Very intelligent birds, sociable to some extent but very complex due to their requirements. This type of bird is only recommended for people who are suitable for its care not only because of the experience but also because of the capacity to maintain this majestic bird in a limited environment since it will not be like a wild and free bird, so some people who try to obtain this bird as a domestic pet will end up having an unsatisfied animal, prone to a great variety of problems that can be avoided very easily just by asking and getting informed about these aspects and more concerning its care and especially his handling. They are a spectacular parrot species, cunning and very striking because of the coloring of their plumage, but they can be incredibly destructive because they do not know how to get along with an African Gray in captivity.
THE SHADES OF THE GREY PARROT
When purchasing this bird make sure that it has been raised as a chick by its parents and that it has been under some manipulation and interaction by a human being. With this, you will be able to cross out one of the many reasons why this beautiful bird presents so many behavioral problems, in addition to the fact that this way it can be handled better as long as you can dedicate the time it needs as its owner being a minimum of 4 hours where you must remain with your pet bird to avoid future problems. Being such an intelligent breed, as they mature they may opt for certain types of undesired behavior if left unattended for a long time. As a chick, you should take advantage of teaching it what you can in due time and moment always under the tutelage of a professional, be it a veterinarian or a breeder who is documented, is recognized and has current documentation that supports this type of title to protect your family, home and yourself, while you will be able to ensure a good environment and management of your African Grey. They are attached to only one person and tend to distrust others, so it is very important that when having young people in the house you are aware of the potential danger that both children and a frightened bird can become.
This not only applies to humans, but it also applies to other pets you may have at home. Although they are a kind of sociable bird they tend to get scared very easily so the interaction should be something you do under supervision. Everything you do with your African Grey Parrot must be done under the supervision of a professional, I cannot stress this enough. It is vital to ensure that your African Grey can have a full and healthy life, and most importantly, that it can have a good relationship with you as it is a bird with a long lifespan of up to 30 years, and can live to 50 years if in very good hands. You should make sure that the veterinarian who assists you is a specialist in exotic animals as this will make the difference between a small pet and even a production veterinarian. Birds are very different from mammals, so their management must be different. A specialist will not only know but will have the tools to guide you on the right path and ensure the health of your new pet bird.
This beautiful and peculiar bird comes from West and Central Africa, it is of a medium size weighing close to 400gr and has two subspecies. One of greater size but clearer coloration in its body but a reddish one in its brighter tail feathers is the Congo Grey Parrot, whereas the Timneh Grey Parrot is smaller, with a shade of darker gray and the tail has a coloration throwing more to brown. The coloration in its eyes is something that can also be highlighted, even more so having a tone that stands out compared to the rest of its body. Firstly, the color of its eyes is the same as that of its body but it becomes yellowish until the first year of age when it gets a brighter yellow.
MANAGING YOUR GREY
The African Grey has almost everything you are looking for in any pet, but it comes at a cost, both monetary and in time and attention. In the monetary part, it is not only the cost of the animal, but the cage must also be of a sufficient size that allows it to recreate itself smoothly and like in any other literature you will find, your bird must be able to open its wings without problems, this is counting both the size of the cage and the objects inside it. You must know not only where to place the cage, but the size, design, and quality, which to place inside the cage and that goes outside it, space where you will have your Grey during his time out of the cage or living with the rest of the inhabitants of the household, where and how to place both its water bowl and its plate of food to avoid contamination, and so on. It is a wide range of things to take into account and this is only counting on a single cage will be enough, but this will depend on the size of your home or space where you decide to have your African Grey.
This type of exotic bird would be better if the time spent in its cage is only for sleeping or resting, but this will only be possible after a long time of training and effort that as eternal and difficult as it may seem in the end all your dedication and care will be very rewarded. You may have seen one of these birds behave exceptionally and that is what has driven you to get one of your own, but just as with a Grey it happens with any pet and person, however much one describes and warns, not all birds (in this case) have the same temperament or personality, but you must understand that not all people have the same patience or devotion as others to know how to deal with this pet bird and everything that goes with it.
Being an intelligent animal, by nature, they have an innate curiosity for everything, even if they will not be as “noisy” as other species of birds when they are unattended that seek to attract attention but can imitate sounds and words with great ease. This can be a great advantage when you want them to learn something but it also has its downside as they can learn such annoying sounds from a baby’s whimpering as something as inconspicuous or rather routine as a telephone tone. As long as you don’t feed this kind of behavior or response you shouldn’t have any problems, I mean you should maintain positive reinforcement based on his behavior, don’t respond to his cries with others, learn to reward him with what you want him to do and how to handle him when he does something he shouldn’t. Certainly, they are amazing pet birds and they can be the best pet you can get, but it’s a double-edged sword, having such a brilliant mind even for a pet parrot, but being so sensitive to change doesn’t make for a good combination.
Something that may sound counterproductive, the African Grays are not so much demanding but require a lot of attention and time but affection must be limited. I explain, this bird will seek to spend most of its time with you and it is something that you should take out of your daily routine to give it as much time as you can within the recommended range, but it will not tolerate too much affection, it will not be a bird that you can cuddle as such but if it is one that will love to spend time on your hand or forearm but you must be careful of its position and this is due to its nature, A wild African Grey is measured in terms of hierarchy by its position or height at its resting place, therefore, if you place it too high up near your shoulders it may think it is the alpha of the group while if it is too low at waist level it will feel somewhat secluded. Nor do I want to imply that you cannot and should not caress your Grey, but that you must know when to stop or it is enough for him.
As well as helping you with handling, an avian veterinarian can help you with everything else, such as the healthcare part that will also play an important role in the wellbeing of your African Grey. These pets tend to be deficient in certain compounds such as calcium and vitamins (A and D), so a good food or supplement in their diet should cover this and other needs that your African Grey may suffer from. By keeping it as healthy as possible, you will reduce the probability of suffering from other diseases, both viral and infectious, and the most commonly seen in veterinary centers, behavioral problems, the latest affection being the most common due to a poor understanding and management by their owners that these beautiful African Grey Parrots end up in sanctuaries or protection centers, even at a zoo, practically bald because of their feather picking and can even eat the same feathers.
Part of this is because people think or assume that it is easy to keep a pet, even more so if you can keep it confined or locked up in a cage. No matter how much space you can provide with a cage the time they spend outside will be worth more, remember that an African Grey Parrot is an animal that comes from a wild environment and the human despite having it as a housemate for many many years remains an exotic animal and not as domestic as a dog or cat, and has its special treatments even among other parrots like the Cockatoo or Macaw.
As I mentioned in the bird pet care article, you should look for the best place for your Grey to rest, it should be away from everything that could be harmful to it but it should always be near a familiar or sociable environment to at least cover that part or need to be next to a person or family companion, preferably one that is one of his favorites. Also, his cage should be a place that is pleasant to be because when he is not under the surveillance of any member is where he should spend time so he must have enough toys and in good condition that does not become harmful to your Grey as well as other equipment or utensils such as a perch so it can exercise by itself. You can cover the cage for when it rests to ensure that nothing can get to bother it and help with their light time being a bird will require.
As well as the place where the cage is going to stay you must use products that are not harmful to the bird but clean the cage efficiently, taking your bird out in a preventive way during these cleanings, where you must collect all the excrement, food remains and change the floor of the cage before cleaning to ensure that you remove any possible point or focus of infection. Always keep drinkable water in a clean container available as well as food, as it should be colorful and pleasant for your Grey as he can become fussy at mealtimes by selecting only the food of his preference which may not be the most nutritious for him. The most recommended is to use a food that is complete and well balanced but that covers 75% of its daily needs, the rest of his diet can be accompanied by fresh fruits or seeds, as well as in a smaller proportion what you use as a reward for when you want to give him some recognition for something he gets to do.
Something to bear in mind is that both subspecies, behave the same way, but people lean more to the bigger version of the Congo African Grey for its size con tail color unlike the smaller and darker grey version of the Timneh African Grey Parrot. Both will have the average lifespan if treated properly.
Hope you’ll find this article useful and do your best with this amazing bird the African Grey Parrot is. If you think I’ve missed anything please let me know on the comment section down below.