We’re Bringing Home an Abused African Grey – Can You Help?

We’re Bringing Home an Abused African Grey – Can You Help?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Hi, we’re thinking of bringing home an African Grey, we would be her third home. Her first was abusive, and she was a plucker. She is permanently bald on her belly. We think she is about 15 years old.

She has been in her current home for many years and does not pluck anymore. I was wondering if you had any advice for what she might need just in regards to being bald. We do keep our home cool in the winter (about 65) will she need one of those panel heaters? Can I knit her a sweater? lol

Her current cage is 24″ x 36″, which is only marginally bigger than the cage we have for our green cheek. (so in other words, too small for a grey, in OUR opinion) we like to err on the side of bigger is always better.

We don’t want to completely stress her out though and change her cage if she’s comfortable with it. What is your opinion of what we should do… keep her in her current cage temporarily, or permanently? Also, would it be prudent to take photos of her current cage set up and re-assemble everything as closely as possible when we get it home?

 So that the perch and toy lay out is all the same? Also, we currently have a green cheek conure, and I was looking to buy shower/ window perches for both birds is there one that would work for both, or should I get different ones? Can you recommend which perch for each bird? Thanks! Jessica

Dear Jessica

How nice that you are planning to bring home a rescued Grey, even plucked ones need love.

It is good she is not still plucking, yes they can permanently damage their feather follicles. If your home is that cool with a partially naked bird then you may want to provide a Thermo Panel or a Thermo Perch.

I would go with the larger of the two panels or the Medium Thermo Perch. I do not think a sweater will be appreciated if she is not plucking, you really don’t need to put her through the stress of clothes.

If she is plucking then perhaps a sweater or even a vest made out of a large white sock with holes cut out for the head and wings and shortened may be helpful. The cage. Is the bird going to be out of the cage for a good portion of the day? Or will it be locked up most of the day and perhaps come out in the evening?

If your bird will be in its cage much of the time then 30″ wide is the size recommended for a Grey. If the bird is out most of the time, the cage does not have to be as large. A new cage should not be a problem.

Setting it up exactly like the old cage is also not necessary, change should be the key here. Often birds get bored with the same day in and out and it can contribute to plucking.

Change is what birds need to keep them open to new things, places, toys, etc. Shower perches. They can use the same Shower Perch, but not a small one. You would want the Large Polly’s Shower Perch. Both birds can use it. I hope this helps, please let me know if you need any further information.

Thank you Catherine

Thank you! *Most* days our green cheek is out for a minimum of 2 hrs a day, usually up to 6-8 hours a day. There is usually one day a week when I’m gone, and he might just come out for breakfast, then a half-hour snuggle before bed.


Those days we make sure there are new toys and new foraging opportunities in his cage before we leave. (I’m a stay at home/ home-schooling mom) As for the sweater, I was kidding, lol it would certainly be cheaper than a personal heater, but I don’t think the bird would appreciate it lol.

As for keeping the cage the same, I only meant as she transitioned to her new home. If she already knows the layout to her cage, would it be good to keep it like that for a few weeks?

We routinely take everything out of our green cheek’s cage and move everything except his sleeping perch. Perch arrangement gets changed every 2-3 weeks. Toys get rotated every 3-4 days. Thank you again, I love this store!!!

Hi Jessica

Good that your birds seem very well adjusted. I think the Grey is lucky to have you caring for it. I think the change to your home will be a big enough change that even if you brought the cage in and decorated it exactly as the older smaller cage, it would not be needed.

Just go ahead and dress the cage as you want it to be, make sure the bird has enough things in it to not feel exposed, the saying is “If you see the bird first thing there is not enough in the cage”.

It is good to hear you make a point to move things around. Keeping it fresh is good for your birds. If the grey was actively picking or much more naked. Then a suit would not be a bad idea. There are sweaters and hoodies and all sorts of things for parrots to wear to help them from picking or to keep them warm. Thank you very much for your business and kind words, we appreciate it all.


Hi Catherine

Thank you so much! It’s so reassuring to hear you say that about not seeing your bird first things. I often look into his cage and think “Where’s the bird?!? Did anyone let him out?!?” and then I see him hiding behind some dangly toy LOL I worry that I had TOO MUCH in cage 🙂

 One bird’s opinion of Cozy Corners

His previous owner said something about having one of those corner cozies, would those work with the thermo perches? They wouldn’t be a fire hazard to have the fleece on the side and the thermo perch under it?

We had a parrot years ago, and remember shopping with you back then, so when we got our Green Cheek this past summer, I was excited to see you still in business, unlike my other favorite online retailer who went out of business. The site looks great, and I look forward to the Sunday brunch newsletter every weekend!

Dear Jessica

As long as your bird has a nice big hollow in the middle top of her cage she will be fine, the toys placed around the inside of the walls and not hanging in her sitting space and smacking her in the head.

It sounds perfect! A Cozy Corner will be fine with a Thermo perch, the perch does not get too hot, if you put your hand around the perch you would feel warmth, but it does not get hot hot, as it is not supposed to be hot.

The panels would get somewhat warmer as they are not meant to be sat on. Birds can move closer or further away as desired.

Thank you, Catherine

Hi Jessica – mitchr here

 The thermo perches are factory set to constant 102 degrees Fahrenheit – touchable and provide no fire hazard whatsoever

and properly placed – you can never have too many accessories in the cage

Written by Catherine Tobsing
Approved by Mitch Rezman


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Catherine Tobsing

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