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African Grey Parrots » Care and Feeding » Care And Feeding Your Grey

Care And Feeding Your Grey

Care And Feeding Your Grey


I have had many parrots over the years and I would say that greys require no more or no less care then any other exotic bird of their size.

Frequent cage cleaning is a must and it is best to use either a wood chip or corn cob base mix that will absorb the droppings and any excess liquidsCare And Feeding Your Grey from foods, etc. I prefer not to use newspaper but in a pinch I have used plain white paper towels as a base in the bottom catch tray.

African Greys in the wild feed on fruits, nuts, leafy materials and an occasional meaty meal.

We feed our greys lots of fruits and veggies, no-salt nut mixtures, cooked chicken and of course their staple diet of a high quality African Grey kibble mixture that we purchase online.

African Greys need a bit more protein and calcium then other exotics and we occasionally give them a Tums to add even a further bit of calcium to their diets. We purchase the fruity flavor Tums and they love them.

They are also very fond of cooked chicken leg bones (they crack the bone and eat the bone marrow), cooked beans, scrambled eggs, oatmeal and low salt crackers.

Generally a grey will eat just about anything you eat, but keep in mind anything that is unhealthy for you will be unhealthy for them. So limit foods high in salt, fats, and preservatives.

CAUTION: Never feed your grey chocolate or avocados. These foods contain a toxic substance that can be fatal to your bird.

Birdie Bread Recipe

Months ago Carla stumbled across a “birdie bread” recipe on the net.  We tried it and our birds LOVED it.  We have modified it a bit to suit our birds and we would like to share the recipe with you.  We feed one ‘cube’ a day per bird, usually right after they get up in the morning.


2 Packages of Martha White Corn Bread Mix (no sugar)
3 Tablespoons of baking powder
2 eggs with shells (blend together)
5 jars of baby food.  (We use lots of ‘red’ veggies such as sweet potatos, carrots plus a meat mix and fruit mix)
1/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup peanut butter (low salt)
2 cups baby cereal (find one with the lowest percentage of iron)
1 cup chopped fresh veggies or fruit or both

Mix the dry ingredients seperately then blend with the wet ingredients. The batter will be very firm and thick.  Place the batter in a 9 x 13 cooking pan (spray will cooking spray to avoid sticking) and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until the bread is done to a cake like texture.  Cut into 1 inch ‘cube’s and feed once a day.  We seperate out a weeks worth at a time and store in the fridge and freeze the rest.

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19 Responses to "Care And Feeding Your Grey"

  1. olafur says:

    I recently got 2 african grey´s. They are untamed. I have tried to make them feel as good as possible. I feed them with Harrison pellets and lots of veggies. They are very shy and always go hide in their L shaped box when I enter the room. Is there anything I can do to make them feel more confortable and not so shy with me? I love your site and I am reading and trying to learn form you great expiriance. I love the birds male and female but I dont know as much as I want about them. My best wishes and thanks from Iceland.

  2. Bob says:

    Hi Olafur and thank you for your kind words.

    You mention your birds are living in a ‘box’. Are they breeders and living in a breeder box?? Any idea how old this pair is? The reason I asked is if they were used for breeding they may not take to humans for quite a while. On the other hand, if they are still young (dark eyes indicate less then 2 yrs old, cream color or yellow eyes, over 2 yrs of age) it should be relatively easy to get them to adapt to you and your surroundings. They really should be a proper sized parrot cage with some toys, etc so they can develop a routine and see you during the day. Give them some time to adjust to their new surroundings and they should do well.

  3. nicole says:

    Good day.

    from what age can i feed my parrot seeds, as atthr moment i still hand feed him with stuff i got fom the vet

  4. Mona Wolters says:

    I like the home cooked breads and meal for mine, but will not use baby food. I think it’s more costly. African Greys are able to eat things crunchier and most home made bread has no baby food in it…that’s ridiculous. Could you include on this site other recipes with things most would have in the house?

  5. Bob says:

    The idea behind the baby food is it adds much more vitamins and other nutrition to the recipe and at 50-60 cents a jar it’s not that expensive.

    That’s just one recipe we found. You are welcome to post others.

  6. Ryan says:

    Mona: If you can afford an African Grey or any other exotic parrot for that matter jars of baby food should not be that expensive….. I think thats a rude & non nessasary comment……
    I resuced an African Grey my self from an abusive situation & He is finally starting to step up & allow me to hold him! African Greys take a lot of patience but mine loves my attention & is finally warming up to me!
    I was just double checking up on things I should not feed my Grey & I am going to try the bread mixture my self… very excited & I am sure my Grey (Apollo) will be very excited too!
    Thanks for your web site! I learned some new stuff!

  7. Bob says:

    Hi Ryan, we’re happy that you found our site useful! And, thank you for your comments. Baby food in the Birdie Bread recipe really does ‘beef’ it up and it’s nice to have lots of choices of baby food to use…a very inexpensive addition of extra nutrition.
    Anyway, congratulations on rescuing a grey and I wish you and Apollo all the best in your new friendship 🙂


  8. lorena says:

    i have three conga grays im trying to see if they can have grapefruit if seds are take out with peeling or not nd oranges

  9. Bob says:

    Peeled grapefruit without the seeds should be ok when fed in moderation. Our greys prefer oranges, peeled and of course no seeds.

  10. Lisa says:

    Hi Bob,
    You have a great site here, love all the info.
    I was just wondering if you could give me some tips on my grey plucking his feathers, he started with his chest and is now working on his back between his feathers. He has a parrot stand with toys hanging from it, a nice size cage with toys and shredders in it. He is in a sun room surrounded by windows on 3 sides, no direct sunlight but a bright cheery room. I aquired him from a lady who smoked, he wasn’t fed right or cleaned regularly. He doesn’t eat fresh fruits or veggies, I’ve offered him many times but he just throws it down. He’s a sweet bird who loves to talk and play. I don’t know why he’s plucking so much. The vet said to get aloe vera juice and mix 1 tsp. in a pint of water and spray him with it. Do you suggest this? Any other tips you could give would be wonderful.
    Thanks so much.


  11. Bob says:

    Hi Lisa, and thanks for the kind words!

    As you probably know many factors can cause feather plucking; environment, behavior issues, temperament, feather lice, diet and the list goes on. Greys are notorious pluckers unfortunately so it can be difficult to nail down the exact cause. Sounds as if your grey has a great environment, toys, space, parrot stand, etc so that probably can be ruled out. Based on what you have said, I would suspect his diet may be a problem if he is rejecting fruits and veggies. A high quality parrot kibble made for greys can help with that a bit. You might consider occasionally feeding some raw almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts and some cooked salmon, all of which provides important oils that can improve feather production. Also make sure the humidity in the area where he stays is above about 40% especially in the winter. A dry environment can prompt itching and feather plucking. We run a humidifier in the winter to help with that. Daily misting with distilled water (soak his feathers) can also help.

    Finally, yes I do recommend the aloe/water suggestion, but only use distilled water as the chlorine in tap water can dry them out too.

    Since he is rejecting fresh fruits and veggies, you might try some dried fruit. Our guys love dried banana chips, apples, cranberries, grapes etc…try to find a brand without added sugar if you can. You might also try the ‘Birdie Bread’ recipe found in the above article…that way you can slip in some veggies (from the baby food) without him knowing 😉

    Hope that helps a bit.
    All best,

  12. susan says:

    hello i will be picking up my African Gray Parrot in 4 days. it will require 4xs a day siringe feedings. this will be all new to me and any advise would be great. i do not work so i will be able to give lots of time and love to my bird.however im worried about makeing the right choice. i have a few house plants and have read plants can harm birds,but i can’t seem to find any info on which plants.
    would really love some feed back thank you

  13. Bob says:

    Hi Susan,
    Our take on house plants is…all are off limits. If you want a specific list, you can do a google search for ‘house plants toxic to parrots’…there are many plants out there that can be dangerous to pet birds. We do have house plants but our guys stay away from them as we never leave our birds unattended when they are out. Bob

  14. Allison from South Africa says:

    Hi, I love your website and vist here frequently. I took over a female African Grey in June 2011. Her owners committed sucide and she plucked all her feather and had not had feathers for 15 years. She picked me if I can say that and I was the only one who could touch her. Her diet at the time I got her was pellets only and she looked terrible. I took her to my vet to make sure that she was not suffering from anything other than incorrect diet and stress hence the feather plucking. I changed her diet completely giving her almost everything you have suggested and more. Her feathers are growing back and she even has about 10 or more red tail feathers which she has never had!!! the other feathers are slower they grow and she pulls some whole or breaks them and not others. However she has far more than when I got her some downy some normal feathers and she has wing feathers too. She talks and whisltes and mimics bird calls and now barks like my dogs.
    I think though from bad diet she lacks calcium. We do not get Tums here but tums are Calicium Carbonate. Could I buy her the equivelant here and give them to her and how many? She also has like a dust/flakes of white is this normal? lastley her quills where the feathers come out seem to be very brittle she preans and breaks them as the feathers come out.
    Malibu is a true joy to us and I am so very happy that I have been given this opportunity to give her a happy and fullfilled life.

    Thanks kindly for helping me.

  15. Bob says:

    Hi Allison. We’re happy you find our site useful and congratulations on a great job with Malibu! It sounds as if she is very happy now.

    I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending a product to replace Tums for calcium, BUT you could always increase her calcium intake with certain calcium rich foods that you may have available in your area. Calcium rich foods could include broccoli, kale, turnip greens, cooked spinach, cooked navy beans, pintos, garbanzos, limas, lentils, peas, corn, cooked salmon fish, raw walnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds to give you some ideas. You might also try some small pieces of cheese. Our guys love cheddar cheese which has calcium in it.

    The white dust you mention is called dander…bird dander. African greys are noted for having high levels of this dander. Try misting her daily with filtered water using a spray bottle. Add a few tablespoons of pure aloe vera juice to the water if you have some. Soak her down well and that will help control a dander problem.

    The quills you mention are actually a sheath that protects the new feather as it begins to appear and grow. This is normal. She will nibble at the sheath as the feathers grow and eventually the sheath will break and the new feather will pop out. All quite normal. My guess is, they probably itch a bit as the feathers develop and the water/aloe combo will help with that too.

    Thanks for your comments and many happy years to you and Malibu.

  16. Allison from South Africa says:

    Hi Bob,
    Thanks so much for all the info…I will keep you posted on her progress. I do spray her although not daily but will purchase the Aloe Vera and start with that today. She has certainly brought us all great joy..and my only wish for her is to look beautiful with a lovely covering of grey feathers not just down and feathers together.

    Cheers from a very hot sunny Johannesburg.


  17. Marlene says:

    I have an African Grey I have had for 15 years but I noticed his beak is uneven I feed him all the tings you suggest on here but he will not crack hard nuts, is the only solution the vet to file the beak?

  18. Bob says:

    Hi Marlene,
    I would say visit your vet depending on how uneven his beak is. If it hinders him from eating the foods he normally eats, it may be time for a beak trim. Some nuts are very difficult for greys to crack. Our male (who is quite large) can’t get through a walnut shell, but he can make quick time of an almond in a shell, whereas our female can’t even crack the almond shell. We crack the shell for her and then let her open it up. If your bird acts as if his beak is sensitive then yes, definitely take him to your vet to have him checked.

  19. Travis says:

    I have a 20 year old african grey who love me, and only me. How do I stop aggressive behavior with other family members? I also have a problem with food she has been on zupreem for ever, and all she does is kick it out of the cage. I don’t know if she is eating anything other than the fruits and veggies I give her. I also give her pasta once a week. what should I do?