Housing Your African Grey Parrot
- Cage size: the bigger the better. You'll need a large cage for these guys. I would recommend a minimum in the area of 3 feet by 2 feet by 4 feet tall, but bigger is definitely better when it comes to housing parrots.
- The bar spacing should be 3/4 to 1 inch (best to get 3/4 inch spacing for a Timneh).
- At least part of the cage should have horizontally oriented bars to allow the parrot to climb on the sides of the cage.
- The cage should be placed in a part of the house where the bird will have lots of contact with people, but ideally not in the most hectic area of the home. Keep the cage away from windows where they would receive direct sunlight (may overheat), away from draughts, and not too close to heat vents or air conditioning ducts.
- A selection of perches should be provided - varied in size and material (e.g. natural branches such as manzanita wood, which is often available at pet stores). Smooth, slippery perches should not be used, neither should sandpaper covered perches.
- Provide a good selection of appropriate toys - the right size and checked for safety concerns (parts that could be swallowed, strangulation or entrapment hazards). Having a good selection of toys on hand and rotating them through the cage a few at a time can help to provide entertainment and stimulation.
- Should also invest in a good play gym, and plan on having your African grey spend a significant amount of time outside of his or her cage daily.
Feeding African Greys
- Variety is the key here. Pelletted diets should form the foundation of the diet, but should be supplemented with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as grains and proteins. A small amount of seed mix can be fed as well, keeping in mind that seeds have some nutritional value and place in the diet but are largely fattening and poorly balanced as a main part of the diet. For a detailed discussion of diet, see "Parrot Nutrition 101"
- If your bird is reluctant to try new foods, see the tips in "Introducing New Foods to Picky Eaters." Tips on switching a seed eater to a formulated (pellet) diet can be found in "Switching Your Bird to Pellets"
- African greys are somewhat prone to calcium deficiency, so calcium levels should be monitored at a yearly vet check. Calcium supplements should not be used except under the advice of a veterinarian, but it can be beneficial to feed a variety of calcium rich foods such as leafy green vegetables (kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, spinach). For more information on calcium levels in some foods, see "Winged Wisdom."
- Fresh clean water should be available at all times. Food and water dishes should be washed daily.