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Every Day Living Helpful Hints

Internet readers are being most generous in providing their helpful hints; therefore, we've decided to start a new helpful hint section with ideas on how to improve every day living with our Greys. Here are a few ideas,and we welcome more from you.

  • Sandie Weseloh of California uses the Tellington Ttouch to stop her Ruby Tuesday from feather picking.   It only took three days.....whenever Ruby gets antsy, Sandie does the TT Touch.   Cindy of New Jersey sings “Rock-a-Bye Baby” to her Oscar when he gets nervous, cautious.   As long as she makes up songs and uses his name, he immediately relaxes.   Pat Booker of California says that Stella Luna suffered separation anxiety when she left for work.   So she put Stella’s favorite treat in a puzzle toy which keeps her occupied. When Lauren Smith’s revered one, Sebastian , becomes startled from the Mississippi nighttime noises, such as crickets, house sounds and flushing toilets, she sings him a lullabye, talks in a soft voice and gives him ‘tummy rubs.’

  • Judy Emsley of Minnesota is quite the bargain shopper.   She goes to garage sales...finds wooden and plastic toys, baskets and educational toys that are great.   Both of her guys, Ben and Frankie , have toy boxes in their cages (or baskets) where she places all these special finds.   Before putting them in, she makes sure they are VERY SAFE.   Madeline of Arizona makes a selection of ‘foraging baskets’ for Sammy .   She puts a layer of the plastic-backed paper towels (from the pet store) then tops them with shredded paper.   Then she tosses a handful of foot toys, leather strips and pieces of shredders into the bottom.   When visiting another home, she just takes one of the baskets with her.   For selecting the appropriate basket, she suggests making sure the handle is well-secured and it doesn’t wobble too much......also make sure there are no rough edges and there’s nothing toxic to chew.    

  • Vicki Bond of Texas purchased Congo for her husband but he could not handle her, so Vicki became the pet human.   Some keys to working with Cranberry are to stay calm, and observe what you’re doing to provoke
    behavior problems like biting.   When he starts to bite, she makes their clicking love sound and says “You don’t mean to bite me and I don’t mean to get upset.   Let’s be good.”   He responds with “Good boy,” and no longer bites.   But he does sometimes squeeze her finger to let her know when something is bothering him.

  • Diana Hatchell of Wisconsin believes in baby wipes for quick clean-ups from Everette’s (Evy) messes.
  • Dorothy Andrusko of New Jersey wipes Albert’s cage with a wet paper towel every morning.   She used to do it every week until she discovered is was less time consuming and easier to do it on a daily basis.

  • Jane Vorster of Zimbabwe, Africa uses a plastic table cloth on the floor to stop Zazu’s messes, as he loves to throw his veggies everywhere.   She says they’re easy to wipe...just throw them in a bucket of soapy water...and she has several she uses.

  • Fred Meader of Pennsylvania places several throw rugs from the Dollar Store under Ralf’s cage.   Then he washes them in the washer.   Ron Staiano of Yorkshire, England throws several rolls of wallpaper under Chicco’s cage.   It removes the mess in a heartbeat.  

  • DALLAS PIEROG of ALBERTA, CANADA , has learned how to deal with GARNET’s big messes under the cage.   Dallas put linoleum under the cage and can now sweep and handwash the floor with ease.   You also may purchase a plastic office mat from any office supply store to use in the same fashion.  

  • KELLY of PENNSYLVANIA has learned that, similar to humming, “clicking” calms BEEPER .   Kelly says that when she makes a clicking sound with her tongue against the roof of her mouth, Beeper calms down, tucks his head under her chin to be petted and sometimes...he lets her pet his whole body.  

  • ANGELA of CALIFORNIA says that BLAZE loves to play with his “toy box.”   Get a small shoe box and put many hand held toys and safe objects (see Spring 2000 Grey Play Round Table)..... put them in the cage....or on top for play when out of the cage.   If your Grey never has seen one, introduce it slowly.  

  • MIRANDA DEKAY of NEW YORK turns HUBERT’s cage daily (on casters) to give her a different daily view.  

  • ANNE of BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA , says, “ CHICO loves a good game of ‘BOX.’   We put a clean, unused moving box on the counter and hide a treat and an old phone book in it.   We start holes in two sides for him, and Chico goes to it ripping a ‘door’ and ‘window’ into the box....then he hunts for the treat and rips up the phone book.”  

  • BOB of NEW YORK says, “NEVER lose your temper.   When SUNNY used to bite, I’d yell quickly at her and put her in her cage, thinking she would learn that her behavior was unacceptable.   I soon learned that the next time she bit, she would over-react and bite again, usually in an agitated state.   I then resigned myself NEVER to yell or over-react, no matter what.   Instead, I look at her, say a firm NO and praise her when she doesn’t bite.   She is now four years old and I can do anything with her without the fear of a bite.   If your Grey bites, stay calm, say a firm NO and quickly praise and re-assure within 2-3 seconds....for not biting.   It works!!!”  

  • NANCY of MINNESOTA folds newspaper off the sides of PEBBLES’ cage to catch any messes that may drop.   SUE T. of PENNSYLVANIA puts many layers of newspaper in the cage bottom, all at once, so that she can remove soiled papers daily from POPCORN’s cage.   It makes cage cleaning easier for her.  

  • DARREN EDWARDSON of MINNESOTA says that MR. SCARLET is now comfortable around strangers because he was introduced to many different situations early in his life.  
  • MARK HALLS of OHIO allows his TOBY to sit under his chin while he scratches his companion’s head.   He says, “humming seems to relax him and allows me to touch him on his head and wings....but the humming is the key!!!”

Pam Barkowski of California finds that an inexpensive roll of baby wipes does a great cage cleaning well as on any accidents on the floor, AND perches.

PFC Gilley of New York State bought a hand held Bissel steamer for cleaning
Hinahina’s cage . (ALWAYS remove bird first, of she says)

            Amanda Gonzalez of South Carolina reports that Ojema loves to spend time outside....but one
            must first be careful when taking their Greys outside. Some people use the harness and
            leash...first make sure the bird is comfortable with it and some NEVER adjust to it. Also, if you use
            a harness, NEVER let it go, as a bird loose with a harness wrapped around a tree is very
            dangerous. The safest way to have your Grey outside is in a cage. You MUST always be right
            beside it to insure its safety. Be sure the temperature is not too hot or cold, and your Grey has a
            shaded area in its cage, if it’s a sunny day.
  • At difficult times when Izzie of Georgia isn't too excited about going into his cage, his human ( jimolivesi )
    gives him a peanut to hold and unshell while he's being placed back in the cage.
    Editor's note: Our Greys shouldn't really be receiving more than a couple of peanuts per day. Please
    refer to Dr. Alicia McWatters' article on peanuts in our information section.

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  • Valerie of Maryland warns us NOT to let ANYONE clip our Greys' wings too short. Her Grey Sammy
    had a terrible fall, resulting in being hospitalized for a hemorhaged lung, all due to his wings being TOO
  • Alex of Illinois says that sometimes when his Grey Mir is stressed and about to begin feather picking,
    he and his mother play music to entertain and refocus Mir's attention. Just remember that if you use
    this strategy, be sure to reward your Grey with this entertainment when it is displaying GOOD
    behavior. Otherwise, it may begin picking to manipulate you to play the music. Please refer to Jane
    Hallander's article on feather picking in our information section.

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  • Mona Rubenstein of New York State reports that her five year old Congo named Ziggy used to be
    rather nippy, especially when she put him in his cage. Now she puts him in his cage backwards with a
    peanut in his beak, and he doesn't bite at all.....quite ingenious!!!
  • Linda Pollack of Georgia sprinkles talc powder around O'Brien's cage as a barrier to ants. And they
    don't cross the line...
  • Kathie of Washington State says that her Grey Harley feels more safe and protected now that she has started covering the back of his cage and leaving on a night lite. He has stopped having night frights. BRAVO!!!
  • Lorraine DiGregorio of New York State says that she had been having a difficult time getting her Grey Mr. Smith to come off his cage. She has learned that by playing "hide and seek" with him, he'll come down and willfully do whatever she wants him to do.
  • Janelle of Florida says, "After reading the comments in the guestbook, I noticed many owners of young Greys. My hint to you is to make up a journal or log book noting interesting things that your bird is doing and learning. Then you can look back and see its progress. I have done this with my sweetheart, Tiko , and relive important events in his life. Granted he's only 14 months, but I was able to fill out the talking survey with ease by referring to my journal. I intend to keep it going all of his life (or until I'm too senile to keep up with it)." Thank you, Janelle.
  • QUALITY FOCUSED ATTENTION: Joe Probus of Idaho reports that at 6 years old his Grey Beaker
    started plucking. His vet suggested that he take Beaker for a ride in the car. Result: the picking
    stopped and now Beaker enjoys weekly car rides. Not only that, he now has frequent walks with Joe by
    riding in his cage as Joe drives a wagon. Obviously, the increased quality focused attention has done
    wonders for both of them. Bravo!!!
  • QUIET TIME: Dorothy of Maryland informs us that her parrots have learned that "SHHHHH" and
    closing the door means quiet time. Quite remarkable since there are 7 birds, in total.
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