• When will my bird start to talk?

A grey's inclination to reproduce human speech can depend on the bird's age and whether it is kept with other birds. Lone birds are more likely to reproduce human speech. The value of talking will depend on the method you use to teach speech. While many greys will certainly mimic human speech without understanding the context, this seems a somewhat demeaning 'use' of such an intelligent bird's abilities. If a bird  is taught to use speech in context, then your grey may well learn to associate spoken words with the objects and events in question.

Here the bird is taught to use speech in much the same way you would encourage a human baby to start to learn to talk. So, repeating a word or phrase clearly, in association with events or with objects that are shown to the bird, will often result in the bird using these words in their proper context. Some greys do learn to talk (mimic) within their first few months of life and most 'pet' greys do talk within two years of age. But some greys never talk at all.  There does not seem to be any difference between the talking abilities of Timneh greys and African greys.

• Can I use a harness so that I can safely take my bird outdoors?

No type of leg restraint should be used on a parrot, as this can cause the leg to be dislocated.  Although most greys dislike anything touching their feathers, some will accept a harness which can be used, with care, to take  your bird outdoors. The harness is fitted around the bird's body and has a strap below for you to hold on to. There are several different types of harnesses. The better ones have an elasticated leash. This prevents a bird from being jolted suddenly if it tries to take flight and reaches the end of the leash. Birds will need to be properly trained, with care, if they are to accept a harness. Introduce the harness very gradually. On the first few occasions, make sure the bird only wears the harness for a few seconds and do this in a familiar indoor location. If the bird seems comfortable with this, gradually increase the time the bird wears the harness at each session. If at any stage the bird does not seem comfortable with the harness do not persist with forcing this on a bird. Instead, consider building a day-flight.

Various harnesses are sold but take care if you try to fit one of these on your bird.
Most greys do not accept wearing a harness as they find them uncomfortable.

Associating a word with a specific object increases the chance of the bird using it correctly.
You can easily be fooled that your phone is ringing
by your bird imitating the sound.


Fitting a harness is not always easy, either for you or the bird. You should proceed slowly and carefully so
the bird remains calm.


Greys have an ability to reproduce speech very accurately, including the tone and accent of the speaker.


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