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Living with three African Greys

By Oliver Fry

My life is completely dominated by three Grey Parrots. These words might sound like the opening of a bizarre therapy session, but to anyone who keeps these intelligent birds, they won’t be surprising. They could also serve as a warning to anyone who is contemplating buying a parrot on a whim.

Having kept Hahn’s macaws as a lad, for many years, I was too busy to take on a parrot. But through reading Parrots magazine, was able to keep in touch with developments on the ‘scene’. It was clear that, thanks to the large-scale hand-rearing of African Greys, far too many parrots ended up being passed from home to home when ‘cuddly tame’ babies turned into biting, feather plucking adults. I resolved that if I ever kept another parrot, I would either take in a rescued bird, or failing that, buy a parent-reared youngster that had been given all the advantages a natural upbringing provides.

As it happens, I did both. Perhaps, as punishment for past sins, I now share my existence with two ‘second-hand’ adult Timneh Greys and a young parent-reared Grey. Rewarding as caring for these three mischief-makers has been, it has not always been easy. Along the way, I have had some successes, and learnt many lessons about this sometimes long-suffering species.

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