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Stubborn Senegal

Talk about bird illnesses and other bird health related issues. Seeds, pellets, fruits, vegetables and more. Discuss what to feed your birds and in what quantity. Share your recipe ideas.

Stubborn Senegal

Postby Rosie01 » Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:58 pm

Hello, I’ve got a Senegal, whose approximately 6 years old according to his ring. He was give up by a previous owner. He’s very stubborn and was from a seed diet. He had 3 bowels of seed, different brands for food when I got him. I’ve been trying hard to convert him. It’s taken about two years for me to finally get him to eat vegetables. I’m trying to open his range of veg up but he’s getting a mixed bowel every day and he’s starting to eat more so I’m pretty positive with it.

I need help with his base diet, he won’t eat pellets. I’ve tried lots of different brands and he won’t touch anything. I’ve tried different methods, everything suggested on here. Harrison’s, tops etc... are no good. I’ve even tried Marlene Mc’cohen tops brand that has some seeds mixed in but he only eats the seeds. He spends all day picking out the seeds. What do people advice?

He eats nutri berries, I fed him seed only ones and slowly converted without him realising. For pellets it’s impossible. I weighed him constantly on the pellets and he was losing weight quickly and had to change him back.

Thanks for help and advice! :senegal:
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 1
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Flight: Yes

Re: Stubborn Senegal

Postby Pajarita » Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:27 am

Hi, Rosie and Sennie (you did not tell us his name), welcome to the forum and thank you so much not only for adopting instead of buying a baby but also for worrying about his diet and trying so hard to change it.

Parrots are VERY stubborn and difficult when it comes to changing the diet they've known since but that is not their fault - they are meant to learn what to eat from their parents when they are weaning and, unfortunately for us and them, breeders usually wean them to seeds because it's easy and cheap. Having said that, it's entirely possible to switch them to a healthy diet! It takes time, patience, persistence and consistency BUT the most important thing to do is to follow nature's guidelines and use them as 'tricks'. Let me explain. Parrots are all programmed to gorge on protein because protein is necessary for life and, most importantly, for breeding (the ultimate goal of nature for any species) and, as there are no sources of abundant protein all year round in the wild, they are 'mentally programmed' to eat and eat and eat of it until there is no more or they are super full. So, when you free-feed (put the food in a bowl and leave it there all day long) protein, they will hardly touch anything else because this is the way they were 'programmed' to eat. They are also 'programmed' to eat at dawn and dusk with them being their hungriest in the morning so we use this for our advantage (one of the tricks).

Now, nutriberries are really not good for parrots because they are made of seeds stuck together so, in reality, what you are feeding is seeds and nothing more. I know it says on the label that they have vitamins and minerals and they are not lying when they say that, only problem is that the vitamins and minerals are sprayed on them, coating the seeds and parrots 'peel' the seeds and have no saliva so they hardly get any vitamins or minerals into them.

All my birds came from somewhere else and most of them were 'seed junkies' so I have a bit of experience switching them to a good diet and have come up with 'tricks' for it. There are two things you need to do: 1) find a staple food that is low protein, low fat, high humidity, high fiber, nutritious and appetizing to the bird and 2) portion the protein food you offer. I feed gloop because after doing research for many years have come to the conclusion that pellets are not and never will be the best dietary option for parrots. I have, in the past, tried to 'convince' my parrots to accept pellets not because I was planning on using them on a daily basis but because, if I died and they went somewhere else, I wanted them to be able to accept them as food, just in case. No cigar. They do not like them - and I don't blame them because I have tried them and it's like putting compressed saw dust in your mouth: dry, dry, dry and completely tasteless! Who can blame them for not wanting them?! Gloop, on the other hand, is wet (just like their natural diet), high in fiber (just like their natural diet), low in protein and fat (just like their natural diet), super nutritious (made with whole grains and frozen produce which is the most nutritious of all the produce -more than fresh and more than canned) and they LOVE IT! My birds (I have two senegals right now but had a total of 4 under my care) eat gloop with raw produce (one green, one fruit, one veggie - a different one each day of the week and some even more seldom than that) for breakfast and all day picking and a mix of seeds and nuts for dinner. This diet, with a multivitamin/mineral supplement powder I put in their water twice a week, rounds up a perfectly nutritious diet that follows the macronutrients guidelines of their natural diets and which they all like.

So, this is what you need to do: at dawn, uncover his cage or open the blinds so he is exposed to the light of dawn (because this light tells their bodies that it's time to eat breakfast), wait about an hour and put out the raw produce and leave it there for about one more hour (try eating it in front of him making yummy noises and not offering him any - they always want what we are eating). I have found that giving them a 'salad' does not really work because they always end up picking what they like and leaving the rest and that's not nutritious, they need the variety. My sennies are not big on leafy greens but they do like their raw broccoli, cauliflower and celery, and they will also eat (not always, mind you) red Swiss Chard and the very heart of the Romaine lettuce. They will eat any and all fruits and most of the veggies with their favorites being carrots, red/yellow/orange pepper (not so much the green), cucumber (they don't get them often at all because there is hardly any nutrition in them), beets and everybody's all time favorite: fresh corn on the cob! For dinner -which needs to be served at dusk and about one hour after you turn off the overhead lights (because the light of dusk makes them hungry for their dinner)- they get one level tablespoon of a cockatiel/conure mix with safflower seeds and a couple of nuts (their very favorite is cashews but they will eat any nut with gusto). Once he stops eating and goes to his roosting perch to sleep, take out the bowl with whatever is left of the seeds. The trick is to give them the healthy food when they are hungriest, limit the amount of not so healthy food (high protein), to serve this food at the right times AND to practice tough love! Because even if you don't see him eating the gloop at the beginning (which he won't), he won't starve because he will have his seeds/nuts in the evening and they all need time to get used to a new food. I can tell you that I have transitioned, literally, hundreds of birds to gloop (I used to run a bird rescue in Pa) and they all eat it. What you can do to make the transition easier is to start with a simple grain gloop made out of only half-cooked whole grains and, right before you serve it, sprinkle a little bit of seed mixing it in. The first days he will only pick the seeds out but, eventually, he will try the whole grains and, once he does, he will like them and will start eating them all the time. Once you see that he is (you will find little white empty 'skins' in it), add corn to it (you can do it from a can at the beginning but make sure you buy the kind without salt) and once he eats it (he will!), add sweet peas - once he eats them, add diced carrots - once he eats them, add chopped broccoli (make sure it's chopped because if you use bigger pieces, he will pick them and throw them out).

This is a method that I have taught to many, many people that had trouble switching their birds to a healthy diet and I can assure you that if you follow it to the letter and do not get impatient, he will transition. I promise you.

Let me know if you have any questions or doubts and don't feel bad about asking any and all questions no matter how trivial they might sound to you.
Norwegian Blue
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 17202
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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