Banjo, the african grey
African Grey Parrot - Psittacus erithacus in front of a white background

Banjo, the African Grey

I have an African Grey who simply loves only me.

However, when I let him out of his cage to wander around, he insists on biting my woodwork! Is there anything I can do to stop this behavior?

When he does this, I put him back in his cage. He really doesn’t want to go and ruffles his feathers.

Thanks,

Joanne

Dear Joanne

Sounds like you have a wonderful relationship with your Grey. And you want to keep it that way. Putting the bird back in the cage after it tries to chew your woodwork or does something else that you don’t want him to is not the best response.

Your bird does not understand the relation between the two events.

All he knows is he has come out and while he is doing so, gets grabbed and caged.

I can understand his frustration. And yours.

Where is the cage in relation to the woodwork?

Does he have to pass it to get to you or his stand, toys? If so, can you rearrange the room so he bypasses the woodwork?

Is he out a bit and then wanders over to the woodwork? Does he comes out and zero in on the woodwork?

What does he have to do when he is out of the cage?

Ideally, you should have something set up for him to go right to when he is out.

A stand with toys, a special toy box filled with surprises?

As a small child, a parrot will look for something interesting.

You need to provide that.

When he is let out pick him up and set him on a stand with something fun to nibble or play with.

Bypass the woodwork.

He should every time he comes out be diverted to a stand or play area with fun stuff, not just the way it was left the day before and the day before that. Wrap a Nutraberrie in paper and leave in a food dish, leave a paper towel wrapped cracker.

Distract, distract, distract. You may also want to try Clicker Training. You devise fun little games and tricks for your bird that he will soon look forward to being rewarded for and not give the woodwork a second look.

Also keep in mind, that a pet that wants attention will do things that make you react to them and that you do react by coming over and picking up the bird, so it then becomes the bird training you.

We wish you the best

Catherine

Dear Catherine,

Thanks so very much for your quick response. I don’t let Banjo out of his cage every day. Usually once or twice a week. I have a cat, too, and simply can’t trust them unsupervised.

He doesn’t care for my significant other either.

He really only likes women, especially me.

I am surprised that he took to me so well.

I inherited him at age 8, and that was 4 years ago.

He’s bitten me a couple of times, but only because I had the cell phone up to my ear and him on the other shoulder.

He’s so very jealous I guess of anything else near my ear except him. He calls me “mommy”, too. So sweet!

I’m gonna try the nutri berry & cracker idea.

I do have a large plastic peanut that I can hide huts in. He has toys in his cage which he plays with ofter.

Love to come out of the cage for a bath once a week, too. I just spray him with lukewarm water. He always goes to the top of his cage for that and flaps & flaps his wings. He doesn’t know that he can fly.

His wings have never been clipped.

He just waddles around like a little old man.

The woodwork is by the refrigerator.

No, he really doesn’t have to go that far if I can divert him.

I’ll try. He wanders around and usually ends up there.

Now today I had him out but sat on the floor with him, and he just stayed close to me. He scraps his feet on the floor like he’s playing the banjo, hence his name. Not once did he try to go for the woodwork. I also put 2 new toys in his cage. Let’s see. I’ll give it a try. Thanks again.

Joanne

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