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Anticipating stress

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Anticipating stress

Postby Pajarita » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:51 am

This is an article on a study that says that when humans anticipate stress, even if the stressor doesn't really end up happening, the mere anticipation of it messes up your cognition and memory functions. Now, we know that parrots do anticipate events and anybody who has had a parrot which refuses to go back into his cage in the morning because he KNOWS his human is leaving for the day knows this is 100% true [this is just one example but there are lots and lots that I could write about]. I wonder how the 'anticipated stress' works in their brains...

https://www.zmescience.com/medicine/str ... -242789930
Pajarita
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Re: Anticipating stress

Postby Michael » Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:34 pm

This is why it is really important to avoid being forceful or demanding to parrots with your hands. Too many birds get mishandled and then anticipate stress at the site of hands. No wonder they bite instead of stepping up.
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Michael
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Re: Anticipating stress

Postby Pajarita » Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:49 am

Absolutely correct, Michael, on the forcing or relentlessly insisting on a parrot to do something it doesn't want to do - lasting damage, no doubt about it! I kept on thinking about this last night and there are two points I would like to make for people to think about.

1. If this study is extrapolatable to parrots, it means that on the days when the owner doesn't leave for the day [or whatever other stressor we are talking about], the parrot still suffers because it would anticipate the leaving even when it doesn't happen.

2. On the other hand, I was thinking that this study proves my theory that a super strict, never changing daily routine is one of the most important things you can do for a parrot which, as we all know, will be stressed out by captivity no matter what we do or don't do. Because the anticipation of the exact routine and the fact that the anticipation does indeed ALWAYS 'come true' would act in the opposite way of anticipating a stressor - meaning, it's a 'positive' instead of a 'negative', right?
Pajarita
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Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 12935
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: Anticipating stress

Postby Michael » Sun Jul 08, 2018 6:27 pm

Pajarita wrote:2. On the other hand, I was thinking that this study proves my theory that a super strict, never changing daily routine is one of the most important things you can do for a parrot which, as we all know, will be stressed out by captivity no matter what we do or don't do. Because the anticipation of the exact routine and the fact that the anticipation does indeed ALWAYS 'come true' would act in the opposite way of anticipating a stressor - meaning, it's a 'positive' instead of a 'negative', right?


You would be right in the short term but wrong in the long term. The parrot with the never changing strict daily routine will be devastated to the point of suicide (pulling feathers, getting sick, maybe dying) when that owner finally passes away, rehomes the bird, or ends up in the emergency room. For this reason, teaching them to cope with progressively longer absences and progressively greater amount of stressed preemptively best prepares them for the inevitable.
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Re: Anticipating stress

Postby Pajarita » Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:04 am

I have to disagree with that, Michael. I know that your theory sounds as if you were right but I have never, ever seen this and I've dealt with hundreds of rehomed birds. In my personal experience [and this is without a single exception, mind you], birds that were cared for correctly do a million times better when rehomed than birds that were not. Some of them don't even seem to go through any significant stress at all! I am not saying they are not suffering from it, I am sure they are but, externally, you don't see anything. No plucking, no screaming, no biting, no lack of appetite, no getting sick, no nothing but a sort of over-vigilance where they watch you closely without approaching you - but it lasts only a few days. I think that this is because for parrots as well as for humans stress is cumulative and, as we know that parrots live with chronic stress in captivity no matter what, exposing them to a larger amount regularly does not help them in the short or the long term. As a matter of fact, science tells us that being regularly exposed to stress affects not only our brains but our internal organs and that some of these changes cannot be reversed even if the stress disappears. It literally changes parts of our brain! It has to do with the effect of cortisol [the fight or flight hormone] on it and the necessary balance between the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system [a balance that disappears with chronic stress] as well as 'normal' stress versus 'abnormal' [normal stress being the one that nature already took into consideration and gave the species natural mechanisms to cope - and abnormal stress being the one that nature never took into consideration]. Cortisol is a doozy of a hormone! It's necessary for the fight or flight and, as such, is essential to life BUT allow cortisol to flow too often and/or too much and you end up with what they call the 'cortisol domino' effect where the brain goes in a loop and cannot stop the fight or flight. Dogs and cats are the same [and I have a lot of experience on being on both rehoming ends of these two species, too]. You take an animal that has lived a life without any undue stress and, even when they go through the traumatic experience of losing their home and human, they 'bounce back' quickly and without any lasting consequences because their brains are 'healthy' and their brain has the right sympathetic and parasympathetic response to stress - meaning, it starts and ends when it's supposed to BUT you take an animal that has been exposed to stress for a significant period of time and you have an animal that is going to require a lot of work to be made 'whole' again because it will take a loooong time to get the brain to go back into 'cortisol balance'.

See below:

https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-physic ... rm-stress/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog ... nnectivity

http://www.tuw.edu/content/health/how-s ... the-brain/

http://news.berkeley.edu/2014/02/11/chr ... l-illness/
Pajarita
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Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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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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