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Patricia, Parrot Consultant
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 1759
Experience:  Published author, free lance bird behaviorist, adviser to the parrots at Sarasota Jungle Gardens.
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how can i train my african grey parrot to poo in his cage ...

Customer Question

how can i train my african grey parrot to poo in his cage instead of all over the place he is 4 months old
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Patricia replied 10 years ago.
Hi Alice. Welcome to the wonderful world of living with a Grey. You should not try to force him to do his droppings inside his cage. That is his home and where he sleeps. Most Greys will not foul their cages if at all possible. When you think about it, that is nature and to try to foce him to do otherwise is going against nature. In the wild, to put droppings where you sleep is to attract predators. You probably already know your Grey has the highest IQ of any of the parrots and one of the prime keys to living with them successfully is to respect their intelligence and work with it, never against it. My Grey will not do a dropping in his cage if there is anyway at all to avoid it. The way I handle it is to keep a layer of newspaper so that is is directly underneath his cage door when it is open. I let him out first thing every morning, he goes right to the top of his door and drops it on the paper. I roll it up and it's gone. Actually that is a lot easier than having to clean if off the cage grate. While I never recommend strict potty training for any parrot because it can be dangerous for them, it can be very handy if they have a word to associate with the deed. At my house we keep it simple. We use "poop". If I want my Grey to do his business in a certain spot or if I want him to try before I take him somewhere else, I ask him to poop. If he can, he will, while he is over the papers. He is now to the point where he tells me "hafta poop". He also tells me when I need to "get that poop" because he knows that when he goes, if I'm handy, I wipe it up right away. You can start by putting the papers where they will catch his first big one in the morning. Use whatever word you want but be consistent always using the same word. As soon as you see the indicator he is about to go, repeat the word several times. I call it the "poop squat wiggle". I'm sure you have seen it. Then as soon as he goes, praise him. It won't take him long to associate the word with the deed. The important thing is to never scold or try to punish him for going whenever and whereever hs needs to. Only praise him lavishly when he uses his papers. If you scold or punish, you could end up causing him to try to hold it until he thinks it's okay. That could lead to all kinds of health problems. The botXXXXX XXXXXne is, if you have birds, you have poop. It's just one of the things we have to accept and deal with. For moving about the house and so he can spend as much time with you as possible, one solution is to get him a sturdy wicker basket that has a good handle, suitable for perching. Line the basket with several layers of paper towels. Tie some toys to the handle. Have him step onto the handle and take him to other rooms with you when you are going to be doing something that he can safely be around. (Not when you are using any cleaning products, etc.) He can poop into the basket when he needs to. Yours is still very much a baby and right now is the time to start with having him learn things. I'd get the basket and start right away with this procedure. You don't have to spend a lot of money because he may very well want to chew it also. I'd check out some thrift stores for a suitable one. Wipe it down good with an apple cider vinegar and water solution. That should kill any germs. He will quickly learn to love his basket when he realizes that it means getting sp spend more time with you. He is most assuredly a parrot that you cannot leave sitting in his cage for very long at a time. He is too smart and will get too bored. He is also going to need some puzzle type toys and things that will challenge his intellect. Thrift stores are good source for that as well. When children out grow those expensive Fishcer Price types of toys that play music, talk, etc. , you can pick them up very cheap. The rule of thumb is that almost any toy that is safe for infants up to 3-4 years old is also safe for a parrot. If this is your first experience with birds, you have really bitten off a lot. Greys are very complex parrots and not generally recommended as "first birds" or for the novice bird owner. I hope this will help but if you have any other questions at all, just let me know. Sharing you life with a Grey can be so much fun and so rewarding but it can also get very challenging at times. I hope your experience with yours will be as much fun for you as I have with mine. Just let me know if you need any more help. Patricia

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