African Grey parrots can make interesting and entertaining pets. However, African Greys are highly intelligent birds, and being caged can lead to boredom and stress, causing health problems and predisposing the birds to conditions such as feather plucking. Here are some top tips on how to keep your African Grey parrot happy and healthy.
Regular vet checks
It's very important that you take your African Grey parrot to your vet for regular check-ups. Although these birds are pretty hardy, they can be susceptible to health issues such as feather mites, and regular consultations with your vet can help to spot and deal with potential problems before they become established.
Always buy the largest cage that your budget can stretch to. Provide your bird with lots of different perches made from various types of fruit branches, remembering to check that they are pesticide-free and clean. Parrots need plenty of branches to chew and scratch on in order to keep their beak and claws in good condition and prevent overgrowth.
When choosing a suitable spot for your parrot's cage, place it somewhere near a window so that your pet has a good view of the activity going on outside. However, be sure to provide plenty of shade on sunny days so that your bird doesn't overheat.
Whenever possible, let your parrot out of his cage and allow him freedom to fly. If you have the space in your garden, construct a small aviary so that he can enjoy some flight time on pleasant, sunny days. This exercise is important to keep his muscles strong, boost his circulation, and provide him with as natural a lifestyle as possible.
Sunshine is very important for your African Grey. These birds love to sunbathe and they also need the vitamin D and calcium that sunshine provides. If you can't build an aviary, put your bird's cage outside on sunny days, remembering to provide an area of shade too so that the parrot doesn't overheat.
If you live in a climate where sunshine is scarce during the winter months, you could buy a UV light to give your parrot a sunbed session a few times each week.
Plenty of shuteye
African Greys need around 12 hours' uninterrupted sleep every night to keep stress at bay. Put your parrot's cage somewhere quiet during the evening and remember to cover it to encourage sleep behaviour.
Feeding and foraging
Always feed your African Grey a good-quality parrot mix, as recommended by your vet. You should also offer plenty of fresh fruit and seeds. To encourage the foraging behaviour that is so important for keeping your pet interested and entertained, invest in a foraging ball from your vet or pet shop. You can fill the ball with your parrot's favourite treats, providing a nutritious form of entertainment that your bird will love.
Comfort and hygiene
Parrots like to keep clean, so provide your pet with a sand bath and water bath that he can use as and when he wants to. This will help to keep your parrot's skin and feathers in good condition, as well as keeping him busy and averting boredom.
You can keep your African Grey parrot happy and healthy by following the tips given above. For more advice on the care of your pet, have a chat with your vet.