Rescued African Gray

by Gina Duncan
(Silsbee, Texas)

Our family rescued an African Gray. I was told he's 10 years old. I've had him one week and I think he's made great progress. He was at first very vicious. I just gave him time and after 4 days he came out of the cage. He takes treats from us. He is now wanting to perch on me. He plucks and chews his toes, I give him a toy. He's so scared of everything though...including larger toys.

He now takes things from my hands and is trying new foods. It seems he's only comfortable with my hands offering him things. He still won't let me touch him with my fingers. I'm his 4th and final owner. His first owner of 8 years passed, the next a male who from the sounds of it yelled at him. Then the lady I got him from. Zach bit her and drew blood, everytime she came near him, he bit her. Zach has for the 10 years been living in a tiny cage...cocatiel size. I bought him a mansion, but, he will have to get acclimated to it.

Zach has nipped me...I told him no, then, touched his beak again...I praise him for not biting. He's now out if his cage all day. He sleeps in his cage at night in our room, else he will stay up all night. He talks and does it when he's for his first bath I know of in at least two years, yet, I could see a part of him enjoying it. He loves to dance for me.

He mostly will only eat peanuts and gets angry if I even show him pellets??? I know these things take you think he will ever trust me to touch him, will he stop chewing his nails and plucking himself. Yes, he's going to Avian vet too...I want him to be happy. I told him he never has to go through that life again and that I promise to be here for him, better or worse and that he doesn't ever have to talk if he doesn't want to.

Is it surprising how quickly he is enjoying his freedom and companionship? I'm going to try mashing the pellets and hand feeding them. I find it odd he was so mean to this other lady and nervous with me, yet, begging me to reassure him. Any advise appreciated by both of us.

Comments for Rescued African Gray

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Jan 12, 2011
it is going to be okay!
by: Anonymous

Hi! Just wanted to leave a comment to reassure you that things with your new grey will be OKAY!! I rescued an 11 year old grey about a year and a half ago and thought I was doing everything wrong when I didnt get the results I was anticipating after a couple weeks time of having her.

Loeki (my grey) was owned by a male for 11 years. When the owner had passed, I was given the opportunity to take her in. She was nervous for the first few days and wouldnt come out of her cage. Forget me trying to put my hand in the cage, I have plenty of scars on my hands to prove that she wasnt ready for that! After about 4 days she finally came out, but wasnt ready to be handled. She would accept treats, and would actually enjoy head scratches. When she started coming around after 2 weeks, she would allow my boyfriend to pick her up but not me. I assumed since he is a male, it was what she was comfortable with but would be extremely aggressive towards me. This was frustrating and made me upset. This behavior went on for months.

About 2 months passed, and Loeki made a complete turn around. She runs out of her cage in excitment to see me, climbs off her cage to come find me, and kisses non-stop. The key to this success? PATIENCE and RESPECT!! If she did not want to come to me, I respected that and would try again later. Boy I tell you, the day she stepped off her cage willingly onto my hand was the greatest day ever!! We are now best friends and every morning she will not let me leave for work until she is cuddled. Sometimes in the morning she is very hyper and I will ask her to come to work with me..she says "wanna come" jumps on my hand, and I take her to work with me! I could not ask for a better bird!! Yet as I write this, she is rummaging through my trash pulling everything out and throwing it on the floor!

As for not eating pellet, neither did Loeki. She was strictly on seed only. from working in a pet store, I knew this was bad for her. It probably took another good 2 months for her to accept pellet in her everyday diet. I found luck with Zupreem Fruit Blend since she likes the taste of fruits better than veggie. i mixed that in with her seeds so when she ate, she would investigate the pellets too. I limited the seeds so they would be available yet in limited quantity which would kind of allow her to see that any food with her seeds is probably okay to eat too. She now eats a balanced diet of about 20% seed and 80% pellet. I also got her to eat Pretty Bird, African pellet, because that is supplemented with extra calcium since greys need more.

So I would recommend getting that too. Try any Lafebuer product too, pretty much the whole line of food are made with 50% pellet, 50% seed. So they are good for conversion.

PATIENCE AND RESPECT and you will have the greatest companion! I believe you can do it because I did!!

Note: Some Lefeber and ZuPreem colored pellets are known to cause health problems in some birds.

Dec 20, 2010
African gray questions
by: Tracie

Thank you for taking this bird and giving it a loving home!

You might want to check out the articles on our Parrot Training page. There are articles about training, nutrition and even an article specifically about African Greys.

You MUST work on getting him off peanuts. Besides being very unhealthy, many owners have noted that peanuts cause behavior issues with their birds. You are correct that you can't just starve the bird by switching straight to pellets, but you need to work at converting your bird.

We convert birds by ONLY giving them pellets in their cage in the morning and early afternoon. They wake up hungry, and they are more likely to be hungry enough to eat them at that time. If they don't recognize the pellets as food yet (they have never eaten one that you have seen) then you have to start with that before only providing pellets in the morning.

You might try sprinkling some 100% juice on 3 - 4 pellets in it's dish, then act like you are eating them, and enjoying it, before putting the dish in the cage. Birds like to eat what the rest of the flock is eating, and you are all the "flock" it has. Once it eats a pellet, then you know it sees them as food.

Once you start giving them only pellets in the morning, you can add it's regular food in the afternoon. Make sure you give just enough pellets for it to eat, but you can still measure if they ate any. We still do this with our birds, even after they start eating pellets. Just like kids, they will always eat the junk before they eat what is good for them. ;-)

Dr B has another method here: Switching Birds to Pellets article

I suggest that you get Harrison's High Potency course for your bird. You might even try giving him a Harrison's Power Treat first. They look just like the pellets, and if he eats the power treat, he will likely eat the pellets too.

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