African Grey Parrots - NOT A Good Alternative

As cute as they seem while watching them TV , African Greys are not good family pets. You may get one for yourself only to find "it has chosen" to bond with your spouse. So, make sure the other person wants that responsibility. Someone has to be able to handle the bird.

They can live to be 50 + years old. They have a "mind of their own." Living with one is like having an animal that "behaves" like a 2 - 4 year old child, but has the intellegence of a 50 yr. old person. They listen, think, learn and then, whatever "they think" they should have or be allowed to do, they are persistant in getting or doing.

Not all greys will talk, and those that do can take up to a year or two to start talking. Don't get one "just because they talk," you may be disappointed in the end. They never "show off" for you in front of your friends unless "they" want to. The greys you see on tv that talk that good, are worked with on a daily basis for hours at a time.

They require a lot of one on one attention. The one on one is "whom they choose." They usually keep a mate for life in the wild. They are "pack" orienated. Not given enough attention they resort to plucking feathers and screaming.

We hand fed ours at a very early age. He was brought up in a home with 7 OES, 2 parakeets and 3 cocketiels. He heard me tell the dogs to "Move it, move it," when I came in the front door loaded with groceries so he picked that up on his own. Along with other dog commands such as, Get over here, Shut up (whoops), Wanna a bite, Cody - come here, etc. The cutest thing he does is "BARK". 8O Wonder why? :lol:

He also imitates burps, farts, hiccups, sneezes, imitates the sounds of the microwave, doors opening, the tv changing channels, other birds, says peek-a-boo, where's mom, dad's home, and so much more. Oh, he likes to sing parts of "Beautiful Dreamer." One of my cocketiels liked to sing that one, the theme song of the new Titanic movie, and the Addams Family song. My little parakeet said "I love you". :roll:

He will either make the ring sound or the dialing sounds of the phone, then have a conversation, tell "them", "Well, gotta go. Talk to you later. Ok, see ya. Ok. Bye" Then clicks the phone sound as if he's hanging up. Most of this type thing he has taught himself. But, it was through repeative listening. Its nothing you're going to teach them overnight. He will be 4 next month. And, you know how repeatative we are with dog commands. :roll:

Sorry for rambling on. I like to cough, cough, brag a little about him, :oops: but seriously, they would not make a family pet. We never let little ones around him because of the seriousness of the injuries he could cause. Their bite is not the little peck you get from a parakeet. I use to think they could get ya pretty good, UNTIL I met the powerful beak of the GREY, which landed me in the ER one night because of an accidental fright bite. :roll:

My husband and I have discussed many times how wonderful it would be to give him back his freedom and the freedom of flight that God gave him. That can only be accomplished if people STOP buying them. I find it sad that we take a creature into captivity for our amusement, because of their intellegence. If only we were that intellegent. :(

Do some reading about them before you bring one into your home. Everyone's concerned about the rescue of dogs and cats. These birds, God willing, are going to out live some of us. Where will they go when we're gone? Who is going to take it in and care for it then? When you think about getting one, think about their future as well. God bless.
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I'm sorry you had a terrible experience with yours or them in general. I've known several that turned to the dark side PURELY from neglect (the stress from it).

But, I personally don't agree that they are absolutely not good family pets. Not knowing the amount of time the family has (who stays home), their lifestyle, etc's like telling people many animals/breeds aren't good as family pets that have been for centuries.

I think everyone will have a different experience esp. if they're educated in general about WHATEVER "pet" they take in.

Having one as a kid, and a few other birds (but much smaller), I would whole heartedly disagree. My mom let the bird out all day on the porch and when I came home, had a blast with it. As a young kid, dad held the bird while I mobbed it with tiny hands, but it was as gentle and kind as can be. We knew our bird, and if it was being testy(we forgot to give it his treat)... our family would know to give it some space or let dad take him out.

Anyways, just wanted to share the opposite experience as you.

I've known several people though who have gotten a parrot and didn't know what they were getting into, but I can honestly say I've known the same amount of people who get a dog breed that they end up not being able to control (give to a friend or the pound).
My uncle, a priest, "inherited" a parrot from a deceased bishop. He hated women, except for the housekeeper, Father's sister, who took care of him. He could sing "God bless America" (first line) and his favorite antic was to sit on the front window sill of the rectory (open window) and give the wolf whistle at women walking by. :D He outlived my uncle; last I heard he was still living at 80.
Our family had a moluccan cockatoo. He is huge, and was given to my parents years ago, at the age of 8. He had bonded with his previous family though and never did bond with our family. My parents offered him to me when Bud was 17 years old. I took him and had him for a year but he was miserable, so I finally ended up finding him a home with an elderly couple who had an avary built onto their home as a hobby. He would have an environment that would feel like freedom, but what totally made my decision was that he actually seemed to like the older gentleman when they came to visit him at my house. It was the most enthusiasm I had seen the bird show in a decade. My mind was made up, and Bud is still happy with them now.
I would love to have a bird again someday... but I doubt it will happen, as they truly are a lifetime repsonsibility. Bud will likely outlive us all, and I worry who he will go to when the couple passes away. I can only hope they have set something in their will to provide for him.
I was thinking of getting a parrot - but probably something a bit more... small. :lol: I love the conures... they've got the personality without the big bite... they still bite though. :P I would also not get a bird if all I wanted them for was to talk - because more often then not people are disapointed. :P

Besides - I play with the grays at the petstores and try to talk to them and give them something new to say. I always tell them "Hey baby!" or purr at them to see if they'll try it. They love making the noises to phones and respond very well to whistling.
Joahaeyo wrote:
......As a young kid, dad held the bird while I mobbed it with tiny hands, but it was as gentle and kind as can be. We knew our bird, and if it was being testy(we forgot to give it his treat)... our family would know to give it some space or let dad take him out.......just wanted to share the opposite experience as you.

Sorry if you misunderstood. We've not had a bad experience with our Grey. Quite the opposite, except he's tempermental with whomever, and whenever he chooses. That's not because of anything we do or don't do, its the nature of the Grey.

Since the purpose of the post was to let others know that there is a lot more to owning one than their "talking" ability, I did try to point out a lot of the negative things. Such as the danger of "when you were a child dad held the bird while you mobbed it with tiny hands." If dads not around or not paying attention and those "tiny hands" mob the bird, it may not be as gentle and kind. Nothing personal, just a warning to others.

Like you stated, "When it was being "testy" your family knew to give it some space or let dad take him out"...........I'm going to assume that's because your Grey "choose your dad" to bond with more than others. They usually prefer one person over everyone else. I believe this is because of their "staying with one mate" trait. Plus, they also like to pick out one thing that they "love to hate," human or inanimate objects.

Greys are wonderful birds. Very smart, cute, loads of entertainment, BUT they are not for everyone, especially young children with precious little fingers that could easily be snapped. Their lifespan is much greater than that of a dog or a fish we win at a fair. Because of that, 50 years +, be sure you can, and want to make that kind of commitment. :wink:
Yeah -that's true about parrots not being a family pet - I have 2 conures - One since I was in 7th grade - so that makes him uhhh 15 now.. and he bites everyone but me. and he bites HARD.

It was difficult for me to leave him behind because I ended up going to college in New York (im from California) - I had to leave him behind with my parents.. He was miserable with them - my parents were miserable with him because he was soooo noisy and they couldn't handle him, he wouldnt let them.. but as soon as I settled in NY - I ended up trucking over to California and brought Picasso (the conure) back to Rochester with me. He's happier here I think because he's with me. I ended up purchasing another conure named Buckbeak so they could keep eachother entertained... They're not used to a big sheepie yet - heh but theyre getting better.

but anyway my point is.. I agree with you have to say, i think having a bird is a lot more stress than owning a dog because unlike dogs, birds cant really adjust and adapt to a new owner.
birds cant really adjust and adapt to a new owner.

neither can several breeds (some being the most popular) ;)
we have 2 birds that only like my dad. a green winged macaw and a blue fronted amazon, i love them both they are really sweet birds but just get scared around people other than my dad, although they will tolerate me so long as i dont get too close.

anyway, one of my favorite things in the entire world is listening to them talk to each other until it escalates in them yelling... once walter hears them yellilng or even talking loudly he trots over plops down next to their cages and starts howling with them! it is so cute!
WOW!!Id have to say that African Greys are just wonderful has "pets".My best friend has one,and he loves ALL of us,even her 3yr old daughter.He walks around the floor w/ the dogs (she has chinese cresteds)and has even played w/ my bigger dogs.She went on vacation for a week and 1/2 and I took care of him,and he was great,he went outside w/ me,and he loves his head to be petted,and just loves to snuggle up.I do agree tho one should NEVER leave a small child alone w/ an African grey,BUT is it wise to leave a small child alone w/ any pet?Even our loved OES?Small i mean 5 and under.I know for me i dont leave my best friends 3yr old alone w/ Mickey OR JAgger just because they are so big and can easily knock her over.So hopefully ppl use common sence and not leave a child alone w/ ANY pet.The only thing that happens in that situation is something will happen to that child and that pet gets dropped at the humane society.Getting back to the African grey Bling(my friends bird)is so sweet,makes so many neat sounds,talks,kisses,you name it.Altho he has bonded w/ my friend,he shows no sign of agression,or any nasty temperment.He steps up when told,and enjoys everyone that wants to spend time w/ him.Altho you had some good advice,I think it should be said that NOT every AG has the same temperment as you described.My friend bird is an African Grey Congo,if that makes any difference.
WHOOPS!! i wanted to add that when my best friend passes away(dont wanna think about it tho)her kids and OR my daughter will be keeping him,so hopefully when ppl have to cross this bridge the AG can go to the kids,grandkids,friends ppl who have been around this bird all its life.Since we all know parrots usually out live us all.
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