Need advice with a very shy African Grey

Katiepinks

New member
Mar 4, 2022
2
3
Parrots
African grey
So I got my first bird, a cute African Grey about 6 months old when I got her from a breeder. She’s 9 months old now. When I got her, the breeder informed me that she had a completely different personality than the rest of the hatchlings. That she was very quiet and shy in comparison. She was the only one who he couldn‘t get to ‘step up’ yet and also the only parrot not to start talking. She came to me with very ruffled feathers and she can’t seem to grow feathers in her neck area, and he also said that these babies all seemed to abnormally long necks.

She makes a lot of funny noises sometimes during the day but still has not spoken a word. I think she is trying to find her voice but is struggling.

She was priced relatively cheap, well, in my opinion, at $2000. I think he had this group of birds discounted. I’m trying to figure out why, lol.

Anyways, to the point. She is so shy and scared of everything. I cant introduce any new objects, people, food or anything without it taking days for her to adjust. And certain things she never accepts, just tolerates. She’s sensitive and loves head scratches but still very weird about touch, and she will only step up for me about 1/4 of the time. I don’t want to force her to step up but it makes it difficult to interact with her and socialize her if she doesn’t let me. She never wants to leave her cage. I have left it open every day (I know people will say thats bad but I work from home), and she has only left her cage once. Anyway, I am wondering what I can do to get her to help build her confidence. She won’t take any treats, and whenever I try to give her anything she just throws it across the room. The only thing she will eat are seeds and pellets, and she won’t eat them if she takes it from my hand. Only from her bowl.

So this is my first bird, I own a dog business and train horses. With dogs, when it comes to behaviour modification, it’s actually a lot easier for a trained dog to train another dog. Dogs can communicate to each other in a way that a human will never be able to, through body language. A more nervous dog will follow the lead of a more confident and calm dog naturally. I am wondering if it the same thing with parrots? If I was to get another parrot that is trained/social/tamed/loves people, could that possibly help her? My friend has a conure that is just completely different, such a little clown, so much confidence. I know that not all birds get along, and I would have to find the right match. Maybe a trial run first. Just wondering what peoples thoughts are on that, or if its just a horrible idea. Part of me I think is sort of upset and having a hard time accepting the reality that my bird might never be the social butterfly I was hoping for. :(

Also, does anyone have any idea why she can’t seem to grow feathers on her neck? I haven’t seen her pluck them or anything.
 

Attachments

  • BABA94B2-B74B-4A1B-B79F-2472236C6431.jpeg
    BABA94B2-B74B-4A1B-B79F-2472236C6431.jpeg
    231.3 KB · Views: 40
  • 077811DF-0EF4-4E08-85E7-D6356BCB11B1.jpeg
    077811DF-0EF4-4E08-85E7-D6356BCB11B1.jpeg
    203.5 KB · Views: 35

saxguy64

Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
Apr 24, 2018
11,715
Media
4
Albums
3
11,413
Maine, USA
Parrots
Tucker the Red Sided Eclectus
Baxter the YNA
Patches the Grand Eclectus, my best friend. RIP
Cuckoo the BFA RIP
Hello, and welcome to you and your grey! Lots of questions in there, so I'll offer a few things briefly.

First, greys are well known for not liking change, so it's absolutely normal that she takes a while to accept anything new. Introducing things slowly and with tons of patience is the key.

As for being "shy" or however you wish to phrase it, that can also fall into the same category as above. Building trust can take time. Some more quickly than others, but again, patience. If you consider it from their perspective, they are prey animals, and have zero natural reason to trust us humans. We have to give them a reason, and try our very best never to do things that destroy that trust. They need to learn that only good things come from humans. If she's fearful of hands, that's okay. You might try putting a treat bowl in her cage and simply drop in a little treat when you walk by. No interaction or expectations from her, just a treat. Eventually, she may decide to start seeking out those treats from you, and you can progress (slowly) from there. Here's a link with some helpful information on building trust: https://www.parrotforums.com/threads/tips-for-bonding-and-building-trust.49144/

Hope this helps. Again, patience and more patience. It's so worth it when they start making gains!

As far as the feathers, it's still possible that she's plucking. Many pluckers do so when no one is watching. Otherwise, have you seen a vet, preferably an avian vet with her? There are a number of medical issues that can cause feather issues, from diet, skin issues, parasites, to diseases. Not trying to scare you, but it's important to have regular vet check ups. If for no other reason, so you have a baseline in the event of health changes in the future. So if you haven't already done so, I highly recommend a full exam, ideally with blood panel to look at organ function and test for possible diseases. It may give you answers for the feather issues as well.
 
OP
K

Katiepinks

New member
Mar 4, 2022
2
3
Parrots
African grey
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #3
Hello, and welcome to you and your grey! Lots of questions in there, so I'll offer a few things briefly.

First, greys are well known for not liking change, so it's absolutely normal that she takes a while to accept anything new. Introducing things slowly and with tons of patience is the key.

As for being "shy" or however you wish to phrase it, that can also fall into the same category as above. Building trust can take time. Some more quickly than others, but again, patience. If you consider it from their perspective, they are prey animals, and have zero natural reason to trust us humans. We have to give them a reason, and try our very best never to do things that destroy that trust. They need to learn that only good things come from humans. If she's fearful of hands, that's okay. You might try putting a treat bowl in her cage and simply drop in a little treat when you walk by. No interaction or expectations from her, just a treat. Eventually, she may decide to start seeking out those treats from you, and you can progress (slowly) from there. Here's a link with some helpful information on building trust: https://www.parrotforums.com/threads/tips-for-bonding-and-building-trust.49144/

Hope this helps. Again, patience and more patience. It's so worth it when they start making gains!

As far as the feathers, it's still possible that she's plucking. Many pluckers do so when no one is watching. Otherwise, have you seen a vet, preferably an avian vet with her? There are a number of medical issues that can cause feather issues, from diet, skin issues, parasites, to diseases. Not trying to scare you, but it's important to have regular vet check ups. If for no other reason, so you have a baseline in the event of health changes in the future. So if you haven't already done so, I highly recommend a full exam, ideally with blood panel to look at organ function and test for possible diseases. It may give you answers for the feather issues as well.
Thank you! I guess I just need to be more patient with her.

I will look into an avian vet, I had no idea. Thanks
 

saxguy64

Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
Apr 24, 2018
11,715
Media
4
Albums
3
11,413
Maine, USA
Parrots
Tucker the Red Sided Eclectus
Baxter the YNA
Patches the Grand Eclectus, my best friend. RIP
Cuckoo the BFA RIP
You're most welcome. We're glad you're here. Please never hesitate to ask questions, that's what we're here for :)
 

Laurasea

Well-known member
Aug 2, 2018
12,387
7,248
USA
Parrots
Full house
welcome to the forum. And your beautiful baby grey.

Bird time can be a lot slower to see change . Hope is definitely not lost. Later I will find some links and share some ideas.

But just to share, I decided to get a young quaker that was always screaming at a petstore and had a true hand phobia. It took a few months to get past screaming, and fear of hands. But she wasn't into petting and cuddling. Like you I was going to be ok with that. 2 years later and she is my most cuddling parrot of my flock and we have a high cuddling bar!!

No matter how reserved she is , one thing for sure with a CAG she is watching, she is observing, and she is taking everything in!!

CAG have an extended childhood, upto 2 years. So she is still in a time of high plasticity.

On adding another parrot, me personally, my opinion, yes it can be beneficial. I'm not saying tgey will be best friends, it might add challenges. But if you also want another parrot and found one you want to help and add yes go for it. When I had fosters, most had always lived alone. And even tho I couldn't let them out with my flock. They would take baths when my others did, they would nap when my others did, they would start eating when my others did. And I think seeing my others modeling sweet behavior towards me, did make them extend more trust to me.

You might enjoy this post.
 
Last edited:

Laurasea

Well-known member
Aug 2, 2018
12,387
7,248
USA
Parrots
Full house
Also food and security can go hand in hand. A comfort feeding of warm baby bird formula in early evening might help.

Because parrots are exceptional at reading us. Do not act nervous or worried about her shyness or fears. Be cheerful and confident and humorous example.
On veggies, I found offer large chunks on a plate ir shallow dish outside of the cage and allowing them to discover them on their own helpful. Some veggies thst are often easier for them to take to at first, bell pepper ( I like the yellow ones) seeds and all , thawed frozen peas, fresh corn cut off the cob , cooked sweet potatoes served warm, sugar snap peas
 
Last edited:

wrench13

Supporting Member
Parrot of the Month 🏆
Nov 22, 2015
9,029
Media
12
Albums
2
4,624
Isle of Long, NY
Parrots
Yellow Shoulder Amazon, Salty
Welcome and be welcomed! Greys.... they are always watching and evaluating, studying. You've had her 3 months? Thats like a week in parrot time. SHe is learning the lay of the land. So offer but don't push. And never ever try to punish or give negative reward, like if she bites or screams. Not like dogs at all. I;ve done some dag training, totally different. GREAT advice above, I hope you consider some of it.
 

Most Reactions

Latest posts

Top