Marzipan

New member
Apr 29, 2023
2
11
Parrots
African Grey, Kiko 10yrs
Sun conure, Kai 23yrs
GCC, Sprite 1yr
Quaker, Guava-goo 1 yr
Hello!
We recently rescued an anxiety ridden 10yr old dna female congo grey. Her name is Kiko and she's an extremely sweet and attention seeking bird...most of the time. She seems to prefer my husband, which isn't a big deal to me personally, but recently has been becoming rather aggressive with me when he ISN'T home. I would expect this behavior since its mating season if she were bonded with him and it was happening while he was home. However, when he is home, she is the absolute sweetest bird in the world to me, wants to be cuddled, scritches around her head, and sharing apples for snacks with me. That being said, when he's away at work she will randomly, not every day, become a little devil. I've tried talking calmly to her and reassuring her that I just want to have her step up for out of cage time, she loves perching on the bed frame to watch tv with us, as well as coaxing with treats or waiting for her to ask to come out (she'll say come'ere and ask you what you're doing when she wants out). Mind you, I was aware when we brought her home that she was coming from a not so great situation. She was lacking much needed attention and has ripped a large amount, around half, of her feathers out. She actually only had two toys and a single perch in her cage when we picked her up and were informed that was how she was living for months since they only had her for around 7 or 8 months. Her cage is now stuffed with toys and perches/swings which has been helping while she is not out and it seems like the plucking has been better since we brought her home but one of the first days we got her home she spooked and took a leap off a perch and snapped a half chewed flight feather which resulted in a vet visit to remove it. She has been extremely anxious when my husband is not home or when she is not in her cage/not on the bed frame. I'm hoping to find ways to help ease her anxiety about being on perches in other areas of the house/room as I got a table top one for her so she can sit with me while I'm working on my computer at home as I am stay at home currently. However, when she is perched on this perch or anywhere else she might want to around my desk, she starts to display anxious behavior like shoving her foot into her mouth or even trying to rip them out. The only way to get her to stop is to give her treats, pet her (if she's in the mood), or to put her on the bed frame/back in her cage. I know its going to take some time for her to actually trust us since she was so scared/anxious in her last home, but I'm hoping there's something more I can do for her while we build that trust as we were making progress growing feathers back just for her to start pulling them again trying to give her more freedom. We've had her for just over a month and I'm already in love with this bird and its shattering my heart to see her so anxious at times. Her avian vet said we could try gabapentin but I'm hoping to not resort to that if possible as I hated taking it myself for nerve pain. If there's any toys or perches that seem to be more stimulating for anxious birds or any diet recommendations that would be much appreciated. I'd also love any recommendations on how to get her to step up without biting when my husband isn't home. Again when hes home I can pick her up and move her with ease. Once she is away from her cage or not on the bed frame when he is gone, she's fine as well, so I'm thinking some weird form of territorial aggression but only when its just me and her home?
 
For a one month relationship with this Grey, I think you are making great progress. Any parrot might take several months to settle in and get trusting enough to open up. But Greys are not any parrot. Being so smart and super observant, with a healthy dose of stubborn, Greys are definitely on their own time scale. It's not unheard of for a Grey, to resist something for years, only to one day some switch flips and the trust light goes on. Present opportunities for him to show trust; Make it seem like it is his idea. Greys like that.

I always say the best bite is the one that didn't happen. You have to really know your parrot on this, because there are different reactions for different bite types. There are hormone driven behavior type bites, where the parrot is in the throes of puberty or mating season. THese are out of the birds control, and not a type that can be changed much. You certainly do not want t give the opportunity for a bite when he is like this. But another type of bite, the 'unruly' parrot type, is addressable. Use the "Shunning" method to chastise a parrot that bites like this, ones where you are sure you didn't miss a cue, or the parrot was eating or playing or otherwise preoccupied.

Hang in there and thanks you for rescuing this little guy!
 
Greys can be very stubborn.
I pretty much gave up trying to pick up our Bella when she is in her cage.
Bella is a rescue and a sure female (she laid an egg last year) and her primary human is my wife. I can carry her around and take showers with her but I can't scratch her even a little bit.

I don't try to get her to come out of the cage. Sometimes she wants to come out and is asking for it by her favorite phrase "red Butt Shower" But she refuses to step up when in the cage.
She is also rather protective of her cage when I feed her, always playing catch the fingers.

We have had Bella since the end of 2016 and I still consider myself something of a newbie when it comes to African Greys.

I would recommend one thing. Try to set up a corner of her cage that is sort of screened by hanging toys. It will give her a place to hide from activity when she feels overloaded,
 
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Just in case anyone wanted an update, though its only been a few days, I figured out that she loves my tablet. I've been setting it up and playing music for her or putting on other parrots for her to watch. So far it seems like its working to reduce the anxiety she's been feeling at my desk and is now comfortable to perch on it and listen :)
 

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