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New Gray, Georgie (20 yo, skiddish, plucking, SWEET)

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Hello, everybody!


I am a first time owner (not really owner, didn't pay for him, really kind of rescued him from a previous caregiver charged with finding someone ELSE for the original owner) of an Congo African Gray parrot. I am going to need some help from seasoned Gray owners in the community as I welcome Georgie into my home and begin to interact with him.




(I think if the image here doesn't appear all you have to do is right-click OPEN IN NEW TAB/WINDOW)


Last night was our second night together, our first night he slept at the edge of my bed, in the morning I had delivered a large cage suitable for my new bud. Georgie is going to require a lot of good attention, fun and stimulation because he has developed some bad habits. I myself have been a happy, successful owner of a black pooch, having raised him from a pup and interacted with many other animals amicably. I've rescued many, rehabilitated a few, and fostered some as well.


A bit more about Georgie. The woman I adopted him from couldn't be sure that his name is actually even Georgie. He is roughly twenty something, it's believed he's in his early twenties. He has led an extremely transient life up until now. I expect him to be in my care for a very long time. Due to his transient life he has developed a bad habit of plucking. Around his legs he is bare, his chest has bare patches, and where the shoulders would be on a person, on his wings is where he has plucked the most. By my observation and the observation of my roommate, Georgie is a smart, sweet bird, and not at all aggressive. He IS, though, very skiddish. Quick movements make him panic, he begins breathing heavily, and will on occasion reel off and fly into something. I don't think he likes when the lights are out. Around my room I have string christmas lights strung, and after having killed the lights and those string lights he flew from the top of his cage (which he has still yet to venture INTO, choosing to remain on top where I have provided him with food and water and toys and paper, all of which he has indulged in) crashed into my record player and finally flew to my bed and landed next to me. He crawled up my leg and from the light of my laptop seemed comforted. I turned on the string lights again and the little guy spent the night sleeping cozily (or as cozy as I have seem him sleep) by my head at the end of my bed. This morning almost right after the sun came up he left my bed and headed to the top of his cage where he has been for about the last hour or so eating a couple peanuts, drinking water, preening himself (I wonder if he's plucking at all) and chirping, beeping, and hollering very loudly, louder and more vocal than i have seen him since I met him the night before last.


A few other things I can think are is that the woman I adopted him from informed me that he hates females. I am starting to think that was her own opinion based on her own experience because when my female roommate has interacted with him he seems to come to life and seems very intrigued by her. He'll become more vocal. Also, I have been playing music for him a ton since I've brought him home. Mostly jazz music a la Lester Young the famous saxophonist. I also started playing for him some M. Ward at which point I started playing the nearby ukulele. When I started playing the ukulele he seemed to really like it. So I killed the jukebox and played him a song of my own, singing, plucking the strings, and whistling all the way through. He seemed to LOVE it.


That's Georgie as far as I know him this morning. I'm hoping some of you can answer my questions about rehabilitating him properly and helping him become comfortable in my home and achieve his maximum potential.


First of all I am wondering what sort of feeding schedule to get him on. Right now he has a bowl filled with some cheap seed and peanuts I was given by the previous caregiver. This morning I intend to pick up some Zupreem feed. I mainly have provided him with this food in bulk to make him comfortable. But I know it's not the best for him. Also what combination of fresh fruit, veggies, and feed should I provide him with when he eats. He is eating a lot right now as I write this and I would like to quickly get him on a routine, healthy feeding schedule. He's so messy!


Finally, my approach so far has been one of mostly observing without touching or attempting to touch. I have been talking to him a lot and inviting my roommates in to talk with me in my room. I see that it's allowing him to get used to us and hearing us chatter and be cordial and friendly around him.


That's all for now. If anyone has any comments I'd greatly appreciate it. Thank you!

Edited by xkevinbondx
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Welcome to you and Georgie. It's GreYt having you here.


It sounds like you are off to a good start in making him feel as comfortable as possible. Your being very cautious to respect his need for space and just talking, singing, playing and offering him treats is exactly how a rescue should be treated. I commend you for taking in a Grey in need of a loving and final home he can grow and thrive in.


IN regards diet, a good quality seed mix a long with pellets such as the Zupreme and fresh veggies and occasional fruit is good. If you find he does not like the fruit blend of zupreem, try the Nut Blend and also give Harrisons Course Pellets a try. I just mix the pellets in with my greys seed mix and he eats them along with the seeds and nuts.


There was no Right-Click enabled on your text. I would suggest getting a photo bucket account and using it for all your photos. then you can just place the image link in your post and the photo will appear.


I am looking forward to hearing more about Georgie and seeing photos when you get a chance. :)

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Hello and welcome to you and Georgie! It sounds like you are off to a good start in building a relationship him. As for the skittishness, that is very normal in a new environment. After Georgie adjusts to the sights and sounds of your home, he probably won't be startled so easily. It helps to get into a routine so he knows what to expect. When to go to bed, when to get up, where he will be sleeping etc. Most of the forum members do abundance feeding, which means pellets/and or seed is available all the time. My Timber eats off and on all through the day and is also known to snack at night. Dan has already addressed diet so I won't go there, though I would add that a couple of small pieces of fruit per week is enough, because of the high sugar content. Just ask any questions you may have and someone will give you their thoughts. Good luck and God bless :)

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Hello Kevin and welcome to our family.

Congrats on your new companion and you are off to a great start already, just continue to do what you are doing realizing it takes lots of time and patience on your part but what you will reap will be worth the wait.

You don't need to develop any particular schedule as far as feeding them, greys are foragers which means they eat all day long so its important they have food readily available at all times, a bowl with a good seed mix is necessary, maybe one for pellets and another for fresh food that will have to be replenished several times a day as it tends to spoil after a few hours. There is a thread in the bird food room that lists the safe vegetables and fruits to offer, vegetables should be provided every day and fruit only several times a week.

Greys tend to be more nervous than the other parrots and my grey is a little skittish herself so I know what you mean. Birds also don't see very well in the dark so having a little light on like a nightlight will help if she seems to panic in the darkness.

You are right to mostly observe Georgie and let him decide when he wants more interaction from you for you are trying to gain his trust and that must be earned, it takes time especially since he is over 20 years of age and he has a lot of baggage that may become more apparent as he settles into his new home so be prepared for any new behaviors to be revealed in the coming weeks and months.

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Thanks you all for the assuring comments. I've provided Georgie with some good pellets, seeds, fruit and veggies. He doesn't seem yet to care for anything but the seeds. I imagine he'll come to appreciate them soon enough.


He has met my roommate and they really hit it off! It's really quite adorable to see. He repeats all sorts of adorable sounds and words when she comes in, including a laugh and a chuckle. He has even let her touch his wings and beak. It's discouraged me a bit, I must say. I am starting to think perhaps my approach is not the one I should be using with Georgie. My roommate's approach is more direct and forceful. She'll walk right up to him and put her hands near him and get very close. Which I've had success with the first two days feeding him seeds and nuts. But he really seems attracted to her. So perhaps you can imagine my frustration. He has begun to refuse my hand even when it includes a treat, and even just my approach makes him seem fearful as he'll back away from me to the other side of the cage. I speak sweetly, but I'm just not sure what else I could do! My roommate seems to do nothing, just it comes natural. I don't think of myself as an amateur pet owner. I've raised a very well mannered, loving, smart dog from a pup, and connected strongly with my roommate's dog, as well as a cat of my own. In the case of Georgie I think perhaps he must sense something about me that makes him very uncomfortable. I have become very conscious of the fact that he's nervous around me.


Does anybody have any similar stories to share?

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Well, it is early days yet. We don't have much control over who our bird likes and who they want as their "chosen" one. Many of us have found that a bird's likes and dislikes (people-wise) can change over time, and especially this early on. Don't be discouraged, but be patient and consistent. If you read the forum posts, you will find many people here who wanted a bird for themselves, but found the bird prefers someone else in the household. That doesn't mean you can't develop a great relationship with Georgie though. Trust takes a lot of time with a grey, and so does adaptation. Hang in there! :)

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Great advice so far, just work on building trust and not making him do anything before he shows a willingness to engage. Do make certain he cannot chew on that light string as electric shock can kill or maim. I also adopted and Grey in her early 20's, my first Grey Pookie, she came with the name. Also a nervous plucker belly, legs & neck. She still does a little neck pluck when nervous but she now leaves that belly and those legs alone. Real Sun light, fresh food and frequent spray mistings have all helped her. Offering many things for her to do and as much freedom as my days allow contribute to her mental health. Glad you have music to share with Georgie and he may tell you eventually what his original name may have been. Keep up the patience and just roll with him as he blossoms showing you who he really can be.

Edited by Greywings
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The difference, I believe, between you and your roommate is the fact that she is relaxed and calm. You on the other hand are nervous and apprehensive. i do understand that as you do not want to make any mistakes. However, our greys sense these things they are very intuitive and watch our every move. Relax and let Georgie take the lead and come to you.

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Sounds like you and Georgie are off to a great start! Just relax and for now don't even give a thought to whom Georgie may or may not like. As you two continue to get better acquainted, you'll do well. Parrots have loooooooooong memories, and it could be that your roommate reminds Georgie of someone he was fond of in his past, and also as has been said that she is matter of fact and relaxed with him.


As for the plucking, spend the money and find an avian veterinarian and get Georgie a good physical. Sometimes lack of nutrition or parasites or other physical cause can be mistaken for nervous plucking. You'll want a good physical anyway so that you know Georgie has a clean bill of health.


You might want to try to move his food and water into his cage and see if he'll go get it. He won't have a reason to, as long as it's on top of his cage. Also some birds can become territorial about their food areas and you don't want him to start protecting the top of his cage, because you might find down the road that you'll have a tough time changing out his food/water dishes. You could leave a dish with a bit of water and just a treat on the top, and make a big deal of putting the rest of his food inside the cage where he can see you doing it, and just leave the door open, then don't watch him -- just go relax and read, or hang out.


Am so delighted that you and your new buddy have found one another!

Edited by Inara
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