Ask Lafeber


April 27, 2020

African Grey Behavior

Do you believe that Grey’s “pick a person” or it’s more about how we socialize them when they are young(er)?


Hi Heather,

For all parrots, it is natural for them to only have one mate(at a time). In captivity, our parrots tend to view us as mates, which can lead to hormone-related behavior problems. We have learned ways to discourage this type relationship but behavior varies with each individual bird. You can handraise a clutch of parrots, and each bird will have a different personality. In some cases, and hand raised bird never bonds with humans or likes being a pet. The best you can do is try to socialize the bird as much as possible as it grows up. Make sure you and anyone else who handles him limits the contact to head and neck scratches. Petting a bird on its front or back or around the tail is sending it signals that you are a mate, and the bird will likely become hormonal. This results in you being the only one who can handle him. However, no matter how well you socialize your bird and avoid the hormone triggers, it still may decide to choose just one person it likes, and that might not be you. I know this sounds very confusing but it comes down to each bird, and what their personality is like.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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