Much needed advice!!!

by Candi k.
(McMinnville OR)

I was reading a book about African grey parrots. The book described that every parrot needs a cozy nest box to sleep in. Well I made one when I put it in the cage my parrot was very upset and frightened. I waited a few minutes to see if it would calm down well it didn't so I took the box out.

Afterward I covered the cage to see if it would calm down. It didn't it took itself and hung itself upside down and started to twirl it's head around and around... I'm very worried what does this mean will he calm down and go to sleep or did I really disturb him.

I just adopted him or her a couple days ago and I'm frightened that I did something bad. I'm very good to my animals and would never do anything to hurt them. Please help -Candi

Comments for Much needed advice!!!

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Dec 11, 2009
African grey
by: Hillary

Is this your first bird, maybe? The birds I see hanging upside down are acting silly and curious. I hung my nesting boxes from chains I hung around the room for my birds to walk, and they eventually fell for it and went in. THEN the fun started, with heads popping in and out and two birds at once playing in there.

I would put the box on top of the cage if it were me, and let the bird search it out. And put a nut or two, maybe.

Dec 10, 2009
Much needed advice!!!
by: Linda

Candi, thanks for writing, and if I may make a suggestion, please find more reading material either here or somewhere else on the internet. The nest box idea is NOT at all correct. Nestboxes are put into cages with a breeding pair of birds. Otherwise, birds are just fine in their cages without any kind of beds. Some very small birds like those little cozy beds that hang and look like a hammock. Your Grey does not need anything like this.

If you have your bird in a place out of any drafts which means not close to windows or under any vents, and your home stays a constant 70 degrees, then he does not even need to be covered. We cover our Amazons, but we live in a house where windows let in drafts, so we cover them to keep them warm during the night.

You need to do a lot more study about parrots and their needs. Your Grey needs natural wood perches in the form of branches, high quality food in the form of pellets, fresh, clean water at all times and toys that bird can chew on and play with like wooden toys hung on cotton rope. Do not use toys with nylon rope because nylon can get wrapped around feet and toes and cut them off. Cotton rope is soft and will break if bird gets caught in it at any time.

For now, leave off the night cover unless your home is cold and drafty. Do not put any more boxes in cage as this bird has obviously never had such a thing and is scared to death.

You can look at the Parrot Training page and find more information about parrots. Tracie carries some good books out here, there are more on the internet and learn more about taking care of a parrot. Tracie also carries several organic pelleted diets out here, like Harrison's, so you may wish to check them out as well. Branches should be from safe wood and there is a list of safe woods out here. Trees that have EVER been treated with pesticides or fertilizers are NOT safe even if they are on the safe wood list.

Again, thanks for writing, and your concern for your bird's welfare is wonderful, now just learn more so you can take the best care of him.

Dec 10, 2009
remove box, give her space
by: Darci

In my opinion a nest box is a very bad idea. If your bird is female this can lead her to start laying eggs which can cause all sorts of problems, particulary egg binding. Also may cause her to be become territorial and aggressive towards you. Skip the nest box and give her time and space to calm down, you probably just spooked her by putting a strange, foreign object in her space but Im sure shell be fine :)

Dec 10, 2009
Don't worry!
by: Amy

Don't worry, Candi! You didn't do anything that can't be undone. Your bird is new to your home, and is nervous as it is. The best thing for you to do is to leave him be, and let him get used to the sights and sounds of your home. Talk to him gently and cheerfully through the cage bars and tell him he's a good boy and you love him. Give him a few days of quiet time before you take him out to go on his playstand or your hand.
Greys are skittish as it is, and new things can make them nervous. Any time you introduce a new toy or even a larger or different colored food dish, place the item near (not in) his cage for a few days, moving it a little closer each couple of days. It will be less scary for him if he has time to get used to the new item. I have several birds, including a Grey, and I don't have nestboxes in their cages. A couple of my birds (the ones who don't get hormonal about them)have cozy corners (a fuzzy buddy to sleep next to that ties onto the cage bars), or sleep tents. Both of those are good products, but to some birds it becomes a reason to viciously guard their breeding ground and it needs to be taken away. Yes, you may have freaked out your bird with the box and the cage cover(he may not have ever been covered before)but give him some quiet time with soothing, loving words and he'll learn to trust you. The best book I've read on Greys and their care is "For the Love of Greys" by Bobbi Brinker. She'll give you sound answers to your questions. There's also a FABULOUS recipe for her birdie bread with sweet potato and peanut butter and all kinds of good stuff in it. My big birds love it and it's not hard to make. My 10 year old makes it most of the time and we keep it cut up in zip lock bags in the freezer with a few pieces in each. Enjoy your new bird! Greys are incredible companions.

Dec 10, 2009
by: Anonymous

my best advise is to go very slow with your new "room-mate". "Grey" are very slow to changes(at least mine is) We have to introduce new toy's etc....outside his cage where he can see them and get adjusted to being around them. (unless it is an exact duplicate of what they have before.) Before they are introduced to their cage. My grey has what I call "monkey" behavoir when new items are to be introduced. He will never let his "feet" touch the ground. He is a monkey and for the last 5 years he has always been. This sight is great for advise! Wait and hear what the vet/vet tech. has to say!

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