New parrot, new owner, aaannnddd.... Questions!

I’m hoping I’m posting this in the right spot! I have searched around on all the different boards, and it seems there are posts like mine scattered here and there. Sorry if this would have been better asked elsewhere Several months ago, my husband and I decided on a Senegal for our first medium-sized parrot (we’ve only had little guys before). We probably chose the species for the same reasons most people do… intelligent, relatively quiet and good-natured, etc… and have been looking at both breeders and rehoming ads for quite a while. We eventually decided to go with a bird in need of rehoming, provided it was adequately socialized and had no major health “red flags”.To make a long story somewhat shorter, we definitely did our research and prepared a more -than-adequate environment for a Senegal and went on an educated hunt for the right guy. Today, we picked him up! We responded to a posting and went to the previous owner’s home to spend some time with the bird and decided he was a good fit for our family. He’s now in his new habitat getting settled in.Now, the downside: Although we are new to Senegals, we are sure Guinness (our bird) wasn’t kept properly by his previous owner. The disclaimer to the rest of this post is that we have a vet appointment scheduled for this week to have him looked over for any medical issues. We did not see any very severe red flags, aside from malnutrition (which I am aware can lead to other problems). However, he is 1.5 years old and has been kept in a 1’x1’x2’ cage and fed a conure diet. We handled him and the poor thing was more than eager to come out of his cage and play with us; in fact, he squwaked and was very reluctant to be put back inside. I am a big, giant bleeding heart and of course we HAD to take him home! We noticed some signs of stress as far as his grooming (rubbed area of feathers on the back of his head), but have not seen him plucking feathers or anything.I am just looking for questions and advice to help us overcome his less-than-optimal upbringing. So far, we haven’t seen any behavior problems, but we are leaving him alone for now to settle in before we attempt handling him or letting him explore the rest of our home (which we plan to allow him to do once he is adjusted). What can we do to help him feel comfortable? And how can we help him become accustomed to being around more than one person? He seemed to do fine with our family (me, husband, little boy and soon-to-be little girl), and I would like to keep that momentum since I know Senegals tend to be one person birds. Also, he “had” a name that according to the owners, he never learned. Is there harm in changing it?Thanks for taking the time to read my LOOOONNNNG post! Guinness and I appreciate it!

Since he’s already tame and wants to interact, I say everyone in the family should start interacting with him immediately. Just make sure he gets back to his cage ever hour or so to eat, drink and rest. As for socializing with other people, if he seems comfortable going outside of the house then start taking him on short errands or to the park to people watch once a week or more often if he’s comfortable with going out. Extend the frequency and/or duration of outings according to his comfort level. If he’s not used to leaving the house, then you can sit outside with him in the yard or front porch for ten minutes or so every day and just let him watch his environment. Extend the time according to his comfort level. If he’s not keen on going to new people, start with letting him just people watch. Strangers can come up and talk to him, but no petting or going to the stranger if he’s not comfortable with it. Primarily, be calm and go at his pace. Depending on his comfort level, you might be just doing a lot of people watching/environment watching. Even if they don’t understand our words, I think it’s soothing to them for you to speak gently and tell them about their new environment/new experience. I’ve taken in a lot of older birds and/or neglected birds over the years. I personally see no harm in changing the bird’s name. I purposefully immediately renamed a mutilating cockatoo because I wanted him to make completely new associations, including a new name. I suppose I would keep a name if the bird were happy and spoke his own name with pleasure, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with your bird.Have fun and it doesn’t sound like you’re going to have much problems with your new buddy.

It actually sounds to me as if you have a great new family member! I agree with patdbunny, if he’s happy to interact with you, I would go ahead and spend time handling him – just don’t over do it, and don’t give him a ton more attention than you will be able to provide routinely over the long run.When you say you are worried about malnutrition because he’s been on a “conure” diet, what exactly do you mean? When it comes to pelleted foods, as I understand it, the main thing different about the few formulations that are species-specfic for conures is that they are somewhat higher in fat. For the most part, pelleted diets are usually the same formulation for the entire line, just extruded or pelleted into different-sized pieces.If he has bare area on the back of his head, I would guess it is most likely due to molting unless he’s been caged with another bird – that’s not a very pluckable area. And at least our little bird is moulting like crazy right now, it seems to be the onset of the season. At least in the Northern Hemisphere.

Thanks for the replies! We changed his name to Guinness, and we thought it was well suited… we got him close to St. Patrick’s Day, and our favorite celebratory drink is a Black & Tan. His dark head reminded us of the Guinness on top We really didn’t like what the previous owner had picked.As far as a conure diet, I guess what I meant is that they fed it bagged food that was purely seed, no pellets, meant for conures per the packaging. The person who we purchased the bird home initially informed us that he was a type of conure… um, no. So there were no pellets or fresh foods of any kind in the diet (which even conures need I’m sure), and the seeds that it got seemed like they were too small. It was a mix of sunflower seeds and those little tiny ones in small bird food, which he wasn’t eating. Anyway, he’s still doing fine, is very noisy and was even mimicking the noise of our Crock Pot lid! They must have used one at his old house or something I just want to make sure he stays comfortable with our whole family and doesn’t become the stereotypical “one person bird”!And molting… duh. That’s totally it.

Yeah, an all-seed mix with no fresh food wouldn’t be healthy for a conure either. Even with the seed mixes, the genus/species designation typically refers to the size of the things in the mix rather than any nutritional differnces.I guess unless he’s already eating something else cheerfully, I’d make changes slowly especially while he’s still settling in. Personally, I’d probably add fresh food first, then mix some pellet in with the seed and gradually try to convert (or course, I’m the person that hasn’t really gotten her conure entirely off the seeds… but he does eat a ton of fresh food). There are a bunch of threads in HEalth and Nutrition on making dietary changes.

I remember when I was converting from seeds to pellets, I had to go cold turkey. Gradual transition did not work at all.

Use EXTREME caution if you try cold turkey. In my earlier days of bird keeping, about 15 years ago and pellets were first being utilized I couldn’t get one of my 'tiels on pellets. I ended up going cold turkey and gave her pellets only. She was putting her face in the pellet bowl, grinding the pellets into powder, but not actually eating them. I thought she was eating them though. Found out the hard way she wasn’t when I found her on the bottom of the cage and weak. I picked her up and she was skin and bones and died in my hand - back in the days before common knowledge to weigh them regularly.