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Need help with newly adopted Grey...

kinGreyDad

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8/1/20
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Farmington, WV
Hello all,

My family just adopted a new Grey and oh boy is this going to be a journey. He is a Congo and he is gorgeous, with loads of red factor showing through. He has always had the same coloration (at least for the last 20 years) so hopefully it is not a sign of any issues. The problem is, he is plucking. And he has been doing it for years according to the previous owner. Poor boy. We have to get it under control. He will be making his first appearance at the vet in a couple of weeks, but I would like to try to give him a little relief in the meantime. His diet has been a little questionable, as we were told about all of the things he likes to eat, which were not all wonderful (lots of salty snacks, fatty beef like steaks and hamburger, and loads of sweets). He is on a good food, though, not just seeds and nuts. He likes fruits, and I have already started giving him new veggies and greens to try. He is extremely dusty, but there is no way I am going to be able to give him a shower until he gets more acclimated to his new environment. And he won't take a bath on his own right now, he's just too nervous. He is not aggressive, but he is definitely stressed. He will grab my fingers, but not bite down. I don't react. He steps up fine, and pants and whines like a dog when I'm holding him (the last owner said he is gay because he only likes men ). I'm concerned that he may be very old, as the last owner had no clue what his age was when they got him, and they had him for 20 years. He has had very little stimulation for the last few years and was very neglected, unfortunately. He does have a very extensive vocabulary, and the multitude of sounds he mimics is amazing (like an old Nextel phone ringer from 20 years ago that sounds completely authentic and amazing). On the 4-hour truck ride home we stopped and picked up several bags of toys for him, and he is terrified of all of them. It's so sad. Most people would say he was not worth all of the money we spent (and will spend) getting him and getting him healthy, but as soon as I saw him I knew I had to help him. I want the rest of his life to be wonderful, even if it is only a short time, and I'm going to do whatever is necessary to make sure that happens. I hope he is not as old as I fear, and we can have many wonderful years together, but it may prove to be impossible to tell. Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

kinGreyDad 20200801_203030.jpg
 
Last edited:

kinGreyDad

Moving in
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9
Location
Farmington, WV
Also, if you notice in the picture, there is something wrong with his left eye. He squints and closes it the majority of the time. It looks a little droopy. Not sure what to make of it.
 

Shezbug

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I am not so sure that having red feathers on his body is normal. I don’t know much about greys at all though so hopefully some other members can offer some help.
Welcome to the Avenue :hiya:
 

kinGreyDad

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Farmington, WV
I am not so sure that having red feathers on his body is normal. I don’t know much about greys at all though so hopefully some other members can offer some help.
Welcome to the Avenue :hiya:

Thanks! Good to be here!

While the red coloration can be a sign of health issues, there are also genetic mutations that can cause the "red factor" to be expressed. Although it was said to have first been introduced in 1998, which this bird may pre-date, it has been colored like this for at least 20 years so the probability of it being from a health issue is less likely (although still a possibility).
 

Fischer

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About the red feathers, those are just red factor feathers and are not of any concern. You can try spraying him with water to try to get him to bathe.
 

Hankmacaw

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A number of AGs have red factor. To my knowledge there is no illness associated with it. It is a natural mutation. He is a very handsome Grey and I'm so glad that someone who cares has found him.
 

kinGreyDad

Moving in
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Farmington, WV
About the red feathers, those are just red factor feathers and are not of any concern. You can try spraying him with water to try to get him to bathe.
Going to try to mist him tomorrow. Just hope it doesn't make him mad at me...
 

kinGreyDad

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Farmington, WV
A number of AGs have red factor. To my knowledge there is no illness associated with it. It is a natural mutation. He is a very handsome Grey and I'm so glad that someone who cares has found him.
There is some research showing that PBFD can cause feathers to grow in different colors, and specifically red in African Greys, but it is up for debate whether this is actually the case or not. I think he's fine, but he's going to have a full work-up anyway just to be safe. He hasn't been to a vet in 20 years, sadly. Any thoughts on how to calm the plucking right now?
 

clarousel

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Going to try to mist him tomorrow. Just hope it doesn't make him mad at me...
You may want to try spraying away from him to get him used to the sound first, just in case it scares him. If he's okay then spray from above so he gets the mist falling on him.

His feathers are really pretty. I've never seen the red factor before and looks really unique :)

I hope he'll be okay till the vet visit! I don't know much about plucking but maybe try to make his environment as stress-free as possible? I'm not sure if calcium deficiency causes plucking?
 

Sweet Louise

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Thank you for taking this bird in, sounds like he now has a great home. Not sure how much bird and CAG experience you have, so I may give too basic of info...
CAGs tend to be nervous, fearful of new things, even toys. Best to keep them where he can see them for a while (days) then hang them outside his cage for a bit (days) and when he is comfortable, hang them inside. Completely normal behavior. It can take several tries before they enjoy something new--even food. (3 years and now Louise loves blueberries). It may be that he does not know how to play and you may need to start out with high value foraging treats: almonds, harrison power pellets, avian organics mango ginger treats... dif birds like dif things. Start easy then move to the more challenging foraging toys. If you can arrange his cage like it was at the former owner, that may help him feel comfortable while you transition him to new toys.
The bite down on your finger can be a warning or it can be "beaking"(soft nibbles and beak rubs), that is about the only touching mine will tolerate. She will sit with me for hours, but try to give her a scritch.... she'll let you know...
Early time is great time to observe for warning behaviors to a bite and things that interest him. Mine thinks eating is a flock behavior and wants some of whatever I am having. They can even have type of music preferences...
Watch out for things that are dangerous (Teflon pans, avocados.... lots of lists on the net and on pages here).
The vet check will give you a good idea of health status. I doubt the red feathers mean anything (Louise has 2 that always grow back in the same place). Some Greys pluck and you can help get it under control, others will be beautiful through their life with less feathers/bald spots. Louise is fully feathered, her brother is not--and he is healthy and has a home that is more fantastic than mine- more out of cage time, all kinds of homemade food. You just might never know...
The spraying near him then when he more comfortable, misting him is a great idea. Louise hates baths and spraying- it has taken 2 years but she now will bathe herself in her special tubby once or twice a week. It could take a while...
He is a handsome dude and sounds like his life is on a positive arc. Keep us updated, post lots of pics, and let us know his name.
 

Ulis_Beast

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Welcome to Avian Avenue!

Thankyou for taking him in...
He is handsome! :heart:
The ring on his foot could provide you with info of his age and origin (provided he is not wild-caught)...
I'm rooting for you both!

:cheer:

Pamela Clark has a blog, a lot of it is abot plucking. Worth checking out IMO.
 

kinGreyDad

Moving in
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Farmington, WV
You may want to try spraying away from him to get him used to the sound first, just in case it scares him. If he's okay then spray from above so he gets the mist falling on him.

His feathers are really pretty. I've never seen the red factor before and looks really unique :)

I hope he'll be okay till the vet visit! I don't know much about plucking but maybe try to make his environment as stress-free as possible? I'm not sure if calcium deficiency causes plucking?
Thanks for the help! I tried the mist this morning and just the sight of the bottle terrified him. One spritz near him and game over. We'll go slowly.

I'm trying to keep him as stress-free as I can, but I'm sure he is still afraid. He is eating great and trying new things we were told he didn't like, and eating them! I think he's happy(ish).
 

clarousel

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That sounds great, trying new foods! Please keep us updated :) would love to know how he gets on!

Perhaps for the spray bottle you could try leaving it around (in the distance) so he learns its safe and won't do him harm. Unless he's so terrified of it then best not to stress him out further!
 

kinGreyDad

Moving in
Joined
8/1/20
Messages
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Farmington, WV
Thank you for taking this bird in, sounds like he now has a great home. Not sure how much bird and CAG experience you have, so I may give too basic of info...
CAGs tend to be nervous, fearful of new things, even toys. Best to keep them where he can see them for a while (days) then hang them outside his cage for a bit (days) and when he is comfortable, hang them inside. Completely normal behavior. It can take several tries before they enjoy something new--even food. (3 years and now Louise loves blueberries). It may be that he does not know how to play and you may need to start out with high value foraging treats: almonds, harrison power pellets, avian organics mango ginger treats... dif birds like dif things. Start easy then move to the more challenging foraging toys. If you can arrange his cage like it was at the former owner, that may help him feel comfortable while you transition him to new toys.
The bite down on your finger can be a warning or it can be "beaking"(soft nibbles and beak rubs), that is about the only touching mine will tolerate. She will sit with me for hours, but try to give her a scritch.... she'll let you know...
Early time is great time to observe for warning behaviors to a bite and things that interest him. Mine thinks eating is a flock behavior and wants some of whatever I am having. They can even have type of music preferences...
Watch out for things that are dangerous (Teflon pans, avocados.... lots of lists on the net and on pages here).
The vet check will give you a good idea of health status. I doubt the red feathers mean anything (Louise has 2 that always grow back in the same place). Some Greys pluck and you can help get it under control, others will be beautiful through their life with less feathers/bald spots. Louise is fully feathered, her brother is not--and he is healthy and has a home that is more fantastic than mine- more out of cage time, all kinds of homemade food. You just might never know...
The spraying near him then when he more comfortable, misting him is a great idea. Louise hates baths and spraying- it has taken 2 years but she now will bathe herself in her special tubby once or twice a week. It could take a while...
He is a handsome dude and sounds like his life is on a positive arc. Keep us updated, post lots of pics, and let us know his name.
Thank you for the info. We have never had a Grey, but I have always had birds, since childhood. We currently are raising a baby Quaker, even though I normally don't support breeders/breeding because of the enormous amount of birds who need good homes. We also have a Nanday Conure and a Green Cheek. Also working with a rescue organization to adopt an Umbrella Cockatoo, and he will hopefully be coming home soon.

I did not know that Greys were so nervous, so thank you for that. With many years of little to no stimulation, I'm sure all the new colors and sounds and textures were overwhelming. My fault. I just felt so sad for him that I wanted to surround him with everything nice and good, and I probably made things worse for him. He is talking up a storm, though, which the previous owners told us wouldn't happen for a few weeks (ha). He even told us when he was ready for lights out. Super bird.

He is great about touching, and only grabs my finger once in a while without biting down. He does seem to iew me as a mate right now, and I have to stop that. He is regurgitating and panting/whining like a puppy when I hold him sometimes.

His name is Lou.

Thank you again for all of the help!
 

kinGreyDad

Moving in
Joined
8/1/20
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9
Location
Farmington, WV
Welcome to Avian Avenue!

Thankyou for taking him in...
He is handsome! :heart:
The ring on his foot could provide you with info of his age and origin (provided he is not wild-caught)...
I'm rooting for you both!

:cheer:

Pamela Clark has a blog, a lot of it is abot plucking. Worth checking out IMO.
HI! I haven't been able to read all of the band info yet, as every time I try to look he thinks I want him to step up. Silly birdie.

Thanks for the help! I'll check out the blog.
 

Snowghost

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Virginia
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Paco was fearful and still is. They are very timid. I got him a little over a year and a half ago. He was cage bound, poor diet and filthy. I have many posts on our journey together. Give him time and space, let him move on his own. The first three days Paco was still as a statue, I mean not even a twitch of a feather. Every day I tell him what I"m doing and I moved slowly. Speak in soft tones, back up when he is stressed. I still do this every day, morning routine, when I go to work, when I come home, night night.

I use a spray bottle on a light mist for showers. That is something we still work on. As far as food, try everything, warm, cold, different shapes, hang them, put them in a bowl. I call them goodies and yum yums and he knows what they are.

He was taught to eat his goodies by hand. Sounds great but when you're in a hurry its a problem. I try to encourage him to eat out of a bowl but its slow.

Welcome to the group and post all of your questions here, the folks here are amazing and helpful.
 

Birdie Mama

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507
Location
BC Canada
Just a thought....

how about a drinking fountain that you can get for cats or dogs where the water always bubbles....just wondering if the sound of running water may interest him, like a babbling brook. We could never get our p’lett to take a bath or shower and one day tried it and she was in there like she had taken baths all her life. He may have to have it around him being brought closer and closer every couple of days, but the sound of running water may interest him.

@DoubleTake has one for his birds and the love bird loves it, they have different sizes so should be able to find a large that would fit him should he choose to accept it and if not your other birds would probably have fun.

all the best, just love his colours and floof! :heart: :)
 
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