Discussion in 'African Grey Alley' started by BirdGuy21, 4/23/17.
I'm glad Harley's test results are good!
Thanks, me too! I was a little worried as you never know what they could say, especially with him being 18 years old and coming from a not so hot diet.
DNA results are in and Harley is definitely a boy. His former owners said he was a boy but they didn't have a DNA test done, so wanted to find out for sure.
Congratulations on your little boy.
Congrats on your boy! I am going to get Elvis tested too.
Let us know if Elvis is a boy or girl!
Will do. I know with toos you can sometimes tell by eye color but I didn't think it applied to goffins also. I need to research it more. He certainly acts like a mischievous boy. LOL.
Wanted to update everyone on Harley's feather picking.
It's been a long road with a lot of ups and downs. This past week was unfortunately a pretty significant down for us, with Harley picking off 95% of his new growth of feathers from the past several weeks. I took a vacation last week to stay home to use my vacation time that was maxed out for accrual. I specifically planned to have something outside the house to do everyday as to not have Harley get used to me being home with him 24/7. However this week when I went back to work must have been hard for him. He'd still been picking off small pieces here and there but Wednesday night he picked off down and grey feathers by the palmful.
His what I describe as almost neurotic behavior has gotten significantly worse. He stands on his perch and makes a rapid figure eight motion with his head while quivering his wings and sometimes hoping from foot to foot. Picking him up and moving him doesn't make it any better, neither does ignoring it or trying to redirect his attention to toys. There are nights where he is not interested in food until right before bed. Concerned about his physical health I have been weighing him every other day. He has not lost any weight.
I am at a lost for what to do. We have been working on target training, playing with toys, bathes every other day. It seems nothing is making the kind of significant impact that I was hoping for. We're continuing with more training and trying to redirect his behavior to toys and hoping it will pay off a little further down the road.
So sorry to hear that this is happening to your Harley. I only have limited experience with having companion birds and am in no way going to pretend to have the answers, It is comforting to know he is in such a caring home and hopefully with time and patience things improve. The only thing I am wondering...are there medications that can be given to birds that may lower anxiety and or depression that may assist with this kind of situation?
I'm so sorry Jake. Was Harley with other birds previously, do you know? Does he show any interest in your other birds? I know he was instantly very taken with you. Although I don't normally say, a bird needs a bird, I am wondering if a buddy might help him. I'm thinking for example how much better Brooke seems to be with Juliette for Ed.
I'm unsure if there are any medications that can be prescribed. I may remember reading that some birds have been prescribed extremely low dose human antidepressants, but usually in the cases of mutilators. I may be remembering that incorrectly though. It's something that has crossed my mind before but I don't have all the info yet to present it to the vet. And, I'm hesitant because I don't think my vet would go for ift if it is a viable solution.
He was surrendered with an Umbrella Cockatoo who was also a feather picker, and a mutilator. His former home consisted of the U2 and a Cherry Headed Conure. I remember he did not like the Conure at all.
It's funny you mention considering another bird for him. I thought of that out of the blue driving to work last Thursday morning. He doesn't like other birds approaching him but is okay to sit on the same stand with Gillian, our Eclectus for a little while. I wonder if perhaps another Grey would help him calm down or be good for him. I've been thinking that if I want to try this, maybe I can set up some meet and greets with any Greys we get into the program and see how he reacts/get him accustom to interacting with another bird his size.
I'm very hesitant of course. But I have to be honest-it's heart breaking watching him pick his feathers off. He just snipped two new, large feathers on his back not fifteen minutes ago. I worry it's a sign of him being unhappy or something being wrong. I don't know if another Grey would help with that or make it worse. Brooke helped work miracles with Juliette, I've been thinking of them a lot in the past few days. Juliette was so cage bound she wouldn't even eat with someone too close to her.
I don't know if it would be the same but he's welcome to meet Elvis. They're probably pretty close to the same size. Although I don't know how Elvis would be either. LOL. Another Grey is probably the best thing to try. I don't think there are any other Greys right now, are there?
Thanks Michelle, I may take you up on that. I'm not sure how Harley would react either. I think another Grey would be the best option as well. From what I have been reading Greys in the wild form single species flocks, excluding all other non-Grey birds. There aren't any other Greys in the program that I am aware of. I think ideally I would like to try and introduce him to another Timneh, but they are harder to come across than the Congo's. I'm sure a CAG would work the same as a TAG, but the size difference makes me a little nervous.
Wanted to let everyone know that I was able to orchestrate an African Grey play date for Harley with a CAG. This CAG was very well socialized, in perfect feather, and very playful. He was 26 years old so a little older than Harley. They spent the day in a walk in aviary (which the CAG quickly figured out how to open). Harley chewed off a bunch of feathers while the other grey basically stared at him with a "what the heck is your problem dude" look. It was really interesting though to watch the dynamic unfold and see Harley watch this grey play with toys. Maybe its a coincidence but after we got him home he has started to play with his toys a little bit more.
If this CAG is still at the sitters house for a few weeks we may send Harley up for a week to two week "vacation" for him to show Harley how to be a bird. The friend who has the bird is an inspiration for aviculture and has inspired us to buy a walk in aviary and socialize Harley with other greys.
Glad the play date went so well and that Harley learned to play with her toys more. My Timneh girl is named Harley too so I've been keeping good thoughts for your little guy's progress.
I'd be interested to hear what others have to say about giving him a "vacation" away from you. I agree it sounds like being around other greys would be good for him to learn how to be a bird but wonder if being away from you and his home surroundings might make him feel like he's being rehomed again and set his progress backwards rather than moving it forward. I just got back from an 8 day vacation and my birds did not take it well even though I had a family member watching them in my home.
I was wondering about that, too. I'm glad the visit went pretty well. Would it be possible to make it more of a series of day visits with you there instead? Heck, even when I'm on vacation and having a blast, I usually wish I could sleep in my own bed.
I didn't know birds could be so readily accepting of one another, so that was neat to see! Maybe (what's Harley's friend's name?) can also come to visit when Harley gets his aviary!
I was wondering the same thing about a series of day visits, and we can definitely do that. It is about an hour trip, not too far but not real close. The one thing that worries me is that Harley hates the car and chews feathers off like crazy. It was so bad that tons of feathers were flying around the truck. On the way home I actually had to crack the window (he was in his cage) to try and suck some of the feathers out because it was hard to see and very distracting while driving .
My friend who's house it is actually studies parrots in South America and Australia. All her birds are so incredibly well adjusted and healthy. After talking to her we agree that basically Harley doesn't know how to be a bird. He chews feathers when he's bored, happy, angry, sad, scared- basically for any reasons whatsoever. Her thoughts are that while I should keep trying to show him how to play with toys, he needs to learn how to become a well adjusted grey from another grey; or flock of greys. Thus a bird like Coco (the grey he was with), who is so well adjusted and socialized, would do wonders for him. Harley would learn how to act just like a grey in the wild would learn- from other greys.
We had actually planned on considering taking Coco home with us, depending on how him and Harley did together. We were going to buy a walk in aviary for them. Unfortunately some stuff has come up and its not in the budget right now, and Coco will go to a great home with three other greys and a walkin indoor and outdoor aviary.
Poor Harley! I can understand why you'd want to minimize the road trips. Is there a chance he might begin to look forward to his trips to see Coco? Or if you had to leave him there could you go to see him everyday?
That would still worry me though. On Parrot Confidential, a couple left their Amazon with another Amazon for a week while they were away and when they took their bird home both birds were so distraught that they discussed it with the other couple and decided to let their bird go to live with the other family permanently. Might not happen, but worth considering.
I'm glad Harley got to interact with another Grey. Hopefully, more interactions can happen. I know Elvis is not a Grey, but he's welcome to hang out with Elvis.
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