I’ve waited years for this, I finally have an African Grey! And boy is he mean

saganismyhero

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Dec 24, 2020
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Sagan (3, CAG), Zola (1, YS GCC), Brando (5, pineapple GCC)
The subject says it all, but also, I’m still so excited and thrilled. It’s funny how when you anticipate and research something long enough it really does make things easier.

I brought Sagan home yesterday, he’s a 3? year old. I got him from someone who really neglected him and had him in a home with people who literally hate animals. The wife said to me when I was picking him up “thank you for taking that thing away!” I event kept my huge mouth shut! So that was good. This poor Grey is the most phobic parrot I’ve ever seen, but is still such a lovely guy. He almost bit the guys hand off when he was moving him from the cage to the crate, so clearly he barely spent time with the bird. I was ready for the challenge and still am.

Even though Sagan is constantly trying to bite my hand off, he is oddly super relaxed and comfortable in his new environment (maybe because I’ve been with him 24/7, but he’s already destroyed 3 toys (he had never had toys before!) and ate an entire bowl of broccoli and bell pepper! he was on a strictly seed diet so the freshness alone must have been overwhelming.

I am letting him adapt but he’s got a few things I need more help with that the research I’ve done doesn’t really cover:

- for some reason he won’t fly, but it’s obvious he can, the owner said he’d never clipped him? I’m thinking he may have been clipped too young and that’s why he has so much aggression?

- he won’t stand on any perches!! What is this !? He won’t even stand on flat surfaces? He’s torturing himself by standing on the wire on the cage? Why would this be? He doesn’t trust me to help him, so I’m sitting here like, dude? You have 4 different perches to choose from!

- The biting was expected, he’s not tamed, and is clearly phobic, everything scares him, but what’s upsetting is even trying to give him treats is impossible? I can’t even sit treats on top of his food because he can’t fly, and is terrified of moving around the perches? How am I supposed to bond with him and help with the biting if I can’t even give him treats?

Anyway, despite the challenges, I couldn’t ask for a better first day with an obvious traumatized bird, he’s a sweet guy and I hope we can figure these things out sooner than later! Maybe, just maybe, a lot of it is hormones (I’m hoping)
 

Birdman666

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Sep 18, 2013
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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
My CAG is the most "opinionated" bird I've got, and has a beak like a scissors...

He does not suffer fools gladly...

Training a CAG is the opposite of training a conure, or a too, or a macaw, or even an amazon.

With those birds you set boundaries and reign them in.

With a CAG you accept THEIR boundaries, and gradually expand them, getting them to accept more and more. They don't take kindly to new ideas as a general rule. They have to get used to it.

Give it time.

Especially if the bird was never properly socialized to begin with.

Go back to basics. Step up. Go down. No bite.
 

noodles123

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Jul 11, 2018
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Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
Just give it a lot of time-- so much time, that you may feel like you are losing your mind lol! Keep moving at his pace and don't do anything that causes him to feel the need to bite etc. Build trust-- you can do it!
 
OP
saganismyhero

saganismyhero

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Dec 24, 2020
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Sagan (3, CAG), Zola (1, YS GCC), Brando (5, pineapple GCC)
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What do you guys make of the not going onto perches thing?
 

chris-md

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Feb 6, 2010
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Aphrodite - red throated conure (RIP)
I’ll agree with above, time time time!

But also; hormone control! African greys hit puberty right around this age, give or take depending on the individual. Keep observing for hormonal behavior - on top of everything else you’re dealing with. If he’s showing hormonal behavior, you’ve got puberty also driving this aggression. THAT can be managed to an extent and put a decent dent in this, so start researching hormonal controls (diet, sleeping, etc).

Begin NOW (meaning sometime soon, not necessarily tonight!) with clicker training - start charging a clicker. You can use this right off the bat to help with some phobias and exposure issues - as well as the INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT target training (this will be a big key for your training) - without even having to handle him.
 

fiddlejen

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Mar 28, 2019
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Sunny the Sun Conure (sept '18, gotcha 3/'19). Mr Jefferson Budgie & Mrs Calliope Budgie (albino) (nov'18 & jan'19). Summer 2021 Baby Budgies: Riker (Green); Patchouli, Keye, & Tiny (blue greywings).
Aaaaaw. Did he not have perches in his previous cage? Or, are these just new ones? (I only have conure & budgie myself, so not much help - but that's my guess.) I am so glad you are taking this bird. It always makes me sad to hear of a creature treated poorly, and so glad when someone like yourself, who cares, chooses to rescue one.

I wish you all the best, and stick to it. If he's already taking veggies happily as a New Thing, that is great!

I am so happy for your bird! What a great Christmas present you have given him, a loving home!
 

wrench13

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Did Sagan come with his old cage? If you have him in a new cage, he could well be scared of the whole thing. Did his old cage have perches? Everyone above is right, time lots n lots of time. THe speed at which most parrots accept change is glacial compared to humans ability to accept change. And Greys can be even slower and stubborn to boot. I like Birdman666's words - accept THEIR boundaries, and gradually expand them, getting them to accept more and more. This from one of the boards more expert and experienced parrot gurus.

Good luck, Sagan sounds like he has a lot of potential hidden away.
 

Laurasea

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Aug 2, 2018
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Neptune blue quaker (MIA), Ta-dah GCC female, Penny quaker female, Pikachu quaker female!!, Phoebe quaker female, 3 parakeets males, Burt The Burd GCC female RIP
Congratulations. With your great attitude you will succeed in helping him, enjoy life.

Thrilled you offered and he chewed on veggies!!! I think they do crave them..

He may be fearful of new perches? He may have keg of foot problems that make standing painful?
Many medium and large parrots are offered only smaller diameter perches. Snd develope arthritis in their joints because of this. For his size he needs one perch as bug as when you make an open C with your hands. Its difficult to find ones that size. I use that size limbs from crepe myrtle. They are the prefered perch of all my parrots, who are smaller than yours.
I look forward to all the happy changes ahead for your new one.
Can you share a video of him moving?,
 

Scott

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Aug 21, 2010
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Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Welcome to you and Sagan! (are you a fan of astronomy??)

Highly recommended reading is "Cag 101" written by the first responder, Birdman666. Greys are phenomenal birds - extremely intelligent, stubborn, among the most challenging of parrots with amazing upside: http://www.parrotforums.com/congo-timneh-greys/59366-cag-101-a.html

Clicker and Target training suggested by chris-md: http://www.parrotforums.com/training/60435-clicker-target-training.html

Bonding and building trust: http://www.parrotforums.com/general-parrot-information/49144-tips-bonding-building-trust.html
 
OP
saganismyhero

saganismyhero

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Dec 24, 2020
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NYC/NJ
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Sagan (3, CAG), Zola (1, YS GCC), Brando (5, pineapple GCC)
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Thank you for the responses everyone! He had 2 perches... both were on the smaller side. I have to wait until Monday for the avian vet so I guess we will find out more if he has issues with his feet or a calcium deficiency. I also definitely feel like he was clipped too early, his previous owner claimed “he falls a lot” so I’m hoping there aren’t any serious injuries, and it’s just fear.

And yes, I have started the clicker already, just for basic stuff like getting treats and positive reinforcement, but the clicker is really scary to him. He flips out. But we will keep going at his pace.

I have to say he was talking to me tonight. So that was awesome. The biting is getting less and less, and I’m respecting his boundaries and walking away.

And yes, I had to name him because they just called him “the birdie”. Carl Sagan was who led me to become a scientist, and as a neuroscience grad student Alex the African Grey’s handler spoke at my school, and this is what led me to wanting to be a companion to a grey. :) I don’t want to sound audacious but I have big aspirations for my life with Sagan, I plan to teach him stuff based on the older research, which is why it took me this long to adopt, because it needed to be the right time in my life. I’m 31, and my job allows me to work shorter hours. I’m dedicated for life. And yes, I fully understand that every bird is unique, and I shouldn’t have these high expectations, but I truly believe that with time and patience and a healthy environment anything is possible! Consider it a healthy hobby for both of us.

I’m excited to be a part of such an empathetic, kind, and knowledgeable community! Parrot owners are a really awesome type of human. My mother and great grandmother were some of them :)
 
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FancysMom

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Nov 4, 2018
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U2 - Francis "Francie"
And yes, I had to name him because they just called him “the birdie”. Carl Sagan was who led me to become a scientist, and as a neuroscience grad student Alex the African Grey’s handler spoke at my school, and this is what led me to wanting to be a companion to a grey. :)

Okay, so Carl Sagan. I was thinking the name might be one of MY heroes - Peter Sagan (pronounced Suh-GAHN), a bicyclist in the Tour de France. Oh well, Carl Sagan is great too :p

I'm finally getting back to training my 'too named Francis, so it will be fun to have someone at the same level.
 

Scott

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Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Thank you for the responses everyone! He had 2 perches... both were on the smaller side. I have to wait until Monday for the avian vet so I guess we will find out more if he has issues with his feet or a calcium deficiency. I also definitely feel like he was clipped too early, his previous owner claimed “he falls a lot” so I’m hoping there aren’t any serious injuries, and it’s just fear.

And yes, I have started the clicker already, just for basic stuff like getting treats and positive reinforcement, but the clicker is really scary to him. He flips out. But we will keep going at his pace.

I have to say he was talking to me tonight. So that was awesome. The biting is getting less and less, and I’m respecting his boundaries and walking away.

And yes, I had to name him because they just called him “the birdie”. Carl Sagan was who led me to become a scientist, and as a neuroscience grad student Alex the African Grey’s handler spoke at my school, and this is what led me to wanting to be a companion to a grey. :) I don’t want to sound audacious but I have big aspirations for my life with Sagan, I plan to teach him stuff based on the older research, which is why it took me this long to adopt, because it needed to be the right time in my life. I’m 31, and my job allows me to work shorter hours. I’m dedicated for life. And yes, I fully understand that every bird is unique, and I shouldn’t have these high expectations, but I truly believe that with time and patience and a healthy environment anything is possible! Consider it a healthy hobby for both of us.

I’m excited to be a part of such an empathetic, kind, and knowledgeable community! Parrot owners are a really awesome type of human. My mother and great grandmother were some of them :)

Thrilled to see you tightening the bond with Sagan! You certainly have background to capitalize on Irene Pepperberg's work and forge ahead with new revelations!
 

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