Name: Inna M
We have a 7 year old African grey.
Unfortunately we made a mistake and did not train him properly.
We are having problems with his behavior.
He is angry.
He only obeys one person in the house.
Is it too late to train him? Who can we turn to?
No, thank you.
I’m sorry for the problems you are having, this is fixable.
Before moving forward, some information as to why this is happening needs to be added.
It is normal for African greys both Timnehs and Congos to bond with an individual at a young age.
What is opaque to most people is that African greys will bond with an entirely different individual around the age of 5, 6 or seven.
This is an evolutionary issue. It helps keep the flock “clean” by reducing and or eliminating inbreeding.
Wild African greys will initially bond with mom or dad but choose a non family mate going into adolescence
In other words the birds are smart enough to know not to mate with a family member.
Unfortunately this a behavior that few humans expect or plan for.
A simple first step, assuming the bird’s cage food dishes can be accessed from the outside of the cage is to have everyone in the household drop a favored treat in the food dish once or twice a day – while the bird is in the cage.
This will signal to the bird that everybody in the household can make good things happen when they come close.
Next we need to add full spectrum lighting no higher than 6 inches over the cage on a timer.
Your bird is expecting “equatorial” light cycles but is getting North American light cycles that change daily.
This is a major stress point that triggers negative hormonal behavior.
By putting a light over the top of the cage and ensuring that the bird is in the cage when the light goes on and the light goes off in 12 hours cycles of light and darkness using a connected timer your bird will have a better understanding of when the day starts and when the day ends every 12 hours just like in the Serengeti plains of central Africa.
Please ignore daylight savings time changes as it has no meaning to the bird and is only more confusing.
The next step is to introduce clicker training starting with the one individual the bird has bonded to at this point in time.
Here is a collection of clicker training videos that will help you better understand the use and benefits of bird clicker training.
All the family members should be able to handle the birds with some sort of “stick” we recommend the long perch that comes with the cage because it really has no use in a birdcage.