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Thinking of Getting a Congo African Grey

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Thinking of Getting a Congo African Grey

Postby Michael » Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:25 pm

I'm going to make it official now. I'm thinking of getting a Congo African Grey parrot. I found a breeder about an hour away that raises greys. Actually I don't think she breeds greys but she does breed other birds herself. The greys she gets at a young age but then raises them herself. What is nice is that she lets them fly in her home environment and doesn't clip them until the end and only if the customer wants that.

As you may have guessed, since I'm so interested in flying parrots and Kili flies already, I will not be getting a clipped bird for sure. I would appreciate to hear all information/experience available about flighted African Greys, African Grey - Senegal Parrot flock dynamics, African Grey problems and phobias etc.

I am thinking that if I keep the grey flighted, socialize it to Kili and other people early on, and train it in much the same way that I did Kili (but possibly better with all the experience at hand) that I may be able to overcome all the typical CAG problems like feather plucking, phobias, and biting. Opinions about that?

I've also been wondering what to expect between Kili and a new CAG. My hypothesis is that Kili would remain the dominant bird and if anything would bully the grey from childhood and the grey would learn to be her subordinate for life. However, what I worry about more is having two hard headed birds! That if the grey grows up and realizes that it is bigger and stands up to Kili. Kili would think she's hot stuff (not like she doesn't already) and might attack grey (and as a juvenile the grey might back down) but when its older it might stand its ground and fight back. If Kili thinks she is dominant and grey does not back down, I can only imagine a gory battle because Kili may be more fierce but an African Grey is certainly bigger.

So...

A) What are African Greys like (believe me I've been doing a lot of research but I want to hear it from you)
B) What problems should I expect from a CAG, do you think indoor freeflight solves them?
C) What is the difference between Timneh and Congo African Greys (I know all the physical differences and don't really care, I'm wondering more about personality)
D) What are flighted African Greys like?
E) How do African Greys get along with Senegal Parrots

Any other advice you may have for me? I know many of you own or have experience with greys and senegals so I'm interested what you may know. That's another reason that motivated me to take Kili to vet is in case she has any minor illness, that I would not want to be bringing a young immune deficient baby bird into that kind of household. I look forward to seeing your answers.
User avatar
Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6011
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Thinking of Getting a Congo African Grey

Postby pchela » Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:43 am

African Greys are special. If you think Killi is smart, wait until you get to know your Grey. They are amazing. And, they can get into a lot of trouble because of it. I had a TAG living with me for 8 months and I have raised several CAGs. I will have a Timneh of my own someday.

In my experience, my Senegal displays the typical jealousy that Senegals are known for and he does not get along with any other birds. He tried to bully the Timneh when I brought her home and she didn't fight back at first because she was in a new situation and nervous. That didn't last long. They never got along. If I had one on my shoulder, the other would rush over and pick a fight so they could be on my shoulder. Having two birds fighting over you in your face is not pleasant. A lot of this is going to depend on the individual bird. I have a Senegal who will not accept new birds. Yours might be okay with a new bird. Her being female might make a difference.

Keeping a Grey flighted is great because baby Greys are known to be clumsy and clipping their wings only increases that. The Timnehs especially are known to have problems with damaging their keel bones from falls. Remaining flighted should definitely help with that problem. As for behavior problems, I don't know how remaining flighted will effect that. I believe that a lot of the behavior problems in Greys occur because they are so intelligent and we aren't providing them with enough stimulation. They need lots of toys... interactive toys that they have to figure out. Training your Grey should help with that too as that provides plenty of attention and interaction. Also, diet is important. Greys need extra calcium.

Differences between the two. In personality, Timnehs are said to be more adaptable to change and more social with more people. I think that if you properly socialize either and get them used to change at a young age, you shouldn't have too many problems. Some Cags will go to anybody and some Tags are strictly one person birds. They have the same talking ability so that shouldn't be an issue. Willow, the TAG who stayed with me, started out going to anybody and I encouraged that but she did start showing a preference for me around a year old and could be nippy with others at times. She was incredibly smart and funny. She used to give me a look of defiance before tossing a toy on the ground. I'd tell her no and she'd give me that look again and toss another one. She was very active and crawled all over her cage. I would say 30 x 24 or so would be a good size cage for a CAG, 28 x 24 minimum for a TAG. In the end, I say go with which ever bird appeals to you more. Raise him well and provide him with a loving, stimulating environment and you shouldn't have any problems with a CAG or a TAG. I personally prefer the TAG but only because of the size. I think the CAG is prettier.

BTW- Biting is not a typical Grey behavior that I've heard though they are notorious pluckers and can become phobic.

Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any questions I didn't answer.
"I bet the sparrow looks at the parrot and thinks, yes, you can talk, but LISTEN TO YOURSELF!" ~ Jack Handy ~ Deep Thoughts
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pchela
African Grey
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 1281
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal -Pippin
Red Belly - Nicholas
Lesser Jardine's - Rupert
Timneh African Grey - Isabeau (Ibby)
Flight: Yes

Re: Thinking of Getting a Congo African Grey

Postby Michael » Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:57 am

I'm familiar with african grey bites! My hands are covered in them since visiting a grey at a bird store a week ago! I wanted to handle one before going to the breeder I'm planning to get one from so I went to the store I got Kili from cause they know me well. They had two CAGs in a cage away from all the action but I asked to handle it anyway. Somewhat reluctantly they gave it to me. It seemed very scared and was growling. I did my best to calm it and make it feel better.

Eventually it settled down a bit but didn't like being touched. I wanted to test some boundaries with the grey so that A) I could find out how far you can go B) find out how bad grey bites are and be sure that I can take it without making a spectacle and reinforcing the bite. Yes I did go in with sort of the intention of getting bit. Well not really but I did want to make sure that if I buy a grey and it bites me like that, that I won't regret having it and can work through it. This was a baby and it got me good! I have bite marks on both hands. On one hand it pieced the skin really deep and I was bleeding and had to take care of it cause it looked really gory.

The reason it bit me was because I tried to grab it and turn it on its back. I do that with Kili all the time and I can do it with the baby senegals at the store without much trouble. I wanted to see if I could do it with a grey and I did but it didnt like me for it and was biting me afterwards. Luckily the bite wasn't more than I can handle so I completely ignored it and didn't make a big deal. Unlike some other people, I did not ruin this grey for whoever gets it by reinforcing biting behavior. Eventually I put it down (like when I was bleeding). Later it turned out that this was that bird's first interaction with other people and that I did pretty good for a bird that hasn't been handled by customers. I know that if I were really cautious and careful I could have avoided getting bit all together. The intensity of the bite was awakening to say the least though. So now biting is a bit of a concern for me and I want to make sure all greys aren't really bitey birds like this. Senegal babies for instance, to me, seem like completely NOT bitey birds which is deceiving cause when they hit maturity they turn pretty aggressive. Conures seem to be bitey from childhood and continue to be about the same their lives. Most greys I've handled seem pretty bitey and I wonder if they get more bitey or less bitey as they get older. I've never gotten bitten handling a macaw there and they seem much more docile. The greys are the ones that seem to do a fair bit of biting from the series of larger birds. :gray:
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Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6011
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Thinking of Getting a Congo African Grey

Postby Michael » Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:00 am

Oh, another question. How come Congo African Greys are more popular than Timneh? What's the catch? From descriptions I've heard the Timneh seem less problematic and better but yet CAGs are more available.

If I get a Congo African Grey, I may be the only person (or one of a very very few) in this country to own a Congo parrot that has actually been to Congo! Both Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of Congo! I guess it would be ironic that I had been to Congo and the Congo African Grey hadn't lol.
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Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6011
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Thinking of Getting a Congo African Grey

Postby pchela » Fri Nov 06, 2009 11:44 am

The Timneh I had never bit me once. She was very sweet. When she turned about a year old she did nip at my husband but never bit hard. It could be an individual thing. I haven't received any Congo bites either but I hand raise babies and they are less likely to bite than adults. Also, hand feeding them provides me with a special relationship with them. That said, yes, a Grey bite has the potential to be pretty bad! Willow did not like being put on her back either. It seems to me that Greys like to be in control of a situation. Some species will readily go on their backs. Senegals, Caiques and some Conures are known for that.

As for adult birds, any have the potential to bite of course. We've had rehomed Greys and Macaws come through the store that will bite anybody that comes near them. In most cases I think it's due to poor socialization though some types certainly are more likely to become nippy than others. Greys are included in that list. You could get a Grey and do everything right and still end up with a one person bird who bites strangers but I think it likely that with the proper training that can be avoided. I guess what I'm saying is that there are no guarantees with these guys. I do know that the younger you buy a bird the less likely it is that it will bite. How old were the Greys at the store that you handled? Another factor is that birds in pet shops sometimes get nippy just because a bunch of stupid people poke at them and basically irritate them so much that they learn that if they bite, people will leave them alone.

The Congos are more popular for a couple of reasons. One, they were imported in much greater numbers before the ban in 92 so they are more readily available. Two, they are much more impressive looking with that bright red tail. People seem to think that Timneh is drab and plain looking. Personally, I think the Timneh has a softer, sweeter look to it. The Congos are quite severe looking (though beautiful). It's only been in recent years that the Timneh has begun to get notice and is becoming increasingly popular due to it's personality traits. My breeder says he gets more calls for Timnehs than Congos now.
"I bet the sparrow looks at the parrot and thinks, yes, you can talk, but LISTEN TO YOURSELF!" ~ Jack Handy ~ Deep Thoughts
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pchela
African Grey
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 1281
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal -Pippin
Red Belly - Nicholas
Lesser Jardine's - Rupert
Timneh African Grey - Isabeau (Ibby)
Flight: Yes

Re: Thinking of Getting a Congo African Grey

Postby pchela » Fri Nov 06, 2009 11:45 am

BTW- did you see any wild Greys when you were in the Congo? That would be an amazing sight!
"I bet the sparrow looks at the parrot and thinks, yes, you can talk, but LISTEN TO YOURSELF!" ~ Jack Handy ~ Deep Thoughts
User avatar
pchela
African Grey
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 1281
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal -Pippin
Red Belly - Nicholas
Lesser Jardine's - Rupert
Timneh African Grey - Isabeau (Ibby)
Flight: Yes

Re: Thinking of Getting a Congo African Grey

Postby Michael » Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:28 pm

No. They ate them all.
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Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6011
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Thinking of Getting a Congo African Grey

Postby pchela » Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:39 pm

Who ate them all?
"I bet the sparrow looks at the parrot and thinks, yes, you can talk, but LISTEN TO YOURSELF!" ~ Jack Handy ~ Deep Thoughts
User avatar
pchela
African Grey
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 1281
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal -Pippin
Red Belly - Nicholas
Lesser Jardine's - Rupert
Timneh African Grey - Isabeau (Ibby)
Flight: Yes

Re: Thinking of Getting a Congo African Grey

Postby Michael » Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:41 pm

I have not come across any wild life at all while in Congo. Not even a single stray dog. Most third world countries have many stray animals but in Congo they ate them all.

The Congo river was famous for the crocodiles it used to have. Not anymore, they ate them all.

I'd assume they ate most of the :gray: as well cause I didn't see any and every time we asked about any sort of wildlife that was the answer. They kill each other too. It's a brutal country.
User avatar
Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6011
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Thinking of Getting a Congo African Grey

Postby MissLady9902 » Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:38 pm

The reason it bit me was because I tried to grab it and turn it on its back.


:gray: Marvin does not like to be on his back either. For a CAG Marvin is a pretty well rounded bird. The store I bought him from completely adored Marvin.
They handled him a lot so he's very socialized. I take him different places faily often to keep him socialized and he's very sweet with other people. Marvin is not afraid of new things like a lot of CAG are. When I show him new things he usually touches it with his beak and then looks at me with "now what" face.

Noodle does not mind Marvin from a distance however, Noodle tries to attack MArvin if he is close. I can tell Noodle is jealous of Marvin so they can't interact together. Marvin met my friends Yellow Nape Amazon and they got along just fine. I think Kili will be jealous but it's better to intorduce a new bird while they're young. My thoughts only. Good luck hunting!
Cathy

Busy beaks are quiet beaks!

:senegal: - Noodle
:gray: - Marvin
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MissLady9902
Poicephalus
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 303
Location: Columbia, Mo USA
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: A Senegal and a Congo African Grey
Flight: No

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