Ask Lafeber

Question:

April 22, 2019

My Grey Is Afraid Of Its Cage


My 21 year old African Grey has suddenly become afraid of being in her cage. I haven’t changed anything. I can’t see anything around the cage that looks different. What can I do?


Answer:

Hi Sue,

African Greys are highly intelligent and they can fixate on the tiniest of changes. Something like a spider hanging around could cause this behavior. Is her cage near a window? If so, possibly a storm scared her, headlights or some other kind of light, a new dog in the neighborhood that she can hear, an animal looking through the window. If she isn’t close to a window, it may still be something she heard. Or she might be doing this as a tactic for staying out with you. Have you been away or handled her less? Perhaps she is feeling insecure about you not being around enough. Think of anything that may have changed that seems insignificant to you. Different cage bedding, a new toy, a photo on the newspaper in her cage bottom. You can try moving the cage, but of course that might make things worse. All you can do is be patient with her, reward her for going into her cage and reassure her when she is scared. Don’t get her back out because she will learn she can act this way to get out. If nothing works, you might have to look into hiring a bird behaviorist. For now, think of possible changes and maybe google for african grey chat rooms or website to see what other bird owners have done in this case.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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