If you are considering the purchase of a baby African Grey parrot here are some tips to help you. As mentioned earlier, adding an African Grey to your family takes a huge commitment. Please do not buy a bird if you aren’t willing to spend the time, money and effort in caring for one. There are far to many greys (and other parrots) at rescue
centers because people decided that they were too much to handle or didn’t have the time to properly care for these birds.
First look for a reputable avian breeder or pet store in your area that specializes in baby greys. We purchased ours from a lady who owned an exotic pet store in Texas and had been raising baby african greys for many years. She was a wealth of information for us as we decided on our purchase.
There are avian breeders online who will ship and that is a consideration, however I recommend you see your new bird in person before you take the leap to buy because there are several things you will want to look for.
We spent 4 days over as many trips back to the pet store visiting with our potential new babies. The owner had a batch of 8 babies (from 2 different clutches) and they all were hand fed, weaned and being socialized.
Generally speaking a baby grey will adopt YOU and not the other way around. We spent several hours just hanging around their play pen observing their behavior, looking for any obvious health issues such as sluggishness, dull eyes, diarrhea, runny noses, broken feathers, body deformities and things of this nature.
We handled each bird and got a ‘feel’ for how they acted with each of us. Carlie was actually the second baby I picked up as I had my eye on another baby (which didn’t seem to want to have much to do with me) and we immediately connected. She settled in on my hand and then eventually walked around with me on my shoulder. I could tell the bond was strong, so obviously she was my pick. She has been a wonderful, loving bird and is very connected with me.
A similar thing happened with Dylon; he stuck to my wife like glue. The owner did caution that Dylon
was fairly independent, needing extra attention and that he would still be a good bird if he and my wife could learn early on how to live with each other. The store owner said that he would more then likely grow up to be a very dominate male, which he has. Dylon requires much attention, is very curious about everything and wants to be in the thick of things so when he is out we have to really keep an eye on him. Carlie, on the other hand, is content to just hang out with us taking it all in.
Hand feeding a young parrot requires a lot of time and effort so your best bet is to purchase a baby that has been hand fed AND weaned to solid food. They will likely be on some mix of fruits, veggies, nuts and a good nutritional parrot food.
So, spend as much time as you can with your prospective new baby before you bring him home. Interact with him and see how he interacts with you. You will be able to tell fairly soon if there is a connection between you. Make sure the baby is weaned and on solid food. Find out what his diet has been and continue with this as advised by the store owner or breeder. Look for any obvious health problems or issues. Further you can find out if the baby has been DNA sexed (to determine sex) and has seen an avian vet for any treatments or injections.
Finally, never purchase a baby that isn’t ‘banded’. Banding means the baby will have a small metal band on one of it’s legs placed there at birth by the breeder which is inscribed with the breeder number, the babies’ clutch number and date of birth.
Leg bands are regulated by various governmental laws and are required by the USDA for imported birds being released from a quarantine facility. They also tell you, the purchaser, that the bird is in the country legally and has not been smuggled.