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Reasons for not buying that Grey


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Recently (3 weeks ago) I came across a listing on Craigslist for an 8 yr old CAG who's owners were forced to find it a new home due to lifestyle changes. The owners work long hours, the bird doesn't get out of the cage much, it's harassed by their dogs and as a result, it's started plucking and biting.


On the plus side, they said prior to some of the changes in the house, the bird was loving and very gentle..


As an owner of two budgies, I have *some* experience with birds, but nothing on par with a CAG. My wife and I felt bad for the bird's situation and decided to move forward with giving him a new home.


Fast-forward a week of some hard decisions and weighing various pros and cons.


Here were the two biggest cons, and as it turned out, the deciding factors for ultimately not getting this particular bird:


1. We have two small children, ages 3 and 5.. a bite from a scared budgie is a surprised child and maybe a little crying.. a bite from a scared CAG is an ER visit and stitches.


2. Granted, currently, my wife is a stay-at-home mom.. In approximately 2 years, the youngest will be going to school full time, at which pt my wife will look for a full-time position, which would result in the bird being alone in the house from 8:45a until about 3:15p.


As difficult as the decision was, it was in our, and the bird's best interest.


As a follow up, we could mitigate #1 con by buying a baby CAG/Timneh and work with a clean slate (little emotional baggage)


Which leaves us with #2. Is 6.5 hours too much for the bird to be alone? My brother lives right around the corner, and he often stops by while we're out of the house.. (he works 2nd/3rd shifts) so much of that alone time would be at least broken up with regular visits; however, there will be days the bird would be alone with only 2 budgies to keep it company. Is this asking too much of the bird?





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HI Drew,


It's great to see you have given this so much thought and developed a list of pros and cons.


Most Greys will stay away from small children on their own. They do not like the speedy herky-jerky motions a child uses. The most dangerous place a severe bite may occur would be a young putting fingers into the cage. That is where training the young children that the bird is off-limits is crucial. They must learn how to interact properly with another type of pet, than a cat or dog.


The 6.5 hours in the cage is no problem. Many greys spend 9 or 10 hours a day in the cage while the owners are working. They key to a happy grey, is plenty of toys they like and foraging items to keep them busy and challenged all day long while your gone.


But, the grey you describe is older, has some plucking issues that need to be dealt with and perhaps you will not have the time and money to properly treat this grey in need which can become very expensive Avian Vet visit wise to just ensure a medical condition is not causing the plucking. Also, a grey that has been abused could be a challenge unless you have a lot of patience and time to spend in gaining their trust.

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Josey is alone for more than 8 hours during the week, granted she has the company of my sun conure and cockatiel but I leave the radio on while I am gone to have some background noise, they are fine, they have toys to occupy their mind and they are glad when I return and let them out.

I too think since you have young children you would be better off going with a just weaned baby grey, you will still have to keep them at a distance until they learn how to behave around parrots but they could grow up with the bird so to speak.

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Just as a data point:


We got two greys, two GCCs and three sun conures because we'd anticipated being at work for 8 hours a day. they all have large cages (the suns can fly easily in their cage: 7' tall by 5' diameter), and they all have company in their bonded buddy.


Nonetheless, we provide at least 5 hours out of cage time for everyone a day, often more. I know that not everyone can do that but the point is that if a grey doesn't have a buddy, he needs a buddy (you), and that equates to out of cage time.


Our daily routine on a tough day is: 1 hour out in the morning during breakfast/cage maintenance/mommy & daddy getting ready for work. 1 hour at lunch. 3-4 hours in the evening. Of those last 3-4, I make an effort to play/snuggle (1-1 contact) with all the fids for at least an hour.


Yeah, being a parront is demanding :)

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At our house 3 Greys and 2 Too's I work half days the birds are caged in the mornings with a little head scratch and some private words for each before I have to go. Whan I get home they are given out of cage time which depends on how nicely they play with others. Pookie CAG and Whisper CongoCag can only play when watched they get into trouble (jealosy) Gunner TAG and Fred E2 can play nicely together so they get the most time free of cage. Harry U2 can only be out of cage when closely supervised and everyone else is inside their cages. With toys, music or TV foraging items they can do very well entertaining themselves. Like they used to say about children quality time is what counts. You can share conversations and little snacks with out letting them out if the timing is not good to do so. Greys enjoy watching us as much as we enjoy their company makes you wonder what they think of us.

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I stay at home all day while I work online... Sully gets an hour or two out in the morning, then goes back into his cage for a few hours, comes out a couple hours, and goes back in a few hours, ending the day by getting an hour or so with us while we're reading or whatever... 6.5 hours isn't a long day for a grey to be in his or her cage, but something to think about...


As your children get older, there will be parties, games, PTA meetings, homework, violin lessons and other things to take away time from your Grey. Many greys can handle that, but because greys can live SO long, you really have to think about the distant future, just as much as right now :) As long as those 6.5 hour days don't turn into 16.5 hour days, I don't see a busy family life being a problem... just remember to include the grey :)

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When I first got Tui, I was at work and I'd get her out for a while before I went to work. And then when I got home, I'd have her out for a few hours until her bed time. Basically, Tui is out her cage whenever I'm in the room. I'm out of work at the moment, so she has plenty of play time out her cage.


As for children, I can't really comment much. There are no children who live in my household, although I do have nieces (aged 5, 9 and 10). My one niece is now scared of Tui because she flew and landed on her head. Haha! Bless her. My youngest niece likes to touch Tui, but Tui does tend to snap at people she doesn't know very well. So I have to be very careful around them when they're together; I even told my sister when my niece asked if Tui bites, that I can't guarantee she won't bite. I wasn't going to lie. But I'm sure if you have children and the bird gets used to them, they should all be alright.

Edited by Cheshire Cat
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I have a 7 year old daughter that visits my place often. I also tell her not to approach him without me there. Issac usually does his normal bit of following me around, making observations from my shoulder. With everything that has been said, I would say that if there is someone who even has a slight uncertainty that a Grey is the right pet for them...they should not get one. You have to be able to say a resounding "YES I CAN HANDLE THAT!" to all of the things in Dave's "10 reasons not to buy a parrot" list...and then expect to have those points challenged regularly.


I always take forward to the prospect Grey owner the work that is involved in owning one. Don't get me wrong, the beauty and connection you gain from sharing your life with a creature like this is pretty magical. It is just all too often that people get one and then discover how much a part of your life they want to be, and how much attention they need, or how hard it is to keep the house clean...the lists go on. It even still dawns upon me how many people out there would not be able to withstand what I go through to give my baby a good life. It is just a pet with really uncommon needs.

Edited by Elvenking
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