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Complete Pet African Gray Parrot Guide

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Complete Pet African Gray Parrot Guide: Everything You Need to Know

World renowned for their unmatched talking and thinking abilities, African gray parrots attract interest from lots of new bird lovers. But few realize the immense commitment and special needs involved properly caring for these highly intelligent, sensitive creatures over a lifetime spanning decades…

Keep reading for exhaustive coverage of critical considerations before welcoming one of these iconic parrots into your home long-term.

Getting to Know the African Gray

Two separate African gray species exist: the larger Congo African gray (CAG) and the smaller, red-tailed Timneh African gray (TAG). Both share lean gray bodies, vivid red tails, white masks, and piercing golden eyes.

Beyond physical attributes, grays show off impressive capacities rivaling great apes and human toddlers through:

  • Vocabulary over 200 words/sounds for some birds
  • Puzzle solving talents
  • Understanding concepts and emotions
  • Building relationships and reading body language

But bigger brains also make grays more prone to:

  • Boredom
  • Anxiety
  • Neurotic obsessive behaviors
  • Feather damaging tendencies
  • Reacting strongly to stressors/change

Is an African Gray Parrot Right for You?

Grays need devoted owners home near-constantly to thrive. TheseGregarious, high maintenance creatures do extremely poorly left alone for long stretches.

Consider if you can provide:

  • 5+ hours daily direct interaction/supervision
  • Foraging, training, bonding activities
  • Patience managing noise, mess
  • Care funds for $5000+ annual costs
  • Plans for their potential 60-80 year lifespan

If that commitment level aligns with your lifestyle for decades, then an African gray may make a wonderfully lively, loving addition to your family!

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Setting Up the Perfect Gray Home

Grays require expansive enclosures packed with foraging fun since most hate being confined. Think big when designing their living space!

Ideal Gray Habitat Features

  • Roomy cage, minimum 36x36x48 inches
  • Heavy duty construction that greys can’t easily destroy
  • Several food/water bowls spread far apart
  • Assorted wood/concrete/rope perches
  • Shreddable/chewable bird-safe toys rotated frequently

Also include:

  • Private sleeping nook
  • Playstands for out-of-cage time
  • Shower perch for bathing
  • Foraging basket loaded with paper, cardboard, wood

Position this palatial habitat near household action without constant loud noise bombardment.

Easing Their Transition

Grays dislike surprises and changes to “their” routines. Help new arrivals acclimate through:

  • Maintaining consistent daily schedules
  • Allowing gradual exploration of new environments
  • Using favorites foods or toys from old home
  • Playing African gray flock calls to ease settling

Additionally, focus initial interactions on relationship building instead of intensive training. Move slowly and let them come to you first before initiating touch.

Comprehensive African Gray Nutrition

Super smart grays need top notch nutrition supporting their high functioning brains and bodies.

Components of a Wholesome Gray Diet

  • High quality pellet blend 75%
  • Chopped vegetables/greens 15%
  • Sprouted nuts/seeds 5%
  • Fortified healthy table foods 5% – cooked eggs, beans, brown rice

Avoid sugar and processed items completely. Most fresh fruits also contain excess sugars sparking behavior issues.

Always give smaller portions multiple times daily. Remove uneaten foods within a couple hours since grays won’t typically touch old leftovers.

Keep filtered, bottled or distilled water refreshed constantly in clean bowls.

Fundamentals of Gray Care

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From extensive socialization sessions to clearing catastrophic messes, African gray guardianship requires serious diligence!

Basic Elements of Daily Care

  • 5+ hours direct bonding time
  • Large variety of toys rotated frequently
  • Multiple bathing opportunities
  • Clipping overgrown beaks/nails
  • Thorough cleaning of living areas
  • Securely protecting or removing household dangers – wires, toxins, etc

Note grays instinctively destroy woodwork, drywall. Budget for repairs and take protective measures!

African Gray Health Issues to Watch For

Attentive African gray caretakers can help minimize health threats. Note changes from normal in:

  • Energy levels, mobility
  • Eating, chewing, digestion
  • Breathing sounds/nasal/ocular discharge
  • Droppings consistency/color/frequency
  • Feathers, skin issues

Routine vet appointments allow benchmarking so abnormalities get addressed promptly. Don’t skip annual checkups!

Understanding Gray Behaviors

Grays showcase all the best and worst parrot tendencies in extremes! Expect:

Typical Positive Gray Conduct

  • Deep bonds with special people
  • Hilarious mischief, playfulness
  • Extensive vocabulary skills
  • Affectionate snuggles

Troublesome Behaviors Often Observed

  • Screeching fits when left alone
  • Biting intensely during hormonal swings
  • Guarding favored items/people ferociously
  • Destructive chewing rampages when bored or stressed

Patience combined with actively managing their environment prevents many issues. Ignore unwanted antics while praising good ones.

Their Extreme Need for Company

Isolating these ultra social creatures inflicts devastating harm. Make sure a gray always has:

  • 5+ hours daily direct human interaction
  • Availability of other bird companions if alone during the day
  • Presence of familiar caregiver 24/7 when traveling

Financial Realities of African Gray Guardianship

Sadly countless grays get discarded when underprepared owners can’t afford proper care. Lifetime costs run:

**First Year Expenses **

  • Bird & habitat – $2000+
  • Vet fees – $500+
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Annual Costs

  • Food, toys – $1500+
  • Vet visits – $800+
  • Other supplies – $500+

Total 50+ Year Investment – Over $100,000

Love alone won’t meet an African gray’s complex requirements. Ensuring you can provide everything they need for life represents the ultimate commitment.

The Joys of Life with an African Gray

Sharing your days with these profoundly smart parrots promises plenty of laughter…and challenges too! But their boundless personality and unparalleled bonds with preferred people make the ride worthwhile for bird lovers up to the monumental tasks involved.

Just be sure everyone knows what they’re signing up for upfront! Follow the guidance in this guide and a wonderful feathered family member can enrich your household for decades to come. Here’s to many adventures ahead!

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