African gray parrots (African Greys), also known as “talking parrots,” are a type of large bird that is native to West and Central Africa. They are the largest of all types of bird species, and can be over 12.5 inches in length! The African gray is a passive bird and does not like to be handled. It can take time and patience for an African Gray Parrot to learn how to talk. With that being said, are African gray parrots good pets?
This is not a simple yes or no answer as it will depend entirely on the owner. How much time you have to socialize and tame your birds, how much time you spend with them, and how much they need to be handled will all play a part in this answer.
For this reason, we will break down some elements of caring for African greys, which will help you decide if an African Grey is a good pet for you.
- African Grey Parrot Origins & Info
- African Grey Parrots Are Passively-Aggressive By Nature
- African Grey Parrot Diet Requirements Are Unique To Their Species
- How To Take Care Of An African Grey
- Choosing A Cage For A Bird
- The Best Toys For Your Bird
- How To Wash Your Bird
- How To Groom Your Bird
- How To Train Your Bird
- So, What Do You Think, Are African Gray Parrots Good Pets?
African Grey Parrot Origins & Info
African Gray Parrots come from West and Central Africa. They are found in rainforests, woodlands, and mangrove swamps as well as on the fringes of forests that have been cleared for agricultural use or settlement.
The African gray parrot is a large bird that can be over 12.9 inches (33 cm) long! This puts them in the large category with some other types of parrots such as macaws and cockatoos.
They live around 20-25 years in captivity with proper care and feeding, but this will vary depending entirely on diet, veterinary care, and other factors.
African Grey Parrots Are Passively-Aggressive By Nature
Every species of animal has different behavior characteristics, some more aggressive than others. African gray parrots are a little bit less social than some birds such as the cockatoo or the Amazon parrot (or even macaws).
They can be very territorial if they feel threatened and may bite you without warning! However, their aggression is generally passive due to them being primarily ground dwellers – it’s not that easy for an African Gray to attack another bird in the air like many smaller types of birds do when they’re defending themselves from larger predators.
This also means that, while these large winged creatures don’t mind flying off your arm onto a branch, they won’t come to you when called if they’re feeling threatened.
This doesn’t mean that African grey parrots are not intelligent or social creatures – it just means that their temperaments are different from more aggressive types of birds like macaws and cockatoos.
African Grey Parrot Diet Requirements Are Unique To Their Species
One thing that sets the African gray parrot apart is its diet needs. A lot of other breeds can feed on seeds and nuts as well as fruit, but an African Gray has a very specific dietary need: a high-quality seed mix with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in addition to small amounts of animal protein such as eggs.
How To Take Care Of An African Grey
If you are considering getting an African Gray as a pet, there is one thing that you should know: they require plenty of time and attention!
African Greys Are Good Pets If You Follow These Guidelines
- Provide them with the right food
- Allow them to fly in your home or aviary if possible (they will not bite)
- Spend lots of time socializing and teaching them how to talk for entertainment value. This means about 12 hours every day (not counting sleep!)
- Carefully watch their diet – fresh fruits and vegetables too; never feed animal protein such as eggs without asking a veterinarian first.
- They need a high-quality seed mix supplemented with grains and a lot of fresh produce such as tropical fruits and vegetables and more common fruit such as apples, oranges, and other readily available fruit.
Choosing A Cage For A Bird
An African grey may not be a good pet for you if you do not have a larger enough home, aviary, or cage. Consider this before deciding on this bird as these birds need a good amount of room and to be able to fly freely on occasion.
When choosing a cage, consider the size of your home and if you have a backyard or other area where the bird can be allowed to fly.
If you live in an urban apartment complex, think about how often you’ll need to take it outside for air and exercise – will this mean leaving your pet at home alone? You may want to consider another type of pet instead.
The Best Toys For Your Bird
The African gray parrot is a very intelligent creature and will enjoy new toys – but only if you spend time to teach it how to use them!
If your bird doesn’t know what the toy does, he or she won’t play with it.
Some great types of toys include vine balls which are round in shape and have handles on either side for easy carrying; these can be hung from above as well as tossed into any corner of the cage.
There are also all sorts of puzzle-type games that require problem-solving skills such as opening doors by maneuvering different shaped blocks around so they fit nicely into holes (the more complicated the better!) . These should not be too small or large for the size of your bird’s beak.
There are also many types of bird-safe, natural plants, and toys that your pet can enjoy – just make sure they’re non-toxic!
When deciding if this is the best pet bird choice for you, consider this list of pros and cons we have made;
|They do not bite people often like other species might.||Their long life-span means a long-term commitment. Especially when compared with other pets such as dogs and cats.|
|Their aggression is usually passive due to them primarily being ground dwellers rather than flying birds when defending themselves from predators so it is much harder for them to attack another animal in the air as smaller breeds typically will when faced with larger prey.||This is one of the most expensive type of pet bird that you can purchase and will cost around $1500-$1600 per year for food, housing, toys, vet care etc.|
|They have a long lifespan of up to 25 years.||They are not as interactive with their owners as other types of birds like macaws or cockatoos which makes them a bad choice if you’re looking for an animal companion that you can spend a lot of time venting all of your troubles to (or maybe it is better if he doesn’t contribute too much to the conversation.) |
They also do not handle well being handled by humans – they need time and patience when it comes to training them to talk etc.
|He will learn to mimic you – always the best party trick when family come by.||There is always some risk associated with any type of pet whether it be human-aggressive breeds such as roosters or dogs that might bite; there’s no way to know for sure how your pet will behave but there is a very small chance that you might get an aggressive bird.|
How To Wash Your Bird
In the wild, African parrots spend their days in trees and bushes. This means that they typically like to be pretty messy – but luckily for you, keeping them clean is not too difficult!
The key thing to remember when cleaning a pet bird is not to use any soaps or detergents with strong odors as these could irritate your sensitive little friend’s feathers.
Disinfectants will also do more harm than good. To keep this feathered animal healthy it’s important to avoid using things such as bleach or ammonia-based products on its feathers.
The following list explains every step of the process:
Step one: Gather materials needed for washing which include an old towel (or paper towels), warm water in a shallow bowl.
Step two: Put the old towel on any flat surface like a table or the floor next to where you will be placing your bird for washing.
Step three: Fill up the plate of warm water with about one inch deep of water in it. You can simply splash water on your bird and watch him preen his feathers after but this is an extra step you can take if desired.
Step four: Gently hold the bird in your hands and carefully dip him up to his neck into the water by using a hand under each wing, being careful not to drip any of the water that might be left on yourself onto your pet!
The key thing here is to make sure he doesn’t get wet too much – excessive moisture can impair their breathing due to them having evolved from flying birds so it’s important not to soak any part of their body for longer than necessary (about 30 seconds).
Step five: Use some warm water and old towels or paper towels with dish soap applied lightly- scrubbing gently at dried dirt spots.
How To Groom Your Bird
African greys require their beaks and nails to be kept trimmed to prevent injury.
There are few things you can do in order to properly trim these areas:
Trim the nails by using a bird-specific nail clipper and make sure not to clip too close or he might bleed. Trimming his beaks is done using cuttlebone fish or a trip to the vet!
There’s nothing wrong with asking your vet for assistance if you need more help on how to go about this.
You will also need to decide if you will be clipping your African greys wings or not.
How To Train Your Bird
Taming and training will not be as easy as it would be for a budgerigar!
African greys are known to be one of the most difficult types of birds for training.
They do not enjoy being handled and need a lot of patience in order to learn how to talk, perform tricks, or get used to you holding him.
The key thing is that they respond best when you have an understanding on their needs – so it’s important to give them plenty of space because they can become aggressive if touched too much.
If this doesn’t sound like your ideal pet then I recommend looking into other types such as cockatoos which would make great pets!
So, What Do You Think, Are African Gray Parrots Good Pets?
African Grey Parrots Are A Good Pet If:
- You do not like being bitten… they are not aggressive (parrot bites can break skin)
- You have plenty of time every day for 12 hours on average to spend with them while socializing them so that they learn human language skills like talking.
- Your living space is large enough for their cage/home/aviary
- You are a responsible pet owner who has the time and money to spend on your parrot
- You can afford their hefty price tag of $1500 or more!
African Grey Parrots Are Not A Good Pet If:
- They are your first type of pet bird.
- You have little children.
- Your living space is not large enough for an aviary/cage
- You have no idea what you’re doing when it comes to taming and training these animals.