Wonderful African Grey
If you are now the proud owner of a hand-reared parrot - a cuddly tame African Grey (Psittacus erithacus) then read on........or if you dream of having one read on. These parrots originate from Africa and have been bonded with man for many hundreds of years. Now, rather than taking these marvellous birds from their wild habitat they can be bred in captivity with their offspring being hand reared into the wonderful, tame, soft birds you now know.
We, at Fur’n’Feathers, make sure, to the best of our ability that our birds have been reared in the way we rear our own hand reared birds. That way we can be sure you receive the best quality and healthiest stock available.
If your bird is on a seed diet a vitamin supplement should be used daily with calcium given twice a week. The greys are notoriously prone to a calcium deficiency so don’t be tempted to forget this!! The vitamin supplements we use and have great results from are produced by the BirdCare Company. We stock all their products. Their ‘Daily Essentials’ 1 or 3 should be used daily.
The better diet is a complete extruded pellet, eg Kaytee. Our own birds eat this and get every vitamin and mineral (including calcium) which they need. The Avian vet will tell you he almost never sees a parrot plucking which is on Kaytee!!
If your bird has been weaned onto a seed diet then it is worth trying to convert him. If not a very good diet is ‘Tidy Mix’ which is a seed diet with the seeds all hulled and in a good proportion for his health.
Additionally your parrot will eat a variety of fruit and vegetables, nuts in a smaller quantity due to their fat content, and just about everything you eat yourself. They love pomegranates, pears, melon, apples, lychees, peaches, oranges, bananas, peas, carrots, broccoli, sweet corn, Chile peppers and anything else you use.
The main foodstuffs to avoid are alcohol, milk, chocolate and avocado pears, which are toxic to parrots.
Any ‘human’ food given should not be salted and fatty and fried foods should be avoided. All vegetables can be taken cooked or raw. They also enjoy pasta, rice, and the like. The basic rule of thumb here is, if its good for you its good for the parrot in moderation. Our own birds have their dinner in the evening which includes bits of ours. Another good rule of thumb when feeding your birds is that if you'd eat it yourself then feed it to your birds.....don't be tempted to give them second class fruit and veg as that could be giving them problems.
Parrots will also eat an occasional cooked chicken leg bone and benefit from the animal proteins contained in it. Have a chicken drumstick and give your parrot the bone. It is very good for it and it is safe for it to break it up and eat it.
Remember that in the wild, studies have shown that Greys can eat a variety of over two dozen items, quite a lot to try and cram into their food dish!!!!!
Once you take your parrot home it may be a bit quiet for the first couple of days and will look to you for lots of cuddles and affection. This is the stage where you will bond with the bird as it gets to know you and you it.
Your daily chores for the bird are to change the paper at the bottom of its cage if that’s what you use (newspaper is fine as it is clean and cheap but you might want to use corncob bedding or something similar). Sawdust is not good as it produces constant dust which can cause respiratory problems.
Water and food should be changed daily to make sure there is no contamination from droppings or anything. Birds also like to 'dunk' their food in their water dish which can create a complex bacterial soup if its not changed!
Your Parrot’s cage becomes its home and security. Buy as big a cage as you have room for and can afford. Birds should be able to at least stretch their wings in all directions inside their cage.
They will enjoy playing with lots of wooden and rope toys, which allows it the beak activity it would enjoy in its natural habitat. It should feel safe there and should enjoy a good 12 hours sleep a night. A 'crabbit ' parrot is like a child who hasn't slept long enough and we all know how demanding that can be.
To keep your parrot’s feathers in tip top condition and to stop a build up of naturally produced dust you should spray him with water at least twice a week. Some parrots love this and will take it daily. Some may even take a shower or bath with you! If you use a spray bottle put hot water into it and spray the bird from about 6 - 9 inches.
If you use only warm water this will be cold when it reaches the bird, test it yourself on your hand, hot water sprayed from this distance will be pleasant.
As with any other animal the parrots have a charm when they are babies which with proper direction nurtures them into beautiful happy pets. Do not let you parrot rule the roost…..he will try……but, as in the jungle, there is a ‘pecking order' and you should always maintain that top perch.
There are a lot of opinions banded about concerning looking after your pets........they are not all right but equally they are not all wrong.
Very often each individual case has its own individual solutions so keep an open mind and listen to good advice that you can understand the reasoning behind.
The African Greys are renowned for their mimicking ability, some better than others, and you will be amazed at the things they come out with……from a car alarm to a clock ticking……from a young child’s voice to an adults…….each one perfect in it’s tone and pitch. You’ll know how good they are when you rise to answer that phone !! or reply to someone’s call !!
There are lots of books written about parrots and African Greys in particular.
Some are very good and give you an insight to understand your bird. We are not trying to do that here, merely to start you off in the right direction so that you have many, many happy years with your parrot.
If ever your bird is unwell don't hesitate to contact us as we can supply the name of a good avian vet who knows birds………don't delay as time is paramount.
In any event do not hesitate to contact us for any information or advice we can offer…….remember, parrots are very special to us.
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