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Old 03-14-2019, 09:41 PM
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African grey temperament, male vs female

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Hi all. Sorry in advance for the long post, but I'm trying to do some soul-searching.
Last year, I lost my timneh African grey and I've been missing him so very much 😢. Although I loved him very much, and he was very bonded to me, he was a cranky, feisty guy. I worked with him a lot, including meeting with behavior specialists, and I was able to read him very well and rarely got bit. Still, he was very quick to over react to things and was unpredictable - for instance pretending he wanted to step up or pretending to want head scratches and then giving you a chomp instead. He would attack my hand if a toy, or really just about any object he was interested in/ scared of, was nearby. I felt like I always had to be on my guard with him to watch out for things that might startle him and be careful not to accidentally touch him other than scratching him on the head after asking permission (and even that could be risky&#128517. And when I say "accidentally touch him", I mean literally accidentally brushing up against him or a fingertip accidentally touching him when he was perching on my hand would result in a hard chomp. I never pushed physical contact with him or petted him inappropriately, and he was socialized and handled a lot when young so I'm at a loss as to why he was like that. 🤔
I would love another African grey, but I'm worried about having another bird I have to be so careful with. It was very stressful to always be on my guard. Do you think the majority of African greys are so touchy and volatile?
Some people I've talked with say it's because he was a male. They say the females are much more easy-going. Is this true?? What about Congo vs timneh African greys? I actually thought the timnehs were supposed to be more easy-going?? I know generalizations are dangerous and no guarantee, but I just would like some opinions. I have heard that male parrots in general are more aggressive, but I don't know how accurate that is.
I would consider a rescue bird so I would know its temperament, but there are no rescues anywhere near me, and the ones I've talked with like to deal with people locally so they can do home visits, etc, and a rescue scares me, too, after my tough guy 😨
I do know someone who will be having babies available soon, but I need to know if owning another Grey - perhaps a female- would be a good situation for me and the bird. I'm so gun shy with biting now, though, I'm hesitant to go for it. I accept that birds bite, but I feel like it can normally be predicted/prevented - that was not his case. I used to be a veterinary technician, so I've been bit enough to know it's not the end of the world, but still...
I take pet ownership very seriously, so it's a lifetime commitment for me however it works out. At this point in my life though, I just can't deal with the stress of such a hair trigger companion, so I need to be smart.
So, do you think it's hopeless? Are my chances of having another aggressive bird too high to risk it? Would I be safer with a female? Thank you for any and all advice. You guys are the experts. I've had other birds in my life, but only the one grey, so I don't know if they are all like that in general, but I sure do miss my grey gremlin. I see pictures and videos of people holding theirs and cuddling with them, and while I certainly don't need to cuddle with a bird, I would like to be able to interact without fear of physical harm, and I'd like a bird that can be handled in an emergency or for a flight harness, etc. Without stitches!
Please, help me decide... 😭
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Old 03-14-2019, 10:11 PM
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Re: African grey temperament, male vs female

I have never owned a female African grey but I have and still do own a male who I have had since he was born and he is super friendly and let's me cuddle him sometimes and he likes getting head scratches so I think if you had had your African grey since he was born than it was most likely just his personality and he may have been quite territorial. If you adopted him than he may have been like that because if his previous home or something like that. I think it would probably be ok to get another male but if you are a bit worried about getting a male than you might want to get a female. Female birds do become hormonal sometimes and become more aggressive but then they go back to being their usual self. So I guess the choice is up to you sorry if this wasn't the reply you wanted I'm kind of bad with explaining things and giving advice
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Old 03-14-2019, 10:57 PM
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Re: African grey temperament, male vs female

Nothing is ever hopeless, but Greys are Very Intelligent and find it fun to mess with us, in my opinion Males are much less cuddly or nurturing , I to lost my first at 10 yrs old and a day doesn't go by without thinking of him. Also I am very sorry to hear of your loss. Pogo was not a cuddly bird but trusted me to handle him any way I saw fit. He occasionally would do the patented lowering of the head for a scratch and then take a swing but that is a lesson in body language or just " Leave me alone". You really have to pay attention to every little thing they throw at you and be able to read what their writing. Birdman666 said it perfectly " Greys could teach stubborn to Mules" and that couldn't be more true and in more ways than you think.

As you said , " there are no guaranty's what you'll end up with either sex but if you start with a hand fed baby I can tell you this , you will have a such a bond that if you do your part well , allow it to fly and set boundries which is easy with greys you will not have a biting problem . My first was 1 1/2 yrs old when I bought him from a pet store , he had already picked up many bad habits from seeing the other birds react or the poking and prodding of the ignorant passer by but that didn't stop him from becoming an awesome companion . while going through his terrible two's he bloodied me more than I care to think but it was all worth it as he was testing me and I wasn't giving in to his wild side. His vocabulary was second to none of any bird currently online. A female is probably more what your looking for but hand raising your parrot will give you an advantage you wont get with an older bird. I'm not saying don't adopt because that is a great option and there are many out there that are as gentle as you would like but a needle in a haystack to find and most will come with some kind of baggage and unfortunately this is why they end up back at the shelters and no matter good intentions if your not armed with the knowledge to fix the behavior the bird will win. . My current grey is a wonderful bird and a DNA'd male , not much by the way of a talker but very gentle and loving but not a cuddly bird either ,have you looked at other parrots ? Not that their all that different in terms of being birds and yes even the little guys bite pretty hard but maybe theres a species that's more your personality . That's not a bad thing either as they all have there own personalities they also have different traits by species that just fits better with each type of human. I see it with the two I have my conure is the cuddler and defender and the grey is the intellectual and just give me what I want or …. I will make your life a.....its all what you make of it and if your going to be happy with a bird for a companion you will find that changing them will not happen , its all about changing you.
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Old 03-15-2019, 01:47 AM
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Re: African grey temperament, male vs female

I have (had) both (past and present) and like any hyper-smart bird is it a lot more about the personalily than the hormonal make-up!


I found the males more laid back but also slightly less interested in talking, not so very much prone to thinking things through (and therefore calmer and braver/ more trusting) ...but that could just have been the individuals!
( I only lived with 4!)


The problem I see is that you always being on your guard may just have triggered/aggrevated the somewhat anti-social behaviour in your bird.
Greys are almost clairvoyant when it comes to the human mood/feeling/thoughts (probably just react a lot to our bodylanguage )- anytime I am not okay...they also are not!
Overhere the CAGs are vieuwed as more social& cudly, TAGs are more independent (they grow up a lot faster, so that may account for the differences/ TAGs are usually not as 'humandependent'/ but since you americans seem to remove and handfeed anything it probably makes less of a difference- none of your birds had parents.)


I can only ask you: adopt an older bird (a mature one) you know about the character beforehand (and maybe get a bit of a manual). It is an easy start because there will be no huge changes in the way he/she is. It wil be easier on both you and the bird...


Whatever you do...do not stare at the bird. It is a natural way we humans try to avoid injury etc. but for birds just like cats, apes etc. a severe (and long) stare is a direct threat!
(It's where human and animal bodylanguage collide.)
If you feel the need 'to keep an eye on him/her' do just that : ONE eye!
Tilt/ turn your head a bit... as long as your bird sees only one eye...it's fine.
You can watch, bird can relax.
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Old 03-15-2019, 04:19 AM
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Re: African grey temperament, male vs female

In my experience I’ve found greys to be extremely enigmatic. Just when you think you’ve figured them out they surprise you with something else.

They’re so intelligent that they do toy with us and our emotions. So I’ve adopted the “if you’re gonna be like that then I’ll see you later” and walk away. This has helped us come to a mutual understanding of what is/isn’t acceptable. The longer i have my rescue grey the more social he’s becoming. I know he wants more time with us because if I’m away for a morning and come back he actually turns away from me!

Because they’re so smart, they can grow out of negative experiences, but it takes time.


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Old 03-15-2019, 08:47 AM
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Re: African grey temperament, male vs female

Ive only ever had one CAG, Enzo, She has never bitten me, but often beaks me if im not courteous enough with her, so in general if it happens its my fault or not realising how excited etc she is

The 'come and give me a head scratch, then chomp' thing she does with others but not me.

Ive had her in my family for 2yrs now, in her previous families she has been ferocious, removing a piece of cartilage her previous owners ear! She is believed to be around 14yrs old now.
From the moment I brought her home I was on my guard with her, although as she chose me she wanted to be a lot closer to me than I her initially. I am still on my guard with her, keeping close attention to her body language and eyes, I think i now understand her totally, and she understands me...sometimes it only takes a stare from me and she will change her attitude... she's like a 4-5yr old child for life after all so I expect certain tantrums/mischief from her, for me its just about trying to spot and manage them without upsetting her.



I hope that answers some of your questions
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Old 03-15-2019, 09:00 AM
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Re: African grey temperament, male vs female

Quote: Originally Posted by bigfellasdad View Post
Ive only ever had one CAG, Enzo, She has never bitten me, but often beaks me if im not courteous enough with her, so in general if it happens its my fault or not realising how excited etc she is

The 'come and give me a head scratch, then chomp' thing she does with others but not me.

Ive had her in my family for 2yrs now, in her previous families she has been ferocious, removing a piece of cartilage her previous owners ear! She is believed to be around 14yrs old now.
From the moment I brought her home I was on my guard with her, although as she chose me she wanted to be a lot closer to me than I her initially. I am still on my guard with her, keeping close attention to her body language and eyes, I think i now understand her totally, and she understands me...sometimes it only takes a stare from me and she will change her attitude... she's like a 4-5yr old child for life after all so I expect certain tantrums/mischief from her, for me its just about trying to spot and manage them without upsetting her.



I hope that answers some of your questions


This.


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Old 03-15-2019, 09:20 AM
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Re: African grey temperament, male vs female

Quote: Originally Posted by LeaKP View Post

They’re so intelligent that they do toy with us and our emotions. So I’ve adopted the “if you’re gonna be like that then I’ll see you later” and walk away. This has helped us come to a mutual understanding of what is/isn’t acceptable.

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This is exactly, my approach.
I know he clearly understands.
Because as I’m walking away he is chirp calling to not be left behind.
I let him be and than when I return his mood has changed and he’s lifting his foot for me to pick him up and bring him wherever we ‘the family’ are.
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Old 03-15-2019, 09:47 AM
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Re: African grey temperament, male vs female

Like humans,birds have their own "birdonality". Smokey ( a TAG) was with me twenty-eight years before "she" ( I just assumed she was a she) passed away about four years ago. I got her from a pet store when she was about six months old and she was a wild caught bird. Smokes NEVER liked hands. No head skritches,she would only step up if it was her last resort. BUT she would sit on my shoulder for hours,nibbling my ear,trying to remove my glasses,banging her beaky on my forehead or gurgling in my ear.
For a very long time she would "growl" if I tried to get her on my hand,and yes,I got many a chomp from her. But she talked very well,mimicked all sorts of sounds,would come to me and beg for a piece of whatever I was eating.I learned over the years with her to just accept how she was.
Four years later,I'm still missing her every day


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Old 03-15-2019, 10:50 AM
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Re: African grey temperament, male vs female

Quote: Originally Posted by ChristaNL View Post
Greys are almost clairvoyant when it comes to the human mood/feeling/thoughts (probably just react a lot to our bodylanguage )- anytime I am not okay...they also are not!
Exactly, I think Enzo realises that I am stressed or down or whatever even before I do. She acts accordingly.

Quote:

I can only ask you: adopt an older bird (a mature one) you know about the character beforehand (and maybe get a bit of a manual). It is an easy start because there will be no huge changes in the way he/she is. It wil be easier on both you and the bird...


Whatever you do...do not stare at the bird. It is a natural way we humans try to avoid injury etc. but for birds just like cats, apes etc. a severe (and long) stare is a direct threat!
(It's where human and animal bodylanguage collide.)
If you feel the need 'to keep an eye on him/her' do just that : ONE eye!
Tilt/ turn your head a bit... as long as your bird sees only one eye...it's fine.
You can watch, bird can relax.

definitely adopt, these little creatures so love to be loved and it breaks my heart hearing of all the birds being passed on for whatever reason, often through no fault of there own. Im really happy to not have to deal with a young bird as well, in the 'at most 1hr' time i had with Enzo before bringing her home, i knew she was the one!


Staring at a bird, well i never knew that! Thanks although, its probably a little unfair as she can stair at me for a very long time, every time i look over she literally hasn't moved.
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