Care and Training
Caring for an african grey involves lot more than food and caging. Yes, that is important too, but keeping a parrot requires so much more than supplying those things that simply sustain its life. A parrot must THRIVE in our care and the conscientious bird owner understands that parrots are highly intelligent and social animals that need and WANT intensive interaction with their human flock mates. Care and training go hand in hand.
African greys, in particular, are characteristically known as high maintenance parrots. Because they are so very in-tuned to their surroundings, they have the tendency to “overreact” to new things that come their way.
Many african greys wind up in shelters because of the fear-based behaviors that develop as a result of their inability to accept change. These behaviors are typically demonstrated through biting or feather destruction. We can prevent them with proper handling and training.
We have all heard the saying: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Too many people take this literally – it has nothing to do with one’s ability to learn after a certain age. It refers to those who have become set in their ways and unreceptive to change.
When a person, or parrot, is resigned to this lifestyle – one that never deviates from the norm because that’s what feel safe – life stops for that individual and anything outside of daily routine becomes scary. The african grey can fall victim to this early in its life.
It is up to us to raise an african grey to understand that new things do not equal danger. We are 100% in control of our bird’s environment. Everything our birds experience is a result of what we set up for them. If we don’t teach an african grey to be free of the fears they can be plagued by, they will not thrive in our care.
Even a rehomed african grey can come to consider his placement in a new home to be a rebirth of sorts – a bird can finally be free to bloom in the right home. It is never too late to implement change – so long as it is done in stress-free way. It can be as simple as introducing one new thing, person or experience a day.
Our african greys LOVE to spend time with us – and they need new experiences. Training is a no brainer because it offers them the best of both worlds.
Biting and screaming is a bird’s last resort as a form of communication. We have all experienced the frustration of not being understood at one point or another. When our needs or wants are ignored after repeatedly making them known in all the polite ways, we eventually become angry and react accordingly. It is no less frustrating for a parrot.
Training a parrot is like teaching it a new language that allows communication with humans. It begins as simply as rewarding it for touching the end of a chopstick. Finally there is an AHA! moment when it understands the point – it performs a requested behavior for which it receives a treat. Suddenly a new language is born, you are communicating and on the same page.
It’s a life changing moment, one that your parrot will be eager to repeat. Before he bites out of frustration in the future, he will look to communication first as a solution.
To learn more about how to properly raise your african grey to be fear-free and look forward to life’s changes and challenges, click HERE!