Breeding and Rearing African Greys

Barry Wold


The first thing one learns when
breeding African Greys is that they are
all so different. Each pair will act, react
and do things differently. There is not
a common denominator such as is
commonly found in Amazons ,
macaws, etc. We have several pairs of
greys. Some exhibit the sterotype
behavior of greys, of being shy and
retiring. Another stereotype is that
they will shake from fright when
approached, tJy to hide, and ce1tainly
growl. Fo1tunately we have none that
exhibit fear but this may be because of
the physical situation of the birds and
their cages.
The birds are kept in the same cage,
with the nest box attached, year
round. The cages are suspended off
the ground, and are made of 12 gauge,
half by three inch wire. The cages are
eight feet long, four feet high and 30
inches wide. They are high enough so
that the perches are at least six feet
from the gound. This allows the birds
to look down on me. The metal nest
box is boot or L-shaped. Box dimensions
are 18 inches high and long by II
inches wide. The access hole is four
inches square near the top of the L.
The boxes are hung on the outside of
the cage. There is an inspection door
with wire screen so that when the
door is opened the birds cannot
escape. I feel this is important because
several of the pairs will not exit the
box when I inspect. The inspection

door on the boot (leg) should also be
higher than normal because of the
greys' tendency to scratch and pile the
nesting material up against the door. I
use one inch thick pine boards for
flooring and pine shavings above tl1at.
The entire inside of the nest box is
painted with a flat black paint. The
birds seem to feel more secure in the
The perches are tree branches,
usually eucalyptus, located at each
end of the cage. At the opposite end
from tl1e nest box is the feeding area.
A 12 inch square attachment, the
width of the cage, holds the water and
food dishes . This area is covered.
There is a six foot solid divider
between cages. At the food end of the
cage, two feet are open to adjoining
cages. Four feet of the cage is covered
on top, including the nest box. At the
nest box end, I have hinged plywood
that is raised in the summer for ventilation
and put down in the winter to
protect from the cold winter winds.
The cages are located in an Emu
pasture under deciduous oaks. In the
winter, the birds get tl1e benefit of the
sun, in the summer they are shaded.
The Emus do not disturb the greys.
Our birds generally sit out in the open
during the most inclement weather.
They love bathing in the rain and will
play in the snow when it is fresh on
their cage. 

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