Living With An African Grey
African Greys can have a lifespan of up to 80 years, so the choice to include one as a companion deserves much consideration.
We live with two congo greys, Dylon and Carlie. We purchased these birds when they were 4 months old and they are now 12 years old. They both were hand-fed from about 10 days old and were quite use to human interaction when they came to live with us.
Although we have never had them DNA sexed, it’s very clear to us who is the male and who is the female based on aggressiveness, behavior, size, shape, personality and attitude!
African Greys as adults have an intelligence level of about a 9 year old human child. Needless to say, living with a 9 year old for close to 80 years isn’t for the faint of heart.
If you are considering the purchase of an African Grey Parrot, give much thought to your personal lifestyle since greys do require a lot of attention. If you are working and not at home much, a grey will not be for you.
YOU become their social outlet as they are very social in the wild, and care must be taken to spend at least an hour a day in direct contact with them (playing, etc) and at least 4-5 hours a day of nearby contact (in the same room or area of your house).
Greys left to their device, alone in a cage all day long, will become aggressive, quite loud and more then likely a feather plucker (out of frustration or poor nutrition).
African Greys by nature give off a fine white powder called dander and there is a chance you could be allergic to this. They must be misted with either pure water or a dander-down solution each day to assist with feather hydration and the removal of this dander. In addition to misting, we also use a couple quality air purifiers in our living room where the birds stay.
When in a bad mood or threatened, a grey can and WILL bite. They do have a vicious bite and care must be taken to avoid any serious wounds (to the human). Once they learn that their beaks aren’t just for cracking foods, it’s best to always approach a grey with respect until you have developed a relationship with the bird.
Think of an African Grey as an intelligent can opener with an attitude!