The Congo African Grey is a stunning bird that awes most people who see one
for the first time.
Greys are little
pigs! They just got their morning veggies and are chowing down! One
of my first cautions with interested buyers is DO NOT BUY ONE ONLY
BECAUSE YOU WANT A TALKING BIRD. There are Greys that never talk,
there are Greys that make loud and unpleasant sounds. Do your
research to see if a Grey is the right fit for your home and be
honest about your time and your future. They live up to 80 years of
The Congo is a true
family member who tunes in more so than any other creature to moods
and emotions in a room. African Greys are known for their
intelligence and talking abilities. Our pet Greys don't just parrot
language, they speak at times according to circumstances and
according to the emotions in the room. Liberty also makes up rhymes
and sings boisterously. She sings in the shower to hear her voice
echoing against the tile walls.
They can also be
quite entertaining when they decide they like something. Here a
newly weaned young Congo Grey steals away our grape bowl during
breakfast one morning. My daughters dissolve into giggles. What fun
birds can be! But they also are a huge commitment!
cuddle-bug was desperately trying to accomplish the task of getting
on the perch for the first time! When he finally did it, he was so
proud of himself :)
falling asleep, and then collapsed!
Grey's have so much
personality! We will play games every now and then with a family
from our church. As the noise level increases with excitement, our
Greys join in the fun. They start singing and making all sorts of
beeps and enthusiastic voices to join in.
(Below is me with my pet
You will read that Congo
Greys tend to be more phobic and flighty than a Timneh. People say
that Congos are one person birds. This isn't always true.. Much of
how your Grey evolves as a pet is determined by how they are weaned
and socialized during their early years. Much of how any pet parrot
turns out depends on your handling of them and the reactions that
the family has toward the bird. We believe that parrots are able to
read subtle body language that you don't even know you are
Our personal pet Greys will go to
anyone. They both are very sweet, but they both also have preferences as to
who their favorite person is. When we are all sitting around eating ice
cream, Liberty will climb off her cage, and walk over to my dad. She really
wants his ice cream! When she gets on my shoulder, she talks and sings and
occasionally gets a bite of ice cream!!! One night, Dad came running to me
because he had been eating his nightly bowl of ice cream when Liberty ran
over and said, "Want some of dat!" One frustration is that I can never get
her to show off her talking ability in front of strangers.
When Greys are being weaned, they
must be with a breeder who handles them a lot and exposes them to many
situations so that they are more tolerant as an adult. Also, we believe that
the Greys especially need lots of fly time as
babies. If a bird knows it can fly and escape predators, they are more
confident overall. As for flying as babies. I think it is especially
critical to the more phobic birds. They need to know that they can get away.
Greys are ones that really need that fly time. As they learn to fly and
land, they lose that baby clumsiness and become secure, rather than
insecure. Many scared birds are biters. They gain confidence as they learn
to turn in mid-air. They always crash into my bay window one time, but those
grey babies are so smart that they literally turn mid-air as they see the
window where they crashed one time before. They learn to think and act on
this. This confidence is there for their lifetime. Developing them into
thinkers is part of flying.
Each bird has 3 cages,
their inside cage, outside cage on the porch, and their sleep cage,
in their owner's room. Liberty has a sleep cage, too, except for
that she doesn't sleep in her sleep cage...I have
attached a perch on the outside of the cage and Liberty (aka Squish,
Libber, etc.) sleeps loose. She doesn't fly at all, in fact she is
much more relaxed than if she is in her cage. We strongly believe
that pet owners need more than one safe site for their bird to be.
Read up on sleep cages for more information.
Our Grey is very funny with her
toys. She will sit on her perch, put her head down, look at her balls and
say, "Give me scratches!" Of course her balls aren't going to, so she flies
at them and attacks them, screaming and yelling at them. Then, she tries
again. Puts her head down, and asks for scratches again. This goes on for a
while. She has so much personality and character it is hilarious!
This is me who is
hugging her, and she lets me do that no problem. She would never let
my mom hug her like that for I am "her human."
Liberty loves pizza, and so do
I....tug of war!!!
Congos are a very good pet. They
do need an owner who has previous bird experience, or is willing and eager
to read and study up on this awesome bird, and is not intimidated by beak
size. I would not recommend them for the majority of children, but my 9 year
old sister can handle our Greys. However, she (my sister) is a rare girl.
For those of you who have birds that do not eat Palm Oil....try Udo
Oil. It has to be kept refrigerated so I pour a bit into a
small container and freeze the rest. It thaws quickly to pour more
later. I mix about 1/8 teaspoon for 3 birds into to their sprouts or
mash mix twice a week. It has all the essential fatty acids (EFA) we
and birds require the same as the palm oil.
The CAG (abbreviation for Congo
African Grey) is one of the most popular birds, but if you are going to buy
one, you will want to do a lot of researching. They are incredibly smart and
you need to be sure you can adequately care for your Grey for many years.
Before you buy any type of bird, we strongly recommend spending a few months
just reading on that type of bird, because each bird is going to have it's
pros and cons for your situation. Cage size should be about 24 deep and
anywhere from 30 to 36" wide. Bar spacing of 1" works fine. Do buy the
biggest cage you can buy and have room for....your baby will play in every
inch of it. Play tops with a pull out tray are nice to have so that the
inside does not get pooped on when they are hanging out up on top. Having
feed dishes accessible from the outside is nice for those times that you may
have someone else feeding your bird.
Here are some excellent links to
begin reading up on African Greys (both Congo and Timneh).
These first four web articles
do a super job on describing Greys, some of the current myths and the
truth regarding this fascinating bird:
Meet Emma! 2007: I
now have my own baby Grey. She is a baby we raised
ourselves. Emma left us to live with a Tucsonan who had
bought an Eclectus from us previously. Heartbroken, her
new owner called me one day and told me that she had
developed Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis syndrome. ( also
called Bird Breeders Lung or Bird Fanciers Lung)
(basically, she was allergic to Emma) and had to give up
Emma. She could keep her Eclectus. She asked me if I
would take Emma. Emma is now my pet.
Click here to see her going on a bike ride in a flight
suit. I am so thankful that our Lord made some birds
with feathers like the Eclectus (very low dander) so
that this Tucson bird lover could still have a parrot. I
am also very thankful to get to love on Emma!Click
here to see Emma say her first word!
Meet Hoppy! Hoppy was hatched in Tucson in
1993 and lived with the same elderly couple for
14 years. I was told he would not step up and
that you needed a pillow between your hands and
his beak. His beak and left foot are deformed
and I believe it to be caused by lack of certain
nutrients during his weaning time. Slipped
tendons and beak deformities are the result of a
diet poor in choline, biotin and even calcium.
Perosis is the term used for slipped
tendons or twisted leg. The vitamin, choline,
is important in the
formation of cartilage that maintains the
stability of the hock or ankle joint. It occurs
in only one leg of an affected chick; whereas,
splayed leg or spraddle leg can damage both
legs. When young birds are weaned only onto a
pelleted diet, this condition easily occurs. It
is so important to feed our birds whole natural
foods! Click here to read more about
sprouting and our mash.
Older birds do not suffer from Perosis because
the bodies of mature birds are able to
synthesize choline, but young chicks cannot.
Click here to
meet Hoppy in a video.
There is some talking in the second part of the
video. I must also STRESS that my "forced"
requesting of him to step up is rewarded with
loud praises, treats, and literally hours
of cuddling. My belief about negative
interactions, even with my human children,
is that there is a need for heavily tipping the
scale with positive interactions.
Meet Oliver....I can't claim "Oliver"
as a "Pamperedpeeps Grey," but click on Oliver's picture to hear some
wonderful videos of a Grey talking. They will surely make you smile, if
not laugh out loud!
Then these next articles are
on the breeding of African Greys and have many qualities that you will
want to look for in a breeder.
All God's creatures praise
Him (Psalm 145:10). It is only mankind who needs
forgiving and saving and teaching as to how to worship. (Psalm 36 & 51) The
animal kingdom worships God continually and naturally
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