February’s Bird of the Month – The Congo African Grey

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Congo African Greys (CAG) are medium size birds that are predominantly gray, have a black bill and the tail and under tail coverts are red.  They can live up to 50 years so they are a lifetime commitment.

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Many call African Greys the “Einsteins” of the bird world.  They have excellent talking and mimicking abilities and some believe they have a true understanding of the words they speak.  African Greys are considered the best talkers of the bird world.  They are highly intelligent birds and should be supplied with toys that will keep them occupied and test their intelligence.  Foraging toys are great for the African Grey and will keep them entertained for hours.  The African Grey is not a “cuddly” bird but does enjoy the company of its companion.  Also, you will read that the CAG is a one person pet.  While they will prefer one person, they have the ability to be social with many people as long as you make a concerted and prolonged effort to socialize and play with your African parrot.  The African Grey tends to be a bit more sensitive to its environment than other parrots and is better suited for a home with little or no stress (i.e. quiet household, not a lot of activity).  Like many parrots, the African Grey will react to its companion’s moods.  Because they have a sensitive nature, the African Grey is prone to feather mutilation.  Providing toys that both stimulate and challenge your African Grey can help to redirect some of their nervousness.

Feeding the African Grey Parrot

As with most parrots, it’s important to start with a good quality seed or pellet mix.  An organic or all natural food is preferred.  We have found most CAG parrots really like Zupreem Natural Medium to Large Pellets combined with our Goldenfeast Madagascar Blend.   Some African Greys are prone to low blood calcium, so it’s important to offer dark leafy greens such as broccoli, broccoli rabe, collard greens, turnip or mustard greens. Golden Cockatoo also carries a calcium supplement which can be added to your parrot’s moist food.  Avoid spinach, chard or beet greens because they can block the absorption of calcium.  Other sources of calcium could include kale, parsley, cabbage, garbanzo beans (chick peas), pinto beans and kidney beans or even cooked, powdered egg shell.  It’s important to remember that you should never feed your African Grey uncooked beans.  Uncooked beans are toxic and can quickly kill your bird.  (Chick peas in the can have already been cooked and are safe to feed – it is recommended that you rinse the beans prior to feeding them to your CAG).

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A good well rounded diet should also include fresh or dried fruit.  Many find dried fruit the best alternative.  Dried fruit will stay fresh for a longer period of time.   Our own Golden Cockatoo dried fruit blends or fruit are a great way to add fruit to your parrot’s diet.   There are many good dried fruit and nuts mixes available for parrots today.

African Grey Parrots make great pets if you are willing to go the extra mile to keep them entertained and challenged.  For example, the CAG loves figuring out puzzles, which is why foraging toys are a great choice for them, in fact, multiple foraging toys is a great addition to any bird cage or play gym.  Golden Cockatoo offers some excellent foraging toys.  African Greys are more independent than other birds and can make a great addition to your home and family.

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Golden Cockatoo is located in Deerfield Beach, FL and conveniently located between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Delray, Boynton and West Palm Beach, Florida. We look forward to seeing you!

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