Join Date: Dec 2015
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Are we bonded?
We rescued a 16 yo African Grey named Budweiser about 5 months ago. His adjustment period was slow slow to start, he didn't leave the safety of the top of his cage and no one was allowed to touch him at all for months. Throughout the first months he was vocal, active, and eating well he just didn't want to go further than on and around his cage. Within the last month he has become a completely different bird. He will walk around the house (he is not clipped but it seems he prefers walking over flying) and follow us room to room. A few weeks ago I actually got him to step up and get on my shoulder! This was an incredible achievement and from then on he will follow me around until I pick him up, then he will nuzzle into my face and bow his head to be scratched and coo in my ear (he can stay there for hours with me scratching his head). My dad is the actual owner of the bird, I live and work an hour away and visit on the weekends. Considering greys live to be 65+, it is my dads intention to give Bud to me down the line.
Bud doesn't seem to have the same relationship with my dad even though he works from home and is with him 24/7, feeds him, showers him, etc. He has only stepped up for my father one time and as soon as he felt a bit unsteady on my father's shoulder he bit a chunk out of his hand. My father remained very calm and simply set him back down. He has never let him pet him or scratch him (it's more like bud just "tolerates" him). When I leave for the week Budweiser will apparently walk to my door and knock his head against it hoping I will come out.
I give you this background because I am not sure how to know when he is officially "bonded" to one of us. I have heard that you must establish a bond before attempting to begin training any new behaviors. I have heard that greys can be one person birds and am concerned that he may have already chosen me as his "person". As much as I love him and wish I could have him, my dad really has the resources and time to take care of him right now. It wouldn't be fair to bring him to my house when I work 8-5 and he has been used to being out all day. So by the information I have given, is Budweiser now bonded to me? When I am there on weekends is it a good idea to try and reinforce new behaviors? Am I doing permanent damage by only seeing him a couple of days a week?
(side note: my dad says he doesn't pluck or act depressed when I am gone or anything, just kind of searches and calls for me and hangs around my room)