Should I Get My 25 YO African Grey a Companion?
Should I Get My 25 YO African Grey a Companion

Should I Get My 25 YO African Grey a Companion?

Last Updated on by Catherine Tobsing

Gina L. related,

I have an adorable african grey named Sammee and she has been with me for 25 years.

I  work part time and I hate leaving her alone. I have bells on her cage, things to hunt for, and other foraging products and toys but I was wondering if she should have a bird friend at this stage.

She’s by the window to look out…she sits with me every nite on my recliner…I take her weekly for a car ride…and other things.  

Is she missing out?

Thank you, Gina

Dear Gina

Thank you for caring for Sammie all these years. It sounds like you are doing all the right things for her and if she is fully feathered, eating well, and loves you, then you don’t need to change things.

Getting her a birdie buddy sounds like the right thing to do but it may not go well.

We take these birds as babies and put them into human homes where they may never lay eyes on another bird and they adapt to an existence that is very unnatural for a bird.

But they usually do fine if they are given a nice big cage full of stimulating toys and other objects and sights to entertain them.

Good food, clean water, and companionship.

It is a long relationship with their owner(s) as an African Grey can live 45-60 years. Hopefully, they can stay with the same family their entire life. Most don’t get that and end up being rehomed more than once.

Due to these birds living a human’s life, they often do not accept another parrot and this can upset the original bird. There can be aggression, jealousy, and even fear. We are unable to explain these changes to our birds and may end up with a living situation that becomes problematic.

Do you have room for two big cages and perhaps an additional playstand or two? Will you then be able to keep up with the added cleaning and also the double playtimes? They may not take to each other and you may have to give each of them individual attention to keep them happy apart. You can’t expect that after 25 years with you, the older bird might not be willing to play with the new bird.

And if perchance they do bond, will you feel bad if you become the odd man out? They could turn against you as well. Requiring you to keep them caged for your protection or have to clip them. You may then end up serving as their caretaker, losing the closeness you once had.

I recall when my own special bird, an Indian Ringneck, after 15 years together, I felt he was not getting what he needed from me and I brought home a tame female. Well, she was aggressive to him and I had to keep them separated. Sitting and petting each, one bird in each hand out of sight of the other was not what I had in mind. So I found the new female a new home and brought home another female, but a past breeder so she was not tame and felt she would be better for him and not vie for my attention. 

Well, she took to him, but she wanted to mate and she would try to get under him. As he was a bachelor for 15 years he was totally flummoxed by her behavior and would not cooperate. She was frustrated and he was confused over her attention and would turn to me. He was not happy. I found her a new home and resorted to having him as my only bird until he passed quite happy to be with me alone, along with his baby bird squeaky toy that he clutched daily up until he finally passed one evening of a stroke.

You can try and see how it will go by planning a play date with a friend and their bird. It does not have to be a grey, but you may get a better idea as to how it might go. Consider visiting a local bird rescue, volunteer a few times, and see how the birds react with each other, perhaps finding a suitable bird to take home on a trial basis to see how it goes. I am not saying it can’t work out. But it can go south fast. All you can do is try.

Catherine

Thank you for replying so fast. I love Windy City Parrot and all that you stand for.  

I’m sorry for the loss of your precious bird. They are, to me, the most wonderful of animals and pets.  I love mine so much.  She does pluck a little but she does not expose the skin and this has been going on for a while.

I let her walk into the kitchen and she loves to swing on a towel and pluck at my rug. I take her outside and she loves, loves, loves a car ride.

I’ve taken her to a pet store once or twice and she is curious about the other birds but the other birds get scared of her so I don’t want to traumatize them.

My vet once said Sammee was a good bird considering they are a one-person pet but she will go to my husband, a couple of neighbors, and my daughter at times if she’s not too intimidated.

I don’t want to traumatize any bird…(my backyard is a sanctuary for birds) so I think I will let things be.  

I’d hate to take a bird in and then they reject each other. It would put me in a pickle and worse, losing toes would be horrific. I don’t keep her closed up in the cage.

Ya’ll keep up the great work.  I enjoy reading the articles!

And thank you for taking such great care of the little babies that you give your help to. 

Sincerely

Gina

Catherine Tobsing

Leave a Reply

Close Menu