Add new companion or not?

Welcome to the Grey Play Round Table African grey Question and Answer Board. Maggie Wright, author of the Barron's Grey pet manual and creator of the Grey Play Round Table African grey newsletter/magazine, and Lisa Bono, African grey behavior expert, will be the two moderators to answer your questions. Please check out the areas that have already been dealt with... and submit your new questions.


Due to the incredibly high volume of SPAM, the board has been set up so that you cannot submit a question. Instead, please send me your question at merlin@AfricanGreys.com and I will post it for you. Then, both Lisa and I will post responses. Sorry for the inconvenience.

PLEASE send me your questions... we REALLY want to help you!!! merlin@AfricanGreys.com.


Wishing you GREY'T Blessings!
Maggie Wright

Moderator: merlin

Add new companion or not?

Postby merlin » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:52 pm

Hello,
I just found your website whilst trying to get some more information on introducing a second parrot. We've had our little man for about a year now and he's wonderful however I work and my partner who used to work from home is now going to have to work out too so we are considering getting Felix (our CAG male) a companion.

I've read a lot about it and spoken to people on AG forums and although I know I cannot get a definitive answer on how/if it will work out although it would be helpful to hear it from someone other than just AG owners (as helpful as they've been). I've read through your website and have found it very helpful and interesting and wonder if you could give me any information on introducing another.

Should it ideally be another CAG? Is it better to get a male or female...(I know that male/male realitionships can be just as close with AG's)? Obviously they would need to be kept in separate cages for a very long time with only short meetings at first but is it likely they will ever be able to live together? I could go on forever listing questions.....Felix leaves me pondering an awful lot!

There are so many different factors and I don't know where to begin! Any advice or information would so much appreciated.

Kind regards
Lauren
merlin
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Re: Add new companion or not?

Postby merlin » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:54 pm

Dear Lauren,

Thanks for contacting me. Felix sounds very special! I'm not sure if you found my articles on what happened to me while bringing in my second grey. If not, here are the links:
http://www.africangreys.com/articles/overview/livingmerl.htm
http://www.africangreys.com/articles/relationships/withmerlin.htm

Overall, if you bring in another parrot, Felix must ALWAYS be treated like the top bird. He gets all attention FIRST... and he gets special time... as the new bird does too. The articles will help you in your decision.

In thinking about whether Felix needs another grey companion... or a smaller bird that may not need as much attention, look back at his past, too. Was he with another bird before you? How long have you had him? My Merlin was the ONLY bird for 3 years and LOVED it. The second bird was quite devastating for her to deal with. All is fine now.

If you would like me to react to some of your thinking, as you work through your process, please contact me again.

Looking forward to hearing from you.
GREY'T Blessings,
Maggie-
www.AfricanGreys.com
merlin
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Posts: 188
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Re: Add new companion or not?

Postby merlin » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:55 pm

Hello,
Thank you for your quick response, we've had him since he was 16 weeks old and was finishing being weaned, he was hand reared with his siblings by a breeder and his family, he's never had his wings clipped and is fed on harrisons pellets and fresh fruit and veg every day, he also has a UV lamp so as far as I know he's a happy little man - my parents have also had a parrot off the same breeder and as far as I can see it appreared to be a very calm enviroment at their home. The only other parrots he has known are therefore his siblings. He's only a year old so still young and I regularly show him videos of other parrots (although I know I cannot judge by this - his reaction is always good).

I have read your articles - they are very helpful....I am aware about treating him always like the top bird and always giving him his food first, out time first and affection first. My real wonder is if it's likely they will ever be able to live together because I have often read people saying that some people are very lucky or they're an exception which gives me the impression that they will more than likely not get on!

Thank you again
Lauren
merlin
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Re: Add new companion or not?

Postby merlin » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:59 pm

Hi Lauren,

They can be really good buddies, even in separate cages. I personally don't like to put two greys in the same cage, as one usually becomes more assertive and the other more passive. It doesn't seem fair for the passive one... but that's how my personal compassion works. Again, the ONLY way it would work is if it is THEIR idea to move in together.

You never know whether they will live together or not. If not, they will still be great buddies. At a year old, he may be open to a companion ... but he could also become competitive. If you really just want companionship, you may want to think about another kind of bird like a cockatiel or something. They will be great buddies.

If you choose to bring in a second grey, a hen would probably be best. I have two females and one male and they ALL get along well NOW in separate cages.

Thanks,
Maggie
merlin
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Posts: 188
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Re: Add new companion or not?

Postby Lisa A. Bono » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:42 pm

Hi Lauren.
I have 4 greys. Two females and two males. I do not let them interact physically. They have their own cages, playstands and time with me. Two (Emma-f and Sydney-m) can eat dinner near eachother, though, Emma will often take food from Sydney's foot or beak, because she can. (Must be better if he has it) But when they are in the mood near their cages, the can either get along or stalk eachtother to pull tail feathers. Emma seems to be the instigator.
Sydney does not tolerate Stirling(m) in the least bit. Sydney's entire life revolves around how he is going to "get to" Stirling.
Sydney does not bother Abby(f) at all.
So flock dynamics around here as as follows:
Sydney is friendly with Emma and Abby and is out to get Stirling.
Emma is friendly with Sydney, Abby and Stirling.
Abby is friendly with Emma, Sydney and Stirling.
Stirling is interested in Emma and Abby but knows to stay clear of Sydney.

So I know how my flock reacts to eachother. I would still never leave any of them unattended for a second because like children poking and teasing when mom and dad are not looking, I do not know if anything will escalate.

With that said, they do act like a flock and communicate to eachother continuously, so they are bonded as a flock.
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