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Blind Senegal

BirdField

Walking the driveway
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6/21/17
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247
Real Name
Finn
I saw that there was a blind Senegal at a rescue near my town so I started wondering what it would be like to care for a blind bird. I doubt that I will get this Senegal because I'm more of a beginner with birds but I'd like to write this just for future reference if I ever have a blind bird or a bird of mine develops blindness. I've been seeing a lot of amazing cage setups and I was wondering what cages or brands you guys suggest for a blind Senegal-sized bird. I've looked up some wider cages (I don't want the bird to be able to fall far) but most that show up are just travel cages not meant for living in. So does anyone know of a good cage they can recommend?

What about toys? I was thinking bells would be engaging for a bird who cannot see but I've heard a lot of bad things about bird eating pieces of the bells. I'm assuming a blind bird would still love the usual toys that a bird who can see might enjoy like tearing and chewing but I'm not sure so let me know if I'm wrong on that part.

Putting things near the bottom of the cage is a must so I'm wondering if I should get a few flat perches and some stick perches or just all of one or the other. Variety would be good in a cage but I don't want to get the wrong type of perch and the bird to fall off of it. Also, what brands sell ladders and ramps that are bird-safe?

Finally, I'm wondering about cleaning and "flooring" in the cage. Should I put a towel in the bottom so if they do fall then they won't injure themselves? And would I need to clean or change them out daily because of poop? This was the main question I had in my mind because I mostly see people with blind bird have a blanket or towel of some kind on the bottom of the cage so I wondered how cleaning would work with that.

This was a lot to ask and I'm sorry for the extremely long post but I'm just curious about it. I'd love to eventually take in a bird with special needs that no one else wants because I feel like they just are so much more special than others and can really teach people a lot (whoops philosophy). I've only just started learning about caring for a special needs or blind parrot and I'm excited to learn more so I'd be glad if anyone could give me any extra information about other aspects of caring for a blind bird. Thanks so much! :D
 

iamwhoiam

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You should visit with the Senegal a few times and perhaps you will decide that you want to take him/her home.
 

BirdField

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Finn
Yeah, I would love to get this Senegal, he seems absolutely lovey and sweet but I was unsure because I didn't know if they needed much more specialized care besides lower perches and close monitoring. Do you know of any cages that are good? I've heard of some people saying flight cages are good but I'm wondering if the cage for a blind bird would be winder and shorter or if it would just be a normal Senegal cage with ramps and ladders or specialized perches.

I'd be more than willing to pay enough to get a good cage for him and plenty of toys to keep him happy and safe. I haven't yet visited him because of the distance but I'll see if I can visit him a few times before deciding to see if he's the right birdy companion for me.
 

iamwhoiam

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I would probably try to get a cage that has more width rather than more height. When you go to visit him check out the set up that the rescue has provided for him. Pad the bottom of the cage with layers of non pilling fleece or non stringy towels and you would have to maintain the placement of items. Keep things consistent.
How to care for blind birds. - Home | Facebook
 

MommyBird

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in place of flimsy bells/clappers - check out Avian Stainless, lots of sturdy things to jingle.
 

BirdField

Walking the driveway
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Finn
in place of flimsy bells/clappers - check out Avian Stainless, lots of sturdy things to jingle.
I just checked out their website and their products look amazing! They're pretty cheap, too, I'll have to get some of their chimes and other toys! Thanks!
 

Karija

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I had a blind GCC for a few years. Some thoughts:

I had a pair of GCCs and happened to have a double flight cage, so she had a TON of "ground level" area to explore. This isn't the exact model I have, but it's similar. I'd imagine it's enough space for a larger bird, it's a lot of cage without the divider, but the bar spacing might need to be different. I don't know if it's big enough for a Sennie, but the large vision cages are pretty wide and even without the upgrade in height are pretty tall (you can at least get two levels in that cage - I've used one when on vacation and got three levels for my little GCCs). But considering that the majority of your food/toys/stuff is on the bottom, I was happy with my double flight, because she had a ton of room.

I had a WIDE variety of platform perches... everything from large shelves of wood, wire shelf perches, metal corner perches, and wooden dowel type corner perches. I can give links to the types if you're interested. Prevue has two wooden flat platforms that are available that I have, I don't recall the brands of the others. Searching for 'platform perch bird' will give you lots of options on Amazon. I had them staggered in the cage, so there was overlap. This way if she fell off of one, she'd generally land about four inches down on the other one. If she did fall, it was mostly overshooting the length of it, so she'd be caught by the other perch. She never fell down the width, which would have gone down the bottom of the cage. Before she passed away I was contemplating just making my own platform perches out of balsa wood that would have gone the entire length of the cage. Once she figured out how to get up there, her favorite place to nap was on a platform perch on the top corner of the cage. If I'd only had the blind bird, I probably could have added hammocks in the middle to catch her if she did fall off the platforms.

She had a hard time sleeping on regular perches in the top corner of the cage (which is where sighted one wanted to sleep), so I put a small sleeping box down on the bottom of the cage that they used instead. All food/water was down there as well. I got food containers that have little roofs over them so they can't be pooped in and honestly it kept the mess way down since they aren't flinging things around from the top of the cage.

There were no towels or anything on the bottom of the cage, she could get around just fine. When she was ill I did have to put some cardboard pieces down to make it easier for her to move around due to a problem with her feet, they did have to be cleaned pretty regularly. I imagine if you wanted to you could get plastic placemats and create a cover for them that you could switch in and out if you were doing that longterm.

Toys depends on the bird, everyone has their preferences. Mine loved bells and she was fine with them, someone already linked you to a good place to get safe bells. She loved shredding things up, so I'd just put things in there. If it was a new type of toy, we'd have to play with it together first so she'd know what it was, how to shred it, and where it was located. Otherwise it could go unnoticed for a long time. I had to show her where everything was when she first got there and if we'd been on a trip and came back home, she always methodically checked where the food/water/sleeping box/toys were when we came back home to make sure everything was in the same place.

Blind birds can be great pets and the learning curve isn't super high. You need to be more vocal with them (so they know you're approaching) but other than that and the cage set up they aren't too different from other birds. I had to watch she didn't fall off of counters when she was out, so I made little draft snakes that I could put up as 'bumpers' so she couldn't fall off. But you have to watch birds when they're out anyway because they can get into trouble, so wasn't a big deal.

Happy to answer any questions or provide links to specific products if you'd like while you're considering that bird!
 

BirdField

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Finn
Thank you! I'd love to see the links if you can, I'm really getting interested in this bird. Do you think I could play soft music or some other ambient noises while I'm gone to keep her happy?
 

Karija

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Sure. My parents do that for their Nanday all the time. I haven't done that with my birds, but I've got more than one so they kept themselves entertained.

Some of the solid wood platforms I've used:Example1, Example2. I find the larger the better for these and like I said, I was thinking of just making one myself that was custom for the cage. My gals didn't tear up wood so it wasn't really a problem. She figured out the size of these really quick, her risk of falling off was really only when something would go awry with the other bird (not paying attention when preening each other or something). This type of platform has the dowel bars, it's handy because if they lose their balance for some reason, they just step forward and boom, another perch. TBH it's more popular with my GCC with a bad foot, the blind one liked the solid wood platforms the best. I never really tried this type of platform perch because it was too narrow and I thought it'd be too easy to fall off of. For regular perches, I use thick natural branch type things, like this, although I haven't used that brand.

Metal platforms: Something like this is attached to the cage with screws. It's super sturdy. These aren't screwed in, but stay in place just fine. You can easily move them around and they were good for staggering platforms. She hung out on both of these types of metal platforms super often.

I've used ladders to connect parts of the cage as well.. it took her a while to get the hang of it. She was a little small for them if they were used horizontally, but she figured it out. I don't imagine a sennie would have a problem with it.

These are also great for sleeping. You can drill holes in them and hang from the top or secure on the side of the cage on the bottom. I have platforms just under the outside of mine. They can go in there and nap, don't worry about falling, and it's not made out of the cloth/fuzz that huts are made out of.

The platforms are kind of a $$$ sink if you're getting a lot of them. It may be worth it to just get the widest cage you can afford and start out with one level or add a couple to create a second and see where it goes before you go crazy with it. It took about six months before mine figured out all the different levels.
 

Nadia Bingo

Strolling the yard
Joined
6/16/17
Messages
148
While my bird Bingo is not blind she does have significant vision loss (not cataracts so we can't fix it).

Keep things consistent.
I second keeping things consistent. I try really hard not to move things around in her cage unnecessarily. I even mark bars with string when washing her cage so the perches and toys go back to the right spots.

Blind birds can be great pets and the learning curve isn't super high. You need to be more vocal with them (so they know you're approaching) but other than that and the cage set up they aren't too different from other birds.
And like Karija I always announce my presence when I am entering the room. Just calling "Hi Bingo" or "Hey I'm home" is enough.

Do you think I could play soft music or some other ambient noises while I'm gone to keep her happy?
Some birds adore music and others enjoy the quiet. Bingo loves loud techno music and traditional Irish pub songs (I think she is mirroring the eclectic taste of my husband) - but she also wants everything to be quiet around 2pm for her daily nap.
 
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