Senegal as a pet

Behavior / Potential Problems – Prevention & Solutions:

Biting, feather plucking and screaming are all common behavior problems. The best solution to preventing or eliminating these behaviors is to ensure that your Senegal Parrot has plenty of space, lots of toys and gets plenty of attention. The source of just about all behavioral problems is frustration, boredom and loneliness. These social parrots need daily stimulation both inside and outside of the cage. Any parrot that spends most of its day in a poorly furnished, small cage without anything to do and little interaction is likely to develop behavioral problems.

It is critical to your Senegal Parrot’s health and happiness to make sure they’re properly socialized and trained. Bird training is the key to a happy and well adjusted bird. Senegal parrots are natural performers and learning a few tricks keeps them entertained.

Screeching: Some Senegal Parrots may develop a habit of screeching and screaming.

  • This is not part of their nature and when that happens, the bird owner should examine their pet’s environment and make sure to remove any perceived or potential threat.  For example, a dog outside their window may be upsetting the Senegal Parrot. If this behavior happens “all of a sudden” — then anything new or changed in their environment should be examined.

Jealousy / Aggression: Pet Senegals can become jealous of other family members and pets. They often develop a bond with one human and show no interest in interactions with other family members — they may even attack them in some cases. A Senegal Parrot that bonds to one single person may not only attack other members of the household, but also their favorite person as they are prone to jealousy and displaced aggression. Despite their small size, Senegal Parrots will attack larger birds and even dogs, if they feel that they or their favorite humans are threatened. Owners should be cautious in multiple-pet homes. Senegals tend to hold a grudge against anyone who caused them fear, and they have a long memory.  It is best to do everything possible not to scare a Poicephalus unnecessarily.  

  • To avoid aggression problems, it is very important to properly socialize the parrots while they are young. They should be introduced to many different people, environments and situations.
  • Continuing to socialize the hand reared pet bird from a young age and letting many people handle and interact with it can prevent single-person bonding and allow it to become an excellent family pet.

Senegal Parrot (Poicephalus senegalus)

Biting: All parrots will resort to biting when they are upset, frustrated, scared or jealous. This is particularly true when they’re reaching sexual maturity.  They usually pin their eyes before biting; they may puff up their feathers to make themselves look bigger when something scares them. These common signals will tell you that they are getting angry or scared. Knowing these signals will allow you to understand your pet and build a harmonious relationship. 

  • The worst things you can do when your parrot bites, or is trying to bite, is to shriek, yell and/or pull away. Such reactions will only reinforce this behavior. Instead, you should find ways to prevent being bitten. For example, instead of having your pet step up on your arm, provide a perch for stepping up on.
  • If your bird manages to bite you, gently push your hand TOWARDS your bird. They will release your hand as they are not expecting this reaction and because this is not the reaction they were hoping for.
  • While you’re training yourself to not react to your Senegal Parrot’s aggression, maximize your time and begin training them. Tricks like “step up” are an excellent way to avoid being bitten in the first place. Additionally, take the time to learn your bird’s behavior.
  • Parrot Behavior and Communication

Senegal Parrot (Poicephalus senegalus)Hormonal Behavior: Senegal Parrots can become aggressive and sometimes phobic after reaching sexual maturity. Most major problems can be avoided by developing a strong relationship early on and using gentle training techniques.

Feather Plucking: Senegal Parrots are usually not prone to feather plucking. However, if your Senegal Parrot has started to overpreen or pull out its feathers, a vet visit is indicated to rule out any medical issues. Once psychological reasons are likely the cause of plucking, you’ll need to figure out what is upsetting your pet. Senegals are sensitive and a variety of situations can cause them to be under stress.

  • Improper or cramped housing. A Senegal Parrot can feel trapped in a cage that is too small for him or her. They won’t be able to stretch their wings or exercise. These active parrots require a larger cage to allow them to move around and get sufficient exercise. Please refer to below “Housing.”
  • Boredom: Senegals are active parrots and need plenty of daily stimulation. They should be provided lots of toys and a cage with plenty of room to move around in. Foraging is one way to keep them busy.
  • Fear & Stress: Did something change in the environment that could be perceived as threatening — is someone new in the house that isn’t behaving appropriate around your pet? A new pet in the house could also be the cause.
  • Improper lighting. All parrots need natural sunlight or artificial full spectrum lighting to create vitamin K which they need for healthy skin and feathers. Not enough sunlight can cause feather plucking. 
  • Changes in the environment. If you have a new person or animal in the home, you moved the furniture, maybe you moved homes. 
  • Feather plucking (Causes and Possible Solutions)

Phobias: Some Senegals learn phobias later in life. It’s best to prevent them by exposing them to new things from an early age and getting them used to change.

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