African Grey Parrots have the potential to make for very interesting and fun pets to have. They are very intelligent birds which, although, can make your home life with them very fun, can also bring about more negative things.
Due to this high level of intelligence, African Greys can get very bored and stressed if they are caged. This can then lead to health problems and can even send them as far as feather plucking.
Keeping your African Grey parrot happy and healthy will not only mean that they are more fun and energetic to have around, with good behavior, but it will also avoid a wide array of health problems that could otherwise crop up.
To keep them happy, it is wise that you keep them regularly checked up with the vet, despite their hardiness, they can be susceptible to health issues like feather mites, so it is good to keep them checked-up on.
You should also give them the largest cage you can. Give them plenty of perches, toys, fruit branches, and more. The more branches they have, the more they will have to chew and scratch on. You should also give them a space near a window, but with the option for shade on very sunny days.
Make sure your Parrot has the freedom to fly about as well, you could even construct a small aviary, keeping them exercised is key to happiness and health. Similarly, getting plenty of sunshine is important too, these birds actually like sunbathing, so make sure they have that open.
Sleep and high-quality, vet-recommended food, regular baths of sand and water, are all also very important in your Parrots’ happiness. If you can do all these things, you will have a very happy Parrot with a very high quality of life.
Can African Greys go outside?
Strictly speaking, any bird can go outside, but obviously you do not want them to fly off. Giving your African Grey Parrot plenty of room and opportunity for exercise will be very important in their overall health and happiness, so ensure that you previous plenty of opportunity for them to spread their wings.
If you have the time, space, and resources, you could set up a mini aviary in your backyard, so your parrot can have some time flying around under the sun. Make sure there is some space for sunlight and shade so that they get to do some sunbathing, and have shade available if it is too hot.
If you cannot do this, you could get a harness for your African Grey Parrot. Not every Parrot will like the harness at first, but usually when they realize that it means they can get some exercise and go on adventures with you, they will enjoy it.
This can mean making trips out to parks, or on trails, finding secluded places where you and your parrot can have freedom. When you first do this, keep the outings shorter, eventually you can go out for a few hours or so.
You should also let your parrot guide you if you do this, if they want to go home they will let you know. Also make sure that you provide hydration for them on these outings too.
Going outdoors, and getting exercise is key for your parrot, and this can be a unique and interesting way to achieve this.
Do African Grey’s have feelings?
While some scientists may say that we attribute human characteristics to our pets, when it comes to Parrots, and African Greys in particular, we know that we aren’t just attributing them, but seeing a reality.
Not only are these Parrots incredibly talented in their intellectual ability, but they also have a strong desire for companionship, and can express emotion too. They express their emotions through their eyes, posture, behavior, and verbal vocalizations.
We know for sure that these birds can demonstrate many emotions. Love is one of these emotions that they express, often shown in their desire to be close to their favorite human, wanting to be touching, excitement when engaging with you and more.
They also experience fear, shown in a desperate wish to escape through flight. They experience joy too, shown in vocalizations and body language, they might hop, sing, whistle, and so on. African Greys can get lonely too, they show this as we would.
They can get bored, they grieve, get jealous, angry, or may even distrust someone, or something. We’ve all seen videos on YouTube and social media of Parrots reacting to people, music, television, and inanimate objects. It is clear they display emotions.
So, not only do African Grey Parrots have feelings, but they express them similar to how we do. Even more so, they actually are even more emotionally intelligent, they can actually key into your emotions too.
They are very sensitive to emotions, maybe even more than we are. They can express empathy, often being able to read, language, tone, and energy levels.
African Grey Parrots are the real empaths.
Do African Greys like to be handled?
There are some misconceptions that African Grey Parrots do not like attention. This is so incredibly far from the truth. These birds are flock birds, and when you have one as a pet, you become their flock.
They love attention from their owners, they will also need much attention and love from their owners, as these are not strictly domesticated birds, not like we have domesticated cats and dogs, anyway. So they will need much attention and enrichment to be fulfilled.
If you have a good relationship with your bird, then you will find that they really enjoy attention and being handled. Yet, you must remember that this is not going to happen from day one. You will need to earn your Parrots trust first in many cases.
African Greys are much like people, they will have different personalities. Whereas one Parrot may cuddle up under your chin and watch TV with you, another might not like this.
Some African Grey’s might not give their trust as freely as others would. Trust is earned and not given with some birds, so it is important that you try to figure out what type of personality your bird has.
It is important that you bond with your bird as soon as you bring them home, building on the trust-bond, and touching them, getting them to allow you to touch them can be productive in the case of vet visits, medical attention, and also the slow development of a friendship as well.
These birds do enjoy being handled, but every bird is different, so it is important that you define what kind of contact your bird likes.
Do African Greys need sun?
Some animals do not mind missing out on the sunlight, however, when it comes to African Grey Parrots, this is not the case. African Greys need sunlight to be happy and stress-free.
These birds can be susceptible to medical conditions, stress and other unpleasantries when they do not get the environment they need. Things like feather plucking all the way to calcium deficiencies are all possibilities that can be rectified with a proper spectrum of lighting for your Parrot.
These birds are popular pets, since they are very intelligent. Yet, this intelligence also makes them a bit of a high maintenance pet. Yet, their high maintenance needs also means that captive African Grey Parrots are more likely to develop certain ailments.
Many of the ailments that can occur in African Grey Parrots can be rectified by the simple introduction of sunlight, or a full spectrum light system. This can also increase their calcium intake, and bring them more happiness, reducing the stress that leads to feather plucking.
For a bit of science, when your bird preens their feathers, they spread an oil over them from a gland called the Uropygial gland, which is situated at the base of their tail. This oil then goes through a chemical reaction when it is met with certain rays of sunlight. This reaction changes the oil into Vitamin D3.
Then, when they next preen, they ingest this vitamin D3, which is a necessary Vitamin for animals and humans to be able to extract calcium from their diet.
While keeping your Parrots cage near a window may seem like a good idea, windows can filter out the special sun rays the bird needs. So, it is best to give them the opportunity to go outside either by taking them on walks with a harness, or by creating a mini outdoor aviary for them.
How do you bond with an African Grey?
The first step to bonding with your African Grey Parrot is to place their cage in a safe space where they can see what is going on. Keep the cage elevated, so they can have a good look around, maybe even able to watch people out the window.
Living rooms are good spaces for your African Greys cage, as they will be able to spend more time around you. At the start of your relationship with your bird, this will help them build trust in you, while also keeping them happy and occupied.
You should also be mindful around the first few weeks of having your new bird. They may be a little overwhelmed so keep things quiet, avoid loud noises such as vacuuming, any banging or shouting.
If your bird is stressed they may start to puff their feathers out, they may growl, tremble, or narrow their eyes.
You should also start socializing with your bird as soon as you get them. If they are young, be social with them from the off. If your parrot is older, ensure that they have had positive social interactions with people in the past, as this will help them develop healthier behaviors.
You should also interact with your parrot daily, talk to them throughout the day, and let them out of their cage to handle them. You can ask the bird if they want to come out and offer your finger as a perch.
You can then build a better relationship this way. Play with them too, offering them toys in many colors and textures to keep them stimulated. They like wooden toys, noisy toys, and toys they can shred.
Do not forget to let the parrot take the lead too. Let them tell you how they feel and when they are ready to be petted more, or be more social with you. Respect their boundaries and take things slowly if they need that.