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slewisr1

Adopted parrot bonding

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So just a quick run down i adopted a Male Congo African grey from an adoption agency. He is 20 years old and he spent a short time at the adoption agency. His original owner passed away and i believe was an older women.  

I am a 34 year old male I have a good amount of experience with other birds but i am trying to get some advice from someone that has more expertise with African greys. 

I have had him for 2 weeks. He came with his own cage which is very spacious and has his original toys and perches. I have a large variety of zupreme food and fresh fruits and veggies i give him daily.

So he is absolutely terrified of me. He shakes in fear when i put food in his bowls. Occasionally he will take a treat from me through the bars but if I move too close he falls to the bottom of the cage and does a human scream like ahh ahhh ahh ahh. I leave the door open on his cage so he can go to the top and have free range but he always stays in his cage and never comes out even when i'm not home.

I have tried to very slowly and gently place my hand under him to pick him up from the bottom of the cage a couple times but he screams and has bitten me hard enough to draw blood on 2 occasions.  I have him in a medium travel location near my kitchen so when i prepare food and watch tv he is near me.    

What I want to know is, should I just go very very slow and just feed him and give him his space or should i press the issue and hold him. I am not really afraid of the bites i just want to know the best way to help him get over his fear.   

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For now just let him adjust to you and the goings on around your house.    They can take months before they make any kind of headway towards you.  Keep offering treats as this really can get to a bird.   There is a technique used to tame wild/feral pigeons called finger feeding.   Birds for whatever reason can dissociate a humans hands from the human they're attached to and remain afraid of the hand but not the face hence along came the finger feeding technique to solve this.    I used it on my lil wild conure and it worked just like it works on pigeons, but I'm not so sure about if it will help speed things up with an adult african grey (they're a little smarter than the rest of the herd 😂 )

Time and patience are ultimately whats going to win him over.  You have no idea what kind of baggage he's carrying either.  It sounds to me like he was rough handled, with a broom or something.   Lots of birds come from these situations.

Edited by SRSeedBurners
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So much to think about.  I also have a rehomed Grey (22 years now) who had some previous homes -- one of which was bad.

Firstly, a new home takes a long time to adjust to -- many Greys are particularly sensitive and nervous about any changes in their life.   

Secondly, the parrot is still grieving for his/her previous owner.  Greys are like humans this way -- they don't just get over a loss in a couple months -- it takes a long time to heal. 

Thirdly, you don't know parrot's history -- your grey may have a fear of men in general, or you may just resemble someone who wasn't kind or liked by the Grey in his previous home.  We can't know if this is just a normal grey's reaction to all the changes going on in his life right now or if his fear is directed towards you personally.  Time will tell.

A good trick for getting a parrot used to you is indirect time spent around parrot.  Letting the Grey watch you do things while NOT bothering him, letting him just observe you going about your life ... he might realize you don't present any danger to him -- but it going to take much more than 2 weeks, I'm afraid. 

Like SRSeedBurners said:  patience.   

Best of luck -- would love to see a post later sharing a bond has developed between you and that you're both happy and adjusted to this new relationship!!!  :)

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Great thank you both for the info. I will take it very slow and give him space. I will just hand feed him treats and let him adjust at his own rate. 

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I would add one more thing:  Even if his previous home was not a good home, and even if your home would be better; the grey logic is going to be "better the devil you know than the one you don't."  A mistreated grey could still grieve for what was familiar.  Change is stressful to them -- even good change, in some cases.  Sad but true.

Also, with rehomed parrots (even ones from bad homes)... Remember that most people, when first adopting a parrot are very kind and understanding, lavishing toys, praise, excellent diets, etc., upon the new novelty parrot.  And then after the novelty wears off, neglect may follow.  Homes may turn into an all seed diet, water dishes not refilled regularly (dirty water), scaring or yelling at parrot for being too loud, etc..  The parrot would then learn that in a new home, even if the new care is good and the people are kind... it's not guaranteed that won't change to neglect again.  Sad fact, and may NOT be the case with yours.  But greys are sensitive, and esp with a rehomed grey -- they remember the past.  So, trust may take longer to build.  To prove you're ALWAYS going to be kind, offer fresh foods and clean water, and not hurt or scare him.

This is a major reason why so many parrots are re-homed: an owner's lack of patience and parrot knowledge -- good care can eventually turn into neglect.  And parrots remember and need to recover. :(  NOT saying this is the case with yours -- but greys are sensitive and nervous even about good changes.

Best of luck!

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Two weeks is not long for a grey. It took 3 months for my rehomed TAG to decide it might be OK to interact with me (a little). Hang in there though, it's worth it. It has been 7 years now and he is bonded to me and we have a good relationship.

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I'm going to add something here. This is controversial with some because they feel that too much whistling leads to no talking. However, my first interactions with Timber when I brought him home were whistles. I quickly learned when he responded to nothing else, that he would whistle back when I whistle. I think it helped us build rapport. Timber talks, whistles, and makes a variety of sounds, but he will always whistle. Sometimes I would have to whistle 3 or 4 times, but he would finally respond. Just a thought!

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I like the whistling idea, (or just talking to the bird) -- both are such indirect contact, not forcing bird to be touched, held or anything (until he's ready and wanting this sort of contact). 

And I like that the primary direct interactions suggested involve the grey receiving foods & treats (very positive contact). 

This feels safe and non-threatening to a new parrot, as he settles in and learns he's in a loving safe environment.  At least parrot settles in, and you can figure out if this is going to be a needy cuddly parrot, a more solitary stand-off-ish parrot, or a "you're gonna get bit every time" parrot.  :) 

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Congratulations on adopting your grey!

I agree with the above posts. Just take a step back and let your grey adjust to his new surroundings. He has been taken away from everything he knows and is familiar with and greys can be particularly change adverse little critters. He might be staying in his cage because it is the only familiar thing he knows right now.

Just keep talking softly to him, let him know what you're doing it. Read him some stories or the news or whatever else you have laying around. Get him used to hearing your voice. Do this from a distance. Get him used to you moving around the room and going near his cage. But give him space. Don't try and force the issue with him. Just feed and water him and let him know you're around if he wants you. Over time he will slowly adjust to you, your home and his new routine. Depending on the bird this could take days, weeks or months. You have to be prepared to be patient and understanding as he adjusts to and learns about his new home. He might start to show an interest in you or what you're doing. Great. Let him. Encourage his curiosity but don't force him too soon. Let him figure out when he wants to be move involved and come towards you.

I agree that whistling is a great way to communicate with a grey. My grey Alfie loves to whistle back and forth with me. Again, this might take a while and you might not get a peep out of him for a while- but just keep encouraging him. He'll come round eventually.

Edited by neoow
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I can't add much as you have already been given the best advice, take your time, be very patient as he settles into his new to him home and eventually you will find his true personality.

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