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Parrots/rival to my boyfriend's African grey


My boyfriend has had his African grey parrot for 7 years and has trained him very well. I've been with my man for 10 years but have always lived in separate houses. I've never been much of a bird person, but I've come to accept the fact that if I want to spend the rest of my live with my man I have to get along with his parrot. The bird doesn't bite me very often, will step up for me, and accept treats from me but still gets extremely jealous when I'm near my man. How do I un-rival myself and make my mans bird see me as an acceptable member of the flock?

-- We can't change the nature of the animal, but we can modify the behavior if we’re patient.
When it comes to the bird loving only one family member, socializing them  is often successful.
  The rest of this is for your significant other since HE has to be a major part of this whole thing being successful:


When you want your bird to step-up onto someone else's hand or arm, stand very close to this person and let the bird see that you've accepted and welcomed the human into the flock situation.  Be sure to still focus on the bird though so it doesn't feel their status as your 'mate' is threatened.  
   You'll notice your bird watches you carefully and will be looking at you for cues as to what is good or bad, safe or not.  So be consistent in your praise of  every action and make the serious 'No!' face when there’s a lunge or bite. 
  Don't force your companion on someone else, offer the opportunity to step-up, but don't actually pick the bird up and make them go.
 Be sure the other person (your girlfriend who wants very much for this to work)  has a treat (blueberry, grape, a piece of a birdie cookie, etc) and rather than trust the bird to safely take it from their fingers,  have it lay in the middle of their palm (keeping fingers together and stretched downward so the palm is higher and a 'plate', rather than cupping the fingers and making the palm a sort of 'bowl'.
  Secured in a flight suit or other harness made for birds (even if your bird is wing trimmed), take walks up and down the street as your companion rides on an arm, not walks on the ground. 
Take your bird with you when you run an errand where people will be.   While telling people this bird’s not quite ready to be touched,  keep it on your arm below everyone's eye level as you tell the people about what kind of bird this is (and be ready for the hard questions like 'is it loud' ,  'where is it from' and 'what does it eat'). 
Keep looking at your bird and telling them how well he's doing, while standing close to the person you're talking to.  Your bird will opt to be close to your gf while meeting new people since she's familiar.  It will build a bond of trust
  Eventually you'll find this little, very smart bird is accepting and fine around other people as long as they feel their relationship with you is intact, safe and strong.
  All we need to do is work with their instincts instead of trying to change them.
 Good luck!  


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Rev. Dr. S.August Abbott


Certified Avian Specialist; Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council member; Own animal rescue org; National Wildlife habitat #66378; bird care, nutrition & behavior consultant; International Assoc. of Animal Behavior Consultants Associate; National Wildlife Federation Leaders Club member; published bird care, info and behavior articles and guides. Ongoing education in exotic bird behavior and nutrition I can answer behavioral, nutritional, environmental, characteristic/personality questions as well as general health and health care. No animal emergency can ever be addressed on the internet. We cannot see your animal, perform an examination, provide necessary care or medication. Please value your companion for the priceless, living creature they are; not for what you might have paid for them.


Certified Avian Specialist. For more than 30 years I've worked with veterinarians, protective facilities, nature centers, preserves and on my own in providing care and education with regard to multiple animal species, including raptors (hawks, kestrals, owls, etc) and marsupials. In recent years I've focused on parrots, usually rescued from abusive or less than ideal situations and helping educate owners as to proper care. Expert in behavior studies and modification of problem behavior.

4AnimalCare is the organization I run as an animal ministry; World Wildlife Association, Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, National Wildlife Federation Leaders Club and more

Bird Talk Magazine articles about rescued and problem macaws.

Doctorate, Ordained Minister

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