Trained Parrot BlogParrot Wizard Online Parrot Toy StoreThe Parrot Forum

Is it acceptable to get an African Grey as first parrot?

Macaws, Cockatoos, Greys, Poicephalus, Conures, Lovebirds, Parrotlets, Parakeets etc. Discuss topics related to specific species of parrots and their characteristics, mutations, pros, and cons.

Is it acceptable to get African Grey as first time parrot?

Yes
14
52%
No
13
48%
 
Total votes : 27

Re: Is it acceptable to get an African Grey as first parrot?

Postby Banksie » Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:30 am

^^^ I agree with all of the above. The question, however, was "is it acceptable to get an African Grey as a first parrot?" to which you seem to have taken a hardline stance that it is under no circumstances acceptable. You were suggesting that all people are incapable of looking after an African Grey unless they have had previous experience with a smaller parrot, which is blatantly false. The implications of that opinion were that African Greys are only suitable for people who already own parrots (or have lost one) - I simply don't agree with that.

Your above post gives a completely different impression of your opinion and is not a million miles away from the way I feel. I still don't agree that it's absolutely imperative for someone to have had experience with parrots (though agree completely it would help) to handle an AG-or-similar bird. It simply depends on the person, their attitude and their commitment to looking after one. We all agree that too many people get it wrong but those people clearly made a poor judgement. I obviously can't prove it, but I'd wager that they didn't research on fine forums like this, speak to people who own parrots or buy any books on the subject. I think most people would decide that they were unable to meet the bird's requirements having done so anyway. I don't think it's unacceptable for the people that remain to go and get an African Grey.
User avatar
Banksie
Cockatiel
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 72
Location: Hertfordshire, England.
Number of Birds Owned: 16
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, 2x Budgerigars, 5x Zebra Finches, 4x Bengalese Finches, 2x Chinese Painted Quails, 2x Red-Eared Waxbills.
Flight: Yes

Re: Is it acceptable to get an African Grey as first parrot?

Postby Michael » Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:48 am

Look, my main point is that no matter how much "research" someone does, it does not replace hands on ownership experience. The implications of saying "woops, turns out this is too hard for me afterall" are much more severe on an African Grey. I'm not saying it's ok for someone to do that with a smaller parrot but I think it is less likely cause a smaller parrot is less difficult to care for. So just having determination could be enough for someone to overcome and fear or issues with a small parrot. With a larger one, not quite. Ending up in the hospital doesn't help to overcome a biting issue.

I am willing to concede that some fraction of first time African Grey owners can succeed. However, I think the likelihood of failure is too great and the parrot too difficult for people to "try their hand at parrot ownership" on. If they don't want a smaller parrot, then I don't think they really want a big one either. My suggestion is, without making it too formal or absolute, is a tiered system of ownership:

1) Small and easy parrots (what exactly fits the group is hard to say but budgie through Senegal probably)
2) Medium and mildly challenging parrots (mostly stuff ranging from Amazon to Galah, AG here too)
3) Large and very challenging parrots (large macaws, cockatoos, hawk headed, etc. not always challenge from size but usually)

I don't think you can jump from owning a budgie to having a Hyacinth. It just doesn't compare. I cannot imagine any never-parrot owner that I could recommend getting an African Grey to on the first time. Is it conceivable that out of many first time grey owners, some do an outstanding job and everything works? Certainly. From experience looking at people who've owned or gotten rid of these parrots, does it happen for most people? Certainly not. So should we subject these parrots to a high likelihood of failure just to be able to find out if some first time owner is cut out for it? I don't think so.
User avatar
Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6234
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Is it acceptable to get an African Grey as first parrot?

Postby Banksie » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:03 am

I respectfully disagree with your opinion that experience with smaller birds is absolutely necessary for someone considering an African Grey. I don't think we're going to agree on that point so let's leave it!

Anyway, who'd want an AG over a :senegal:?!
User avatar
Banksie
Cockatiel
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 72
Location: Hertfordshire, England.
Number of Birds Owned: 16
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, 2x Budgerigars, 5x Zebra Finches, 4x Bengalese Finches, 2x Chinese Painted Quails, 2x Red-Eared Waxbills.
Flight: Yes

Re: Is it acceptable to get an African Grey as first parrot?

Postby Michael » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:04 am

Banksie wrote:Anyway, who'd want an AG over a :senegal:?!


Finally something we can agree on :thumbsup:
User avatar
Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6234
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Is it acceptable to get an African Grey as first parrot?

Postby myakando » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:15 am

Michael wrote:
Natacha wrote:I would argue that it depends on the person.

I don't entirely believe in the concept of "beginner" birds where someone will start with a smaller bird but really wants something else.


How is someone to know that they like birds, can handle birds, and have enough requisite knowledge to realize that it is right for them? Of course this would probably mean no one should buy a parrot to begin with. However, within practical limitations, there are parrots that have simpler needs and a person that commits to owning one, despite realizing it's not their favorite thing, could still care for the bird and let it live out its life. With larger or more needy parrots that is certainly not possible.

Yet how is one to judge the criteria of a difficult or intellectually needy parrot if they don't know what that means on a smaller level even? I'm not saying that people who want a big parrot should buy a small one first. On the contrary. I'm suggesting that perhaps there is a range of parrots that are more manageable for a first time owner and those larger/complex parrots should only be considered as an additional parrot for a household that has success and enjoys the more "beginner" ones.

Natacha, you really think someone who has never had a parrot before could just go in and buy an umbrella cockatoo and have any idea of what they are getting themselves into? They may be ambitious and determined... but even then is that enough? Furthermore, are there any specific kinds of parrots that you would definitely agree should not be owned by anyone that lacks experience?

Well, it just so happens that I was one of 'those' that went out and brought home an Umbrella cockatoo as a first bird. Granted, I did TONS of research and spoke to TONS of people, however, I did do it and thus far, I have not stumbled across any 'surprises' or regrets for having a U2. This particular *starter* 'too I have was only three years old at the time and I am her fourth (and last) home because all of the prior owners said she was waaaay too demanding! To be honest, she is one of the 'easiest' birds of my flock.... dunno what they were talking about....perhaps all the research and reading of books I did has an important play in all this? In fact, I loved parrot ownership so much, I now have a G2, Severe macaw, Red Fronted macaw, lovebirds, cockatiels.... and a Maxi pionus on deck that will be coming home in the Fall. I recently purchased a new home that is larger and better fits the birds' needs and have completely re-arranged my work schedule so I can be home with the birds. I was aware that having a bird would be a 'lifestyle'. Having said all this, I don't agree there should be 'starter' birds, they will only suffer in the end (statistically speaking). I'm a HUGE believer that one needs to do research, research and more research.
myakando
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 22
Number of Birds Owned: 11
Types of Birds Owned: Umbrella cockatoo, Goffin's cockatoo, Severe macaw, Red Fronted macaw, Peachfaced lovebirds, Fisher's lovebirds and cockatiels
Flight: Yes

Re: Is it acceptable to get an African Grey as first parrot?

Postby Michael » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:27 am

Please don't forget that the people who are actually on this forum discussing parrots are all examples of success stories. They got parrots, they loved them, they decided to go online to find out how to be even better parrot owners which is how they ended up on here. There are countless other parrot owners who never did one bit of research at all and even since having their parrot don't either. It's hard to know about them cause you won't meet them online cause they don't come online to talk about parrots. I've been meeting more and more of these "offline" parrot owners and typically they are quite disappointing. Parrot owners notice me when I'm flying Kili outside but from the things they say about how they care for (or got rid of) their parrot is quite disappointing to me. Another great place to see poor parrot owners is at pet shops/bird stores. Once again, they don't have to be putting much effort in. When I see them buying a 20 pound bag of sunflower seeds and talking about all their parrots problems, it makes me cringe.
User avatar
Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6234
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Is it acceptable to get an African Grey as first parrot?

Postby Banksie » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:36 am

^^^ I couldn't agree more. Without meaning to be all sentimental and blowing our own trumpet, we're examples of the type of people who actually care about and are interested in our pets' welfare and development. I wish, to any god that might be listening, that all parrot owners would take as much time to find out about their pets before and during their ownership of them. That's why I was so much on the 'attitude more than experience" side in our earlier exchanges.
User avatar
Banksie
Cockatiel
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 72
Location: Hertfordshire, England.
Number of Birds Owned: 16
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, 2x Budgerigars, 5x Zebra Finches, 4x Bengalese Finches, 2x Chinese Painted Quails, 2x Red-Eared Waxbills.
Flight: Yes

Re: Is it acceptable to get an African Grey as first parrot?

Postby Ark » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:53 am

I almost didn't want to reply, as you can see by the number of times that I've edited this post, I have a hard time being satisfied with how I've worded things. There are many good points on either side. But many of these points are also relative so they don't necessarily apply to everyone. I don't have the patience to multi-quote, so I'll just make my remarks about the things that I've read "free-style".

First of all, I did not vote because the title and the first post are not reflecting the same opinion, the way I see it. One say would it be acceptable for an African Grey to be a 1rst bird (which I would answer "yes", for the right people), whereas the other says would it be acceptable to have a Grey as a 1rst bird having never handled a bird before (which I would answer "no", but insert any other species and I would probably say the same). Buying a bird having never handled or interacted with a bird ever does not instill much confidence in me; whether they have done their reasearch or not; whether this bird is a Grey or not.

If someone is really interested in Greys, there are enough ressources available to help them gain some form of experience and confidence before they bring the bird home. Join a club and make some friends, interact with their birds, talk to responsible breeders, avian vets, volonteer, etc. If one makes an effort to learn, they may find that many will be happy to share their knowledge. But an effort must be made, people don't waste their time with those who don't seem genuinely passionate and interested. There's also a good chance that along the way they'll even end up discovering a species that interests and suits them more then the Grey, who knows.

It's true that there is nothing that really prepares us for parrot ownership in it's full extent. But that is not a reason to brush off other forms of experience. One part of the problem is because there will always be those people who want things now. Lack of knowledge and experience is not really a reason to pick an "easier" bird, you still have to have make an effort preparing for that bird. If someone is willing to go the whole nine yards, why should they "settle" for a smaller bird?

As for the beak argument, also very relative. If you are wary of larger beaks and don't feel confident enough handling them, then by all means, don't start with a Grey. But that has nothing to do with how others feel. The first parrot that I ever held and interacted with was a Macaw, fear of beaks was never in the equation for me, I am most certainly not the only one who feels this way. It really depends on the person. I actually have quite a bit more tolerance for the bites of most larger parrots, they are not as pinchy I find. I can't stand the bites of some small birds and they are equally as likely to be pitched to the ground by someone that is not anticipating the bite, a person's uncontrolled pain reflex can easily send some of the smaller guys flying.


Cockatiels, Budgies and Conures, to name a few, would never last a week in my home. This is not only due to lack of interest in the species, but also because I can't stand their noises and I can't stand being pinched by these small birds. I would never lose my patience towards an animal that I was interacting with, but I know never to even attempt to live with these species. So, if I can't live with these "easier birds", but can live with Greys just fine, who's to say that others are not the same.

Smaller birds gets condemned to life without coming out of their cages and/or being rehomed for the very same reasons that larger birds do: they all scream, they all make a mess, they all bite, etc. A Cockatiel screaming non-stop because it's needs are not being met will only be more tolerable then a Macaw doing the same for awhile before is will be subjected to the same fate. If a person is not willing to make an effort with a larger bird, what makes you think they will with a smaller bird once this bird starts to become a nuissance?

Someone once said something like this, "If you don't have time for a Grey [or insert whatever higher maintenance bird here], you don't really have the time for a smaller one". I don't know where I read it, but it makes alot of sense. Just because smaller birds "seem" to tolerate our shortcomings better doesn't mean they should be subjected to them anymore then a larger bird. They are all (with the exception of a few species) highly sociable animals.

You mention Michael, that the people on this forum are the ones mentioning success stories with starting with larger birds and not of those who failed. That may be true, I'll give you that. But I can go on Kijiji on any given day and it is also flooded with smaller, "easier to care for" birds, being given up because the person has "no time" or because "they scream too much" or because "the bird loves my husband but bites me". The very same reasons why people say they are giving up the big guys. The problem is not really with what birds these people started with, but usually with these people themselves.

I am certainly not saying that a Grey is for everyone, it is quite obvious by the number of animals being rehomed and not properly cared for, that they are not. Same can be said for parrots as a whole. I just do not agree that one must be made to feel that they need to pass some right of passage by owning smaller birds first. My first bird was a Grey, and I wouldn't change that for the World, it has never crossed my mind during the 8 years that we've been together. It would be quite hypocritical and presumptuous of me to think that I can do it but that others can't or shouldn't.

Like I said, I agree with many points that were made, on either side. There will always be people who buy Greys (or any large bird) and end up getting rid of it, but who's to say that they would have toughed it out with another "easier" bird? People get rid of small birds all the time for the very same reasons as the larger ones. I just don't think that we can make a blanket statement regarding whether people can or should start out with a Grey.
Last edited by Ark on Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:38 pm, edited 24 times in total.
User avatar
Ark
Cockatiel
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 51
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Psittacus erithacus erithacus. Psittacus erithacus timneh.
Flight: Yes

Re: Is it acceptable to get an African Grey as first parrot?

Postby Marnie » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:55 am

We got our grey simply because we saw him in a pet shop and were not happy with the conditions he was being kept in, he was very sweet, not nippy at all, my boyfriend had always wanted one...I'm a sucker for an animal in need, so home with us he came


this is exactly how we acquired our amazon. we wanted to add a "bird" to the family so i went looking. i saw this pathetic amazon in an 18X24 cage, one perch, one huge pile of poop (cause she never moved) and one stupid looking "toy". there she sat among a hundred different screeching budgies, finches etc. in her tiny cage just looking miserable. she was there on consignment for $800. i asked the lady about her and of course she didn't know much other than she says thank you when you give her a treat. she took the treat from me ever so delicately with a tiny "thank you".
i took her home that day.
i knew nothing of amazons but what i did know was that i could make her life a whole lot better that! i got several books and learned everything i could about them.
she had the best of everything, 2 huge cages, lots of attention and she went lots of places with us. she was a very very good bird. and still is.' we enjoyed her for 10yrs and since i know how long they live i figured it was in her best interest to find her a new younger loving family.
she now lives with a stay at home mom, 2 kids, 2 cats and is the joy of their life. her name is now Queenie and she is treated like royalty :)
i have Marnie now and she is just right for us!
Marnie
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 180
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: IRN
LoveBirds
Flight: No

Re: Is it acceptable to get an African Grey as first parrot?

Postby entrancedbymyGCC » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:07 pm

Because it got a bit lost in the Banskie-Michael barrage (Banskie, our Michael is young enough to see things more black and white than shades of grey, I think you will find, but his heart is definitely in the right place!) I want to bring up one of the points I made again:

Even a small bird can live 15-20-25 years... if someone is really captivated with an :gray: and after really giving it fair and honest thought really wants one, is it fair to the :budgie: to insist they start out with a budgie they don't really find compelling and which will likely become second class bird after the desired :gray: arrives?

As for the argument that the stubbornly ignorant won't do the legwork and research ... they aren't going to listen to the advice either!

Horse owners don't typically start out with minis and work their way up. If one is going to work with a large and potentially dangerous animal, one needs to learn what one is getting into and prepare for it or it will likely go poorly for both animal and owner, whatever the animal is.

Even if we all agreed this is "not acceptable" what would we do about it? Make a law? Socially ostracize such people? Seems to me better to make sure that the information about what they might be getting into is readily available, and to work to make the resources to allow people to get the experience and help they might need would be a far better use of energy. MHO.
Scooter :gcc:
Death Valley Scotty :cape:
User avatar
entrancedbymyGCC
Cockatoo
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 2106
Location: Southern California aka LALA land
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Green Cheek Conure
(Un)Cape Parrot
Flight: No

PreviousNext

Return to Parrot Species

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

Parrot ForumArticles IndexTraining Step UpParrot Training BlogPoicephalus Parrot InformationParrot Wizard Store