Senegal with a taste for blood

Oliverbg

New member
Jul 29, 2021
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Hi All,

I desperately need help, my Senegal has had a complete personality switch in the pace of 2 days, I have lost chunks of me. From being a generally friendly and occasionally moody bird to a violently aggressive one that is possessive and unpredictable. She used to give warning bites, and on bad days a painful nip, now its going for blood repeatedly and holding on and not letting go. This change has happened seemingly over night.

Some facts
She is about 3 years old, I think she is a she
Has a large cage, toys both destructive and foraging
Fresh veggies and pellets daily - p15 nutribird (the only ones i can find here)
Was trained to do a few tricks and to step up and was easy to handle, was happy to step up or be picked up
I live in a large studio so there is no bird room, but she gets covered with 2 blankets every night

The only 2 environment changes I can think of
1. I went on vacation for a week 2 weeks ago, my friend said there were no problems. she was fine for about 5 days after I came back
2. I stopped letting her sit in the bathroom which has a large wall mirror which he/she used to sit in front of all day because she would refuse to leave the room.

The current situation is I cannot touch her outside the cage at all. Once she bites even shaking my arm will not get her to let go. I tried to get her to step up onto a perch and she attacked the perch. playing with toys seems to be a lot more violent than before as well. Currently any feeding requires an oven glove and a hoodie. I am keeping up interaction through the bars and trying target training, but so far attacking the chopstick I use for target training is more interesting than the treats that used to be the favourite. will occasionally allow scritches through the bars of the cage and will call for me if I am not in sight. At this point I do not know how to let her out of the cage safely due to dive bombing and having no way to get her back into the cage unless she chooses to go back in.
Quite honestly I'm finding it hard to trust her not to attack so I imagine she picks up on that too. I am hoping this maybe puberty setting in and there are some ways to work around this.

Advice and practical steps especially for getting her in the cage would be greatly appreciated.
 

Flboy

Well-known member
Dec 28, 2014
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Ugg! Most likely, puberty! It will pass! For now, she needs understanding! Keep up the love vibes and know she really can’t help it!
 

Scott

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Aug 21, 2010
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RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Welcome to you and your vampire Senegal! Seriously though, a good chance the cause is hormonal rush of puberty. If so, the angst will pass, best you can do is be supportive and protect yourself from the worst of bites. Vacation timeline of recovery suggests alienation not likely factor.

I might suggest bite pressure training, though response may be dubious for a bird entering puberty: http://www.parrotforums.com/training/63988-bite-pressure-training.html
 

wrench13

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Nov 22, 2015
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Another vote for puberty. Some parrots hit the first round of hormonal changes pretty hard, and some the first time is not that bad but the next few are real jeykl/Hyde ones, my Lil amazon was like that. A lot of parrots get rehomed at this point because uninformed owners don't know what to do or what the cause is. In conclusion you just need to ride it out, payin close attn to her body language and behavior just before the bite. Try not to let bad or poor behavior become permanent because that becomes really hard to break.

Use the accepted ways to minimize hormonal triggers, you can't rid yourself of these periods but you can lower the severity to a certain extent.
Cut out sugars, like in corn and other starchy foods, fruits etc
No hidey spots in and around the cage and play areas
No scratching anywhere except head and a bit of neck
No access to anything remotely like nesting materials, scraps of paper, cloth, etc
Adequate sleep time of quiet dark quality sleep. I have my parrot on a strict 12 on 12 off sleep cycle, some follow the natural local day nite cycle. I think it's more a matter of quality sleep, but the 12hr on/off seems to help my Amazon
Lots of exercise and play, tired birds don't have the energy to be brats.

And remember........... This Too Shall Pass!!! Hormone season tends to smooth out after a few years, patients is key. They literally have no, zero, nada, zilch control over hormone behavior, so we have to help them keep calm and carry on.
 

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