plucking. I also have a male senegal that plucks and I also have never seen him actually pulling a feather off but just because we don't see them, it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. At 8, he is at the age when most parrots start plucking -not that they cannot start before or after this age, mind you, they can but, for some particular reason, around 8 is the most common age for them to start. This comment is not based on any sort of scientific evidence, poll or study, it's just what I have noticed from bird forums postings of people whose parrots start plucking. Years ago, when I had my own bird forum, I did a lot of research on this subject and wrote a looooong paper on all types of FMD (Feather Destructive Disorder). I have a what I call one of my 'off the wall' theories about this age - it seems to me that parrots are patient animals and, when they love their owner and are well treated, they are very patient as to certain things they need - and they wait and they wait for them to come when, finally, they kind of realize it's not going to happen and that's when they kind of give up and start plucking. People and vets will tell you that there might be something physically wrong with the bird and suggest all types of tests and, although I also recommend eliminating all possible physical causes, in my personal experience, 99.999% of the time, the problem is emotional as well as physical. But the physical part of it is not so much a disease, parasites or whatever but simply that they bird is overly hormonal and highly frustrated sexually.

And this brings me to the questions:
1. what kind of diet does he get?
2. what is his light schedule?
3. clipped or fully flighted?
4. how many hours out-of-cage and how many one-on-one?

The reason I ask these questions is that they are all directly related to what I consider, BY FAR, the most common reason for a bird to pluck and the answers will tell us exactly what needs to be changed so he would stop. And I do urge you to consider that the longer they pluck, the harder it is to make them stop because the little pain they give themselves when they pull a feather out, makes their brains release endorphins, hormones that makes them feel better so they kind of become addicted to both the habit AND the hormone.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 17890
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: Senegal parrot , lost contour feathers on back and belly

Postby DExUS » Fri Dec 25, 2020 11:48 am

Hi,

thank you for the reply, I thought that he will select any feather not just the green ones, he has all the white ones.
1) seeds, mixed with dried fruit & pellets + stuff I eat ... he must have what I have :)
Mainly bread, fresh paprika, eggs, potatos
2) natural light schedule, he goes sleeping once there is dark outside, no extra light
3) flighted, never clipped
4) he is out of the cage for at least 1-2 hours per day.

Normally I would be out for 9 hours at work, he did not have any issues with that.
That's why I have a timed radio, that turns on and off in seamlingly random times so he has some excitement when im gone.
However now I am constantly working from home since summer.
He started to scream extremely once he knows I am at home, so yes... maybe it's psychological but what to do? , it's hard to introduce a new parrot to old one and I can't have him constantly out.
Also, when I get back to work, he will have to deal with 9h of alone time.
DExUS
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 5
Location: Slovakia
Number of Birds Owned: 7
Types of Birds Owned: Budgies, Lovebird, Senegal Parrot
Flight: Yes

Re: Senegal parrot , lost contour feathers on back and belly

Postby Pajarita » Sat Dec 26, 2020 10:49 am

Parrots always start plucking the contours. If it gets worse, it will also pluck the down feathers (the white undercoat you now see), barbering and even plucking the primaries and secondaries and, if it gets real bad, he could start self-mutilating. But let's hope it doesn't get to that!

Well, his diet is not good. I know we tend to think that birds eat seeds but that's mostly because the only birds we had as pets were passerines (canaries, finches, etc) which are all natural seed-eaters. Parrots are not seed eaters. The bulk of their diet is fresh plant material and although this includes the seeds inside the fruits they consume, these are 'green' seeds (not dried) and are a very small portion of their diet. Please consider changing his diet to a better one (and PLEASE no human food, no eggs, no animal protein of any kind, no white flour, no sugar, no salt, etc). I would recommend you feed him gloop and raw produce for breakfast and a good quality mixture of nuts and seeds for dinner. To give you an idea, my senegals' dinner is one tablespoon of ABBA 1600 C (cockatiel food) with a couple of nuts or pieces of nuts (their favorite is roasted, unsalted cashews but English walnuts are a very close second) like, one cashew and half a walnut.

Now, when it comes to a light solar schedule, the trick is the exposure to dawn and dusk. I don't know exactly how you manage the solar schedule (especially during the winters when you were working full time) but I am explaining this because most people believe that putting the bird in the cage once it's dark outside and turning off the lights does it - but it's not so. Their endocrine system is 'programmed' to react to twilight so, in the morning, one needs to turn the lights on once the sun is completely out and the rays are already coming into the house through the windows (this happens around 8:45 - 9:00 am this time of the year) and, in the evening, the lights should be turned off once the sun is halfway down to the horizon (which happens around 3 pm this time of the year).

But, I am sorry to say that the biggest problem is his out-of-cage time (you never even mentioned the one-on-one time)- it is WAAAAAYYYYY too short. Birds need to be out of cage for, at least, 6 hours a day and have a minimum of 3 hours of one-on-one. Parrots are all HIGHLY social. They evolved to live from birth to death always surrounded by their family and not having enough close contact with a warm body is extremely stressful for them. This is not a luxury or something they 'like', it's something they need in order to stay healthy (stress causes all kinds of problems with the immune system) and relatively well-adjusted from an emotional aspect. The truth is that the 6/3 hours is the mere minimum to keep them functioning - it's not really enough to make them happy but it is usually what a person can commit to for the long term and what parrots will accept as the minimum amount of attention without 'acting up'. I hope you don't take this the wrong way but this is precisely the kind of thing I was referring to when I said that they are VERY patient but they do reach a point when they fall into depression because they realize they will never get what they need. Your bird has been waiting on you to get his necessary daily dosage of freedom and attention and has recently realized that he is not going to get it because, even when you are home -as you are now- he is not with you (because being in the same room or the same house doesn't count, they need to be ON you, they need physical contact). And, in his loneliness and anxiety, he started plucking because short of biting you or screaming his head off all the time, this is the way they show their unhappiness. He needs to be out from morning to evening and spend hours with you. In all honesty, senegals are not difficult at all to keep happy and healthy, they are not screamers, they are not terribly destructive... they are happy to just perch on your shoulder where they can be close to you and, every now and then, get a little head scritch and a kind word.

I have to tell you that I worry for your bird when you go back to work full time... Again, I hope you don't take this the wrong way but people who work full time outside the house cannot really provide a single pet parrot with a healthy and happy life no matter how much they try. It's not you, it's everybody, and it's not what you do or don't do, how much work or money you put into it, it's that they need what they need and, if you are not there, you cannot give it to him so, if you want to keep him, you will need to make adjustments - maybe get somebody to come over for 4 or 5 hours in the middle of the day to let him out and interact with him? Or maybe get a female sennie and 'set them up' in a room of their own where they can fly around during the day? Think about it.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 17890
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: Senegal parrot , lost contour feathers on back and belly

Postby DExUS » Sat Dec 26, 2020 4:14 pm

:senegal: Oh the food, he is so picky, that he only eats what he likes.
I have tried to give him fresh stuff but he almost starved unless he got his seeds.
Also tried quality pellets several times, he did not eat almost for 3 days.
He goes to sleep when it's just a bit dark. He preferes that.
Also when he is out, he will go to sleep mode outside.
Once he is out , there is only one on one time, because I have a very small apartment and I live alone. I will try to let him out a bit more, but since I am not at home for at least 9 hours per day in normal situation, it would be bad if he gets use to it.
I am sure that introducing a female companion can solve the issue, however it's hard to imagine training a new parrot from scratch, since this one is very well trained and behaved. (speaks like 5+ words)
DExUS
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 5
Location: Slovakia
Number of Birds Owned: 7
Types of Birds Owned: Budgies, Lovebird, Senegal Parrot
Flight: Yes

Re: Senegal parrot , lost contour feathers on back and belly

Postby Pajarita » Sun Dec 27, 2020 11:10 am

Yes, it does seem that they are 'picky' but it's not so, it's only that they only eat what they are familiar with and trying new things are not 'their thing' but it can be done - and I know this for a fact because I have switched -literally- hundreds of birds (I had a bird rescue for 6 years in Pa with an average of 240 birds in it). ALL my birds came to me as adults with 99% of them being seed junkies and they are all eating a very good diet now so it's a matter of patience, persistence, timing and presentation. Zoey Senegal came to me when she was 7 or 8 and Sweetpea when he was 11 (and, by the way, Sweetpea is a genius of a bird, he not only has a super large vocabulary, he actually speaks cognitively and has conversations with me) and they both eat a nice range of raw produce and their gloop with no problem - they are NOT into leafy greens but they would eat their raw broccoli, celery and Brussels Sprouts with no problem and, sometimes, their chard, too -especially the red one. They are not EXCELLENT eaters like the quakers, the caiques or the amazons but they are pretty good. The trick is to eat with them (their food, not ours) at dawn and to serve the healthy food in the am, saving the seeds for dinner, only. Sometimes, you need to feed the raw produce off your hands until they get the hang of eating raw produce and learn to like it - and, sometimes, you need to keep on doing this for the rest of their lives (Sophie Gray is like that, she will only eat raw produce if I hold it in front of her face - and Linus Too only eats certain things -like zucchini, for example- if I do this while he would eat other stuff on his own so you need to kind of 'adapt' the 'eating arrangements' to the individual bird). My birds don't like pellets either and, in truth, they are not the best dietary option for them, in my personal opinion (I've done research on their natural diets for over 20 years) but they all love their gloop (which one could say it's a fresh, wet, deconstructed pellet). Try it and see what happens. Even a little improvement in his diet will be of a great benefit for him.

As to introducing a female... I was thinking about that last night and decided that I should have qualified the statement. First of all, it always benefits a bird to have a mate - immensely! - but a companion also works (I actively strive to give all my birds if not mates, at least companions of their own species or one very close to it). Now, the thing is that, when birds are not used to seeing another bird and they are bonded to their human, they would, sometimes, not want another bird to share at the beginning - but it does happen if you insist. It took years for Zoey to accept Sweetpea. It wasn't anything personal on her part, she simply did not like to share me with other birds (or my husband), and, when he tried to approach her, she would bluff a bite toward him and/or fly away. But he persevered and, in time, she allowed him to perch on the same branch as long as he was on the other end, then get a little closer until, one day, she allowed him to preen her. They have been sharing a cage now for years and, every breeding season, he makes a 'nest' for her which she examines and examines and examines inside and out (it's the cutest thing!) until I switch the almost completely chewed up cardboard box for another and the whole process starts again. They don't breed (he does not feed her in her beak so she doesn't produce eggs - at least, so far) but I allow them to go through the motions because it's healthy for them and gives them happiness. But, if your idea was for the new bird to be living under the same conditions as yours is now, don't get another one because it won't benefit either one of them. The idea was for you to improve your bird's life and not just get another one. We used to have a member that had one bird and, like you, she could not keep it under the right conditions because she also worked full time outside the home so he started acting up. She came here and asked questions, got replies and went and adopted another bird but the only change she made was to 'train' them in the early am and did not change any of their living conditions... Result? She ended up with two birds that were acting up so she gave them up to a bad sanctuary (an outdoor one in a hurricane prone area!) - did not even try to find them a good home. A real bad ending to the story and the poor human-imprinted birds that ended up without a human of their own!

Just one more comment: birds do not 'get used' to being outside a cage, they were created for it. They have no choice but to try and get used to being inside a cage - if they get used at all because, let's face it, getting used to living without freedom is not an easy thing to achieve... It's the fact that he is caged way too much that is causing his plucking so you would not be making things worse by allowing him more freedom, you would be giving him what he needs. It's like saying that it would be bad to allow a child to play because it could get used to it - it's what they are supposed to do! Birds were not created by nature to live in a cage and they suffer terribly when they are confined - especially if they are all alone which, again, is not what nature meant for them.

Look, keeping parrots healthy and happy is VERY difficult! People get babies and they work out just fine for a period of time -years, mind you! because parrots mature slowly, like people- but, eventually, the bird starts having what people tend to call 'undesirable behaviors' out of the blue and people don't know what to make of the situation. Only they are not really out of the blue, the problem had always been there and it had been 'growing' for years until it shows up with a doozy. This is what happened to your bird. So you came here to ask about his plucking which shows that you love and worry about him (and kudos to you for that! :thumbsup: ), in reply, I can only share with you what I know about birds, why they pluck and what to do to correct it but it is up to you to make the changes or not to improve his life enough so he will stop. There is no silver bullet, no magic potion, no foraging toy, no nothing that is going to make him stop plucking. People will tell you to bathe him, to put a collar on him, to get him this or that toy and even to hold training sessions with him but it won't work. The ONLY thing that will is for him to be happy and, for that, you need to change his life so, again, I strongly urge you to start considering a big change in your husbandry for your bird's sake. The poor thing is NOT happy with his life and he has, pretty much, reached the end of his patience 'rope'...
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 17890
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: Senegal parrot , lost contour feathers on back and belly

Postby DExUS » Sun Dec 27, 2020 1:20 pm

Thanks for your words of advice, from what I can see it seems that you have extreme amount of experience.
I will improve his life in ways I can, can't hurt.
More out of the cage time is no problem if he wants to, and I will give a try with the "new" food, although I am very skeptical since I had tried several times, and as result I had a hungry and angry parrot and have to throw away some very expensive pellets. (gave them to my friend with african grays).
In the past I had several parrots but not as inteligent as this one, I know that the more inteligent they are, they tend to have more mental issues. Since this one had such perfectly defined schedule which he did not mind until now I assumed he is fine.
I just hope he will get better.
DExUS
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 5
Location: Slovakia
Number of Birds Owned: 7
Types of Birds Owned: Budgies, Lovebird, Senegal Parrot
Flight: Yes

Re: Senegal parrot , lost contour feathers on back and belly

Postby Pajarita » Mon Dec 28, 2020 10:21 am

Look, the trick with switching them is to be patient and persistent. Start by giving him a simple all-grain gloop. Buy whole grains like kamut (my birds love it because it's the biggest grain), wheat kernels, oat groats, hulled barley -you can find them all online, even in Amazon- and cook them al dente (a bit soft in the outside but still hard inside -takes about half an hour of boiling). It's important that you do not overcook them because the more they resemble seeds, the easier it will be for the bird to start eating them. At night, when the bird is already asleep, remove the bowl with the seeds and, the following dawn, place about two tablespoons of the cooked grains on a white paper plate at the bottom of the cage and a bit in his regular food bowl (so he has a choice) and mix the merest sprinkle of seeds (no sunflowers) into the grain mix. He will, most likely, not even touch it for the first two days but that is fine - it's the way it always go so don't worry. At dusk (when the sun is halfway down to the horizon), take the gloop away and put one single heaping tablespoon of seeds in his food bowl. The following morning, do the same thing. In two days or so, he will start eating it. He will start by picking the seeds first but, eventually, he will try one grain, he will like it and will start eating them (you will know he does when you see something that looks like little empty white 'skins'). Once you see that he eats his gloop without hesitation and regularly, start adding veggies to it. First veggie is always fresh corn (because ALL birds love it), once he is eating the corn AND the grains, add peas, once he is eating this, add diced carrots - then chopped broccoli (make sure you buy the chopped frozen one because if you get the larger pieces, he will pick them out and throw them to the floor), diced butternut squash and last but not least, cooked sweet potatoes in small chunks. The veggies should all be frozen, not fresh and not canned, because they are the healthiest choice - the only veggie that you need to cook is the sweet potatoes and it's actually pretty easy because you can nuke them in a Potato Express bag or bake them (do it with the skin on and peel it after they are cooked, it's much easier than way and they retain more of the nutrients). I also put red and/or black rice and black (beluga) lentils plus flax seed (for the Omega 3) to round up nutrition. And, of course, they get a multivitamin/mineral supplement twice a week for the D3 and whatever lack there might be.

I can assure you this system works. He might be a little hungry the first two days but he won't starve because he will get his seed dinner and he WILL like the gloop - they all do, from budgies to macaws.

And, yes, senegals are VERY intelligent! People tend to think that the more intelligent parrots are the large ones but this is not true, there are little ones that are super smart, senegals and quakers, for example. My Zoey Senegal does not say a single word but she understand everything I say to her, is very obedient and, as time went by, she became super sweet tempered (she was always sweet to me, never a single bit or even a nip, but she had been given up because of aggression and used to go after my husband all the time -even bit my daughter once when she got too close to me). And Sweetpea is the most intelligent bird I've ever had (and I do mean BY FAR) and I've had A LOT of birds under my care! He was the bane of my existence for years (took five years for him to become my friend), super aggressive bird (he attacked me every single day several times a day, I still have scars from his bites) that hated all humanity but he had good reason for it. He had been kept in a small square cage (with only one single perch in the middle of it) for what I assume was the most part of his 11 years without coming out at all because of his aggression (his first owners called him 'the parrot from hell' and warned me about letting him out).
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 17890
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: Senegal parrot , lost contour feathers on back and belly

Postby DExUS » Mon Jan 04, 2021 4:35 pm

He is plucking for sure, there were few feathers near the tail that started to grow. They were fine this morning. This eavning they were gone....
He let them grow more than before but still removed them.
DExUS
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 5
Location: Slovakia
Number of Birds Owned: 7
Types of Birds Owned: Budgies, Lovebird, Senegal Parrot
Flight: Yes

Re: Senegal parrot , lost contour feathers on back and belly

Postby Pajarita » Tue Jan 05, 2021 10:26 am

Well, yes, there was never any doubt that he is plucking, was there? Because the ONLY way that feathers 'disappear' is if they pull them out - molt, disease, parasites or anything else that you can think of doesn't do it. Not even barbering or overpreening because when they barber, you see feathers that were cut short (they start at the tip of the feather and cut a little piece of it, then they keep on 'cutting' pieces until the bird has broken and ragged feathers that usually stick out - and, in overpreening, the bird ends up with feathers that have no vane (the two 'wing-thingies' that grow from either side of the shaft and make what we see of the feather). And I know because I have all three: birds that pluck, barber and overpreen. I strongly recommend you change his living conditions fast because the longer he plucks, the harder it will be to stop it until it cannot ever be stopped because the bird not only develops a habit of it but also becomes addicted to the surge of endorphins it releases every time it feels the pain - it becomes an addiction.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 17890
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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