Ask Lafeber


May 28, 2021

Ask the Vet webinar – Grey digging

I have a 10 yr old African Grey. I have had her since she was 2 days old. My problem is She has a habbit of digging. Why and how do I stop it?


Hi Kathleen,

Digging or “chicken scratching” is a natural behavior all Greys and some other African species do. This is not a bad behavior and it isn’t something you can or should try to stop. You can distract her to do something else when she does this, but you should not scold her or act like she is doing something wrong. This is a behavior that has been observed in the wild, and seems to have more than one purpose. Wild greys have been observed doing this while foraging on the ground, and they also do this to dig out a nest cavity. You can turn this into a foraging exercise by hiding some food in some timothy hay on the cage floor or a playstand floor, and letting her forage for the food. Always buy the timothy hay sold for small animals, and not any from a feed store that is intended for large livestock. Lisa Bono, a Certified Parrot Behavior Consultant who specializes in Greys talks about the behavior in her webinar – click below to go directly to that point in the video:

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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