Greys & 'Toos
Griff messaged me asking about my Umbrella Cockatoo and Congo African Grey. I thought I'd make a thread of my experiences and thoughts regarding life with them, and others can throw in what they know as well!
Cockatoos are very, very, VERY demanding! Especially an umbrella, like my Cleo. She's an amazing girl and has proven to be a great bird, but you must know what "great" for a cockatoo means. For instance, she screams. She does not have a habit of it, but cockatoos are going to scream, that's a fact. It is LOUD. Even if you think you can handle the noise, even if you've actually stood next to a screaming cockatoo before, it's always going to be different when in your own home. Nobody necessarily wants to hear a screaming umbrella cockatoo when they are upset or angry or have a headache or have guests over, whatever. They aren't going to scream when it's convenient for you. Some 'toos are quieter than others, but they are absolutely not apartment birds.
Cleo also plucks. I got her a few months back, she's had the problem for a while. (She's fifteen years old.) It's a difficult habit to break, and sometimes it's just that, just a habit, and there's not always something you can do. They will pluck due to stress, boredom (or illness). It's a sort of release. If it continues or gets worse, that can lead to mutilation. Digby plucks as well, he's been plucking since I got him about a year ago. We have our ups and downs, but it is a constant struggle.
African Greys in general aren't as loud. The loud noises that Digby makes are things he's repeating, like beeps or other noises he hears in the house. Sometimes Greys can get loud, or so I've heard, but are USUALLY a fairly quiet bird for their size in my experience. African Greys are incredibly intelligent and therefore need to workout their brains regularly, or they may pluck. They are much more sensitive in my experience.
Cleo is a ball full of cuddles and energy, she's very animated and excited. When we go to get her nails trimmed she's not too stressed out, if anything she's curious and excited. She settled in very quickly and warmed up to me very quickly. Digby, as a grey, is more reserved. He's very sensitive to changes, hesitant, much more jumpy. He LOVES attention and LOVES company, in fact he protests whenever I leave the room by making this obnoxious siren noise. But he's not very hands-on loveable like Cleo, he steps up and occasionally lets me scritch him. Cleo wants to be in your lap and cuddle constantly.
Both are very dusty birds. Very dusty! Bathing them and keeping everything consistently cleaned helps with that, but if you have bad allergies, etc., they may not be good choices.
Both require large cages, plenty of toys. They both require plenty out-of-cage time and interaction. You have to remember, BIRDS ARE SOCIAL CREATURES! You would never expect a person to be happy all alone 24/7, and birds are meant to be in flocks and with others of their own kind. Although we will never be able to fully replace what would be a flock, we are our birds' friends'/flockmates/whatever and we have to give them the proper attention or they will suffer.
Diet is also soooooo important. Variety is key, as me and Daisy say!! They cannot live off just seed, or just pellets, they need a mixture of seed, pellets, plenty of fresh foods, nuts, greens, a treat here and there.
This was just some stuff I thought up, but all in all they are very big life-long commitments. Feel free to add stuff, everyone, and I'll probably add more later!
DIGBY 4-year-old male Congo African Grey