Oliver is a Congo African Grey Parrot (Psittacus Erithacus Erithacus), hatched on January 31, 1997. We met Oliver when he was two weeks old in a local bird store. Once our eyes laid upon him, it was love at first sight. Being our first avian companion there were many trial and errors to come. Learning from each experience, our lives together are unsurpassing.
We searched for the right bird store. One who would hold a *good husbandry* ruling, socialize the baby birds, and educate us as much as possible since we were new to the parenthood of birds.
We learned the importance of wing clippings, avian diseases - annual avian vet visits, nutrition and the importance of good husbandry. Oliver had a very difficult time the first year of his little life. He hated the sight of pellets and residing in a cage. It did not matter how many different types of pellets we tried. He always seems to like human food better. Through a lot of patience (14 months worth of patience), we were able to convert Oliver to a pelleted diet, limiting his human food intake. We had to find a pellet that held his interest and soak it with his favorite juice or unsweetened Apple Sauce. We would heat a small amount and soak the pellets in it for 15-20 seconds. Then we would stir it well and make sure the temperature was not over 110 or he could get crop burn. He would ravish them. He continued to beg for human food, jumping off his playstand when we would not comply with his wishes. Later, that led to a cracked open breast bone. Several surgical procedures from minor stitching to removal of most of his keel bone. This was a very painful experience for Oliver AND for us. Oliver was able to come home on Christmas Eve 1997. The best gift God has ever given us. And of course many thanks to our wonderful Board Certified Avian Veterinarian, Oliver made a full recovery.
In May '98 we went on vacation and found out that this little boy ate his pellets dry... all of them. So this lead me to believe, he acted the way he did because of us and how we gave in to his *temper tantrums*. This is where we had a "change of lifestyle" for Oliver. No more Mr. Nice Guy! Well, it took us a year and four months to figure out we were the problem. Oliver is now a *very* happy, healthy, pellet-eating bird.
For the first time in his life, he is starting to have fun. He has an Avian Inc. Ortho Playstand and let me tell you, he plays with every toy on every perch. We hung various types of toys (soft wood, rope, acrylic, mind teasing toys), all precisely hung so he can climb up, swing freely and scream at each and every one of them.
Oliver w/his Favorite Terri cloth ball!!
Update 11/98: Oliver recently broke his beak and was rushed for emergency surgery to his ABVP vet. I cannot stress the importance of letting your pet bird learn how to fly and to have a proper wing clipping. We have decided due to the abundance of accidents our African Greys have been subjected to with breaking their chests open and upper mandible breaks to let our African Greys become fully flighted. This was a very hard decision but we believe it is in our Grey's best interest. With that said, it means we have to be more careful of open windows, ceiling fans, open doors, etc. Visits outdoors will be monitored and with either a harness on or in a cage. To us, it is not worth risking the loss of our feathered babies. They blessed us with their beauty and wonderful personalities ~ Life without them would not be worth living.
Update 1/99: Guess who is flying. Just look at our little boy! He's two years old now. He is talking more as the days go by. That first year was tough but he came through with flying colors. It took Oliver approx. two months to start to fly accurately (hovering, slowing down to land on the spot, etc). I would bring Oliver into bedroom and encourage him to flap and attempt to offer my version of "flying lessons". We had a unique bird gym which had a "pole" Oliver would hang off the toy and flap his wings, the pole would spin. This helped him strengthen his chest and wing muscles.
Update 7/02: At 5.5 years, Oliver is doing wonderfully. He is a very confident, bold & daring african grey. He is still fully flighted and has naturally mastered the task. Oliver is still on an all natural diet. He is very
active with his toys and his speaking ability has slowly progressed over the years. Oliver thoroughly enjoys weekly baths and showers. He loves to hop when on the floor (careful of those toes!).
living in a Broadwell Stainless Steel Cage with a custom top. The dimensions are 36"w x
30"d x 44"h. He uses every square inch of it. Oliver has several gyms he shares throughout the house. Avian Inc Playgym, Panama Heights Gym for busy bodies. All are available at: Grey Feather Toys. Toys are changed regularly to keep their interest. All our birds are on a Natural Diet. You can read about the diet at: Diet: Safe & Toxic Foods.
Water is changed several times throughout the day. Cage papers are changed daily. Cage, perches & toys are cleaned & disinfected daily. After all would you
like to live in a dirty home?. Oliver has various toys and different types of
perches in his cage to keep him busy & entertained when we are not there.
Oliver just starting talking at the age of 16 months old. At 26 months of age... he
is about 14" long and holds a steady weight of 500 grams.
Oliver's Favorite Sites - for African Grey Eyes Only
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