“ Animal Species: Birds „
we have a 28 year old female called Maggie. We love her to pieces but wish that we could offer her a better life. My dad passed away 12 years ago (Maggie was his) and because African Greys usually only ever bond with one person, she has been depressed ever since. Many people don't realise what they are getting into when they buy a parrot. They have the mental age of a 4 year old child and need to be given the same amount of attention as one. It is basically like having a 4 year forever as their life span averages 80 years (some have reached over 100). Any major changes to lifestyle can seriously damage their mental health just like Maggie.
Maggie self harms, it sounds like an exageration but it's true. She pulls her feathers out until she's bleeding and as soon as she sees any red tail feathers, she pulls them out too. She is also extremelly destructive. Once she got out of her cage and when we came home we couldnt find her. After searching for ages, we noticed a hole in our ceiling above our living room curtains and when we had a closer look, her head popped out, the hole was about 15cm in diametre and she had done that in less than an hour. Because she is so destructive and will not allow any of us to handle her, she has to stay in her cage. That is it for her and she has potentially another 52 years of life. We cannot send her to a sanctuary because we were told that the stress would kill her. There are sanctuaries full of these poor parrots because people find the fact that they talk a novelty but then get bored with the commitment. African Greys constantly make noise because they need attention, they can bite through to the bone very easily, they make a lot of mess and they will outlive you so unless you know that for the next 80 years, you can dote on your parrot 24-7, I urge you not to buy one, go to a sanctuary and maybe look into rehoming one instead.
I've got a Congo Grey called Pips who I've had since he was about six months old. I rescued him from a pet shop stand at a parrot show, where sadly they were keeping him in a cage far too small for him to stretch his rather large wings (Congos are larger than the average African Grey). He looked miserable and unloved. I remember approaching his cage, when he sidled casually along the perch carefully taking note of my face and voice. Parrot lovers will no doubt be aware that you don't poke fingers into parrot cages, especially ones you don't know, as this is an affront to a parrot and they will bite you, but he slowly inclined his head towards me inviting a tickle. From that moment on, I knew he wanted me to take him home. Even so, I went away and looked at other birds, but something just kept bringing me back to Pips.
He was still sitting miserably with his head down on his perch farest away from the door, but when I returned, he perked up immediately on recognizing me. We seemed to have already formed a special bond . My husband just sighed and gave me the money to buy him. That was the invitation I needed to run round the show where I bought a huge cage, stand with perch for the lounge and a host of toys for him. To take him home, the pet shop owner put him in a cardboard box, which I carried on my lap in the car. No sooner had we got on the motorway than a beak appeared through the top of the box, and a grey head poked out and swivelled round to see where we were going, and he started to interfere with the can of Fanta orange I was drinking. Poor bird must have been thirsty.
Since then, he's (we assume he's a male) become my special friend. He initially treated my husband with contempt and steadfastly refused to allow him, or any other members of my family to stroke him. My husband however, is made of sterner stuff, and persevered. Even so, it took him the best part of 7 years to gain Pips' trust. Now, although he's definitely still a mummy's boy, Pips spends most of his time carefully watching his Dad's every move, and copying what he is saying and doing (Dad's hammering - I'm hammering, I'm sure you get the picture). That doesn't mean that other members of the family don't have to watch their P's and Q's when in the hearing range of "eagle ears".
Pips' vocabulary is amazing. He has learned hundreds of words and phrases, and has the ability to chop and change them to form another sentence, still making complete sense. His powers of mimicry have us all running to answer phones not actually ringing daily. He laughs at us when we find out it's him, he's so intelligent.
Whatever you do, please don't give up if your parrot won't accept another family member immediately. They are monogamous for life and choose just one human to love. This makes it hard for them to accept more than one of us. What you have to do is persevere like my husband, and you will get there eventually - maybe with some scars along the way, but as my husband will tell you it's worth it.
African Greys need a lot of attention, as they are like small children. They only learn what you teach them, and can be grumpy and irritable for no apparent reason (just like humans). For this reason, I would say please don't buy this type of bird if you have small children in the house, as their beak can crack a hard nut shell with no trouble, so you can imagine what could happen with a child's finger.
They can, however, also be very loving and caring in the right home. The sign of love my bird shows to me, other than showering me with kisses is to give me the gift of regurgitated food. I actually prefer jewellery or chocolates, but it's nice to get other gifts from someone special sometimes!
They have faults like we do, but the pleasure an African Grey parrot gives you is immense.
My african Grey Parrot is called smernoth were not shaw if hes a boy or girl as You have to Have them DNA tested to find Out
smernoth is 6 months old and he is already one of the biggest highlights of my life Your house will never be quiet with an african Grey Parrot .
Smernoth took around 4 months before he started talking we all couldnt wait for him to start talking now we cant wait for him to shut up !
If You are going to have an african grey as a pet You have to be someone that is very dedicated to animals they are like looking after 2 year olds !
You have to be someone who doesnt work long hours or have someone in your household that will be their most of the day as if let alone for long hours african greys can be come lonely bored and get frustrated and this results in freather plucking and behavioural problems. African Greys Love to chew things and if You let them fly around the house (make shaw all windows and doors are shut) you will end up with bird poo on the curtains .
So you cant really be to house proud !
If You are going to have an african Grey he will need a large cage and his/her cage will need to be filled with ropes toys and nail and beak filing perches These keep the greys nails blunt and there beak healthy!
African Grey are very intelligent birds smernoth is only 6 months and already has a really wide vocabulary there life span is around 60 to 130 years so if you buy an african grey you buy one for life . When talking they mimick sounds and voices accurately so if You dont want Your bird to be Foul mouthed dont be foul mouthed youself
Some people have been know to let there greys fly free outside and them going back to them to do this you need years of trust with you and your bird even then it could result in disater your bird not coming back
African grey price range from £ 300 - £100
If You two african Greys together from babies they will form a brother sister relationship
If You put two african greys together when they are around 5 years old they will form a sexual relationship
An african greys diet ranges from nuts fruit vegatbles you can also feed them your food but not too much as it is bad for thier diet mine eats chicken he/she is a canible lol
NEVER FEED ALCHOL CHOCOLATE MUSHROOMS AVOCADO
this will result in killing your bird !!!!
Hope this helps on making a decision to get an african grey they are amazing birds and wil bring alot of happiness into your life if You take the time and dedication to make them happy
Normallly I am a huge animal lover. I'm well accustomed to different types of animals, with them varying from a dog to a snake in my house. Yet I just can't stand this damn African Grey parrot!
Ours was bought from a bird breeder around 3 to 4 years ago, primarily for my mums benifit, not mine. She's called Bridget and is a devil bird!
African Greys are quite cheap to keep, but are very expensive to buy first off. Ours was about £700 and I think the cheapest you will get one for is about £500 and that's if you're lucky. The cage was pretty expensive to, as it has to be quite big, even if you do let them out quite often. Once you have all the basic stuff though they are extremely cheap. All that really needs to be bought is the food which can normally be bought at any pet shop for a reasonable price.
I personally find them to be a nightmare. Every night, my mum lets Bridget out for a few hours to have a fly about and in this time she destroys everything in her path! My mum went through 3 phones in a month, after Bridget chewed them all up. As well as this, I can't even go near her because everytime I do she tries to peck me! If I'm walking through the same room as her she flys at me and claws my head!
And yet I can see why my mum still loves her so much. African Grey parrots are very charming, intelligent and extremely comical. They will imitate just about anything you say if you repeat it a few times, at least ours does anyway. Bridget can be really friendly towards my mum and will sit on her knee for a while having her neck tickled.
If you do ever consider getting an African Grey, you need to be very committed to it. They can live for up to 75 years, occasionally more and only tend to bond with one person so it is cruel to pass it around to different people just because you are bored. You also need to be aware that they will destroy your possessions!
African Greys can be good pets but I don't think they are a good idea if you have small children who could get their fingers pecked or many animals wondering around that could be hurt.
I personally would rather not have an African Grey, but I can see the appeal of them for other people.
A few years back my uncle bought an african grey with the intention of it being company to an amazon parrot he had. As luck would have it (for me anyway) the two of them didn't get along ,so i got the african grey.
There are two "official" types of African grey these being the Congo African Grey parrot and the Timneh African Grey parrot. The congo (the larger of the two) seems to be the most common one to own and it is the type i have.
To buy an african grey it will cost you 600+ but i would think hard about it as they live more than 60 years.
African greys are like most parrots and you can buy seed for them from bird shops. If you are getting a bird check with the previous owner what they liked to eat as mine is quiet fussy and only liked certain types of seed!!!
Living with one
They are lovely parrots but they do like getting loads of attention.Mine likes you to stroke him "giving him tickles" and he also likes playing peek a boo. African greys have the mental age of a small child so they can sometimes go in a huff. They also like their surroundings to stay the same-no moving things about!!!.We also bought him a new cage as his one i quite small but he wouldn't go near it
At the beginning of February, my uncontrollable habit of bringing unwanted animals home from work with the full intention of rehoming them when a home can be found landed with me with a beautiful African Grey Parrot. I haven't quite got the hang of the rehoming bit yet though, so this little beauty- now known as Pepsi will be staying with me for the rest of her days. You saw that coming didn't you :)
*Purchasing an African Grey Parrot*
The AGP is a lovely bird which can make a wonderful pet with the correct care and attention- but with all pets, there is an awful lot of responsibility involved too and some things to consider before purchasing one. AGPs live a very long time, generally at least 60 years so they really are a life long pet and not an animal to be taken on lightly. They can be noisy and very messy too and are very demanding, needing to be handled everyday for at least an hour to keep them friendly and occupied.
AGPs are normally sold in the larger pet shops and these are generally a good place to purchase them from as they would have came from a legal stock, but also bear in mind that many often end up in rescue centres through no fault of their own when the owner realises just how much work they are. Expect to pay around £750 for a healthy, young parrot from a legal stock however another good reason to rescue a parrot instead of buy one is that you will only have to pay a donation to the rescue centre rather than the steep prices pet shops and breeders charge.
There are two types of AGPs commonly kept as pets, they are:
- Timneh African Grey Parrot: These are small birds with very dark grey feathers, a dark purple tail and sometimes with slight red colouring to the head.
-Congo African Grey Parrots: Perhaps the more popular of the two (and what my Pepsi is), these are larger at around 30cms, have light grey feathers, a jet black beak and a vivid red tail.
There is very little difference between the two types and many people would not be able to tell the difference, both are equally suitable as pets.
AGPs are very friendly creatures that enjoy being part of a family and receiving lots of attention, although sometimes a little shy with strangers they are very rarely aggressive to them . However they do however really thrive on attention- much more so than other birds so do need a lot of handling and attention to stop them from becoming bored, ill and destructive. They are incredibly strong for their size with very strong, sharp beaks and can be unpredictable at times which makes them unsuitable for young children or people who aren't totally confident with handling animals, but make great pets for the right people who are prepared to dedicate a lot of time and effort.
They can be taught to talk with very little effort and within days of bringing your pet home you will notice them repeating words you say, as I mentioned earlier Pepsi has only been with me since February and already she is chattering away- saying my dog's names, her name and various other things such as 'Yummy' when she sees her food coming, 'Oh deary me' when something happens she doesn't like, or 'You stupid flippin bird' to my Macaw..Ok, perhaps I shouldn't have taught her that one :)
As with all animals, your AGP will need somewhere of its own to live, and if you have read my review on Crackers, my Macaw, you will know I hate seeing birds in cages, however due to the fact I haven't had Pepsi since she was a chick, she isn't suitable to live as a free house pet like Crackers so she lives in an specially made outside heated aviary (15ft sq) which gives her much more space than keeping her caged indoors whilst keeping her safely contained at the same time. If your AGP must live in a cage, it should be at least three times the length of the bird with room for them to stretch their wings out fully, and with the bars around 1inch apart, which allows the bird to climb up the sides, and furnished with many toys to provide stimulation for your bird whilst you cannot be with them. Because I house Pepsi in an outside avairy she does need more socalisation and handling than indoor kept birds as she isn't part of the household as such and cannot see all the things going on indoors and have the same company, however I'm prepared to do this and she comes in for at least 3hours of an evening everyday.
Compared to some of the other parrot breeds, the AGP is relatively easy to feed. They require a good quality parrot mix as the base of their diet, supplemented every other day with bits of fresh fruit, vegetables, egg, plain biscuit, toast, nuts, cereal ect. If you feed a correct diet there is no need to give extra vitamins, although these can be beneficial to young or old parrots or recently rescued ones such as Pepsi to help them restore full health- water soluable ones are generally best as trying to give a parrot a tablet will probably result in you having a few less fingers than when you started. Fresh water should always be provided and the following foods should never to be fed to an AGP: chocolate, avocado, apple pips, garlic, mushrooms or daily products.
AGPs need to keep their beaks sharp to enable them to crack open nut shells ect, so you will need to provide some kind of product for them to chew such as a cuttlefish bone or large branches from fruit trees only, they love stripping the bark which provides them with mental stimulation as well as keeping their beaks sharp and short.
Stress- many caged AGPs can suffer from stress and boredom which causes them to pluck out their own feathers. This can be prevented by providing your parrot with plenty of things to stimulate their minds whilst in their cages and allowing them plenty of time outside their cage everyday to exercise. When Pepsi came to me she was in a very sorry state with very few feathers left after being caged for long periods of time with nothing to do, since being in her aviary though she has greatly improved and already her feathers are thankfully starting to grow back.
AGPs love to socialise with other pet birds (although they shouldn't be housed with them unless they are of the same species and get on well), if you have another pet bird, allowing your AGP time with them can further help prevent boredom and stress, just supervise them together at all times. Pepsi also loves many of my other animals, and she gets superivsed time with them too.
As with all of the larger birds kept as pets, it's important to get their wings clipped for both their and your safety. It prevents them from flying anything other than very short distances and stops them getting height to fly off allowing them to be taken out in the garden safely in warm weather. It also prevents them from frantically flapping their wings whilst in their cages and damaging them on the bars.
Exercise is essential for an AGP, without it they will almost certainly become stressed and destructive. They cannot get exercise in cages so will need to be let out under supervision for a little fly around a safe room in the house, or taken into the garden for a play. Pepsi is able to fly in her aviary but she still comes into the house every evening for socialisation and exercise with Crackers, they strengths the bond between you and your pet too.
African Grey Parrots do need a lot of time and attention but can make fantastic pets, they have such characters and are a lively addition to the family. If you are prepared to put in the effort then what they give back is priceless, and will provide you with a friend for life.