Choosing the right cage for your African Grey Parrot
It is highly important that you choose a cage suitable for your African Grey parrot.
There is an abundance of different cages for parrots. Some are highly decorated some less so - this is a matter of personal taste. Parrot cages also come in a variety of different shapes, from rectangle to square to round. However it is important that you don't choose a round cage for you African Grey parrot as this has been known to cause
psychological and orientation problems for African Grey parrots. Another consideration when buying a cage for your African Grey parrot is the width between the bars. They should not be so wide that the African Grey parrot can get his head between the bars and get trapped. As far as the size of the cage you decide to purchase, generally speaking the larger the better.
Another design consideration is whether or not the cage opens up at the top. One benefit of this is that if the cage opens up at the top, your grey parrot will be able to climb on to a high perch, giving the bird confidence. It will also give it access to the room if it wishes to fly about a bit.
Many cages sold have particularly hard perches made of dowelling rod. If you have purchased a young
African Grey Parrot, it is often a good idea to replace these perches with perches of a softer wood, that are not so smooth. By doing this your African Grey Parrot will learn to climb and build confidence faster. It is also worth mentioning at this point, that if you have purchased a baby African Grey Parrot you should lower the perches and give the parrot time to explore before moving the perches up the cage.
Obviously it important that your African Grey Parrot has access to food and water at all times. Check that the design of the cage ensures easy access to food. It may a good idea to install additional food pots for your parrot as this will increase the birds exploring nature at an earlier age.
On slightly different note, you should place another stand for your African Grey Parrot in another room of the house. This will give your African Grey Parrot the chance to explore the house, get comfortable in the surroundings of the house and give you Grey parrot more choice in where he resides.
African Grey Parrot Diet/food
It is absolutely essential that your African Grey parrot gets a healthy, nutrious diet in order to stay a healthy bird. The results of not giving your African Grey Parrot a suitable diet or food can be particularly
unpleasant and upsetting. Some of the following issues regarding African Grey Parrots health are linked to not getting the correct food: Poor Health, Hyperactivity, Persistent Screeching, Bad Temper, Non replacement of feathers after the moult, Biting, Continuous Moult Feather Plucking, General Bad Behaviour
(Eds note: Guide to a Well-Behaved Parrot is
a superb book on training your parrot to be
well behaved), Lethargy, Self Mutilation. Obviously it is very distressing to see a grey parrot (or any animal) that is unhealthy and stressed.
The key to getting a good diet for your African Grey Parrot. Pelletted foodstuffs should form the foundation of the diet, but should be supplemented with a variety of fresh fruits and
vegetables, along with grains and proteins to keep your African Grey Parrot healthy and happy. Of course, a small amount of seed mix can be fed to the African Grey Parrot, but it should be noted that generally although seeds have some nutritional value and a place in the diet of your African Grey Parrot, they are largely fattening and are poorly balanced, so should not form a large part of the diet. It can be quite
trickery to persuade African Grey Parrots to try new foodstuffs, so you should try and get your Parrot to try new foods from a young age. It should also be noted that African Grey Parrots can be prone to calcium
deficiency so you should get the calcium levels of your parrot checked once a year by a vet. You should not use calcium supplements unless you have sought the advice of your vet. Having said this it can be useful to feed calcium rich foods to your African Grey Parrot, - such foods may include leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale etc. Whilst ensuring that your parrot get roughly 75% pellets and other grain/proteins and 25% vegetables it is important that you give the parrot the vitamins that it needs. You should consult your local
pet shop or foodstuff retailer for more information on brands and quantities.
We have looked at lot's of
informational books on African grey parrots over
time and feel that A New Owner's Guide to African Grey Parrots
is one of the best guides out there. It has all
of the essential information covering the basics
but goes into further detail where needed.
Things to do and things not to do
Do ensure that you know the species of your parrot and have a good knowledge about your bird. The more research you do on your African Grey Parrot the better.
Do spend time talking to the breeder and
pet shop assistants who have dealt with your bird. It is important to know how your bird has been treated, what conditions it has lived under and its diet before you purchase it.
When buying an African Grey Parrot you should objectively assess the compatibility of having an African Grey Parrot in your house. African Grey Parrots are not suitable for everybody, so you should be sure before you buy one. When buy a parrot, make sure you get a
guarantee of its age - preferably in writing.
Be sure not to purchase an African grey Parrot on impulse - this would be unfair on the parrot and yourself!
Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions about the African Grey Parrot that you intend to buy. Make a list before you go to the breeder, and the breeder should be able to answer all of your questions. Watch out for "sales pitching" by breeders and shops - just as with any purchase, do the
research for yourself. If you do decide to purchase an older African Grey Parrot be prepared for some bad habits that will be nigh on impossible to get rid of! Check carefully for signs of illness, fluffed up feathers,
faeces on the tail, lack of alertness and instability in movement - bear in mind that parrots are intelligent enough to cover up some of these problems!
Recommended Reading on African Grey Parrots
African Grey Parrots (Barron's Complete Pet
For more information on the care of African Grey Parrots, this is an absolutely great book. It covers the basics and goes into further depth where appropriate.