African Grey Consultations, Part 2

Spreads for web 2

By Sally Blanchard
Several years ago, an avian veterinarian referred a couple to me because their two year old African Grey was having hypocalcaemic seizures. The bird had been weaned on nothing but seed (mostly sunflower) and the couple hadn’t been able to get it to eat anything else. Once I was at their home, it was clear to me that the man was the favoured person and the woman was the tolerated person, Greys often bond to a couple in this manner. Once I gave it some thought, I set up a scenario where the couple sat at the dining room table with the Grey on a stand between them at the corner. When I described my idea, the couple thought they would feel a little silly doing what I outlined for them to do over the next week.

I had them place a variety of healthy foods, such as steamed carrots, sweet potatoes and broccoli, plus almonds and some apple slices, in a bowl on the table. The wife picked up a food morsel, commented how yummy it was and then reached over and fed it to her husband who also mentioned how yummy the food was. The first day, the bird seemed as if he couldn't care less, the next day he seemed curious. Then I had the husband take the piece of food from his wife’s hand before she put it in his mouth and instead of eating it he held it up for the bird. At that point the Grey started imploring the husband to share the food, but he didn’t share right away and ate it himself. Then I advised the man to go ahead and give the bird a piece of food. At first the Grey threw it down, but eventually started to eat the food his best buddy gave him. It took a couple of more days after that, but the Grey actually accepted the food and ate it.

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