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Terrified rehomed grey

Diveks

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6/16/19
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135
Hey everyone, one of my family members can no longer take care of their african grey and they gave him to me. I’ve had an african grey before, who unfortunately flew away after someone in my house forgot to lock the cage door while he was getting some sun time (i was out of town and got a phone call about this and came home to an empty cage 3 years ago) so i do have experience with greys and their behavior but it has been a while since i had one but just wanted everyones opinions.

the grey’s previous owner’s used to really take good care of their grey but i think they are not too interested anymore and don’t have much time to spend with him.
Info about the african grey:
- Name Dolly
- was handraised
- previous owner’s said they forgot the gender so to make things easier ill call dolly her for now
- 6 yo
- Sunflower seed diet
- Rarely has contact with the owners

let me explain that last part. He used to live in an aviary with a macaw (dolly used to pull the feathers, and the blue and gold passed few weeks ago from other reasons). These past few years they rarely handle Dolly and just let her do whatever in the aviary. Dolly lived in an large outdoor aviary and the only interaction she had these past few years were feedings. Also i think it became worse because they had to catch her from her aviary (not sure how they did it)

I’m currently keeping her away from my other parrots. I know how grey’s are and how they are sensitive parrots and im not sure if i’m making her feel too stressed keeping her in a cage rather than an aviary where she used to be. I do have an aviary but i’m trying to keep her isolated for now from my other birds because she is new and also her feather picking of other birds. I plan on having her roam my work room freely most of the time (supervised) and do flight training with her at least indoor like my other parrots and i know it will take a lot of time but ill keep building the bond.

Its day 5 now her cage is outside my bedroom so she has some quiet time. I plan on moving her to my work room so i can spend more time with her but I'm not sure yet. She is still only eating only a bit right now but i think she will be ok. I want to switch her to TOPS, Tropican and fresh fruits and veggies but ill take my time on that since she is already so stressed. Right now when i put my hand in to change her water she is terrified and will get startled but if i offer food from between the cage bars she will accept it (been so long without touch she doesn’t even wanna be touched by her owners) I have a feeling this will be a long journey of building trust slowly but i know the tiny milestones will make me happy. For those who have rescues/have rehomed greys, any suggestions to make this go more smoothly? Maybe things to do differently maybe slowly than other parrots. Looking to gain more knowledge from others here.

Also, kinda unrelated but from my other thread i mentioned i took in some mynahs and taking in a grey might be a handful but since i had the supplies and also 4 more people working with me on caring for these birds i could work on they grey a lot more since i don’t want to overwhelm Dolly with a lot of people trying to interact with her. I have recently realized how many birds are not well taken care of in my country that are just left there (i don’t think there is a parrot rescue here. A dream of mine is to make a parrot rescue here one day once i have more experience. Just a dream though :wacky:) Just from friends and family i’ve taken in several birds people can’t take care of anymore. Im at my limit and won’t take in any more now though just trying to educate friends and family. Sorry for the random topic here (just wished more people in my country think of birds more than living toys)
 

Shilpa

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Snowghost

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Terri
I can feel your pain and relate very well. I "adopted" Paco 2 years ago. I have many threads here about him. He is now 23. When a woman told me she wanted to find him another home I jumped at the chance, I had just recently lost my wild caught White Front Amazon, we were together for 25 years. I wasn't prepared for Paco and he is my first Grey. He is still a scardy cat. He was filthy, neglected, plucked and under weight. I moved as slowly as I could around him. I established routines. At night I count to three to close his door, slowly, I count to three turn off the lights, tell him I'm reading before going to bed. Morning routines are hard, as I took a job that requires I work at night. I am still struggling with this even after 4 months.

He has gotten a lot more calmer, however I still have an issue with him plucking.

As for diet, I started him on Lafeber's Nutri Berries, I would get all excited and call them berries. He now is on Roudy Bush pellets, California Blend Parrot seed, warm veggies, (frozen) twice a day and a variety of fruit. He is used to being hand feed his "goodies" and he steps up readily.

The first three days he was terrified to even flip a feather, he has been neglected and I just found recently he was left in a dark basement alone.

I can tell you its a slow process, even after two years he trembles when I get close. We had a period of biting but we worked through it.

Be prepared for 2 steps forward and 3 steps backwards. I play music for him, we whistle and chatter back and forth.

I wish I had more advice. I can't stress enough to just go slow, be patient and enjoy the journey. I wouldn't trade my plucked chicken for the world. Its a long process I'm still working on.

I'm not sure if I would introduce her to the other birds yet until she gets used to you. I'm not an expert, that's just my opinion
Keep us posted on how she is doing.
 

jh81

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Is there a question?

i would let the bird be for a week or so. Let her adapt to his new environment before you try to handle her.
 

Diveks

Strolling the yard
Joined
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Messages
135
I can feel your pain and relate very well. I "adopted" Paco 2 years ago. I have many threads here about him. He is now 23. When a woman told me she wanted to find him another home I jumped at the chance, I had just recently lost my wild caught White Front Amazon, we were together for 25 years. I wasn't prepared for Paco and he is my first Grey. He is still a scardy cat. He was filthy, neglected, plucked and under weight. I moved as slowly as I could around him. I established routines. At night I count to three to close his door, slowly, I count to three turn off the lights, tell him I'm reading before going to bed. Morning routines are hard, as I took a job that requires I work at night. I am still struggling with this even after 4 months.

He has gotten a lot more calmer, however I still have an issue with him plucking.

As for diet, I started him on Lafeber's Nutri Berries, I would get all excited and call them berries. He now is on Roudy Bush pellets, California Blend Parrot seed, warm veggies, (frozen) twice a day and a variety of fruit. He is used to being hand feed his "goodies" and he steps up readily.

The first three days he was terrified to even flip a feather, he has been neglected and I just found recently he was left in a dark basement alone.

I can tell you its a slow process, even after two years he trembles when I get close. We had a period of biting but we worked through it.

Be prepared for 2 steps forward and 3 steps backwards. I play music for him, we whistle and chatter back and forth.

I wish I had more advice. I can't stress enough to just go slow, be patient and enjoy the journey. I wouldn't trade my plucked chicken for the world. Its a long process I'm still working on.

I'm not sure if I would introduce her to the other birds yet until she gets used to you. I'm not an expert, that's just my opinion
Keep us posted on how she is doing.
Thank you i knew going into this would be a a life long commitment (like all parrots are). I will go as slow as i can and go as she wants to go. Wouldn't want go too quickly and ruin all the progress i have done. Hopefully since Dolly haven’t been through too much, just grew up with little socialization, she would more easily accept me :D. Won’t want to force anything on her.


Is there a question?

i would let the bird be for a week or so. Let her adapt to his new environment before you try to handle her.
okay i would not try to handle her, would this be a good time to give her several different foods or will that just make her feel more alienated? Because her food right now is terrible and i don’t want to leave her too long on sunflower seeds. Haven’t taken in parrots with this bad of a diet before.

It is not really a question, but wanted to know everyone’s experiences with taking in rehomed grey’s since even the grey i raised was very complicated, a rescued one would be more challenging.
 

Snowghost

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Paco was on Hartz Parrot seed. I tried Zupreem and then found out on here that it has a lot of sugar, he didn't like the shapes either. He didn't get much sunflower seeds. It was just crappy parrot food. I switched to Higgins California Blend. Some folks argue that pellets are the best. I found out he loves pumpkin seeds. I had to take out his water bottle (yes this woman had a nasty brown water filled bottle for gerbils in his cage) that was the first change. Then clean new stainless steel bowls, one with a small amount of seed, the other bowl, nutri berries and pellets. It took some time but he has associated the pellets and nutri berries as treats. The berries are

  • 81% Pellets + 19% Individual Fruits & Grains = 100% Enriched Nutrition
  • With real pieces of apricot, cranberries, natural grains, and more
  • No Artificial Flavors or Colors
  • Non-GMO formula
  • Made in the USA
They are made by vets. It is still music to my ears when I hear him munch on pellets. It took a while, I just make sure each bowl is full all day long and he eats both. Hey this guy wouldn't look at a veggie. You have to experiment, different sizes, shapes, raw, cooked, sliced, chopped, cubed. He will eat warm cubed carrots but will throw a carrot stick, go figure. Then he was a broccoli addict, took me 6 months to like peas, now he is crazy about them. It will take time and patience. Keep trying different things and keep posting here!
 

Diveks

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Messages
135
Paco was on Hartz Parrot seed. I tried Zupreem and then found out on here that it has a lot of sugar, he didn't like the shapes either. He didn't get much sunflower seeds. It was just crappy parrot food. I switched to Higgins California Blend. Some folks argue that pellets are the best. I found out he loves pumpkin seeds. I had to take out his water bottle (yes this woman had a nasty brown water filled bottle for gerbils in his cage) that was the first change. Then clean new stainless steel bowls, one with a small amount of seed, the other bowl, nutri berries and pellets. It took some time but he has associated the pellets and nutri berries as treats. The berries are

  • 81% Pellets + 19% Individual Fruits & Grains = 100% Enriched Nutrition
  • With real pieces of apricot, cranberries, natural grains, and more
  • No Artificial Flavors or Colors
  • Non-GMO formula
  • Made in the USA
They are made by vets. It is still music to my ears when I hear him munch on pellets. It took a while, I just make sure each bowl is full all day long and he eats both. Hey this guy wouldn't look at a veggie. You have to experiment, different sizes, shapes, raw, cooked, sliced, chopped, cubed. He will eat warm cubed carrots but will throw a carrot stick, go figure. Then he was a broccoli addict, took me 6 months to like peas, now he is crazy about them. It will take time and patience. Keep trying different things and keep posting here!
I really love nutriberries but they are not sold here sadly. Ill try all the foods in different shapes and sizes. Currently all my birds love fruit and veggie mix chopped really finely. They also love pellets so much that i could use them as treats. Maybe one day i can have her eat everything i give her or maybe never hehe, we’ll see.

I have just realized how african grey like, my sun conure’s personality is like. He is really cautious of everything and everyone new. He prefers to just sit and observe everything around him. Sticks to me like glue though, So picky with food that he would rather starve than eat something. If i moved a chair or the sofa a bit, he wouldn’t step on it before days of working with stepping on it. Im not sure how this happened, when i was raising him i introduced him to countless new things and people, but suddenly when he molted into his adult feathers he became very cautious of everything. Never had any traumatic incident and used to love exploring new things as a baby. I treat him like how i treat my old grey, slow introduction to new things, don’t change too much too fast, etc. not the playful conure i imagined but love him to death regardless.

Ill try to introduce fresh veggies in the morning when shes feeling hungrier hoping she will eat it. Ill give her some seeds and keep an eye on her just in case she wouldn’t touch it. She is now pretty comfortable with eating near me. Looking to change the all sunflower seed diet fast but don’t wanna stress her out too much.
 

Snowghost

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Terri
Wish you could get the berries shipped to you. I don't know much about Sun Conure's. Actually Paco is my second large parrot. My White Front Amazon was another neglected companion. Well shoot that bird was ornery. She was fearless, not even afraid of a cat or a dog, and don't dare touch her she would bite and bite hard. I could never convert her to a healthy diet. She was with me for 25 years. We had our own language, even though she didn't speak human words. Each bird is different. Introduce Dolly to healthy seed mix, just toss some sunflower seeds in it. I have left toys near Paco for a year, nope not going near it. I can't stress it enough, slow and easy, its the best thing we can do.
 

Diveks

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Messages
135
Wish you could get the berries shipped to you. I don't know much about Sun Conure's. Actually Paco is my second large parrot. My White Front Amazon was another neglected companion. Well shoot that bird was ornery. She was fearless, not even afraid of a cat or a dog, and don't dare touch her she would bite and bite hard. I could never convert her to a healthy diet. She was with me for 25 years. We had our own language, even though she didn't speak human words. Each bird is different. Introduce Dolly to healthy seed mix, just toss some sunflower seeds in it. I have left toys near Paco for a year, nope not going near it. I can't stress it enough, slow and easy, its the best thing we can do.
This evening i tried offering every single thing i have but she would single thing i have but still wouldn’t touch anything else. Even the weird looking sunflower seeds she would leave out. Ill try more different Fruits and veggies. I learnt that she prefers eating from my hand than the bowl. She is also starting to talk and all at once non stop talking. She is also starting to like having toys around her.
 

Diveks

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Update: I have realized that maybe she isn't even eating from her bowl or so little that i don't even think it's enough. she is hesitant of the bowl even though its the same one as the one she had. So now i'm feeding her from my hand all of her breakfast, lunch and dinner but i leave some food in the bowl just in case she finally decide to eat from it.
 

Hankmacaw

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If you don't have a scale to weigh her, make sure you buy one right away and weigh her daily if she has lost weight or is losing weight. They can lose weight so rapidly that it can become critical quickly. If she has lost too much weight a trip to the vet may be needed to gavage feed her a couple of times and get her going in the right direction.
 

Snowghost

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Keep trying and working with her. It is not an easy journey. Many times I was frustrated to the point of tears. I would make sure she is eating. If it takes hand feeding her right now then do it. Keep an eye on her weight.
 

Diveks

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If you don't have a scale to weigh her, make sure you buy one right away and weigh her daily if she has lost weight or is losing weight. They can lose weight so rapidly that it can become critical quickly. If she has lost too much weight a trip to the vet may be needed to gavage feed her a couple of times and get her going in the right direction.
i do have a scale but i am still working on the step up. because right now if my hand enters the cage she will panic. i will try to put her on the scale tomorrow morning (night at my time right now). i have some handfeeding formula on hand that i will try feeding her tomorrow morning that might help her weight and nutrition since it would be better than sunflower seeds (i asked the previous owners what they feed them to confirm again what she was eating and they said that she was only fed sunflower seeds and peanuts her whole life). The only avian vet is a 3-4 hour drive from my city (no avian vets here) i'm worried she will get more stressed from the trip so im trying to maintain her weight right now but i will no doubt go there if she does loose weight.
 

Diveks

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I found an vet in my city that can deal with parrots, doesn’t specifically deal with birds but i think i can go there for a check up. My old vet i used to go to moved out of town.
 
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Diveks

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Another update: yesterday and today, i let her roam around my bedroom/computer room since she seems like she is enjoying the company. She would come to me to get treats but is still hesitant on stepping up (im not sure she was thought how to step up). She is starting to open up more and i even found out that she likes the artist ‘NIKI’s songs. I tried all different genres and artists and for all of NIKI’s songs she would whistle and sing along to the song even yelling “woop woop” :roflmao:. She has stepped up twice when she fell on the ground and flew on top of my head once. Im still trying really hard on giving her new foods. She is hesitant on taking new food from bowls but she will pick it up if i hand it to her. She started eating some of the healthier seeds (not much but an improvement) still struggling on the veggies, fruits, and pellets though.
 

Snowghost

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whoop whoop, hey any progress with these guys is a milestone! Super excited Just keep doing what you're doing. I wouldn't worry about stepping up, Paco wasn't thrilled about it at first either. He was trained to step up, just scared of me.

I would give her the same new food along with the ones she will eat. Like Paco loves broccoli, so I squish some soft sweet potato on top of it. Like I said, took 6 months for peas. I fed him his broccoli, carrots, try some corn and peas. Throws the corn and peas, now likes peas, so I'm going to try corn again. I switch around, he loves bandanas some days he doesn't and throws them. Don't stress to much. They are at our mercy on what we feed them, its not like they can say, hey Terri, I'm in the mood for pineapple today. Glad you found a vet, hope all goes well and let us know how its going.
 

Ira

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Greys are prey birds, and like to be amongst their own when foraging on the ground. In other words, it’s their instinct to feel more comfortable in a sea of grey, so they’re not singled out by a predator:

When I raised my grey, I always wore a grey t-shirt, which made her comfortable when shoulder perching. Likewise, if you can drape a small gray towel on your scale, you might be able to get him to sit still long enough to get a reading.
 

Diveks

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whoop whoop, hey any progress with these guys is a milestone! Super excited Just keep doing what you're doing. I wouldn't worry about stepping up, Paco wasn't thrilled about it at first either. He was trained to step up, just scared of me.

I would give her the same new food along with the ones she will eat. Like Paco loves broccoli, so I squish some soft sweet potato on top of it. Like I said, took 6 months for peas. I fed him his broccoli, carrots, try some corn and peas. Throws the corn and peas, now likes peas, so I'm going to try corn again. I switch around, he loves bandanas some days he doesn't and throws them. Don't stress to much. They are at our mercy on what we feed them, its not like they can say, hey Terri, I'm in the mood for pineapple today. Glad you found a vet, hope all goes well and let us know how its going.
I will keep offering her healthier foods without making her loose weight. She is very stubborn on eating so when i saw her eating even if its only healthier seeds i was so happy. I wanted to ask for your larger parrots that don’t know how to step up or is not sure about stepping up, how do you get them back in the cage? Cause getting her back in the cage took me 30 mins.
 

Snowghost

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Paco steps up really well. I didn't teach him. As for putting him back, I either put my arm level with the top of the cage and wait for him to grasp the bar with his beak and then he climbs up or the same with his perch. I would try either beak level see if she will do that or foot level, she might just want to climb on. You could practice with a dowel, and press it gently above her feet to encourage her to step up. Then move on to the cage. I think its awesome she is comfortable enough to stay on your arm. She just might not get the idea of what you want her to do.
 

Diveks

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Paco steps up really well. I didn't teach him. As for putting him back, I either put my arm level with the top of the cage and wait for him to grasp the bar with his beak and then he climbs up or the same with his perch. I would try either beak level see if she will do that or foot level, she might just want to climb on. You could practice with a dowel, and press it gently above her feet to encourage her to step up. Then move on to the cage. I think its awesome she is comfortable enough to stay on your arm. She just might not get the idea of what you want her to do.
ohh, guess i have to work more on stepping up right now she just looks confused when i try to get her to step up (currently teaching targeting). Yesterday she ate a bit of fruits, not exactly veggies but healthier than just constantly eating sunflower seeds. she tasted it but dropped most of it, guess i will need to chop it up smaller.
 
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