The African grey parrot is a medium sized bird that has a history of being kept as a pet for over 4000 years. They were kept as companions by the ancient Greeks, a custom that was later continued by affluent Roman families who kept them in flamboyant cages.
There are two sub species of the breed, the Congo African grey and the Timneh African grey. The Congo is slightly larger than the Timneh and has red tail feathers. The Timneh usually has a darker colouration than the congo and has maroon tail feathers.
African grey parrots are often hand reared by professional breeders and handlers for the pet trade as they make affectionate and rewarding pets. They are usually long lived with an age span ranging from 25 to 50 years, this can vary dependant on diet, disease and stress. They are very intelligent birds, some have exhibited the ability to process words and information and respond with an appropriate response (ie a conversation rather than repetition). The birds are excellent mimics with a capability of over 2000 words as well as imitating household sounds such as phones ringing.
Getting African greys to mate and breed can be problematic as the birds have no specific mating season, initially the best way is to house a male and female in a cage until they have bonded (look for sitting next to each other engaging in mutual preening). Once this has been achieved purchase a nest box to imitate their natural breeding environment, the birds usually choose a small dense location therefore light and open conditions are not conducive to breeding. Look for cosy L shaped nest boxes, as well as some wood chippings to make sure your birds eggs remain secure. The eggs hatch within one month and need to be carefully removed to ensure the mother does not become distressed and aggressive. Hand rearing your birds is rewarding but requires lots of dedication. Chicks need to be kept in a brooder that can be adjusted for temperature as well as somewhere very clean as young chicks are prone to infection. Most breeders recommend spoon feeding (bent teaspoons are great shape wise) or syringes to feed your chick. Also ensure you have some quality scales to keep an eye on your chicks weight.
Your birds cage is its home and needs to be a sanctuary for your pet. With this breed in particular the cage needs to be as large as possible with room for exercise and horizontal bars for ease of climbing. A large cage door aids the bird when exiting and helps with ease of cleaning and castors are great for manoevre ability as the breed requires the stimulation of being moved into different rooms. The more you can spend on a cage the better as these birds require quality housing to keep them safe and secure. Its well worth taking advantage of online discount codes to get the best possible pad for your new companion!
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