ericalvincent

New member
Apr 12, 2024
1
1
Hello all!

I am looking at getting a Congo African Grey and am wanting some tips and information on them, even experiences from owners who have them, literally anything anyone can give me. I’m not ready for one quite yet, probably not even within the next few years as I do have a cat and am waiting until I don’t have him anymore before getting a bird, but I thought ‘why not start learning now’ so here I am doing research and I thought this would be a good place to get some! I’ve been wanting a grey for years (ever since I bird-sat one 4 years ago) and am still constantly amazed by them.

My previous birds:
I used to own a Dutch Blue Lovebird (he’s still very happy and healthy living with my sister) he was my first bird and I took care of him from baby until he was 8 (he’s 10 now) but when I moved out for school I couldn’t take him with me, he’s super happy where he is and the people who are around him love him, so I feel bad to take that away from him. I also had a Meyers Parrot for a very short time, but she ended up not liking me and loving my dad and vice versa, (her previous owner was male, kinda makes sense 🤷🏼‍♀️) so she is also happier in her current home. Will this experience help me with an African Grey? I know they are quite a bit larger than both these species.

My life style:
I do live in an apartment, and probably will for many years from now. I hear from other websites that they are fairly good apartment birds. I do realize they are still birds and in nature can be very loud, I would have to check with my neighbours to make sure they’d be okay with this. Does anyone have any advice for this? Or experience?

I also work an 8 hour job, normally my shifts are from 6am-2:30pm or 7am-3:30pm so 90% of the time I am home in the afternoon, is this enough time to spend with them? I would like a companion who could go places with me, like hikes, walks, trips etc. I’d like to call myself a little more outdoorsy in the grande scheme of things. I go on annual camping trips with my sister (in a tent) and I’d love to bring the bird with me. Is that even possible? I live in Vancouver, Canada and it does get pretty chilly here during winter months, is there something I could do to keep them warm while still getting to go on adventures with them?

I know this is a very long drawn out message and totes to anyone who actually reads all of it! If there are things you’d wish you’d known before getting your bird or anything at all, really. I’d love to hear it!!
 
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FeatheredCdn

New member
Apr 22, 2024
5
3
Parrots
CAG and Sun Conure
Hi there, I just joined this Forum and excited to connect with fellow flock members.

Similar to you, I grew up with smaller birds - budgies, conures, cockatiels and always wanted a CAG. I knew I wasn't getting any younger, so I took the plunge 10 years ago (at the time, I had a sun conure, pineapple green cheek, moustache parakeet and fostering a green cheek). He had plenty of other birds to socialize with. He ADORES our Sun conure - they have a special relationship and groom each other (but not bonded). Our Grey is much quieter than our conures but is quite loud when he wants to be. I live in a detached home but at times, can hear him down the street when walking our pup.

Although I was on several lists at different rescues and humane societies, there were no surrenders in my area, so I turned to a breeder who was about 3 hours from my home. I visited him bi-weekly for two months before bringing him home and made a point of socializing him and taking turns with caring for him to prevent the "one person" bond many are known for. Although he was weaned, it was backtracked due to the sudden change in the environment (common). Plenty of vet visits and support were needed, and I was thankful for the resources I found to help me through it.

When he turned 4 yrs old, he began plucking which is the basis for my "wish I knew" advice for you as I have literally spent $$$$ supporting my amazing guy, Leo:

1) Try to adopt an older Grey - their personality will be more evident, and you will know better that they will be a good fit. In our case, our Grey has extreme anxiety. They are anxious by nature, but he is anxiety is above average and compounded by his inability to fly, which can lend to independence and confidence. It took thousands of dollars to get him the help he needed to land this diagnosis at a specialized avian facility. During puberty, particularly between 2-4 years of age, you will see their personality blossom, and often, if there were issues during their hand-rearing/husbandry, they would surface at this age by way of feather destruction. Our guy was removed from the nest too soon. The breeder did a horrible job at clipping him (despite my explicit request to leave him unclipped), so he wasn't afforded the right to learn how to fledge. This festered as he grew older.

2) If you go for a baby, do not clip them. It is crucial for their mental well-being to learn how to be a bird. This supports their confidence, especially during the first year

3) I had heard that you should never leave them for an extended time in their first year (i.e., a week's vacation) during their first year. I brought him camping and cottaging, which we had plans for, but we had a Caribbean vacation when he was 10 months old and left him with an experienced bird sitter. I wish I had listened... they view you as a flock leader. His flock leader left him, just as he was learning to fly (his flight feathers were growing back).

4) Boredom and diet are the number one areas to focus your energy on. Our guy doesn't get pellets/veggies in a bowl. I make foraging toys daily so he has to work for his food. Plan for annual vet visits to keep an eye on their calcium levels.

5) Don't fall into the cycle of feeding him only what he likes to eat. They are toddlers. They will manipulate you to get what they want...kids would eat McDonald's every day if they could and make our lives miserable (including making us feel like bad parents).

6) Expect to ride a rollercoaster of emotions and know you are not alone. Forums like this are a great resource and support.

7) Patience. Patience. Patience :)

I love my Grey more than words can express. He is incredibly gentle, loving, sweet, smart and playful. He enjoys cuddling with me before bedtime and loves to entertain the family. His humour is spot-on, and I can't imagine life without him.
 
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texsize

Supporting Member
Parrot of the Month 🏆
Oct 23, 2015
3,951
Media
5
4,875
so-cal
Parrots
1 YNA (Bingo)
1 OWA (Plumas R.I.P.)
1 RLA (Pacho R.I.P.)
2 GCA(Luna,Merlin) The Twins
1 Congo AG (Bella)
5 Cockatiels
Hello all!

I am looking at getting a Congo African Grey and am wanting some tips and information on them, even experiences from owners who have them, literally anything anyone can give me. I’m not ready for one quite yet, probably not even within the next few years as I do have a cat and am waiting until I don’t have him anymore before getting a bird, but I thought ‘why not start learning now’ so here I am doing research and I thought this would be a good place to get some! I’ve been wanting a grey for years (ever since I bird-sat one 4 years ago) and am still constantly amazed by them.

My previous birds:
I used to own a Dutch Blue Lovebird (he’s still very happy and healthy living with my sister) he was my first bird and I took care of him from baby until he was 8 (he’s 10 now) but when I moved out for school I couldn’t take him with me, he’s super happy where he is and the people who are around him love him, so I feel bad to take that away from him. I also had a Meyers Parrot for a very short time, but she ended up not liking me and loving my dad and vice versa, (her previous owner was male, kinda makes sense 🤷🏼‍♀️) so she is also happier in her current home. Will this experience help me with an African Grey? I know they are quite a bit larger than both these species.

My life style:
I do live in an apartment, and probably will for many years from now. I hear from other websites that they are fairly good apartment birds. I do realize they are still birds and in nature can be very loud, I would have to check with my neighbours to make sure they’d be okay with this. Does anyone have any advice for this? Or experience?

I also work an 8 hour job, normally my shifts are from 6am-2:30pm or 7am-3:30pm so 90% of the time I am home in the afternoon, is this enough time to spend with them? I would like a companion who could go places with me, like hikes, walks, trips etc. I’d like to call myself a little more outdoorsy in the grande scheme of things. I go on annual camping trips with my sister (in a tent) and I’d love to bring the bird with me. Is that even possible? I live in Vancouver, Canada and it does get pretty chilly here during winter months, is there something I could do to keep them warm while still getting to go on adventures with them?

I know this is a very long drawn out message and totes to anyone who actually reads all of it! If there are things you’d wish you’d known before getting your bird or anything at all, really. I’d love to hear it!!
I see 2 problems with your pick of a CAG for a companion.

1 the time he/she will be alone when you are at work.
Some parrots are ok with being alone but I don’t think African grey’s would be.

2 from my experience a CAG is not the kind of bird that is very outgoing and wanting to go out and about with you.
They are much more skittish and nervous about new.

I do think that an African grey would make a fair apartment bird. They are on the quiet side for a larger parrot.
this is just my opinion from a bit more than 7 years experience with our CAG Bella.
 

Conurefamily

Member
May 2, 2024
16
29
Parrots
Conures
Hi there, I just joined this Forum and excited to connect with fellow flock members.

Similar to you, I grew up with smaller birds - budgies, conures, cockatiels and always wanted a CAG. I knew I wasn't getting any younger, so I took the plunge 10 years ago (at the time, I had a sun conure, pineapple green cheek, moustache parakeet and fostering a green cheek). He had plenty of other birds to socialize with. He ADORES our Sun conure - they have a special relationship and groom each other (but not bonded). Our Grey is much quieter than our conures but is quite loud when he wants to be. I live in a detached home but at times, can hear him down the street when walking our pup.

Although I was on several lists at different rescues and humane societies, there were no surrenders in my area, so I turned to a breeder who was about 3 hours from my home. I visited him bi-weekly for two months before bringing him home and made a point of socializing him and taking turns with caring for him to prevent the "one person" bond many are known for. Although he was weaned, it was backtracked due to the sudden change in the environment (common). Plenty of vet visits and support were needed, and I was thankful for the resources I found to help me through it.

When he turned 4 yrs old, he began plucking which is the basis for my "wish I knew" advice for you as I have literally spent $$$$ supporting my amazing guy, Leo:

1) Try to adopt an older Grey - their personality will be more evident, and you will know better that they will be a good fit. In our case, our Grey has extreme anxiety. They are anxious by nature but are above average. It took literally thousands of dollars to get him the help he needed to land this diagnosis at a specialized avian facility. During puberty, particularly between 2-4 years of age, you will see their personality blossom, and often, if there were issues during their hand-rearing/husbandry, they would surface at this age by way of feather destruction. Our guy was removed from the nest too soon, the breeder did a horrible job at clipping him (despite my explicit request to leave him unclipped) so he wasn't afforded the right to learn how to fledge. This festered as he grew older.

2) If you do go for a baby, do not clip them. It is crucial for their mental well-being to learn how to be a bird. This supports their confidence, especially during the first year

3) I had heard that you should never leave them for an extended time in their first year (i.e., a week's vacation) during their first year. I brought him camping and cottaging, which we had plans for, but we had a Caribbean vacation when he was 10 months old and left him with an experienced bird sitter. I wish I had listened... they view you as a flock leader. His flock leader left him, just as he was learning to fly (his flight feathers were growing back).

4) Boredom and diet are the number one areas to focus your energy on. Our guy doesn't get pellets/veggies in a bowl. I make foraging toys daily so he has to work for his food. Plan for annual vet visits to keep an eye on their calcium levels.

5) Don't fall into the cycle of feeding him only what he likes to eat. They are toddlers. They will manipulate you to get what they want...kids would eat McDonald's every day if they could and make our lives miserable (including making us feel like bad parents).

6) Expect to ride a rollercoaster of emotions and know you are not alone. Forums like this are a great resource and support.

7) Patience. Patience. Patience :)

I love my Grey more than words can express. He is incredibly gentle, loving, sweet, smart and playful. He enjoys cuddling with me before bedtime and loves to entertain the family. His humour is spot-on, and I can't imagine life without him.
Maybe he would like a friend.
 

FeatheredCdn

New member
Apr 22, 2024
5
3
Parrots
CAG and Sun Conure
Maybe he would like a friend.
Agree and I constantly scan rescues and rehoming pages near me for a male his age as I understand they do well together. He does love the company of our Sun Conure who is a female. They are quite adorable together - they help each other with the pin feathers on their heads and necks and even share snacks. Our dog is also a big fan of his. He can't fly so he keeps in shape by walking and climbing everywhere.
 

Botsari

Active member
Nov 1, 2022
68
154
Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Parrots
African Greys
I think this year I officially have 60 cumulative “African Grey years” of experience. However, I don’t have any special advice that wouldn’t go for most species of parrots. But I personally feel strongly that any parrot will do far better over time with another bird companion. I know a lot of people will say that their singlet bird has done fine, but I’m nevertheless just going to state this in a stark way for emphasis. Adjust this advice to one’s own reality and to taste! But it is the ONE advice/warning I give to people about parrot ownership.

They can get a lot from their humans, especially if they were hand reared, but even if you were to spend 24/7 with them, and we known that you can’t, they are social animals and get a completely different flavor of satisfaction from also being able to interact with another bird. A single, somewhat silly example - there seems to be nothing a pair of greys can do that engrosses them more, and creates as much mutual bonding, than slowly turning a phone book into confetti together over the course of several hours or days. Are you willing and able to do that with them? They are incredibly intelligent and adaptable, but you will NEVER understand their inherent alien birdiness, or be able to fulfill that part of their makeup like another bird.

I know that for a lot of people this may be impractical, but in my admittedly wholly biased opinion there is no other single thing you can do for the lifelong mental health of this companion - one that will likely live so long that you with have to put custody arraignments in your will.

If you are worried that as a result you may not get to bond as strongly with your birds then get some hand reared babies, and it will never be an issue. Otherwise accept that a small part of your dominant role in your birds life will be shared. In return they will never be bored, even when they are just sitting quietly with each other. Having two is not twice as hard as having one. And having two will prevent a whole range of potential behavioral pathologies that may themselves become a huge extra burden for you.
 
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