How do I tame an older vicious African grey?

african greay parrot staring into camera lense
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With every visit I would have a towel draped over my shoulder so the bird gets used to seeing the towel.


With the bird potentially being able to leave the cage altogether, having the towel ensures that you can drop it over the bird to capture it.


Using conventional means as seen in this video produced by veterinarians once under the towel you can place your index finger and thumb around the birds neck with no threat to the birds help and restrain it in a way that the bird is free to move but you avoid any bite whatsoever.


Before I begin to try to handle the bird, this would be a good time to start clicker training.



Your next visit the bird on the cage door perch will be with the treat a target second clicker.


This time start with the target stick and once the bird makes it, click and offer the treats.


Repeat this six or eight times daily.


Next step in testing the waters is seeing if the bird will step up to another perch using the command step up.


The bird does it again click offer a treat.


After a few days of that we can now test the waters to see if the bird will step up on our hand without aggression.


If the bird goes to bite, close him or her up in the cage and walk away to the next day no more treats to be offered that day.


Repeat the procedure until you are able to get the bird to step up on your hand without trying to bite you first.


This will take time and patience but at least now you have a method.



One of the big problems we are finding out about birds is North American light cycles stress them out.


African grays have spent millions of years on the Serengeti plains of Central Africa.


Being near the equator some light cycles common roughly 12 hours of darkness and 12 hours of light.


The erratic light cycles we live in stress a bird out far more than we give this simple task.


An easy fix is to install a full-spectrum light over the cage, as close as you can get without the bird been able to reach it.


Add a timer to the light setting it for 12 hours of light and conversely 12 hours of darkness.


You will be amazed at how this small hack can change the personality any bird for the better. Make or female.


Nutrition may also cause aggression and birds.


In our post Eclectus toe tapping and wing flipping issues  we speak out other negative behavior triggers.


Although the article speaks specifically of eclectus parrots, the same triggers may relate to any species of captive bird.



We are learning about one of the foods we offer, Hagen Alternative Formula granules which is soy free is having many positive benefits to captive birds and we’re getting feedback from veterinarians.

Also published on Medium.


He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.