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Senegal toddler playful nipping...

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Senegal toddler playful nipping...

Postby Laurie Feldman » Thu Jul 02, 2020 2:50 am

Hello everyone. We live with a 14 year old male Sennie and a 14 month old female. She is extremely playful and he is very patient with her, feeding her constantly (maybe too much) and loving snuggles and preening with her. She is in the "terrible 2's" phase, extremely playful, loves to fly at speed around and around the house, and thinks it is hilarious to nip both her "big brother" and me. She'll land on me and immediately give a pinching nip, or fly to my hand then nip it, then make her "giggle" sound and fly off, coming immediately back to do it again. The other bird is very patient though I do usually separate them in the afternoons so he can rest; he likes a three hour nap, at least. She will eventually fall asleep, but only if she's in her own resting time out cage. Then they go back together and happily spend late afternoon, evening, and night together. I know her nipping behavior is play, but it's becoming painful. I try my very best not to even react. It's not only my hands, it's any part of me she lands on, and she really seems to think it's hilarious. Thanks for any suggestions. I hope everyone is well and safe, and staying strong!
Laurie Feldman
Lovebird
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 37
Location: Florence, Italy and Imperia, Italy
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal parrot
Flight: Yes

Re: Senegal toddler playful nipping...

Postby Pajarita » Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:16 am

Well, the 'terrible twos' are for larger species like grays, not for the little ones because they mature much earlier than the larger ones (a gray, at two years of age, is like an older child but a sennie at the same age is an older teenager). She is becoming sexually mature but I do not think that this behavior is related to it, it seems to me that this is a game to her and, in a way, a learned behavior (somebody taught her to 'giggle' after a hard nip). Why do you not show that you are hurt? Is it that you believe the old canard that one should not react at all when bit? If you do, I would suggest that you have been misinformed (this theory went around for a looooong time and, unfortunately, it is still going around). Most of my birds came to me because of aggression so I have quite a bit of experience with dealing and eradicating it and can tell you without the shadow of a doubt that not showing pain does not work. Why would it? If the bird is doing something that it considers fun and does not elicit any type of negative response, why would it stop? People don't give parrots enough credit... they are not only highly intelligent, they are also incredibly empathetic and very loving - to the point that they fret when we are depressed, sick or in pain so showing that it hurts (and making a big deal of it) will teach it not to do it. Why? Because she loves you and does not want to hurt you. It's the same as teaching a baby not to hit hard when they start slapping our faces with their little hands... It doesn't really hurt us when they do it but you stop it because you do not want the child to grow up hitting other people. The same way that you would teach a child not to hit hard, you need to teach the bird not to nip hard. I recommend that every time she does it, you make whatever exclamation of pain is normal to you (OWWW - OUCH - AY AY - whatever) LOUDLY and very quickly and in a firm voice tell her not to do it (I would say "NO! BAD BIRD!" "Don't bite!"), turn your back on her, walk away and, if she comes to you within 5 minutes of this happening, do not give her any 'love' and repeat the Bad bird - don't bite. But ONLY for the next five minutes - not longer than that - we do not know exactly for how long after the action they make the direct connection to the reaction but, just to play it safe, I use the same parameters that I use for dogs: 5 minutes although I suspect that parrots can do it for much longer than that.

But you posted something that worries me: your male Senegal takes 3 hour naps in the middle of the day? Has he been to a vet for a complete physical recently? Or is it that you are not keeping them at a strict solar schedule? Because no healthy parrot takes a 3 hour nap in the middle of the day, not even during the summer when the nights are short. At least, none of mine ever did and I've had a lot of parrots for a lot of years...
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 17487
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 toddler playful nipping...

Postby Laurie Feldman » Fri Jul 03, 2020 5:40 am

Thanks, Pajarita. She is actually not 2 years old, she is 14 months. I am going to try to do as you suggest, regarding the nipping You-You has always taken these long naps, since he came to us at 11 months. The first months of his life were very solitary, in a store by himself with almost no people and only one other bird, where the shades were down most of the time. It's why we brought him home; we couldn't bear seeing him there. He's now 14 years old. They are not on a strict solar schedule, we just can't manage it with our own very complicated schedules. They almost always go to bed at 9PM (he always calls, and twirls upside down, when he wants to go; then I wheel the cage into our bedroom and partially cover it) and I let them sleep 12 hours. He would sleep until mid-day if I let him, but she wakes automatically 12 hours after she goes to sleep. I know the solar schedule would be the best thing for them but it's not something we are able to do.
Laurie Feldman
Lovebird
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 37
Location: Florence, Italy and Imperia, Italy
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal parrot
Flight: Yes

Re: Senegal toddler playful nipping...

Postby Pajarita » Fri Jul 03, 2020 9:21 am

Ahhhh, so that's why he is overly hormonal (masturbates on your husband, feeds the female all the time, etc)! Be careful because a bird that is not kept at a strict solar schedule is NOT a healthy bird as it will inevitably have (and this is a scientific fact and not my personal opinion) a screwed up endocrine system and that means a depressed immune system, hormonal dysfunction, mood changes, lack of quality sleep with the cognitive deficiency it brings, metabolic disease, etc. Everything is affected when the glands are not producing hormones properly - even the plumage because the liver will not metabolize protein correctly if the body is constantly producing sexual hormones.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 17487
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 toddler playful nipping...

Postby Laurie Feldman » Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:00 am

Thanks, Pajarita. So now that there's Covid, and I'm always home with them, how can I begin to get them onto a solar schedule? The male is such a creature of habit that I'm not optimistic I can break his habitual cycle, and I don't want to traumatize him (he REALLY does not like change), but I'm willing to give it a try.
Laurie Feldman
Lovebird
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 37
Location: Florence, Italy and Imperia, Italy
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal parrot
Flight: Yes

Re: Senegal toddler playful nipping...

Postby Pajarita » Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:43 am

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS! I really appreciate your trying and taking the time to learn and apply knowledge to improve your birds life! Kudos to you for that! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Birds are all photoperiodic so keeping them at a solar schedule is not something that will make them suffer, that they need to get used to or that they will 'rebel' against - it is what nature ordained for them and the most natural of the all the natural things in the whole world for them. He will get used to it in no time at all - as a matter of fact, I will dare say that, if you do it right, he will do it from day one and there will be no adjustment period at all. This is not any type of boast on my part, mind you - it's that their bodies are made to react to the stimulus so when you expose them to it, the body reacts, nature follows its course and that is all there is to it.

Let me explain why I say this. When the sun begins to peep on the horizon or goes down in the evening, the light hits the atmosphere at an angle, refracting it in a completely different way than it does when it is hitting it straight or almost straight down. This 'slanted' refraction causes the spectrum (the different 'colored' lights that make the white light of the sun) to change so there is less of one type of light and more of another (know how the light seems blue before the sun begins to come out and then turns golden in the morning? or how the sky and everything looks orangey or reddish during the sunset?). It is this different light (which we call twilight) that activates or deactivates their photoreceptors (which they have both in their eyes, like mammals do, BUT ALSO inside their brains because nature figured that light was so important to their wellbeing that gave them extra receptors so, even when their eyes are closed -as when your bird takes a nap during the day- they are still reacting to it through the deep-brain photoreceptors -the light shines into the brain through cranial bones made especially thin so they are translucid - how cool is that?!). And it functions as a stopwatch. The light of dawn turns it on and the light of dusk turns it off - and the body registers the number of hours in between these two daily events to set up their circadian cycle which, in turn, feeds their circannual cycle. The circadian cycle is the one that sets the times for eating, resting, interacting, sleep and all daily activities - the circannual is the one that tells their bodies when it's time to start or stop production of sexual hormones, when it's time to molt, when it's time to migrate, etc. This is why this is called 'photoperiodism' from the Greek word for light -photo- and the 'periods' signifying what we call seasons -as in breeding, molting, resting, migrating seasons. When their bodies are being exposed to the same length of days all year round, year after year, the endocrine system looses track of the seasons and becomes dysfunctional, affecting the whole 'workings' of the body.

All you have to do is look at the sun. Open the blinds, shades, drapes, etc or uncover the cage before the sun comes out in the morning (in USA, this time of the year, it happens at 4:45 am but I stretch it to 5 am because I don't get anywhere near enough sleep during the summer), serve them the heathy food breakfast and, at around 7:30 to 8:45 am, turn on the overhead lights (basically, the sun rays need to be streaking into the room through the window and making the room nice and bright). Turn off the overhead lights when the sun is halfway down to the horizon (in USA, it happens around 6 pm), wait a bit and then give them their protein dinner, and, once it's dark outside (here it happens at around 8 - 8:30 pm), cover the cages, close the drapes, etc.

Now, the trick is for them not to be exposed to any artificial light from the time you turn it off in the afternoon to the time you turn it back on when the sun is already high enough to be bright indoors and, by any light, I mean light from another room, from a street or a garden light, from passing cars, or any other source of light even if it looks very dim to us because there are studies that tell us that even a very soft, very low and dim light is still being registered by their photoreceptors so you need to make sure that the cage cover (if that is what you use) is made out of a blackout material and that it covers the cage completely so no light is sneaking in. For example, the light coming from a TV will prevent the bird from making enough melatonin so it can fall asleep so you need to be very careful about this.

At the beginning, you will find it complicated and difficult to do but, like anything else in life, once you get the knack of it and get used to it, it will become second nature and you will be super aware of the sunrises and sunsets and you will do it as a matter of fact without a problem.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 17487
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 toddler playful nipping...

Postby Laurie Feldman » Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:16 am

Dear Pajarita, I can't thank you enough for all of this information. If you will permit, I'll share with you the current routine with the birds, in the hopes that you can give me some advice about how to modify their cycles. If this is too much info, just pass over it!

You-You calls to me to go to "bed", around 9pm every evening. (he swings upside down, makes circles, and says, "amore, amore, amore, amore!!!" ... so sweet). Their cage is then wheeled into our dark bedroom and I cover the cage except for the front. I don't cover the front totally because both of them have occasionally had night frights (generally this seems connected with seismic activity within about a 250 kilometer radius of us; they are so amazing; little earthquake predictors. Mimi, in particular has had a couple of bad ones, flapping, thrashing, screaming, crying, and I'm afraid if the cage were totally covered she might hurt herself. When this happens we hold her until she calms down and gets sleepy again. I hope this is the right thing to do). The room stays dark, even when we go to bed, we don't watch tv in the bedroom. In Italy there are shutters on all the windows, so no light can come in.

As I said, You-You used to sleep until I uncovered him, and I would always try to give hom 12 hours sleep. Now Mimi wakes at 9AM and wakes him, too, and they talk to each other and preen each other.

Given this set-up, should I uncover them at dawn? Should I then open the shutters, or should I wheel the cage out into the front of the house, by the window to the garden? Should I then give them their breakfast?

Their day-time routine is that the cage goes out into the garden, they take a small amount of sun, (she likes it more than he does), then the cage goes onto my big window-sill and they enjoy their day, and the garden, from there. Throughout the day, they come inside, the window is closed, and they come out of the cage. The baby plays a LOT, and flies a lot in the house (it's a big single space room and she makes many circles). You-You takes a few turns around the room with her but is more sedentary. And as I said, he likes to sleep a lot, always has, since he came to us. (Reminder, his first year of life was in a shuttered store with almost no natural light, and almost no people; he was unfortunately also fed a mostly seed diet AND lot of "human food", pasta, fish, fresh cheese like mozzarella (I know...horrifying). It was a struggle to get him onto a healthier diet, and he has been a very picky and unenthusiastic eater. He is better now that Mimi is with him, and has even started eating the fresh vegetables she enjoys so much.

So.... when twilight begins, and I turn off overhead lights and lamps, should I then wheel them into the dark bedroom and cover them? This would mean they go to "bed" much earlier than they are used to, but I imagine they would respond well to this.

Again, I'm so grateful for your help. They are the loves of our lives and we want them to be as healthy as they can be. I fear You-You was damaged already when he came to us, but he is a happy, loving bird and I want him to live as long - in good health - as possible. Cheers! Stay strong! and again, thanks.
Laurie Feldman
Lovebird
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 37
Location: Florence, Italy and Imperia, Italy
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal parrot
Flight: Yes

Re: Senegal toddler playful nipping...

Postby Pajarita » Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:51 am

Well, you could uncover the cage at dawn and open the shutters in the bedroom windows but that would expose you and your husband to light and noise at what, I assume, it's an ungodly hour for you, guys, to get up (I've always been a 'morning' person who likes to get up real early but, during the summer, I get up at dawn for the birds - my husband sleeps until much later) so it might be better for you to move the cage to the living room, uncover it there, open the shutters (the houses in my country of birth also have shutters), serve them breakfast that you left ready the night before and go back to bed for another couple of hours - if you are able to go back to sleep after you wake up. I have trouble sleeping and, once I wake up, I cannot go back to sleep but not everybody is like me (my husband could sleep standing up and with bombs dropping from the sky!). When I lived in Pennsylvania and worked in Manhattan (a 3 hour commute), I used to leave their breakfast ready the night before and, during the winter months, I used to do this in the dark because I needed to take a 4:45 am bus in order to get in to work in a timely basis.

And, in the evening, I would put them in the bedroom when the sun is halfway down and serve them dinner there - leaving the cage uncovered and the shutters open for the dusk light. Then, once it's dark (if you, guys, are like us back home, you have dinner real late and go to bed even later), go into the bedroom, close the shutters and cover their cage and come out again if it's still too early for me to go to bed.

And yes, they do feel vibrations and hear much better than we do. I read once that, during WWII, they used to keep macaws in a church bell tower in a town in Italy as an early warning system for air raids because the birds could hear the planes before the people heard or saw them.

But do not think of You-you as 'damaged' - yes, the conditions were bad and the diet was terrible but you can clean up his liver with supplements and a good, fresh food diet and he is loved now... you just have to tweak your husbandry a bit more to make it even better. That's all. My Sweetpea Senegal lived for 11 years in a small cage without coming out at all, was given a bad diet and was not even loved. His previous owners called him 'the Senegal from hell' and referred to him as 'unredeemable' -the woman thought she was an expert in parrots and, if she could not make him 'better' nobody could) and it took years for him to get over his hatred of all humanity but he is just fine now. He still plucks and, most likely, he will pluck for life but he has a good life, comes out for hours and hours every day to fly, gets a good diet, has the companionship of Zoey Senegal's and has become a good friend of mine. Parrots are much more resilient than people give them credit for...
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 17487
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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