Ask Lafeber


June 2, 2020

Training a Grey

what is a good way to train an african grey, I don’t want to go the rout of using food/treats to get him to do what I want.


Hi Nick,

Treats are just one way to reward a bird for completing a trick or behavior. It is often the most reliable method, as far as the bird performing the task correctly each time. But unless you are training him for a professional bird show, then there is no need for him to be consistent. For a pet bird, training is more of a bonding experience. It helps to form trust between the owner and bird and can serve as a positive distraction from unwanted behavior such as hormonal behavior. Most birds are happy to please so a lot of praise and some head scratches are enough of a reward. The basics of training are the same  – you are asking the bird to do a trick or behavior and if he does this, you give him positive reinforcement. This can be a treat, a special toy or attention. If he fails to do what you asked, you simply ignore this and try again. Sometimes it is obvious that the bird isn’t in the mood and in that case, it’s time to do something else. Training should be a 100% positive experience so be aware of your bird’s behavior and body language and soon you will recognize when he is receptive to a training session or better off left alone for that time.

While these have a lot of beginner info, the articles on this page are very helpful no matter what your level of training is.

Caring For Your Bird

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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