Why Can’t I Get My Senegal Parrot to Eat Nutritionally Correct?
Why Can't I get My Senegal Parrot to Eat Nutritionally Correct?

Why Can’t I Get My Senegal Parrot to Eat Nutritionally Correct?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

[email protected] seeks nutritional counseling for her Senegal parrot,

Hi.  I have followed your blog for years and truly appreciate your wisdom.  I have a 29-year-old Senegal parrot. 

She has taken to doing some egg-laying (3 at a time). I do have the light that I purchased from you which hopefully helps turn it on, wondering if I should purchase the calcium/magnesium supplement for her?

Her diet is primarily Hagen Tropimix, Lefeber’s avicakes, gourmet nutriberries, Higgin’s protein egg food, veggies, regular scrambled eggs, and some fruit.  As you can see from the photo, she also enjoys fortune cookies.

Please let me know which supplements, if any, that you recommend. I was thinking that she and Lang might deplete her calcium resources.

Thank you.

Please excuse any typos as this message was sent from my mobile device.  Please also forgive Siri for any changes that she makes to this message as I press “send” to make it unintelligible. 

Catherine Tobsing wrote:

Dear Lynn,

Yes, get her on a calcium supplement. Daily. I would sprinkle calcium powder on her wet foods daily, and mix it in if you chop it up. Also in her water would be good.

Easily Get Powdered Supplements Like Hari Prime Into Your Bird ~ Video

When did she last lay eggs? How often? 

Do you have the light?

Normal light use would be 12 hours on and 12 hours off, set on a timer is best. We do 8:30 am to 8:30 pm. You can choose different times.

How Pet Bird Keepers Get The Lighting Thing Wrong

You can give her a light treatment to end the egg-laying broody behavior cycle. It works best in a small cage with the light as close to the bird as possible.

An 18″ cage with the light directly above the top is ideal. This is only 3 days so not a problem regarding a cramped cage.

“The bird goes into the cage.

The light is turned on and it stays on for 3 solid days and nights. This resets the bird’s circadian rhythm and after three days the bird usually loses interest in her eggs or laying new ones and can resume being a playful little bird.”

This does not harm the bird in any way. You feed her, water her, leave some toys for her, talk to her, etc as normal. But she has to stay under the light.

After 3 days she can come out.

If our goal is achieved, we will have broken her circadian rhythm reducing/eliminating her urge to breed. Meanwhile, you will have removed all eggs, all nesting material, no huts, and no toys that can lay on her back.

The top of her cage needs to be able to have the light come through, so no solid trays.

Please let us know how it goes.

Catherine Tobsing

Dear Lynn

If the current timer hours work for you both, leave them be. The 12 hours on and 12 hours off is what counts.

And, yeah, the cover has to come off of the top and the sides. It can be left on the back if you can clip it in place so it hangs “back” and not “around” the cage.

You don’t want to create too cozy of a home for her. And while you are doing the light treatment, the cover should be removed completely.

2 covered bird cages with lights on under covers on top of cage

She should not have any dark place to retreat for the 3-day treatment. Her face needs to be exposed to the light.

Yes, she will nap as needed and may call out. During the night it would be good to clip a towel or sheet around the front and sides so she can rest and not look at you during the night.

During the day, yes, be attentive and talk to her through the bars, reassuring her that she is a good girl. Snacks are okay during this time.

Find All Our Birdcage Covers on Windy City Parrot Here

Once it is done, the following night you can go back to covers. But, you might consider a lighter cover in case it is a trigger for her. So you might put the dark cover away for now.

Use a bed sheet or plain tablecloth. Tan, yellow, blue, green, pink. Mid-range color and shade. I also leave a corner or a few inches of the cover open so they can still see, and have a little light.

Sitting in solid darkness for 12 hours nightly is not good. Too dark can also trigger broody behavior.

Another thing is, how much food do you leave for her daily? Overloading food dishes can lead to them feeling that it is a land of plenty and why not bring more babies into this bounty? No, the bird is not thinking that, she is feeling that. You don’t want her body to feel rich with everything all the time, so let’s lay eggs.

Don’t give her a filled-to-the-top bowl of seeds or pellets. Each dish should start with a tablespoon or two (1/4 cup) in a wide cup so she can pick and choose and you can see what she eats, and how long it takes for her to go through it.

If she eats it all in less than a day, then don’t refill it right away, let her be without seed for a couple of hours Then refill another tablespoon.

You also can remove the seed dishes (Tropimix) at night and leave only a small amount of pellets or a couple of Nutri-berries overnight.

Parrots in the wild are diurnal, they don’t eat while they are in a tree at night. It can be 10-12 hours before they eat again after roostingnatures “Motel Six” for the night.

Our birds do have a crock of seed 24 hours a day (but they are all boys) and the crock is at the bottom of their cages.

It requires them to go down to eat, takes more time, and energy and they don’t eat at night as they stay on their perches high above the food.

Every morning they all get a dish of fresh chopped veggies and little fruit hanging near their day perches, water 24 hours a day of course. The fresh food dish gets pulled early afternoon.

About 30 minutes before their lights go out (lights out at 8:30 here) which would be 8 pm, all the birds get a small bit of Avi-cake or a 2″ piece of millet.

They all LOVE it and happily go to bed so they can enjoy their treat in the last 30 minutes of lights on. The whole room gets quiet while they eat their bedtime nummy.

You may be offering too much food and that contributes to hormonal behavior. I don’t think she needs the Egg Food anymore either.

The Calcium. Here is the Calcium Category on Windy City Parrot. 

You can choose more than one option. But this is one I would start with. Nekton Calcium Plus

So here is some stuff to consider and think about.

“Please ask your questions as they arise and share with us how it is going overall.”

Catherine Tobsing
Windy City Parrot, Inc.

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