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My husband and I adopted an African Grey yesterday.. looking

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My husband and I adopted an African Grey yesterday.. looking

Postby saviopavwala » Sat May 18, 2019 1:34 am

First, this isnt our first grey. We had a grey previously and loved the experience so much so that when we found one available for adoption we jumped on the opportunity. We picked him up yesterday from the sancutary where his previous owner dropped him off. Previous owner started to do a lot of traveling for work and no longer had the time to commit. The grey had a few patches from picking but nothing too terrible and honestly I expected that after being separated from his owner of 15 years. We brought him home yesterday, he is stepping up to us, eating, drinking but while watching him while on his play stand I saw him plucking. Now I know he's in another new environment and im sure he needs time to adjust but how long do you think he will pluck for? We are holding and interacting with him, and he has toys to play with. We want him to feel comfortable and happy with us! Any recommendations?
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 1
Number of Birds Owned: 10
Flight: Yes

Re: My husband and I adopted an African Grey yesterday.. looking

Postby Pajarita » Sat May 18, 2019 3:10 pm

Welcome to the forum and thank you so much for adopting instead of buying a baby!

Now, if you want him to be comfortable, it might be better if you don't ask him for anyting until he shows you that he wants more of the relationship. Let me explain and forgive me if this is something you already know from your previous parrot. See, the thing is that we are used to dogs and cats and not only because they are the most common pets as well as the ones that have been bred for pets the longest but they are also mammals, like us. In our minds, mammals are the smart ones and anything else is beneath us. But parrots are highly intelligent. So intelligent that they analyze situations and reach conclusions of their own. They are also monogamous animals that are born, live their entire lives and die surrounded by the same individuals, their families.

When you take in a rehomed parrot, you need to give it time to figure you out and to learn to trust you. You would not trust any Tom, Dick or Harry so why would he trust you? He doesn't know you. Now, if somebody you don't know (or trust) asks you to grab his hand and trust where he will take you? Would you do it? Well, we would all like to say: NO! But the truth is that if we were scared and confused and the one who asks is much bigger than us, we would,. most likely do it. With incredible trepidation and our hearts beating 120 beats a minute - but we would do it. That's why I never ask a new bird to step up to my hand. If I need to move it, I use a stick UNLESS the bird is in a dangerous situation or on landed on the floor because it couldn't fly more. Grays are naturally high strung birds. Much more so than any other species, I think. They are the ones you always read about when people mention phobias... And, if you ask me, they are the only species that takes super long and a lot of work before they forgive a mistake - if they ever do! And that's why they are so prone to plucking and self-mutilating, the poor things. So extra care, extra calm, extra patience is best with them - especially when they pluck! Spend as many hours as you can in the same room as he does. Talk, sing, whistle, dance for him and, every now and then, give him a treat (find out what is his high value item and reserve it for these occasions) but not as a reward, just as a gift from you to him. Observe his body language. Is his plumage laying normally or is he 'slick' with the feathers stuck to his body or is he puffed up? Does he preen in your presence? Does he vocalize? Does he move around, climbing up to the top of his cage (you might want to stick/tie a nice tree branch to it)? But don't stare at him, observe him out of the corner of your eye and only look at him directly when you are praising him or offering him a treat. When he moves closer to you or moves his body in a way that welcomes you as you walk into the room or approach him, you can try to scratch the top of his head BUT only after you ask for his permission! I ask mine: Pica Pica? while bringing up my hand to their eye level and moving my fingers as if I was scratching, and they either lower their head or bring up a 'hand' to scratch it themselves -like saying: Yes, I do want this! But, if they don't, I don't do it. I think that the best way to achieve a good, long lasting relationship with a parrot is to give it the same respect I would give a child. I give them as many choices as I can while keeping the health and diet ones for myself.

Now, the best thing for a plucker is a comfortable body and a reassuring routine. So, good fresh food diet with supplements, if necessary, a stricr solar schedule with full exposure to dawn and dusk and a never changing daily routine (nothing de-stresses a parrot more than knowing, in advance, what is going to happen and their predictions to come true).

So, those are my recommendations: good fresh food diet, solar schedule, strict routine and patience... let him come to you instead of trying too hard and possibly delaying the whole process, easy does it with them.

As to when he will stop plucking... well, if he ever does (some of them never do), it will all depend on how comfortable he feels. Once he is no longer stressed out and has as much interaction and company as he needs, he will stop.
Norwegian Blue
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 15954
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

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