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Choosing Safe, Enriching African Grey Toys That Your Bird Will Actually Happily Play With

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how to keep your African Grey parrot happy

African grey parrots are very curious and intelligent.  In the wild African Grey’s live in huge flocks and their brains are wired for constant communication and activity. 

If you've lived with an African Grey Parrot, you know that they get bored rather easily. So, keeping your intelligent pet busy throughout the day is important for its physical and emotional well-being.

African are medium sized parrots. Timneh Grey's are smaller than Congo’s,  but you can expect a healthy African Grey to weigh anywhere from 300 -  500 grams.  knowing your birds size is important when it comes to choosing bird toys  that will appeal to them.

How do you keep an African GREY entertained?

Keeping such a smart parrot entertained can be challenging. Like all parrots, grey’s love to chew on paper, medium-density woods, cardboard, and plant-based materials. But, to keep an African grey properly entertained, you’ll want to go over and above just providing it with bird toys.

You'll  also want to provide your grey with foraging opportunities, time outside of the cage, exercise, and multi-sensory stimulation.  I'll cover each of these ways to stimulate your pet below.

Think of your African grey as a feathered 4 year old child. It's constantly on the go and curious. A physically and emotionally healthy African Grey Parrot is going to want front stage and center in all of your activities. 

How do you keep an African GREY entertained?

Keeping such a smart parrot entertained can be challenging. Like all parrots, grey’s love to chew on paper, medium-density woods, cardboard, and plant-based materials. But, to keep an African grey properly entertained, you’ll want to go over and above just providing it with bird toys.

You'll  also want to provide your grey with foraging opportunities, time outside of the cage, exercise, and multi-sensory stimulation.  I'll cover each of these ways to stimulate your pet below.

Think of your African grey as a feathered 4 year old child. It's constantly on the go and curious. A physically and emotionally healthy African Grey Parrot is going to want front stage and center in all of your activities. 

What do African Grey parrots like to play with?

According to the research by Irene Pepperberg, PhD, African grey parrots have the intelligence of a 4 to 5 year old child and they love problem solving and working puzzles. 

In addition to hanging wood bird toys, it will also be important to provide your pet with interactive toys where it has to solve puzzles in order to get a prize. Caitec / Paradise make a variety of foraging bird toys in medium sizes that grey’s love to play with.  

Another brand of bird puzzle toys is called Busy Bird. They hysterically call their toys,” toys that birds love to screw around with,” because your bird has to work at unscrewing long bolts to get at the prize inside.

My African Grey’s love toys that they can make noise with. Smokey, in particular, love's big bells.  He's learned to ring a big bell every time I enter the bird room.

How can I make my African Grey parrot happy?

A lot of people ask how can I keep my African Grey Parrot happy? It's not very hard actually.

One of the most important things that you can do to keep your African Grey happy is to practice  parrot wellness strategies.  This involves giving your bird a very well-balanced diet of pellets and raw, plant-based foods. The more well nourished your pet is the better its disposition will be.

 

Other parrot wellness activities involve ensuring that your bird get plenty of sleep every night. Birds need 10 - 12 hours of sleep a night.  Without adequate sleep a grey can get  grumpy and aggressive, just like you and I do.  And, finally your bird will need plenty of exercise. 

 

One way to ensure that your parrot gets plenty of exercise is to get it a tree style bird stand where you can create various foraging stations and make your bird move around and have to work for its food. If you're not familiar with what  what foraging is all about, check out my book called“Teach Your Bird To Forage.”

If you stop and think about it, wild African gray parrots have to work to find their food and once they find a food site they have to work to get at the food source.  Foraging activities can take up to 70% of a wild birds waking hours.  

A bird's brain is just wired to have a need to forage. imagine how learning how to forage for its food could occupy your bird for several hours a day.  A foraging bird rarely turns into a perch potato!   Nor does it destroy its feathers out of sheer boredom.

Another way to keep your parrot happy is to provide it with multi-sensory stimulation. That's just a fancy term that means providing your parrot with fun  auditory noises  that it can hear and visual stimulation that it can see. A super easy way to provide multi-sensory stimulation is the play the TV or radio for your bird.

Okay!  Just like kids, love to watch cartoons. My bird’s are addicted to watching other birds on TV.  They especially love to watch Bird TV For Parrots by Parrot Town on YouTube.  I play it just about every day.  I'm not kidding! They literally nestle up on a perch to get a bird's-eye view of the Timneh African grey, the Moluccan cockatoo, and other birds who are going about their day squawking and chirping and modeling great behavior for my birds.

Sometimes when I am in my bird room cleaning up and my dogs come in, I holler at them “Get Out!” Now, if I enter the bird room at the wrong time when my birds are mesmerized by Bird TV, Peachy, my Moluccan Cockatoo, will holler at me,” Get Out!”   It's as if I disrupted his entertainment.  Well, pardon me. 

In conclusion, you should be proud of yourself for learning important strategies that will help you reduce bird boredom and keep your African Grey Parrot happy.  Providing your bird with a full range of activities to occupy its mind and its time is one of the best things that you can do to support your intelligent and inquisitive feathered friend.

Diane Burroughs, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist trained in ABA therapy techniques. She specializes in anxiety disorders and is certified in Nutrition For Mental Health. With over 30 years experience, in a range of settings, she’s created thousands of successful behavior plans to help turn around challenging behavior. Diane got parrot fever in the ‘90’s and founded BirdSupplies.com in 1998. Nowadays, BirdSupplies.com focuses solely on Science-backed Parrot Wellness with bird collars for feather plucking birds, nutritional supplements to support avian wellness, and a range of educational materials to support bird behavior. Diane’s authored a number of books on supporting challenging behavior in birds.

Hey there! Because of conscientious parrot caretakers like you we are able to continue to offer valuable, science-backed parrot wellness support that will help your feathered friend to thrive so that you can enjoy it for years to come.

Please take a moment to share this blog with your friends and on your social media. If you want to learn more about science back parrot Wellness, check out my social media channels like YouTube and Pinterest. And request access to my private Facebook group, UnRuffledRx Feather Plucking Help. I can find it by clicking the banner below.

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