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Caring For Your New African Grey Parrot
The Congo and the Timneh are the two main sub-species of the African Grey parrot.
The Congo is a bigger bird with a lighter colour with a dark beak and a red tail. On average they weigh around 400 to 650 grams and are about 12 to 14 inches long from tail to beak.
The Timneh are smaller birds and darker in coloring with a horn coloured upper beak and a maroon tail. They weigh between 275 and 400 grams and measure about 9 to 11 inches from tail to beak.
Since either species have a potential lifetime of over 50 years, this is a lifelong commitment and should never be taken lightly. In general either may live anywhere between 25 to 50 years. It is rumored that the Timneh is not as nervous as the Congo, however, they both share some of the same characteristics.
African Greys are extremely intelligent and are very demanding pets. You must prepare yourself for giving them a good bit of mental and social stimulation. At times this may be challenging since a Grey generally has the emotional needs of a two year old and the intelligence of a five year old.
By their very nature, Greys are terribly nervous birds which can be presented when exposed to something new or strangers. Continual socialization is what they need. Greys are generally a one person bird. However, this can be overcome when all the members of your family take the time to develop a successful family bird.
In order to get the bird accustom to strangers and change begin while it is young. This will also help to eliminate the reputation to biting which is a by product of the lack of socialization. There is no need to push yourself on the bird, take the time to learn its body language and when you should back away. Speak to the bird gently and in a relaxed and calm tone. Soon it will respond to you. Keep in mind that these birds have extremely powerful beaks and when agitated can cause a painful bite.
The African Grey requires a healthy nutritious diet. This is vital to the happiness and overall well being of your pet. Problems such as biting, hyperactivity, continuous molting and feather plucking are signs of a poor diet.
One of the most common problems is a deficiency of calcium. This is preventable quite easily by offering the bird calcium and vitamin rich foods such as:
– Dark leafy greens such as, cabbage, kale and spinach.
– Beneficial fats such as almonds and palm nuts.
– Fresh fruits and vegetables are essential daily.
– Quality seed or pellets daily are necessary and you can make a mixture of both of these.
It is very important that your Grey has a diet that is of good quality and varied. Generally, you Grey will require 40 percent seed and 60 percent fruit and vegetables. You can find a more detailed diet list by visiting our website.
The matter of choosing any type of cage is personal, although there are restrictions of money and space. As long as the bar spacing is no larger than about an inch, the bigger the cage the better.
Some things to consider before making a bird cage purchase:
Round cages do not result positively. It can lead to the bird suffering from problems of psychological orientation. You want a cage that is mostly made of horizontal bars. Your Grey will enjoy climbing around in its cage. However, vertical bars do restrict the birds ability to do this. We recommend that you Grey have a 36x24x60 or 92x61x153 in size.
When space is a negative issue you can purchase a cage with a play top for those times the bird is out of its cage. Place the cage in a room in the house that is lively so it can enjoy spending time with the family and interacting with them. Do not place your cage in overly bright windows or in draughts.
You can keep the bird interested and stimulated by adding various types of toys to its cage and then move them around from time to time. They love to chew and when they are finished chewing they chew a little more!
You can keep your bird healthy and happy by providing various types of perches of different materials and dimensions such as natural wood and rope. A sandy or cement perch will help keep its nails trimmed. When you provide various thicknesses of perches you can help keep the birds feet exercised.
African Greys are extremely affectionate and loyal after you gain its trust. This bird will love you for the rest of its life. They are great at mimicking and are great talkers. Some owners say they are the best talkers in the world. They generally develop over a 2000 word vocabulary and can mimic such things as dogs barking, doorbells and telephones ringing. African greys have the emotional needs of a 2 year old and the intelligence of a 4 year old, this shows they can be demanding pets.
They do exceptionally well at stringing words together. However, African Greys are not for just anyone. When you purchase a baby from a breeder you should make sure it was raised in a household situation similar to your own.
Greys are wonderful as long as you fulfill their needs and show them respect. With the proper treatment and care, you will find that you have a beautiful feathery member of your family for all the years to come.
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