COMMON AFRICAN GREY PROBLEMS
The African grey is recognized around the world for its extreme intelligence and jaw-dropping vocabulary. They are impeccable mimics and can perfectly duplicate every sound in your home – including your own voice! These qualities make them a popular choice with people in the market for a parrot.
Unfortunately, the people selling the parrot to you may “accidentally” omit some crucial information prior to purchase: African greys are prone to fears and phobias which can result in undesirable behaviors like biting, screaming, unsociability, and plucking.
The african grey’s biggest problem stems from their sensitivity to the environment and it is difficult for owners to determine exactly what their African grey finds objectionable. They are acutely aware of what goes on around them and are quick to rush to judgment about it. A matter that would mildly concern the average parrot will have a fearful grey hiding in the corner of its cage.
HAS THIS EVER HAPPENED TO YOU?
You reach into your bird’s cage to bring him out to his playstand and he…
A) bites your finger without warning.
B) runs and hides behind the nearest hanging toy.
C) walks to the other side of the cage and turns his back
D) all of the above
Your bird may have developed a case of hand hatred, which is not at all uncommon with this species. As fears begin to accumulate in your bird, he slowly begins to associate all things BAD with your hands – they are intruders in the cage and might be overly persistent and forceful while there. They transport him to places that are unsettling. They carry scary objects. They are always present when things feel uncomfortable.
Each negative experience compounds general mistrust and, before long, you have a bird that is too uncertain of its surroundings to socialize confidently with its humans. Greys each react differently towards unwanted attempts at interaction – some will bite, others will move away and tremble until you remove your hand.
Either way, it’s a terrible situation for both you and your bird, and one that could have been avoided with proper guidance.
WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN TOLD AT THE PET STORE…
…a parrot, any parrot, needs training in order to become the sociable and happy family member that you had your heart set on.
You should have been told that the insecure African grey, in particular, needs the shot of confidence that comes from training with positive reinforcement.
Using training to build a bond of trust, an alliance with your bird, puts it within your power to help alleviate those mounting fears. As you train, you continue to show that neither you nor the environment represent danger. Placing a new toy in the cage will no longer be a stressful event for your bird. Click here to learn more about how to raise a confident and trusting African grey: TOTAL PARROT TRANSFORMATION