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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > African Grey

African Grey


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Traits & behavior

African grey parrots require a large amount of physical attention. They need at least two hours or more of daily interaction.

Smart and easily trained, these birds should be taught basic commands such as "step up" onto your hand and "step down" when putting them back into their cage. This will ensure easier handling.

They can be loud, especially at dawn and dusk.

Heavily bodied

African greys are heavily bodied birds. Trimming their wing feathers too short can cause them to crash when trying to fly.

Speaking ability
Most African greys can be taught to talk quickly and will continue to learn new words throughout their lives. They are known as the best talkers among all birds. Be careful what is said because they will mimic anything.

Messy eaters
Your parrot will drop a lot of food when eating.

Things to remember

Don't forget that children, pets and unfamiliar guests should be supervised when interacting with your parrot.

Long-term companions
Before purchasing, be aware that an African grey parrot requires a long-term commitment of approximately 50-60 years.

Consistent attention from all members of the household is necessary to keep her from bonding with only one person.

Safety & cleanliness
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit disease to humans. Keep your pet's home clean and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home. Infants, young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and the infirm or elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat. Consult your doctor for more information.


Staple diet
Feed her 3-4 teaspoons per day of a pellet or seed-based, fortified parrot diet.

Fruit & vegetables*
About 5-10% of an African grey parrot's diet should be bite-sized fruits and veggies like oranges, melon, apples, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, mustard greens and shredded carrots. Offer daily or every 2-3 days.

A vitamin and mineral supplement may be mixed with fruits and veggies once a week.

Parrots should always have access to clean, fresh water in a bowl.

*Remember that fresh food requires its own dish and should be removed from the habitat within four hours to avoid spoilage.


Signs of a healthy African grey parrot:

  • Clear, bright eyes
  • Clean, smooth feathers
  • Eats throughout the day
  • Normal droppings that are not runny for more than a couple of days
  • A curious and active disposition

Things to watch for:

  • Decreased appetite; weight loss
  • Decreased activity and grooming behavior
  • Change in droppings in excess of two days
  • Sitting at the bottom of cage
  • Discharge from nose or mouth; sneezing
  • Feathers fluffed for prolonged periods of time

If you notice any of the signs described above, consult an Avian Veterinarian.


Your parrot's cage must be large enough for her to comfortably stretch her wings, climb and play with her toys. The bigger the cage, the better. Minimum cage size is 32"W x 32"L x 48"H. The cage should provide a secure area where she feels safe, but she should also be allowed out of the cage for socialization.


Place two perches at different heights, so your parrot will be unable to soil her food bowls. Provide perches of differing widths, diameters and textures to help keep her feet healthy.

Cage placement
Place your bird's cage below eye level, away from drafts, open windows and the kitchen. Be aware that parrots are sensitive to smoke and strong odors. Cover the cage at night to prevent drafts.

Give her at least 2-3 appropriate sized toys to keep her busy. But, not too many -- she should be able to move about freely without bumping into any in the cage. Rotate toys often to keep her interested.

Provide a birdbath 2-3 times per week. You can offer a warm water bath or gently mist her with warm water from a clean spray bottle. Food & water containers It is important to clean your bird's containers every day, even if the bowl looks full.

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08 Aug 2010 6:50 pm

mmg_3t said:

i am lookoin to adopt a Congo African Grey i have one already that is 8 yrs old i bought him when he was just hatched his name is fenix. he is my spoiled baby. i cant afford to buy another one outright but would love to foster or adopt another for fenix to have a companion. can u help?

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