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New to parrots, getting a Senegal today

3192 Views 25 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Marnies' mom
I am leaving to go get a Senegal, almost 2 years old, in about an hour. I'm very excited, having always wanted a parrot. I have done lots of reading over the last few days, and it seems to me like a Senegal is a good first parrot.

I also have two budgies, who are semi-tame and live in a flight cage with lots of toys.

I'm happy to have found this website, I expect to learn a lot by reading here.

If anyone has any tips for easing the transition to a new home, for a 2 year old Senegal, I would love to hear them!
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Welcome to the forum!! Senegals have a habit of being phobic, or scare easily. I would bring your senegal home in his carrier, set the cage up EXACTLY how you want it for the next few weeks, and once everything is in order, place the carrier near the cage and let him/her go in the cage on their own. Let them rest and relax for the rest of the day/night, and work slowly on getting to know him over the next few weeks :thumbsup:
Jenny has given great advice!

We brought home Scooter, a 4 year old Senegal.... and we took the idea of respect.

We would ask him to do something, but never forced him to do things.

He was terrified the first day and a half and actually spent the night in his travel cage. I thought it best to let him come out on his terms.

And through the first few weeks of having him, we continued to give him space and respect him... and now it's been 2 and a half months and he's adjusting very well. He's starting to climb out of his shell (so to speak) and become very adventurous, and curious about everything. I'd even say he's saucy lol! He's Mr. Stinker. He is a bird that needs to be supervised at all times, for once your back is turned he finds something to get into lol!

Scooter has a big appetite and will eat pretty much everything I offer him. Or at the very least try it.

He can be fearful of new situations... but it's hit and miss. He loves finger traps that i attach to several of my hand made toys, but when i went to hand him a finger trap last week, he totally spazzed out. lol! Very weird.

He is very one family oriented. I don't trust him around anyone but us..... he doesnt lunge at guests, but he would bite them if they got in his space and put a hand near him.

Scooter is very vocal, and spends hours at a time, whistling and making cute noises to amuse himself and us lol!
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Roni, my senegal, is only a year old. She was hand-fed, but weaned when I first met her, and she was not mean at all but also was not used to having people handle her by the time I started. She was in her own environment for a long time before I moved her, so I had some advantages you will not have. I was able to move very slowly. The first time the only thing I did was have her sit on a small perch and watch me play with another bird that was comfortable playing with me. The second time I played with another bird and offered her treats. On the third session I started actually handling her. She was very comfortable with me by the time I brought her home. I was able to put her into the cage she would be living in at home for a week before I moved her to my home. Once she got home, I didn't do anything other than put her carrier inside her cage and let her crawl out into the cage on her own. Then I didn't do anything else with her for a couple of days other than feed and talk to her.

All of that sounds pretty slow for a bird that was already really comfortable with me in the store, but senegals are known for phobic reactions, so with sennies it is always better to err on the side of caution.

Since you will not have the options of moving as slowly as I moved with my bird, and will have to bring it home before it is comfortable with you, be especially careful to follow the advice Jenny and Shandi have given. Perhaps you will be bringing the bird home with the cage it is familiar with, and if you can do that, that will be great! That will be one less adjustment.

IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, ask the present owners to put the bird into its travel cage and put the travel cage inside the cage in your home and let the bird climb out on its own. If the travel cage won't fit inside the bird's cage, try your best to give the bird another way to go into the cage on its own, such as holding the opened travel cage next to the opening of the permanent cage.

The nice thing about getting a two year old senegal is that it will have already passed through the most volatile phobic age, so it might adjust easily. :thumbsup:

The draw back about getting a two year old senegal is that it will have already passed through the most volatile phobic age, so if the present owners have not known how to handle those well the bird may have developed some severe and significant phobias.

So my best advice is to really find out as much as possible about the bird and how it interacts in its present environment. If it is highly maladjusted, you might want to pass and wait for another one. There are many, many wonderful senegals and other poicephalus. There will be others available if this one is very maladjusted.
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Good advice everyone has given and congratulations on your first Senegal. Are you getting a male or female? I have a female and she is almost two. She does prefer my husband over me and will attack me if my husband is near, I have read that they are a one person bird. My senegal likes to be scritched on the head and she steps ups when she feels like it but she is unpredictable sometimes and she will bite me. But overall she is a nice bird and talks a little. She calls the dog and tells my son to go to bed, even during the day, it is so funny.
Good luck with your Sennie and let us know how she is doing.
We're home. I'm totally enamored!

The carrier that she came with, is one of those tiny cages that are sold to house a single budgie (and no, I would never make any bird live in a cage of that size) for about ten bucks in pet stores.

She rode on my 12 year old's lap in the passenger front seat. It was about a three hour drive.

She never appeared fearful, and within 20 minutes was accepting treats (raisins and slices of apple). When we were eating lunch during the drive home, she kept staring at us and sort of bobbing/rocking her head and neck back and forth. I finally caught on that she was begging for some of our food (nope, I did not give french fries to the parrot).

About half an hour from home, she began to show signs of boredom and frustration. Nothing major, and I can hardly blame her!

We set up her cage, put her cage top play area on, and she started to whistle, obviously wanting to get into her cage. So I brought her over, opened the carrier, and she immediately climbed onto her cage.

She is climbing everywhere, playing, eating/drinking, and still accepting treats from us (it's me, a 12 year old and a very gentle, animal-savvy 3 year old).

One problem though. After doing some reading yesterday, I wanted to get away from her present diet (which is a bowl full of Wal Mart parrot seed blend, and some treats) and get her onto parrot pelleted food, with lots and lots of fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, beans.

I filled her bowl about halfway with pellets, and put about a teaspoon of her old seed mixture on top. She is eating all of the seeds, and literally picking the pellets out and throwing them down.

Can I do something to get her to accept the new food?
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Oh, also during the car ride home she was soliciting (and accepting) head and neck scritches.
She's screaming now, for about the last 15 minutes. Sort of sounds like a lovebird. Is this because she is in new surroundings? She doesn't seem to like it when we all leave the room, so I don't want to just go and leave her be (as is my first reaction, leave a new animal to adjust without added pressure).

She also seems to be talking, or rather saying two different phrases.
Well, I would leave her diet alone, don't change it, for at least 2 weeks of her getting to your home. She may not eat as much with the stress of a new home, so you're better off playing it safe :thumbsup:

As for the screaming? It may sound harsh, but tough love might be best. The first week or so is imperative to her adjusting to your home. It's very hard to do, but don't treat her any differently for these first few days than you plan to long term. That means, don't give her extra treats, attention, or out of cage time. Birds are creatures of habit, so she will come to expect you to react to her screaming, or to give her a certain amount of attention.

Right now she's probably screaming because everything's new and you're her new friends and until she feels safe, she doesn't want to be alone. But she does need to learn that she will be alone for certain periods of each day
I agree that it would be best to wait for a couple of weeks before you try to chang her diet, but when you do, it is not so bad that she is throwing away the pellets because at least she is putting them in her mouth and kind of tasting them when she does that. It may take a while before she starts to eat them, but I think it will happen eventually. My senegal likes to throw new things round for a while, too.

It sounds as if she is a wonderful bird, and I am happy for all of you.
Well, it turned out that the bird had phobia issues :( so the previous owner accepted her back since I don't have the experience to rehab a bird.

But I am still set on a Senegal, I've always wanted a parrot and everything that I read about Senegals sounds just perfect to me.

So, here is my new bird, a just weaned, handfed baby
Oh, it's too bad it didn't work out. The baby is beautiful!:)
I'm sorry about the older bird.
Do you have the new bird home now?
Do you have the book about Poicephalus by Mattie Sue Athen? It has been very helpful to me in raising Roni.
Keep us posted. Senegals can be great birds, and, for me, Roni is perfect. I have used the information from the book, and I think that is part of why she is who she is today. She also had a good start, and I'm sure your baby has had a good start, too.
I will look for that book, thank you.

I don't have her yet, she will be flying from Ohio to me in Oregon next Friday. I spent a long time online looking at different breeders, and calling those that sounded like good prospects to me. This breeder sounded really nice and knowledgeable, responsible and caring. Not the least bit pushy, she was clearly not trying to make a sale.

She commented that this particular bird is extra sweet. She had a male available as well, of the same age, and said that they are both sweet, but that this female is just extraordinarily sweet.

There are some handfed baby Senegals available at a pet store within a couple hours' drive of me, but I did not get the same good feeling that I had about this breeder. Out of all of the breeders that I talked to over the past couple of days, this one really stood out to me.

I don't have experience with bird breeders, but I have lots of experience with dog and dairy goat breeders. I know what to listen for, what makes the difference in an excellent breeder of those two species, and I'm hoping that I chose well for my first parrot as well.
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Congratulations on finding a baby sennie! I will only offer one warning, be very careful with your youngest about interacting with a sennie. Their bite is a very serious bite and can cause a lot of damage.
Thank you. I will keep that in mind. He's a very gentle child, and very respectful of all kinds of animals. He grew up with a dog and a cat (the cat has since passed) and was never permitted to be at all rough or persistent with either of them. He is able to put his hand into the budgie cage and hold them on a finger by himself (supervised, of course). He's careful not to run or jump or toss items near the budgie cage.

Which is not to say that things can't happen. But I don't want anyone to think that I'm bringing a parrot into a home with rambunctious kids who may frighten or harm a bird.

I may be assuming incorrectly here, but I thought that perhaps we would have a little while to get to gently know the parrot before she entered into a biting phase?

In any case, I don't plan to allow the 3 year old to handle the bird until we all know one another. And he would be very closely supervised.
I was unaware that you have budgies, but I think that it is great that your children already have good experiences with birds. Could you tell us more about your budgies? We actually like to hear about all kinds of animals.

It has been my experience that the handfed babies that are sweet have a very good chance of remaining sweet, so congratulations on finding this particular bird. I don't have lots of experience, only what I've seen at the bird store where I got Roni, but they've had several babies from the same pairs and the biggest thing in determining their steadiness seems to be their individual personalities when they are being handfed. Also, with sennies and even the other pois, separating them into individual boxes when they are very early into handfeeding seems to increase their steadiness, I have no idea why.

They got three new baby Cape parrots and they let me see them yesterday. You could already tell that one was very much more prone to fear reactions than the other two. They are only 4 weeks old.

I hope you and your family are as pleased with your sennie as I am with mine. They can be wonderful.
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My budgies live in a flight cage in the room in which we spend the most time (the same room that the Senegal will live in). They're both just beginning their first molt, so they are about 3 months old. We've had them for a little more than a month.

They are semi-tame, and I work with them daily to try to get them completely tame. It is my understanding that they were not hand-fed in the usual way, were parent reared, but that they were... semi-hand-fed?

They are from two different clutches, I believe from two different breeders as one is banded but the other (and all others that I have seen in that store) are not.

One is cobalt, just a bit darker blue than the standard blue type. The other is a color which I have never seen, and can't find an example of online.

It doesn't have any bars (it had some extremely faint bars on its head but more in a pied pattern and you had to look very closely to see them- that's how I know that it is a baby) but instead is a very, very light pastel yellow all over its body. The yellow is unevenly shaded, more like slightly darker and lighter splotches all over, including its face. The yellow is so light that the bird is often mistaken for a white bird at first glace. It looks like someone painted it with watercolors, then tried to rinse the color away. Its face is slightly brighter yellow. It has a splotch of very light grey on the "shoulder", the front of each wing. And it has a purple (not bluish purple, a very true purple) rump and a violet-tending-toward-purple belly.

It is an exceptionally lovely bird, with a sweet disposition although the cobalt bird is tamer. I don't have a camera right now, but plan to get one in the next couple of weeks.
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Oh, and it is my understanding that the breeder from whom I am buying my Senegal does separate them into individual boxes for hand rearing.

I'm very excited, I can't wait to meet my new parrot! I feel privileged to be able to start with a well-reared baby, and I really want to make sure to do everything that I can to raise her right so that she ends up a happy, well-adjusted adult who enjoys being part of the family.
Your budgies sound beautiful and sweet.

I am certain you will do a wonderful job with your senegal and end up with a lovely pet. The senegal will also enjoy the budgies. Mine talks to my grass parakeets and lineolated parakeet all the time. I don't allow them physical contact, but they really do like having one another around to chatter with.
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