ِAfrican Grey Parrots are one of the most popular pet parrots breeds out there, they know how to mimic human sounds, they will learn tricks and they can serve as service parrots, especially the African grey parrots.
So, are African greys good pets?. The answer is YES. Despite their special care requirements, African grey parrots can be a very rewarding, lovely, and friendly pet. The Important thing to have such a good African grey pet is to meet up their neediness of care, diet, and enough stimulation.
And in this article, we are about to dive into what makes the African grey good pets, and what are the requirements that owners should provide to their bird.
What would happen if the owner couldn’t meet up these needs, and before all of that let’s get into some facts about African grey parrots.
And Before further reading here are the best pet parrots for beginners and kids.
Table of Contents
African Grey Parrot Facts
- African Greys are a family of 2 types, Timnah African Grey, Congo African Grey.
- A lifespan of 60 years in captivity, and barely 25 years in the wild.
- African Greys are the most intelligent among parrots.
- African Greys are the best talking breed of parrots.
- Training African greys to be service parrots is totally doable.
- African Greys can get along with other pets.
- African Grey parrots are very loyal to their owner.
- They can grow up to 500 grams.
What Makes African Greys Good Pets
These parrots have a lot of positive characteristics and advantages which made them one of the most popular breeds of parrots. Being so popular among parrots lovers can give us an idea about whether African Greys are able to make good pets or not.
And in my opinion what makes this breed a good pet falls under 3 thing;
The intelligence of the African greys is exceptional among parrots, they can learn tricks and respond to their names after the owner trains them.
Actually, just interacting with your African Grey parrot can teach them, and they will mimic what they hear, usually without the need of putting effort into that.
Besides That, scientists widely thought that a large primate brain is essential for handling complex problems related to language and understanding, So, Bird, including parrots, are out of the discussion.
Later on, the animal psychologist Dr. Irene Pepperberg bought Alex the African grey when he was only 1-year-old, intending to study him, initially at Arizona university, and later at the University of Harvard and Brandeis’s.
The research period extended for about 30 years, which made Alex the African grey the most studied and researched parrot in history.
However, after this much training, studying, and researching, Alex’s achievements have supported the idea that birds including parrots could understand and mimic human sounds creatively, expressing their desires and feeling.
Dr, Irene suggested Alex hasn’t reached his full potential at the time he died when he was 44 years. She reported that Alex has intelligence similar to dolphins and great apes.
She also reported Alex has Achieved the intelligence of level of 5 years old human kid, at least in some aspects. And an emotional level of a 2-year-old child.
Alex had a vocabulary of 100 words, a small number for African grey, but the exception here is that Alex actually understood the meanings of these words.
He knew the difference between the door key, he even asked about his color when saw himself in the mirror. After six times he learned what color he is, and this question made the only no human being to ask an existential question.
He even used to ask to go back to his cage when he felt tired of testing. He learned the meaning of “Wanna go” and so he was saying for rest in his sweet spot. This Really Amazing if you asked me.
I know that this level of intelligence was reached under the training of experts. Even so, it doesn’t contradict that African Gery Parrots are really smart.
This breed of parrot can grow to be so affectionate and devoted, especially if the owner got one from a very young age.
When the owner raises the chick from a young age, the bond between them tends to grow and reflect on their relationship, usually African grey bond to one person stronger than the other family members.
Parrots are sensitive birds, especially African greys. And when they bond, African greys, and as reported many times by owners, will show empathic behavior and a capacity to understand the owner’s state of mind.
You can extend the loyalty to a level that you can let your African grey fly freely in the park without worrying about losing him, he will come back to you eventually when you call him.
African grey can make a very entertaining pet, especially if they bonded to you.
Isn’t this the point behind having a pet dog or a cat?. Well, let me tell you that African grey parrots can provide you with that, and they will speak with you and discuss politics if you wanted. LOL, just kidding.
But seriously, African grey parrots, have an exceptional talent for producing and mimicking the human sound, it’s enough for them when they hear people talk daily and as usual, to start mimicking sounds, words, and even ringtones.
This makes African greys good learners as they won’t need focused training to start talking, like other breeds.
Are African Greys Good Pets For Beginners?
Despite that, African greys make good pets, but this breed is not for beginners or first-timers, because of their neediness and care requirements that should be met.
It could be hard for beginners to care for and deliver the needed amount of attention and stimulation that every individual of this breed needs from their owners.
Here is my recommendation about the best 5 parrots for beginners and kids.
And let us dive into why African grey parrots are not an excellent choice for beginners.
Highly Social Pets
African grey parrots are one of the most social parrots. although this looks like a favorable and desired trait, this can turn to be a dangerous double-edged sword.
What I mean is, if you leave your bird alone for long times, you are basically risking the mental health of your parrot. So, social interaction with your parrots is essential to have a healthy and funny African grey.
Assess your situation. Do you work for a long time outside on a daily basis?, do you have the capacity to interact with your bird daily for an hour or two every day?, do you realize that having an African grey parrot is a lifelong commitment, not only a pet for 10-15 years.
They can live up to 60 years in captivity, and if you think you are not able to socialize with your bird daily, then this breed doesn’t suit you.
Prone to Serious Health Problems
African greys are so sensitive and when putting them in the wrong conditions, they are probably going to develop a serious health problems.
Like calcium deficiency, vitamin A and vitamin D deficiency. Not to mention the respiratory infection, psittacosis, and psittacine beak and feather disease.
These problems and when they are not treated can lead your African grey to his death. The best thing to do before getting an African grey is to ask you the avian vet about any available vaccination to improve your bird’s immune system.
The second thing is to maintain a healthy balanced diet, providing your parrot with the essential nutrients that he needs.
Temperature is also another important thing to calibrate for your African grey. In the wild, the normal temperature for them is around 105F, however, 70-80F is acceptable for them.
They May Develop Behavioral Disorders
Failure to meet up with African grey diet requirements or their need for stimulation and social interaction can lead to feather plucking, aggression, inappropriate noise making and/or excessive vocalization, and other behavior problems.
This is mostly because of the depression and stress when they are left alone, or because of the lack of the essential nutrient they need.
Staying Stimulant is Essential
Sometimes this breed can show a lot of behavioral disorders, to the extent that no vet can cure. the only thing you can do is ask a professional trainer for help.
sometimes these behavioral disorders develop because of the lack of proper interaction and stimulation, keeping them stimulated by providing them with toys and training sessions could prevent and fix these disorders.
If these disorders are in an advanced phase, you have only two options. The first one is to use your knowledge and experience to help your bird.
The second option is to ask a professional trainer to train your parrot how to fly freely and come back when called.
Free-flight training is essential to keep your parrot as a stimulant and possible, at least in my opinion.
What is the point of being a bird that is not allowed to fly? Right.
One flying tour every 4 months could do wonders for your parrot’s mental health.
With this level of intelligence, no wonder why African Greys make good, lovely, and cuddly pet companions, not to mention the ability to be a service pet, that will help patients emotionally.
And this is one of the most important characteristics to determine what animal can make a good pet.
But on the other hand, African greys are high maintenance parrots that need an extensive amount of care and attention from their owners to bring the best out of them.
And despite that African greys can make good pets, but failure in meeting up their requirements can make the relationship between the African grey and their owner like a nightmare for both of them, so I don’t recommend this breed for beginners.