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If you're interested in a pet bird who has a combination of smarts and lively temperament, then an African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) might just be right up your avian alley. African grey parrots are highly adept at copying the sounds they hear, whether human voices or random household noises. They're a blast, and caring for them can be too, as long as you're always prepared.
It's no mystery that parrots like big cages, and African grey parrots are certainly no exception. These guys usually thrive in cages that are around 3 feet long, 2 feet wide and 4 feet tall. As far as the spacing between the bars go, anywhere between 0.75 inch to 1 inch usually works well. The point of a cage should be to serve as a serene sanctuary for a parrot, so it's important to make sure that it's always equipped with all of the basics to keep him happy -- perches, food, toys and branches, to start. Pine and fir branches are both suitable options for African greys. Since it's vital to stimulate these parrots' minds regularly, opt for interactive toys that will do exactly that, such as those that hide their food.
Providing an African grey parrot a healthy and well-balanced diet can contribute to his well-being greatly, as malnourishment is an issue that affects many of these birds. Commercial pellets that cater specifically to African greys work as strong centerpieces to their feeding plans. Ample fresh vegetables and fruit can also complement their diets, including carrots, broccoli, bananas, pomegranates, grapes, green beans, papayas, celery, oranges and apples. Vegetables are an especially important element to their health. Always thoroughly chop up veggies and fruits before you feed your grey, and never allow old produce to linger in his enclosure. Never let your pet consume any spoiled food items.
Plenty of Physical Activity
Frequent exercise is essential for African greys, both inside and outside of the cage. Keeping numerous perches inside of your bird's enclosure is important, as they can help him work out his limbs. Give your African grey a handful of exciting perch options that vary in the texture and size departments. Make sure your African grey also gets several daily hours of physical activity outside of the cage with your supervision. Being able to move freely is beneficial for African greys' health, as it gives them the opportunity to work out their muscles and wings.
African grey parrots in healthy environments often can achieve longevity. Some of these birds can live for as long as 50 to 60 years. Regular visits with an avian veterinarian are an integral component to maintaining these birds' health -- a minimum of once annually. African grey parrots are vulnerable to several ailments, and the sooner you pinpoint them, the easier vet management usually is. Health problems that frequently affect them include excessive picking of feathers and both kidney and liver troubles.
One thing that African grey parrots adore is attention from their human caretakers -- and lots of it. They need a minimum of an hour each day for connecting with the humans in their lives. Chat to your African grey parrot. Teach him how to do some basic tricks. Tell him how your day went. Let him use your hand as a perching spot. Plentiful interplay is the way to go if you want a content, healthy and well-behaved African bird in your home.
- BirdChannel.com: African Grey Parrots
- BirdChannel.com: Top 10 Pet African Grey Parrot Questions Answered
- BirdChannel.com: Bird Food for African Grey Parrots
- BirdChannel.com: Setting Up Your African Grey Parrot's Bird Cage
- World Parrot Trust: Grey Parrot - Care in Captivity
- The African Grey Parrot Handbook; Mattie Sue Athan and Dianalee Deter
- The Second-hand Parrot; Mattie Sue Athan and Dianalee Deter
- VCA Animal Hospitals: African Grey Parrots - General
- Becker Animal Hospital: Feeding an African Grey Parrot
- Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images