African Grey stimulated by toy?

by Jill

Good Morning...I've had a Timneh grey for over 20 years. I have never had the bird sexed, so I am unsure if it is a male or female.

About a month ago, I hung a new rope toy in "his" cage and a couple weeks ago "he" started playing with it. First, he was somewhat violent with it, swinging it back and forth and bumping it with "his" beak. More recently, "he" has started attaching one foot to it, keeping the other foot on the perch, and making "kissy" noises at it. "He" has also started the open "his" wings, drop them, and cock his head to one side, with a strange look on "his" face, while swing back and forth with "his" tail down.

I have read quite a few articles about this type of behavior online, yet I am still confused. Is this a sexual ritual? If so, should I remove that toy, which is clearly proving to be a stimulation? Lastly, is it safe to assume that my parrot is a male, as "he" has not laid any eggs in the 20+ years I have had "him?"

I welcome your thought and advice!

Thank you,

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Feb 21, 2011
African Grey stimulated by toy?
by: Linda

You want your bird stimulated by his toys, so this is not a problem. You can add some safe wooden pieces to the rope depending on how large a diameter rope is. Holes have to be just a bit larger than the rope diameter. What I do is use Crayola's Washable Paints and ONLY these paints, which are safe for birds, and I paint onto raw, sanded wood pieces that have been cut no larger than 2" long and can be only a bit wider. I drill holes in the middle of them, put knots at the top and bottom of toy piece to keep bird from being able to simply slice through rope. Always use ONLY 100% cotton rope as nylon is a safety hazard and if tangled around feet or legs will not loosen up. If eaten, nylon will not pass through digestive system and will require surgery to remove.

Use a toy base as the part you hang from, and this can be a piece of wood or half a coconut shell with holes drilled in it to fit the rope and knots put in on top to keep them from falling through. Use either nickel plated or stainless metal hangers to attach to top or sides of cage. A list of safe wood is on this site, and safe means never having been sprayed with pesticide or fertilizer as these are soaked into the skin of the trees and remain poisonous to a bird if eaten or chewed. Manzanita is a good one and can be found at if they are still in business. Also you can purchase natural wood branches here on this website.

Thanks for writing,

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