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Now what? (new baby Senegal)

3826 Views 31 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  nanay
I brought a baby (just weaned on 5/18), handfed Senegal home (had her shipped from a few states away) on Saturday night. We got home very late on Saturday night, so yesterday I just sat near her cage and did my own thing so that she could settle in.

Yesterday, she mostly napped and ate, very little exploring.

Today, she is much more active and interested in her surroundings. She is really exploring her cage a lot.

I am thinking that this means that it is time to start handling her, but when I try she gets scared and tries to fly (she is clipped). Should I force the issue, or just leave her alone for another day?
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I'm no expert, but I don't think I would force her just yet. She's been through so much of late.

Am I correct that you do not have other birds? I ask because that is how my senegal became comfortable with me, watching me play with other birds.

I wouldn't wait a really long time before becoming a bit more forward with her, but for at least today I'd give her more time. You might leave her cage open and let her decide for herself if she wants to come out. Also, see if she'll take treats from your hands?
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I would go slow. Senegals are prone to phobias and being fearful, so it's important to build a relationship based on trust. Forcing the issue always leaves a hint of mistrust, no matter how strong the relationship.

Just spend time near her. I found, with my fearful birds, sitting nearby reading a book, singing a song, staying close enough for them to reach me - they end up coming over to nibble my hair/shirt/glasses :thumbsup: Do you have any big, gaudy necklaces that aren't too special to you? :giggle: You can wear it and see if she comes over to investigate the shiny! Maybe place your hand in the cage, holding a treat, and wait for her to come to you
I have two budgies, but they aren't tame.

If I get close enough to the cage to offer a treat, she tries to fly away.

I do have the cage open, she came out and is sitting on top. She is watching me, but she isn't making any attempt to interact.

I tried to offer a treat, but she tried to fly away and fell on the floor. I backed off and let her walk back to and climb up onto the cage on her own, was that the right thing to do?
Sounds good to me! :) Just follow your gut - it's guiding you in the right direction so far!
Okay, good.

I just got close enough to offer a section of a tangerine, she took it but dropped it, I don't think that she liked it. Then I gave her a little section of a millet spray, and held it to her as she nibbled some of the seeds.

That was successful, maybe if I can do that some more, she will start to feel more comfortable with me.
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I left the room for a few minutes, and she was chirping loudly while I was gone. When I came back, she was at the closest edge of the top of the cage, watching the doorway that I had gone into with what looked like anticipation.

But when I came back out, she looked slightly crestfallen and edged away a bit. So, I sat down without approaching her.

I think that she is lonely, the breeder said that she was extra sweet and LOVES attention. But I think that she misses the breeder and her adult son, and doesn't know what to make of being suddenly foist into a house with strangers.

She'll warm up, right? She'll accept that the breeder is gone, and accept me?
Yes, she will warm up to you. She just needs time. Like a child, she'll have to realize she's not going to see her "mommy" anymore, mourn her loss, then learn to love her new Mommy :) Make sense?
Yes, that makes total sense and I was hoping that would be the case.

So should I just wait her out, do my thing on the computer (which is about two feet from her cage) and make little comments to her here and there, and offer her treats now and then until she shows signs of wanting me to handle her?

Sorry for the run-on sentence.
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You have good instincts with her. She will figure this out and warm up to you and your family. She is already making great progress.

I think you should congratulate yourself on the fact that she has really had no negative experiences in your care. Yes, she is scared of the new situation, and the trip would have been frightening, too, but she has had only positive experiences with you. :thumbsup:

Did I miss something? Did you already tell us her name?

Oh, and I guess I didn't answer your question directly, but, yes, do as you have suggested.
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Oh, her name is Eko. After my favorite character on the show Lost. I don't normally name pets after tv characters, but that show was exceptional to me, and that character especially. And both the character, and the actor, are Nigerian. I understand that the range of Senegals in the wild includes Nigeria.

She's DNA sexed female, but I like the name for her anyway.

I was afraid that being pushed past her comfort level to the point of trying to fly away, and discovering that she fell on the floor instead, might be a really negative experience for her. I am hoping that if I continue to give her treats, she will forgive me.
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I wouldn't worry at all about the fact that she tried her wings and discovered she can no longer fly. Roni has done that repeatedly and that in and of itself doesn't bother her.

I read once that a senegal will flee when frightened if it can. Being able to get away and then learn they were ok doesn't seem to have any lasting negative effects on them. Don't worry as long as she calmed down fine afterward.

Even though she fled, she probably doesn't remember it as negative. We caution senegal owners about senegal phobias, but they are not so sensitive that things like that bother them overly.

In fact, it may help you to know that the true phobic stages don't usually start until senegals are older than your bird is now. I'll try to look up the age when true phobic reactions usually begin, but your baby is too young for that. She'll bond to you and trust you long before that critical period begins, and you should be able to get her through it with flying colors, too.
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Okay, that is very reassuring, thank you.

When she is feeling particularly calm, in the mood in which she explores her cage and climbs all over, she has a variety of sounds that she sort of runs through.

From watching Youtube videos of Senegals, I observed that their voice has a particular quality when they are talking as opposed to the voice that they use when making bird sounds or imitating other things than actual speech.

I watched many videos, but not hundreds or anything lol, so I may be wrong.

Anyway, she has a sound that definitely employs that voice, and it sounds like she is trying or learning to say "hello". Is it too early for a Senegal to try to mimic speech? She would have learned it from her breeder, she's only been here a couple of days.
They can start talking very young. Roni already said "step up" before she came home. The key, in my opinion, is to imitate whatever you THINK they are trying to say whenver they say it. You reinforce talking, and they become clearer and clearer. Even if it wasn't what they initially wanted to say, it really doesn't matter.
Great, that's what I did, when it registered that it sounded like a mumbled "hello" I said "hello" in the same tone of voice back to her.
I should mention though, that if she never spoke a single word, that would be totally fine with me. Talking has never been part of the reason that I wanted a parrot, not even a tiny bit.
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She is still afraid of me, is this okay?

She comes closer to me, as close as possible on the top of her open cage door, but when I try to get her to step up she tries to fly away. She does take treats from me now.

About half an hour ago, she flew down from her cage and is walking all over the house. She appears to be checking things out, or going on a tour or something. Is that okay? It's a big, open house and all of the bedrooms and bathrooms are closed.
It's fine to let Eko explore as long as you are there to supervise! You may want to try picking her up from the floor next time she flies down to it. Ask her to step up (use a perch if you think that she is wary of hands) and when she does, praise her lavishly (make a big fuss) and offer her a treat.
We tried to pick her up, both by hand and with a very long stick. Also, I had my 12 year old son (who she seems to be the least afraid of) lay all the way flat on the ground and try to offer a hand that way.

She reacted to each attempt by quickly walking away.

Finally, after she was all done exploring, she got tired and started to fall asleep in the middle of the family room floor. I was worried about that, so I had my 12 year old gently put a small towel over her and scoop her up and carry her to her cage. That didn't freak her out :shrug:

Later, when it was time for bed, she had been half sleeping on top of her cage and my son was able to get her to step up and put her in her cage.

Progress! Right?

I'm starting to feel discouraged, like I made a mistake. I had thought that by getting a handfed baby, I would have a better chance at her not being afraid of me, of being able to start off on the right foot with a bird who hasn't had any traumatic experiences, and that I would be able to start handling and working with her right away. Especially one described by the breeder as extra sweet and loving attention.

Maybe I should have gotten an older bird? :smilie_help:
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No, that's definite progress! I don't think you made a mistake at all :)
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