chewing and toys

by jodi
(moose lake, mn usa)

puff's play area

puff's play area

well my african grey is afraid of any toy small or big i try to introduce. i have tried the modeling technique, had them hanging on me and no success.

she does however chew on wood, meaning my kitchen floor boards or the shelves in the cupboard. i of course try putting toys in place of those spots, and redirect her away whenever she chews. i have had no luck in getting her to chew/play with any of her toys.

sometimes she is so frightened that when i put a new toy in her very large cage she will not even want to go back into her cage. i never force her to do anything and must say she is an amazing wonderful bird. i just brought her into my home in june and she is 10 years old.

her old diet was only seed based and now she is on all organic pellets, and real veggies and some fruit. the only seed she gets now is almonds and peanuts when training. she is winged and is out all the time i am home (carefully monitored of course). we have been bonding well and she is learning clicker training great and even a few tricks. however i would really like to see her play independently with some toys as i am not home all the time.

hoping for some help

Comments for chewing and toys

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Dec 17, 2011
chewing and toys
by: Linda

Jodi, this is a tough one, and I highly recommend you have her wings clipped by an Avian Vet as soon as is possible. When they clip her wings correctly, she will begin to want to be on and in her cage more. Lots of birds are like this at first, and many horrible accidents can occur when birds are allowed to fly all over the house. You are doing your best to watch her, and all it takes is one head hit on something to kill her.

A friend of mind recently heard from a Lady giving all her Greys new Christmas toys away, and friend runs a parrot shelter, so she went over there. Lady said her Grey had free flight of the house and had never had an accident until recently. Her bird flew into a window, cracked his skull and died in Lady's arms a few minutes later. The bird was about 30 years old. The Lady is heartbroken and was giving away all of Piper's toys including cage to keep from being reminded of how easy it would have been to save her bird. Please don't let this happen to you.

Have the Avian Vet clip only the 4-6 Primary Flight feathers which are the long ones on the end of each wing. This will allow your bird to glide gently to the floor and will not allow enough lift to hurt herself. You'll need to watch her until she understands her new limitations.

Clipping the wings works psychologically with birds to make them more amenable to training and learning. As for toys, get the ones with wooden parts so she can chew. Most birds would rather have these. Put a new toy in cage and leave it there for however long it takes her to get used to it, and she will get used to it. It may take a while, and with wings clipped, she will become more pliable as for staying in cage some and will come to love her new toy. Do not put more than one in and leave it in place until she grows used to it being there. You are doing very well with her, and wing clipping is one of the most important ingredients to training as it gives you more control over the bird instead of her being so independent. It does not hurt the bird if only the first layer of long feathers are clipped. Make sure Avian Vet understands just to cut the 4-6 long ones at ends of each wing as a higher cut causes pain and will cause accidents from not being able to glide down.

Keep in touch with us about this, and I think you will be pleased once wings are clipped. By the way, your diet is awesome except for the nuts and peanuts. Leave them off entirely as they contain too much fat, and peanut oil is a very bad form of fat.

Happy Holidays and a wonderful, prosperous New Year from everyone here,
Linda and Family

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