This is probably one of the most misunderstood necessities of owning birds. When one is quarantining a bird or birds it is to protect the old flock as well as the new. Each group of birds live in their own unique environment, and have built up immunities to the germs (good and bad) that they are exposed to daily. Regardless of where a new bird is purchased from, or how impeccable the husbandry or the reputation of the seller, quarantine should be regarded as a very necessary practice.

The new bird is crated and taken from its ecosystem and placed in a totally new environment with a multitude of germs (good and bad) that it has never been exposed to. During this move to the new location some stress will be experienced. This stress can be very minor or it can be a major upset, depending on the nature of the bird, the difference in environment and how the bird reacts to it.

During this time of stress, the birds immune system may become suppressed, and the bird may not be in as good a physical shape as when it left it's home. If the bird is not quarantined, it will be bombarded by millions of new germs and the immune system will need to kick in and respond to all these new germs (good and bad).

With a compromised immune system the bird will not be able to surmount a good response and may indeed fall victim to a germ that normally would not be pathogenic (disease causing) in this bird in a different situation.

The new bird now becomes ill and starts shedding vast amounts of this now (new to him) pathogenic germ, and also starts shedding germs in vast amounts that the bird brought with him from his old environment. We now have millions of pathogens in the environment that the resident birds are being exposed to. Some are new germs, and some are old that they had immunities to, but the shear volume is more than they can handle. Now we have old and new birds getting sick, and of course one believes this disease came with the newest arrival.

Obviously, if any of the birds involved had an existing pathogenic disease, the consequences would be much worse.

Had this arrival been quarantined properly, his stress level would not have been so great and his immune response would have been able to build up to the smaller amounts of germs it was exposed to. After a gradual time of small exposures, the immune system can build immunities at a much more normal pace, and not become compromised. This gradual transition into a new environment proves beneficial, and necessary to all the birds involved. Germs don't read one way signs.

From: http://www.aviannetwork.com/articles/quarantine.htm

Note: Our vet, Dr. Vellayan has recommended quarantine of 2 - 3 weeks if the bird is from a safe environment (kept in reputable pet shop, and has been checked by a vet prior to transfer to home).


Acclimatizing our pet bird is very important because it sets the tempo to the relationship you will have with each other. There are several factors that influence the transition of an African Grey to it new home.


It is said that the manner of upbringing for our Grey is strongly influences the potential of behavioral problems. Greys must be Abundance Weaned™ and Abundance Fed (see Abundance Weaning by Phoebe Green Linden). Today, most baby birds are still weaned by the “deprivation weaning” method.  This means simply that the babies are fed and weaned on a schedule, and as they grow older, the feedings are dropped at intervals, with the intention that the baby will get hungry enough to eat on their own.  However, being hungry creates an extreme sense of anxiety in baby birds and causes distrust towards their human caregivers.

Greys fledge, or start to fly, at between 9 to 11 weeks.  We can safely assume that this instinctively occurs in domestic situations at about the same time.  In the wild, after babies fledge, their parents start showing them how to find food.  That is the beginning of food independence.  Therefore, if a breeder is weaning Greys at 10 to 12 weeks, it is not necessary to use the traditional “deprivation” methods, because domestically raised Grey babies cut down on food intake while fledging as they focus on the challenge of learning to fly and land.  Once these skills are mastered, they then have several more weeks of learning to become completely food independent.


To ease acclimatization, it is better to have a grey that has had the opportunity to fly and land properly before having the wings gradually clipped back. The change in their personalities lasts for the life of the bird. They become, not just coordinated physically, but confident psychologically, and they learn to think. When flying, they learn to plan ahead about where they will land. This is a totally new thought process for them.  Until that point in their development, much of their experience has been passive.  Now, suddenly, they have the opportunity to move through space by their own volition.  They learn a whole new way of being in the world. As I observe young fledglings, I am always impressed with their energy, their intelligence, coordination and confidence. It is this type of baby, coordinated from flying and secure because it has been abundance weaned, that has the skills to meet the challenges of making that transition to a new home.


This awareness will lead us to recognize that when we take Greys traveling, for rides in the car, or ask them to go to a stranger, we are asking something that goes against their instinctive nature.  It is important that we learn to communicate to them in a way that does not frighten them. For starters, it is important to establish their trust in us. With trust, our grey will be more comfortable with our request.

Communication with our African Grey can be:-
  • Verbal -
    Greys understand a lot of what we tell them although they cannot speak themselves. It has been said that communication with a grey is very much like talking to a 2 year old child. A form of communication that is effective is called “flock language” where use the same phrases in situations that are encountered routinely.
  • Our energy level -
    Quieting down our energy to calm our grey

  • Body language -
    The feeling that they can understand you develops a sense of certainty which leads to a sense of security and belonging for our Grey.

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