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Newbie with lots of questions!


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Hello!! I'm brand new to this forum and I have several questions to ask. I'm hoping to learn as much as I can from this group!

A quick bio on me - I'm a stay at home mother of 3 children, ages 7, 5 and 2. My previous bird experience is limited to owning a cockatiel (Nikki) for 20 years, I loved that bird dearly. Sadly, Nikki passed away when I was pregnant with my first child. Birds have always been a passion of mine and a CAG was always my "dream" bird. Fast forward 7 years and I'm now in a great position to purchase and own a CAG. My husband is on board but wants me to put in as much research as possible. He's a dog guy and has 0 knowledge of owning a bird. His major concern, as is mine, is how our new feathered family member will react to our children. Sorry for the long winded post but I would appreciate any feedback possible. Okay...here it goes....my list of questions.


1) Looking for advice on CAGs with children? We have a spacious house, so the cage will be in a low traffic zone. My plan was to also purchase several stands/playgyms and place them around our house (kitchen, family room, gym....etc)


2) Any members from Canada? I'm hoping to get some recommendations on Aviaries that breed CAG. Would flying my new CAG to our location be very stressful on the bird? I unfortunately haven't had much luck in finding any local breeders and my preference is no pet stores.


3) Do you travel with your Grey? We usually visit a lake (about a 6hr drive) every summer and would obviously want our Grey to join us. What method do you use to transport your Grey in a vehicle? Also, our new Grey would not spend much time in his cage. That being said, would a smaller "travel" cage be alright to house him/her in while on holidays at the lake? We would also bring stands/play gyms with us......


4) We also take an annual winter beach holiday, which our Grey couldn't come on. Any advise on "bird sitters" - again, if you're Canadian.....I would love to hear from you.


5) Our house has an extensive amount of windows (floor to ceiling) I read that placing the cage in front of a window isn't ideal. Is this true?


Thanks in advance!!

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Putting the cage in a low traffic zone is ok as long as the cage will be used mostly for sleeping. If your grey was going to be in its cage a lot you'd want to put it in a higher traffic zone because birds want to be in a place where the rest of their flock is. That being said, they need 10-12 hours dark sleep time each day to be healthy and happy. Some member use smaller sleep cages, some, like me, have the cage in its own room where I can turn out the lights and put him to bed. Having stands and playgyms throughout the house is ideal because then your fid can follow you around the house. Are you planning on leaving your bird flighted so that it can follow you around on its own? I don't have kids, but I do know that often birds don't like the sometimes frantic energy of small children. Do you think your kids can be taught to be gentle and quiet around your bird?


I'm in Lindsay Ontario. Canada's a big country, where are you? Dorian came from a place near Barrie Ontario called Lorwill Aviaries. I have no idea if they're still breeding, but the phone # still comes back to the same person's name. The # is 705-726-5694. The name is Lorraine Shantz. I got this info from Dorians Hatch Certificate. I got him second hand so I didn't meet them personally, but he came with a whole file of info on how to care for him (which his first owners didn't pay much attention to), so that says some good things about them. Good luck in your search.


Many members here travel with their birds. The only time I travel with Dorian is when I'm taking him to the groomers. I use a cockatiel sized cage for this purpose, and also for taking him outside in the spring/summer for some sun. There are some options meant specifically for travel. Take a look at the website for a Canadian store called Parrotdise Perch. Also look into the aviator harness, especially if you're planning on getting a baby. Babies are generally easier to train to take the harness.


I'm lucky in that Dorian's groomer also boards birds, so that if I ever ever get to travel again, which frankly doesn't seem likely, I'd have a place for him. If I go into Toronto for a couple of days I have someone come into the house to change his water and his food, and I leave him with plenty of shredable toys and instructions on how to turn my music system on and off for the radio.


The reasoning behind not having them surrounded by windows is that, as a prey animal, they have to be on the alert for predators at all times. All the activity going on outside a window might stop them from being able to relax in their cage. It's generally good to have a least one side of a cage facing a wall so they don't have to be on alert from all sides.


Hope this helps. My advice is to read the stickies in the different forum rooms. There's lots of good info there. Welcome to the forum.

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Glad you found us and nice that you are doing your research first. Each bird is different in personality we have a full house with birds people, dogs and cats. Our birds are all from other lives in other homes and have adjusted to life in the chaos that is our home. Most of our cages are by windows they enjoy watching the birds at the outside feeders, they do give alarm calls when a Hawks stoops into the yard after a Dove. Some Greys prefer a quiet home and others like to be part of the action. Kids mostly need to be aware that even a much loved Parrot can bite hard if they feel the need whether defensive of an attempt to "correct" their humans. Keeping this in mind there can be some safe interactions such as reading books to your bird, singing and dancing and just hanging out together. Some bird even learn to play catch with a soft toy or sock, or tug of war with a piece of cloth or sock. I think you and your family can have aq successful relationship with a Grey if you work on building trust.

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Hello BRD and welcome to our family.


So glad to hear you are doing the research before plunging in to get a grey, they are complex animals but if you really want one then you can make it work, with children, other pets and occasional vacations. Many here have children and/or other companion animals and they all get along, with a few bumps along the way, very nicely.


We used to travel with our grey when our son lived in the next state away from us, we would take her in a travel cage and she rode nicely in the back seat sometimes chatting away as we traveled 4 hours by car but now that our son has moved closer to home about the only time she goes in the travel cage is to the vet or outside for a bit of sunshine. Its a good idea to get them used to being in a travel cage if you are planning to take him/her along so they love going in one.

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Welcome to the forum!


I would try to find a young one, rather than an older one set in his / her ways. Our 10 year old was raised around grandchildren, we rescued him a few months ago, only to find that he goes absolutely nuts (in a bad way) when my 5 year old grandson is here. The lady who had him had warned me that he didn't like children, and I thought well, that's not a problem, I won't let him out when Cooper (my grandson) is here. Kya's cage is in our main living area, and it worries me that he really works himself into an angry frenzy when Cooper is here. I am afraid he will give himself a heart attack, and usually wind up covering the cage or moving him to another room, which he equally hates. I keep my grandson a lot, so it's not something I've figured out how to resolve just yet and keep everyone happy. My grandson is great with animals, all my other birds love him, but Kya does not like the increased noise level (unless it's him) and the fast movement. I guess that's what happens when they are raised with older people, and I truly don't believe his previous owner allowed her grandchildren to torment him - she loved him too much.


I applaud you for asking questions first! And my experience is my experience, nothing more than a thought to share, since I notice your children are young, as well.


Another thought is, with children that age, taking on a large parrot is a big commitment. They require a lot of time and attention. I find it difficult at times just to juggle Kya with my other birds, no kids involved, but my husband and I do work and are away from home about 9 1/2 hours a day. But, as a single bird, that is a huge difference, and I can say from experience that greys are nowhere near as demanding as cockatoos!


They are very dusty, so if any of your children have allergies, that is something to take into consideration. (That is why we now have Kya - his previous owner developed severe asthma and COPD and could not keep him.) You can keep the dust to a dull roar with regular baths or misting - that is what we have to do with Kya, he hates the shower. And running a humidifier helps.


They are amazing birds. Kya has a huge vocabulary and is madly in love with my husband. They have a bond that no one can touch, which is funny because he despised the man in the household he came from. I am his servant, meaning I chop apples and arrive with grapes in hand on demand, or whatever else it is he is demanding (except pop tarts - he came as a junk food junkie). He is a one person bird, and I am okay with that. I enjoy him and love him to death. Just be aware that it can happen. We've recently moved his cage right beside where I normally sit, so he has no choice but to interact with me. Unfortunately, this also placed Kya where he can see the tv, and apparently he loves all the horror movies that have been on recently, and has the ability to ignore me and tune me out completely if he's intent on watching something. But, he is having full conversations with me now, and doesn't fluff up and drop his wings when I come near, so I think we're making progress.


Hope this helps as far as things to consider. I don't know about Canada, but I know that you see a lot of adult greys up for sale in this area of the woods. I would love to find a baby to raise up for a friend for Kya, although he probably could care less, as he sees my husband as his flock.


Good luck in your decision!

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Hi BRD, thank you for joining us and for taking an interest in researching "life with a grey" before you make the commitment. We live with an older, rehomed grey. She loves to travel and has gained a lot from her trips between Georgia, Texas and Pennsylvania here in the US. Finding the right spot for a cage with a two year old child in the house might be a challenge but your parrot will live with you for decades and be with you as you transition from kids at home, to college years and eventually grandchildren. We make changes based on what works at any given time. Miss Gilbert has traveled in a backpack carrier when we had a car full of people and her cage was "flat packed" for when we reached our destination. She has traveled in a metal "travel cage" and was happy in the smaller cage for months at a time. Recently we bought a van which allows us to have an upright cage on wheels which is much better for our travels because we just roll it out and she is home. Also, even though she was previously in several homes, including close to three years with small children, she seems to change with time. She did not like the children in her previous home, and they did not like her right back. She was scathingly critical of my first baby grandson in recent months when we traveled to Texas. She told him to shut up, get outside and she made really obnoxious noises to express her general displeasure. Yet, I have recently started having my 3 year old neighbor boy over and he runs with our dogs, jumps on the sofa next to Gil's cage and she doesn't skip a beat nor cuss or be generally rude to him at all. I think because he and I are laughing, playing, busy and happy she gets along with that beautifully. Just as every home is different and unique and constantly changing, African grey parrots are also unique individuals. If you happened to bring one home that didn't seem to fit in, it would take a lot of time and effort but you would love your grey as a family member and learn to make it work.


My experience with Miss Gilbert was taking on a parrot with much baggage and known issues. There was a little freedom in that because I seldom think of it as my failure if we have problems. I just look for a way to solve those problems as they crop up and when a solution doesn't work, I keep trying until something does work, then try some more because our greys are complex, exquisitely intelligent and challenging like no creature, human or otherwise. Best of luck to you as you consider life with an African grey adopted companion and family member. Thanks for joining us.

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