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ScottinSoCal 09-07-2019 04:48 PM

Asking for advice before I jump
It's long. Enter at your own risk.

In 2003, I visited my local parrot rescue, with much research under my belt, looking for I don't remember which breed of parrot. While I was there, a Blue Front Amazon picked me and wouldn't take no for an answer. They told me she was named Boopsie, and had been released to the rescue by a woman who said she was vicious.
Once the new bird was home, the name got corrected for me first; Boo, not Boopsie. Then he let me know he was male. He also wasn't vicious - unless you were a blond woman. He was sweet, gentle, never bit me, independent, smart, and only talked when he was upset. He potty trained himself, then trained me to recognize the signs that he wanted to go back to his cage to poop. He couldn't fly. His vet said one wing had been broken and not properly set, and she (the vet) guessed he'd spent a long time in a smoker's house, because both sinuses were almost blocked by scar tissue. She said she'd only ever seen that in parrots that lived with smokers. Four years ago, he lost his grip on his cage, hit the seed guard on the way down, and broke his back in 3 places. He never got his full mobility back, but his vet said he wasn't in pain, and he coped, so we did, too. About 6 months ago, I went up to his sleep room and found him dead in his night cage. His vet said he'd probably had a stroke. Over the next few weeks, I realized how much life in my house revolved around Boo. Getting an apple for a snack? Cut off a little piece for Boo. Getting some cheese? Cut off a little piece for Boo. Coming in from the garage after work? Whistle a hello to Boo. An hour before my time to go up and get ready for work, time to go wake up Boo, for breakfast and cuddle time. So that's me, and my experience with parrots.
I've visited the parrot rescue the last couple of weekends, spending time with some of the birds there. Today I met Scooter. Also reported as female, African Grey (Congo). Obviously a feather picker, because her chest is completely bare. Also with an injured wing, although she can manage a controlled landing. I'm told she was the bird of a couple in their 80s, who can no longer take care of her. Scooter and I spent a couple of hours together today, during which she went from ignoring me completely to cuddling under my chin and grooming my nose to (without any warning) deciding it was time to be up on my shoulder. When she let me know it was time for her to be back in her cage, the SO and I walked down the street for lunch, and then I stopped back into the rescue to ask a few more questions about Scooter. As soon as Scooter saw me, she was off her perch, hanging on the cage door, whistling to me. The rescue volunteer said "I guess she likes you, she's never done that before."
It looks like I've been picked again, and I'm OK with that, except I worry about her being left alone during the day while I'm at work. She's already a feather picker. Is being left alone going to make that worse? And, from what I've written here, does my house seem like a good fit for an African Grey?

Laurasea 09-07-2019 05:09 PM

Re: Asking for advice before I jump sorry for your loss of Boo. I'm glad you were able to provide a good home for him, with lots of love.
I'm so happy to hear you are thinking of a rescue. Definitely so many in need. I can'tt see how you can resist the grey!!!
Keep us updated. :)

ScottinSoCal 09-07-2019 06:06 PM

Re: Asking for advice before I jump

Originally Posted by Laurasea (Post 827891)
I can't see how you can resist the grey!!!
Keep us updated. :)

Thanks. I wish I could post my favorite picture (me as perch for Boo, and my two dogs - it's how I spent most of my time).
Scooter is definitely a charmer. I just worry that I might not be the right place for her. I keep a regular schedule, and I have weekends, but she'd be alone from about 6:00 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday.
The rescue requires several visits before they'll consider me, so I'll go back next weekend. We'll see how it works out.

Scott 09-07-2019 09:23 PM

Re: Asking for advice before I jump
Welcome to the forums, thanks so much for joining. But first, my deep condolences for your loss of Boo. The bonds are incredibly close and you clearly miss avian companionship

I agree with the advice of visiting multiple times to ensure Scooter has chosen you. Many working folks have parrots and devise enriching environments in their absence. A large cage filled with multiple toys, perhaps music or TV providing stimulating imagery by day.

Be advised CAGs and BFAs are widely divergent species. This thread offers insight into CAG personality:

Good luck, let us know what you decide!!

ScottinSoCal 09-08-2019 06:40 AM

Re: Asking for advice before I jump

Originally Posted by Scott (Post 827920)
Be advised CAGs and BFAs are widely divergent species. This thread offers insight into CAG personality:

Yeah, that thread is what made me post. Scooter would be the only bird here. I'm not sure how well that would work.
I guess she could learn how to work the house. Pretty much everything is voice controlled. I've seen videos of parrots doing that on YouTube.

LeeC 09-08-2019 10:40 AM

Re: Asking for advice before I jump
Hi, @ScottinSoCal. Scooter may do fine by herself during the day. Can you try her at home, and somehow monitor her, while you are away? Set up a video camera, to see what she does?

If she was with older people, she was likely used to two people being home nearly 24/7. How long has she been at the rescue? Did she start plucking at the rescue, or before?

I got a TAG four months ago. I went to my local rescue, for the first time, just to see some CAGs. Grady picked me. I, too, had to visit him over several weeks, to earn the privilege of adopting him. I live alone, with no other pets, so I was also worried about Grady, a plucker, being bored and lonely.

A couple weeks later, a Senegal came in, and the rescue owner recommended letting Grady meet Charlie. At the rescue, they seemed to befriend instantly. I brought Charlie home that night. Since then, they have little interest in one another.

I visit Grady and Charlie every day at lunch time, so he has never gone more than about 5 hours without seeing me. His plucking got better immediately, but he still plucks a little, at times.

Grady seems to be a loner, but it is too early to tell. He evolves day by day.

ScottinSoCal 09-08-2019 11:16 AM

Re: Asking for advice before I jump

Originally Posted by LeeC (Post 827970)
Can you try her at home, and somehow monitor her, while you are away? Set up a video camera, to see what she does?

There's already a camera set up, pointed at the cage at home. I used to use it to monitor Boo, after he fell.

The rescue place also does boarding, and Scooter was there as a boarder for a year, and just got released for adoption. I don't know how long the plucking has been going on, but her chest is completely bare, not even down. The cage at home (Boo's old cage) is very large, and has a play area, and the top hinges open. I'd expect her to be nervous when she first got here, and gradually get used to the new digs. Her current cage is just big enough for her to spread her wings, if she's careful about it. Way too small, I think. My tentative plan, assuming this happens, is to leave her in the cage as long as she wants to be, with the front door open only when I'm around. Once she's more comfortable, I'll open the side door, that goes onto the play area, and last open the top. It'll give her a perch about 7 foot off the floor, with the top open, and lots of room to move around. I'll gauge things by her reactions - let her know she's safe, and get used to everyone and the normal routines of the house.

I'm torn on the sleeping arrangements. There's a spare bedroom with a walk-in closet upstairs, and that was Boo's bedroom. It gave him dark, peace, and quiet from the time he was put to bed until it was time to wake up. Start the new ritual right away? Or let her get used to the cage, and then introduce the nightly change? I'm leaning toward starting off with the whole thing - one big change, rather than many small sequential changes. But I'll take my queue from how she is when she gets here.

texsize 09-08-2019 11:22 AM

Re: Asking for advice before I jump
I think you will do fantastic with Scooter.

That said I was a long time Amazon snob before I got my Bella.
Bella was a rescue that I bought at a local pet shop. She was a plucker and still is after just under 3 years with me/us. Don't expect you can cure feather plucking overnight or at all in some cases and don't feel bad about it.
Bella does look miles better that when she came home from the shop.
I bought her the very first day she came up for sale because I knew she would not be able to heal in the pet shop environment.

(mini rant)
That's what I dislike about rescue places. they make you jump through so many hoops to adopt a bird it's very off-putting. Some go so far as wanting to come into your own home to make sure they approve of your setup. I understand WHY they do this but I don't have to …. like it isn't what I want to say but it will have to do. So
So now you have to wait and wait and spend maybe hours on the road to cater to restrictions that are well meaning to be sure but not applicable to you.
You know how to take care of birds/Parrots in particular.
(off my soap-box)

Body language is completely different as already mentioned.
When I got Bella I just thought hay it's a parrot, no different than what I have been living with for 30 years. But she was very different, very skittish.
I think this is more a difference in upbringing and experience that species but I did have to get use to it. I think they can also be more stubborn than an Amazon.
Just my opinion.

I know Birdman666 has some good advice from working with African Grey parrots so keep a lookout for his posts on the subject.

Hope you are able to pick up Scooter soon

bigfellasdad 09-09-2019 05:30 AM

Re: Asking for advice before I jump
Sorry for your loss, i too would be heart broken, they really are like your children once incorporated into the flock. I still feel sad thinking of Jed my cockatiel who passed away 30 months ago.

With regards to Scooter, well done for thinking of another rescue..... these birds are so in need of love and affection. Ive had Enzo for 2 years now and I work 3 days a week at the office and work from home 2 days a week. Whilst in the office I am away from home for 9.5hrs and Enzo is fine with that. She doesnt really play with toys in her cage but i would be happier if she did. I do have forraging toys where she is rewarded with her favourite nuts etc or simply allowing her to be destructive. I too worried initially about her when im absent, but she is fine.
Ive never had a plucking bird but I think with the attention and closeness I always have my my FIDs im sure I would at least give the bird a better life, if I was ever in the position of not having Enzo or if im in a position where I could have a 2nd bird, id also search a plucker out.

Just to add, I ALWAYS make time for Enzo in the morning (as well as the evening of course!), following a routine as best I can...even when I stay at my GFs, I get up ealry and get home in time of my normal wake up schedule so although she knows ive stayed out all night, she doesnt miss the morning with me. Little thngs like that make the difference.

Good luck and well done :D

ScottinSoCal 09-14-2019 04:59 PM

Re: Asking for advice before I jump
Today's visit with Scooter went great, with an added bonus: the woman who owns/runs the rescue was there today, remembers me from when I adopted Boo, and I'm clear. Next Saturday I drive back up with a travel cage, and bring Scooter home.

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