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5 Important Tips For Raising Pet African Greys

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aggression

5 Important Tips For Raising Pet African Greys

If you're looking to adopt a pet parrot, you should choose a species that's best suited for your lifestyle. The African Grey remains one of the world's most popular domestic parrots, but this doesn't necessarily mean it's the best choice for every individual and family. Like all parrots, African Greys have their own unique characteristics and behavioral traits.

African Greys (Psittacus erithacus) are highly intelligent medium-sized parrots that make wonderful pets. Whether this if your first pet parrot or your fourth, you can't go wrong with an African Grey. Depending on how much work and time you invest into training, it's not uncommon for African Greys to learn over a dozen words, putting together complete sentences on occasion. In this post, we're going to cover 5 important tips on how to raise a healthy African Grey.

Tip #1 - Toys

It's important for African Greys to have access to plenty of toys in their cage; otherwise, they will grow bored and may suffer from depression (yes, birds can become depressed) or even exhibit feather plucking behavior. Hanging a couple toys in their cage will give them something to do when you aren't around to entertain them.

With an average length of 13 inches when fully grown, African Greys are considered medium-sized birds. They aren’t nearly as small as a Parakeet, but they also aren't as large as some of the Cockatoos out there.

Families living in small homes and apartments may find that African Greys are simply too large for their living environment. Remember, the larger the parrot, the bigger cage it’s going to need. You can get by with raising Parakeets in small compact cages, but African Greys require a greater amount of space to live in.

Tip #2 - Provide Balanced Nutrition

African Greys require a balanced diet consisting of either seed mix or premium pellets along with fresh fruits and vegetables. There's a long running debate over which type of food is 'ideal' for parrots: seeds or pellets. But as long as you feed your African Grey a diet consisting of 60-70% seed mix or pellets and 30-40% fresh fruit and vegetables, their nutritional needs should be met.

Tip #3 - Watch For Signs of Illness

As their owner, it's your responsibility to watch for signs of illness in your African Grey. Sudden changes in their feather color, poop consistency or behavioral characteristics could all be signs of illness. Vitamin A deficiency in parrots is something you should also be aware of. At the first sign of illness, you should immediately schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. They'll be able to take a closer look at your African Grey to determine what -- if anything -- they are suffering from.

African Greys can live up to 50 years when properly taken care of. If you decide to own an African Grey, make sure you’re willing to fully commit to providing it with a safe and healthy living environment for half a century. People who are in financial hardships or without a stable home should pass on owning an African Grey until things become more stable.

Tip #4 - Socialization

Socialization is critical to the overall health and well-being of an African Grey. As previously stated, these are highly intelligent birds; therefore, they naturally crave mental stimulation. Make it a point to take your African Grey out of their cage for some social interaction each and every day. Even if you just place them on the living room floor to talk and play, this social time is key to their overall health.

African Greys are considered to be one of the most intelligent parrots in the world. According to some studies, they can learn a vocabulary consisting of several hundred words, which is impressive to say the least! Don’t be afraid to talk to your African Grey, as this will encourage your parrot to speak. In another article, we discuss on how to teach your bird to speak.

Don't Allow Your African Grey To Bite

Do you known an overly aggressive African Grey? African Greys make wonderful pets due to their playful, fun-loving, and intelligent nature. But like all parrots (or birds for that matter), they can exhibit 

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/aggression

when not properly trained. Owners should perform some routine training to ensure their African Greys are tame and docile; otherwise they could instigate a fight when exposed to other parrots or animals.

One of the worst things you can do is nothing. Far too many owners allow their African Grey to nip, peck, or otherwise bite their fingers. Even if it doesn't hurt, this behavior shouldn't be tolerated, because your parrot may bite with full force one day and cause serious injury.

When your parrot begins to nip or bite your fingers, pull away and say "NO." If your parrot continues to exhibit this behavior, squirt them with a water bottle. This won't harm your African Grey in any way, but instead it will let them know to stop.

By teaching your parrot the boundaries of what's acceptable and what's not, you'll likely notice their aggression subsiding. It's not something that happens overnight, but constant training and dedication will eventually tame your aggressive African Grey.

In order to tame an aggressive African Grey, you must first identify the root cause of the problem. Nine out of ten times, the aggression is caused by a lack of socialization. African Greys are social creatures that crave the attention and affection of others in the wild. When these birds are taken out of the wild and placed inside a home, they may not receive the necessary socialization required for proper growth and behavioral development.

Here are some simple tips to help socialize your African Grey:

  • Take them outside to walk around in the backyard (use a harness and leash)
  • Invite friends and family members over to your home.
  • Let your parrot out of its cage for daily "play sessions." A short 20-30 minute session per day will expose your parrot to new environments, which subsequently reduces their aggression.
  • Have your parrot groomed at least once a month.
  • Place your parrot's cage in a communal area, such as the living room or foyer, rather than a separate bedroom.

Tip #5 - Create Consistency

African Greys prefer a normal, consistent routine in their daily life. Moving them back and forth between different cages and environments will only place an unnecessary amount of stress on them. Instead, try to keep your African Grey's routine as consistent as possible.

Of course, you can also teach your African Grey to perform various tricks, such as handshaking, bow, and even fetch. Individuals and families who are willing to invest the time and energy into training their African Grey will be rewarded with a highly intelligent, fun-loving companion. We have also discussed 4 fun facts about macaws that might interest you.

As you may have guessed, the African Grey gets its name from its grey feathers that make up the majority of its body. While they may have spots of black and white mixed in, most African Greys are predominantly grey in color, hence their name. If you’re looking for a brighter, more vibrantly-colored parrot, then a Macaw is probably a better choice.

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