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Squeekmouse 06-19-2019 12:21 PM

Questions about Greys
Hi Folks,

I've got a few books on African Greys and I've done a ton of research and reading through these forums. And yet Trigger doesn't fail to mystify me in many ways... sometimes he seems as different from Yoda as a hurricane is to a breeze.

So anyway, here's a bunch of questions that I hope some of you can help me with.

1. He's 9 months old now. He's been mimicking and talking for about 3 months. He also mimicks Yoda's screaming for attention. I love the former, but the latter drives us nuts. Any suggestions for how to let Trigger know that screaming won't help him any more than it does Yoda? Is it normal for him to be such a good talker already?

2. The breeder said his parents were larger than most Greys, his older brother was 525 grams last I heard, and his older sister was 516 grams. Trigger started out with us about 450, eventually hitting 500 then dropping down to 480 as he got better at flying. Since then he's been slowly and steadily gaining weight. He's 512 this morning. He is fully flighted and flies around the house every day. I feed him Harrison's Adult Lifetime Coarse pellets three times a day, along with peas, corn and fruit for breakfast, and a chop of at least 6 veggies for lunch and dinner. He gets almond slivers and sunflower seeds as treats, in moderation. At what point should I start to worry about his weight getting too high?

3. When we first brought him home, he was nervous around strangers and new experiences, but handled it well. He'd calm down within a few minutes and tolerate new people being nearby, but moved away if they tried to touch him. Nowadays, he flies and hides up on the balcony over the living room, avoiding unknown people or objects. He won't stand being in the same room with a stranger and shivers and breathes hard till they leave. The only people besides me and my husband he will tolerate are my husband's parents whom he has met a few times. He's pretty accepting of them. He loathes the vet, growling, flailing, biting and fighting for all his worth to avoid when the vet tries to approach him. It breaks my heart to see him so upset. It's not the towel that scares him, he is fine with towels when we are home. It's the stranger he is terrified of. Is this normal? Is this ok? Is there anything I can do to help him deal with new people better? SHOULD I?

4. What will I do if/when my husband and I need to travel? Mom is willing to come around and feed and care for them, but she refuses to try getting him out of his cage because she'd never be able to catch him again. I've heard horror stories about birds (especially greys) who are emotionally scarred for life after being boarded by a parrot boarding service. I would never forgive myself if Trigger started plucking or worse...

5. He leaves down feathers all over, but hasn't lost any longer feathers yet. I don't see any pinfeathers either, but they'd be hard to see with his light coloring maybe. Will he molt like Yoda did around 8 months? Do Greys go through regular moltings like conures?

That's all for now. Thanks for any help! :)

SailBoat 06-19-2019 08:57 PM

Re: Questions about Greys
The deep well of differences between species is a reality. Many of the differences are founded based on their regional variations. That all said, Hook Bills share many physical features regardless of where in this World they are found today.

1. Talkers who begin early can continue to expand there extensive vocabulary thru out their long life. Gray's place great attention to what is happening around them. Be very careful as it is very possible that at an emotional level, you maybe reacting to Yoda's calls.

2. Commonly, a fully flighted Parrot will have weights equal to seriously over weight Parrot. The reason is that muscle is heavier than fat! Parrots have very thin skin and when your Gray's chest feathers are wet, fat will be seen as yellow, much like chicken fat.

3. Introduction of new 'things,' which includes people is different with different Parrots. Some love the flow of new things. Others will shrink far away /hide. It becomes very important to find methods of introduction of new 'things' with your shy Parrot. With time, you will find that placing an effort into introducing some people is more important than others. Also, never underestimate a Parrots reaction to people. Remember they connect at an emotional level!!!

4. Our Amazon is a Travel Hound, loves it. So, rarely do we 'leave' him. We have a couple of people that follow directions to the 'T' and are successful in leaving him alone, at our home with them, changes food and water, etc.. without confrontation. Keep upgrading the size of his cage. You are allowed a couple of days at most for travel without your Gray. Grays are crazy smart, but also very sensitive to their World around them. Travel gets drawn in greatly when you have a shy Parrot.

5. Mid to Larger Parrots tend to control their feather replacement over much longer time periods than Mid to Smaller Parrots. Downy feathers in this group are used to adjust body temperature and you will either be living in a snow storm of white downy feathers or none at all. Note: All Hook Bills adjust their feather replacement to assure that as they enter mating season, they are showing their very best!

Enjoy, it only gets more crazy!!! :D

bigfellasdad 06-20-2019 06:44 AM

Re: Questions about Greys
My vet says a birds chest should be like the bow of a boat rather than a chicken you buy to eat. Hold his chest in the palm of your hand and feel it. Enzo is around 440g and considered slightly too heavy, she is fully indoor flighted

noodles123 06-20-2019 07:01 AM

Re: Questions about Greys
As long as you know that the place you are traveling to isn't going to be using Teflon/unsafe chemicals, I would take your bird with you. If it is someone's house and you know them very well, you may be able to explain/ask if they would be willing to abstain from Teflon use while you visit. I know that can be awkward though...
Perhaps having your mom spend more time with him ahead of time would be good? That's what I try to do with mine...Or even see if another family member is less frightened of the prospect and allow them to meet and see how they do ahead of time.

Boarding is my last choice, just because disease is a real possibility and it makes me nervous because of the way they hide illness. That having been said, I did board Noodles once---I just wouldn't recommend it.

In-home pet sitters are another (expensive) option...or....could you ask someone you know (who likes birds) to come stay at your home while you are away? A lot of college kids (if responsible) would probably be happy for the break from their parents' homes.

bigfellasdad 06-20-2019 07:17 AM

Re: Questions about Greys
Enzo is a terrible traveller, 20mins at most, else she gets physically sick. I have a sports car though so maybe when would be better in something a lot more comfortable

Squeekmouse 06-20-2019 04:23 PM

Re: Questions about Greys
What terrific answers! Thank you all!

A follow-up on the travel question...

How does one travel with their birds? We have a nice Pak-o-Bird for Trigger, but once we got to our destination... he surely can't sit in the pak-o-bird all night and if we had to go out without him... He'd destroy a hotel room if we gave him the run of the place... And we can't very well fit his giant cage in a suitcase! ;)

noodles123 06-20-2019 07:04 PM

Re: Questions about Greys
If you can get a large but collapsible bird cage (too large to use as the travel cage, but small enough to fit in the car) then you can quickly put it up once you get to your destination. If it is a place you visit often (or for long spells), sometimes leaving a cage there is your best bet.
Station training could help teach him to stay on his perch unless called. Mine rarely leaves hers---I mean, don't get me wrong (she does get bored sometimes and come find me), but it's pretty rare because she knows to stay there.

SailBoat 06-20-2019 08:52 PM

Re: Questions about Greys
As stated above, get a "collapsible bird (dog) cage." They are excellent for a travel cage and by adding toys and perches from home helps settle your Parrot.
NOTE #1: This cage should be introduced months in advance at home before your travel!!!
NOTE #2: This cage would be one of the last things packed into the trunk and one of the first things you take into where you are staying. With food, water and toys, you Parrot can be busy while your unloading and then loading!!!

Traveling with a Parrot that suffers from Car Sickness is no fun!!!
1. Short trips helps build-up a comfort with traveling. If the only time you travel with your Parrot is to the Vet, you are setting yourself up for problems.
2. If you are using a travel cage or a backpack style carrier, try locating it in different locations in the car /suv. Commonly, the problem is fairly basic, MOTION! Because of where they are located, their mind does not connect the movement (bouncing around) with the the fact that they are moving down the road. By placing the cage higher, so that they can see and connect the bouncing around with the moving down the road. Remember they fly, so once they connect the two, life gets better.
3. Freaking-out in heavy traffic. Sports cars and small low set cars in general are a nightmare when you are caught between two Semi's. It is even more of an issue for your Parrot. We have a larger SUV, one step down from a land yacht, which we refer to as the glassmobile and our Amazon loves it. Well right-up to the point that we get caught between those Semi's. Communication, communication, communication as you see the event coming up, during and after helps greatly.


bigfellasdad 06-24-2019 07:02 AM

Re: Questions about Greys
One little tip when travelling with your parrot, I put several large blocks of ice in her water bowl, over time they melt offerring cool clean water without splashing around.
I also have her collapsible cage on the front seat with one of her bedtime blankets to the sides, keeping things 'recognisable' for her.
Also, ensure fans arent blasting your bird, fresh/cool air is good but not if its leaving her in a drafty environment.

Squeekmouse 06-24-2019 10:17 AM

Re: Questions about Greys
Great advice, thank you all!

The traveling with bird advice was all around how to do a car trip. What about trips that are too far to drive? We have a carrier that can be used on the plane, but once we arrive at our destination, that's where I run out of ideas... either we bring and check a collapsible dog cage, or ship it beforehand, or buy one as soon as we get there? Celltei Pak-O-Bird makes a nice looking portable aviary, anyone know anything about how well that would work?

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