Are you planning on adding an African gray parrot to your flock of birds, or do you plan on making this breed your first bird pet? Well, venturing into the bird-ownership world can be pretty exciting and fun at the same time, especially with a parrot that can mimic your speech. However, these birds can be pretty high maintenance, and your partnership’s success will depend on many factors.
- When picking a breeder, you should consider the price, quality of their birds, facilities, and after-sale service.
- Make sure you adopt a weaned parrot.
- Before purchasing, you should visit the breeder’s facilities and examine the birds, cages, feed, and how they’re taken care of.
- Parrots need UVB rays to thrive, so getting your pet from a breeder who keeps their parrots outside is always a good idea.
- It’s best to ensure that your indoor parrots get some UVB lighting. Those bulbs don’t come cheap and typically require replacement after 3 to 6 months. A bulb can cost as much as $100 or more, which can add up over a year.
When looking for the right breeder, you should consider their location, the price of the African gray parrot, the number of exotic species bred, and the experience level of the breeder. You should also consider the breeder’s facilities, but most importantly, you should get reviews from other bird owners.
As one of the old-world parrots, the African gray parrot is a high-maintenance pet; therefore, picking the right breeder can be a great place to start your parrot-owning journey. In this article, we’ll show you how to choose the right breeder for your following African gray parrot and how to take care of it. We’ll also show you where and why you should purchase this parrot.
Is The African Gray Parrot A Good Pet For Beginners?
The African grays are intelligent creatures capable of creating an exceptional bond with their owners. Many love them for their ability to imitate human speech. African gray parrots recorded in Zaire had a repertoire of about 200 sounds. They could even imitate nine sounds from different wild birds and a bat. They’re amazing social creatures that make exceptional companions.
They can learn up to 1,000 words and even speak correctly. They can talk and learn several words, making them one of the most exceptional parrots available. On top of that, they form strong bonds with their owner and can be in tune with the emotions of their handlers.
While they may seem significant, these birds can be overwhelming to beginners as they’re pretty demanding. They require more than enough time with their owners. On top of that, there are several activities that you can use to keep them occupied. Thanks to their intelligence level, they need hours of fun and stimulation to avoid depression and stress.
These activities and expenses can overwhelm a novice, but they shouldn’t discourage you. Picking the right breeder is the first step to a successful relationship with your pet. Some of these great traits come down from their parents. If you get the right pet, you’ll have fun.
Where to Buy an African Gray Parrot?
Generally, these birds are considered endangered; in fact, the United Nations has banned the importation of these birds. Unfortunately, the ban hasn’t stopped the illegal importation of these birds, which is one of the leading causes of the reduction in their population and extinction in some of their previous environment.
The ones captured from the wild and introduced in our home can introduce some diseases and bad traits to our other birds. Sure, they may be cheaper, but purchasing these is illegal, and the fact that they are from the wild makes them hard to tame. You might end up regretting the purchase.
Remember, they can easily succumb to common bird ailments if not vaccinated. Plus, the change from wild to captivity can leave them stressed. When stressed, the ones from the wild can be quite aggressive, making them almost impossible to handle. They may end up harming the other parrots.
Therefore, purchasing these African gray parrots from poachers is not a good idea; illegal and wrong. Which begs the question, where should I purchase an African gray parrot? For more details on the African gray parrot breeders, please read on.
The Local Shelters and Parrot Rescue Organizations
As you already know, African gray parrots are high-maintenance creatures and can be costly for a beginner. Remember, they live for over 45 years, which can be a lifetime commitment. Unfortunately, most folks are not prepared for this type of commitment.
The fact that they can easily imitate our speech has intrigued most folks, and some have purchased one, only to realize that taking care of these birds is a lot of work. They require over five hours of companionship every day. The lack of planning and time has forced some to give their birds to the country’s shelters and parrot rescue organizations.
Some parrot owners have mistreated their pets and even not fed them. Parrots who endure tough times are usually rescued and taken to these shelters. At the shelters, they’re nurtured and returned to health before being put up for adoption.
Therefore, if you’re working with a small budget, you should look for a gray parrot at the local shelters. You may not get what you want, but you can get an affordable option.
Unfortunately, most of these parrots in the shelter have been mistreated and may have even picked some flawed characters from their previous home. So they require some patience and love.
Fortunately, there are several rescue organizations in the United States. Some of these rescue organizations include:
Parrot Hope Rescue
Parrot Hope Rescue is a nonprofit organization that rescues parrots all over the US and then puts them up for adoption. This organization has never turned any rescue parrot away, so folks who can’t take care of their parrots for one reason or another can take them to these facilities where they are taken care of and then taken to a new home.
But adopting from this organization is not easy; they will have to do some background checks, interview you and even do some home visits before letting you get one.
Companion Parrots Rehomed
Another reliable organization that rehomes rescues in North Carolina is Companion parrots rehomed. This organization rescues many unwanted parrots, including the African gray parrot. But you will have to pay a small adoption fee before being allowed to bring one home.
A good thing about rescue organizations is that they do their investigations before letting you adopt a parrot. They even do home visits and ensure you can care for the parrot you plan to adopt.
You Can Get African Gray Parrots From Breeders
The best place to purchase the African gray parrots is from local breeders. Many breeders in your hometown are breeding two species of African gray parrots. Some even have a hybrid of the two or with another parrot species. So if you want to dictate the age and species, visit the local breeders.
Unfortunately, most African gray parrot breeders don’t export to other states, so finding a local breeder requires research. These breeders have a wide range of African gray parrots that vary with body size, color, and age, and you can even get a hybrid from them.
For parrot lovers, the United States has thousands of breeders, and this ranges between some huge organizations and our neighbors. But this doesn’t mean you can get your new African gray parrot from any breeder. Plus, the price varies with the breeder and the bird’s age. So here are things to consider when picking the right African gray parrot breeder.
How To Become A Breeder
The first step to becoming a breeder is purchasing some birds, which means getting the right African grays to expand your flock. It would be best to get the correct bird with the traits that guarantee you well behaved and beautiful species. Remember, you can pick either of the two species or a hybrid.
After all, if you’re willing to spend over $1500 on this parrot species, you should get the best option available. Therefore you must do your research.
How To Pick The Right African Gray Parrot Breeder
Locate A Breeder
Generally, locating a parrot breeder is relatively easy; the problem is getting the one breeding the parrot you are looking for, which in our case is the African gray parrot. You can get referrals if you already have friends and family members with this species. Other than referrals, you can also locate them online, where you can do more research on their establishments.
Remember to go through the customer reviews online before settling on one breeder. A simple search online can surprise you with the number of breeders in your area. Another excellent place to find breeders is the aviary societies and exotic bird clubs. Many of these societies are composed of breeders and parrot owners passionate about their birds. The club members can direct you to the best breeders in your area.
The African Gray Parrot Breeder Interview
After selecting the top breeders in your area, you’ll have to meet them and gather all the necessary information on their practices and how you can take care of the African gray parrot. You can even examine their facilities to get a clue about how you can improve your aviary at home. Some of the crucial questions you can ask to include the following:
How Long Have You Been Breeding The African Gray Parrots?
When picking your next pet, simply being a parrot breeder for over a decade is not enough. You should find out if they have your species of interest and how many gray parrots they have bred over the years.
A full-time breeder won’t have any problem sharing details about their business and how they started. They will even give you the contacts of their return clients.
After all, just because they have sold a parrot doesn’t mean they can guarantee its safety in the long run. It means being close with some of their buyers and helping whenever possible. A breeder who does this can give you some of their clients’ contacts.
How Do They Take Care Of Their African Gray Breeders?
Remember, changing their lifestyles too much can result in depression. So it would be best to try miming their lifestyle as much as possible at the breeder’s place. Therefore, it is best to look for a breeder willing to share these details and even tell you how to improve their lives at your home.
These details will help you set up the aviary in your home and make it as comfortable as possible.
Do You Vaccinate The Parrots?
If you’re purchasing young parrots, ask about their vaccination. The vaccination details will help you prepare the bird’s medical history and show you when they will require their next vaccine. But make sure you purchase a weaned bird.
Check Their Facilities
Another crucial thing for me is checking their breeding facilities and how they raise the birds. For instance, are they reared outside or indoors? Remember, they need direct sunlight to thrive. If they’re indoors, the lighting used should be able to emit the required UVB rays, which means you should find out how often they replace the bulbs.
Free flight facilities are the best, and the facilities have to be outside. And any local breeder who refuses to let you explore their facilities should not be on your list. You should find out if you can explore their facilities when calling them to book an appointment.
When going through their facilities, it is best to check the following:
- The food must be fresh: great breeders don’t give their birds pellets and seeds. They ensure that the birds get a balanced diet. Therefore, you should always peek into the dishes and see what they eat. These birds consume veggies and fruits. Ask the breeder what they feed their birds.
- The cages must be clean: when searching for the right breeder, a dirty cage is a clear red flag. A high-quality breeder keeps everything clean and sanitized for their birds. After all, cleanliness can play a significant role in lowering the risk of illnesses. But most importantly, the parrots must be comfortable and happy in their cages.
- African gray breeders must be sociable: parrots from a reputable breeder are always willing to interact with you. Therefore, the birds are active and alert, exhibiting signs of a healthy parrot. These signs include full crops, clean feathers, and bright eyes. They should have clean nostrils, elevated tails, and an erect stand with their heads.
- Confirm that the facilities are regularly cleaned and well maintained. Ensure the facilities pass all your inspections; remember, a bird can pick a common ailment and introduce it to your aviary. So the health status of the birds and their surroundings matter a lot.
Review Previous Customers of the Breeder
After inspecting their facilities, you can ask for the contacts of some of their return clients and find out how their birds are doing. Any form of a complaint can serve as a red flag. Find out if they examined their client’s home before letting them adopt these birds.
Ensure that the breeder supports their clients even after taking their parrots home. A reliable breeder should be available to you even after you have closed the deal.
They should be there to help you set up your home for the new pet. Remember, you don’t need to change their meals even after bringing them home, so knowing where the breeder purchases their parrot food and the specific brand of pellets is essential.
Price Of The African Gray Parrot
Depending on the species bred and their facilities, the price of these parrots varies with the breeder. So you may pay between $1500 and $3500 for an African gray parrot. Therefore, you should find out the breeder’s price and compare the prices of different facilities.
Remember, the price of the parrot should not be the only factor to consider. As much as the price matters, it should be part of the above requirements to help you decide. Some breeders can let you adopt a young parrot at a lower price. So if you can’t afford a mature bird, you can pay less for a young one and take care of it.
Close The Deal
With the above details, you can finally sit down and compare the pros and cons of the breeders in your list and pick one. The right breeder should tick all the boxes in your list of requirements. They should be ready to share how they keep their birds and which species of gray parrots they have. Their facilities should be clean and well-maintained, with the birds happy. But most importantly, they should be ready to help you set up your new parrot and even prepare their meal plan.
How To Take Care Of Your New African Gray Parrot
Before introducing the African gray parrot in your home, prepare your house for the new pet. Remember, it needs a place to sleep as soon as it gets home, so you should purchase the following things:
Provide the Right Housing
Since you’ll keep your parrot at home, it is best to purchase a big enclosure. The bare minimum for cage size is at least 2x3x4 feet. Remember, the bigger the cage, the better. After getting it, prepare it by doing the following:
- Line the base with some paper bedding, which is affordable and safer than pine, cedar, and corn shavings.
- Avoid cages with lead or zinc, as they’re toxic to your parrots.
- Parrots are affected by fumes from candles and air fresheners. So you should keep away from these things. Look for a place with ample natural light without exposing the parrot to sudden temperature changes and any fumes.
- Ensure your pet gets between 6 and 8 hours of sunlight daily. Gray parrots require exposure to sunlight for their bodies to process the needed calcium and vitamin D. If that’s an issue, then you can use Full-spectrum UV light.
- To keep it entertained, provide the necessary toys and perches. Every cage should have at least three perches at various heights. You can also keep the bird occupied with a chew toy, puzzles, and pieces of an egg carton and cardboard.
- Clean the cage regularly: remove the waste, clean the water and food bowls, and remove soiled bedding. Ensure you purchase a secondary cage for your pet, which you can use when cleaning your primary cage with hot water and soap.
Provide Water And Food
Make sure that your parrot has access to fresh water at all times. And to prevent spillages, you can use a heavy bowl. You can go for a bowl with a wide rim for your parrot to bathe easily. Don’t forget to clean the bowl and change the water once per day.
Serve 85 to 170 grams of commercial food every day. This food has a pellet formulation and should comprise 75% of your pet’s diet. The quantity varies with the brand and the size of your bird. Don’t forget to discard the uneaten food at night and replace it with fresh food.
It would be best to clean the bowl using hot water and soap, but ensure the soap doesn’t have fragrance.
Feed It Commercial Food
Commercial foods will guarantee that your pet’s food meets the needed nutritional needs. But most importantly, you should avoid a diet of nuts and seeds, which can cause nutritional deficiency and obesity.
Supplement With Veggies and Fruit
Before feeding them fruits and veggies, you should clean them thoroughly. And then, cut them into small pieces and give them two tablespoons every morning. Some fruits and veggies include apples, oranges, broccoli, mustard greens, carrots, and kale. You can feed the needed protein an inch of perfectly cooked scrambled eggs, fish, or chicken to supply the needed protein.
Give It Treats In Moderation
Feed your pet some treats like seeds and nuts. These treats can be helpful when rewarding or training your bird; unfortunately, too many treats can be unhealthy. It would be best if you never kept the nuts and seeds in bowls as it can confuse them for real food. Treats are sweet; they can pick them over their regular food.
Keep The Birds Healthy And Happy
As soon as you adopt it, you should take it to a vet and have it examined. The vet will help you prepare a medical history and ensure your pet is healthy. Ensure your pet doesn’t miss its annual check-up; you should take it to the vet when sick.
To guarantee that it will be healthy, you should regularly examine it for signs of illness. You can inspect its nostrils and eyes for discharges and redness. Check the skin on its feet for blemishes and broken or discolored feathers. You can even listen to its breathing pace and ensure it’s not gasping.
You can strengthen the bond between you two by spending more time together. Remember, they’re social creatures; therefore, try and spend more time with them. So you can scratch its head, talk, sing, and play with it daily. Spend more time with it between 1 and 2 years old.
You can purchase an African gray parrot in several places, but the ideal location is from a breeder. Unlike at the shelters, a breeder will give you options; you will get several parrots around the same age that you can examine while picking your next pet. The breeder also cares for the parrots and ensures they’re vaccinated, well-fed, and given ample socialization time.
A breeder will give you everything you need to start, but you must be careful when picking a breeder. When choosing one, you should consider its facilities and what they do to ensure its birds get the best.
- Wikipedia contributors, gray Parrot,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/gray_parrot/ Accessed February 07, 2023
- Characteristics of a healthy bird,https://afs.ca.uky.edu/poultry/characteristics-healthy-bird/ Accessed February 07, 2023
- United Nations: Ban on Trade in African gray Parrots,https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2016-10-04/united-nations-ban-on-trade-in-african-gray-parrots/ Accessed February 07, 2023
- Mary Nasir, So You Want to Get a Pet Bird,https://blogs.cornell.edu/wildlife/tag/parrots/ Accessed February 07, 2023
- Team beauty of birds, African gray parrot breeders in the United States,https://beautyofbirds.com/african-gray-breeders/ Accessed February 07, 2023
- Parrot Hope staff,https://parrothope.com/ Accessed February 07, 2023
- Companion Parrots staff,https://companionparrots.org/ Accessed February 07, 2023
- Hayley Heartfield, How to raise an African gray parrot,https://www.wikihow.com/Raise-an-African-gray-Parrot/ Accessed February 07, 2023