I love my alone time – probably a little too much.
There are few things in this world more comforting to me than a nice hot cup of tea watching the sunrise in complete silence.
With that being said, I’m a relatively introverted person.
Parrots are not.
Parrots are social creatures and they don’t like being left alone for long periods of time.
Of course, every type of parrot is unique in their needs.
For that reason, today we’re going to focus on one type of parrot – the African Grey.
Which brings us to the question – how long can you leave an African Grey alone for?
The answer to this question really varies from parrot to parrot. Just like we all have our own unique personalities as people, so do our parrots. Some African Greys can be left alone for up to 8 hours, while others require a lot more attention and can only be left alone for a few hours. It really comes down to getting to know your parrot and their own unique individual needs.
With that being said, there are some traits that are common among African Greys, and the need for social interaction is one of them.
So if you work extended hours or are away from home for long periods of time, an African Grey might not be the best choice for you.
To elaborate, let’s dive a little deeper into the world of African Greys to learn about how much social interaction they need, what you can do to make their alone time more enjoyable, and how an African grey may respond if they are left alone for too long.
In the wild, African Greys are extremely social birds that flock together.
The same is true when they are kept in captivity.
The difference is that in captivity, the African Grey does not have their flock members around – they have you.
When you own an African Grey, you become their best friend and their source of entertainment.
And because the African Grey is so sociable, it requires a great deal of entertainment.
In order to keep your parrot well-adjusted and mild-mannered, it’s important that they have several hours of interaction with you each day.
This may mean that your parrot comes out of their cage during your morning routines and back out of their cage when you return home from work.
Most owners will keep their parrot out from the time they get home until the time they go to bed.
The more interaction and attention you can give your parrot, the happier they will be.
Remember, social interaction with the African Grey can come in a variety of different forms – watching TV together, eating dinner together, or even taking a shower together.
Parrots enjoy all forms of entertainment, as long as they are with you.
Can I leave my African Grey with someone else?
African Greys are extremely social birds, so you can leave them with other people for short periods of time.
Keep in mind, however, that African Grey parrots tend to be a one-person bird.
In the wild, African greys will select another bird to be their lifelong mate by the age of 3-8.
This means that they are a monogamous bird.
In captivity, they don’t have the option of choosing a mate, but they do have the option of choosing a favorite person.
This person will be someone that they will be bonded with for their entire lives, and without interaction with that person, the parrot may become aggressive or depressed.
As such, they can not be left alone without their owners for long periods of time.
In addition, if you do intend to leave your bird with others, it’s important that you socialize them with other people at a young age.
If they select you as their “favorite” before they have had a chance to interact with other people, they could become highly aggressive towards anyone other than yourself.
How will an African Grey react if they are left for too long?
If you leave your African Grey alone for too long, they could become unhappy or stressed out.
This could lead to behaviors of:
Biting is often seen by owners as a sign of aggression, but many people don’t realize that it can also be a sign of stress or fear.
If a bird suddenly starts biting, they could be stressed out because of your absence.
Parrots make a lot of noise.
But any sudden increase in screaming could be a sign that your parrot is stressed out.
It can also be a sign that your parrot is unhappy or bored.
If you notice that they only scream when you leave the room, it could be a cry for attention.
This probably means that you are leaving your parrot alone for too long.
Just as increased vocalizations can be a sign of distress for your parrot, so can decreased vocalizations.
If you notice that your parrot is talking or vocalizing less than normal, they could be stressed out or depressed.
If you are absent for long periods throughout the day, this could be the cause.
When parrots are bored, it’s not uncommon for them to pluck at their feathers.
If you notice that there are feathers on the floor when you return home from work, it may be a sign that they are not receiving enough stimulation throughout the day.
Feather plucking isn’t the only type of self-mutilation that parrots will engage in when they are unhappy or bored.
Stressed out parrots may also chew on their own skin, and in some cases can even peck down until they reach the bone.
If this is the case, your bird is severely stressed out or ill and requires medical attention.
Loss of appetite
Birds that are stressed out or depressed often begin to lose their appetite.
If this happens, they might not be getting enough attention from you.
When an African Grey is bored they will often try to keep themselves mentally and physically stimulated by pacing, tapping their feet, or swinging their heads.
While these behaviors are not harmful, they may be a sign that your parrot is not having enough social interaction.
If not dealt with, these harmless behaviors could quickly turn destructive.
What can you do to keep your parrot entertained while you are away?
Though your parrot would absolutely love it, you can’t spend all day every day with them.
So what can you do to help minimize the chance of them becoming bored or depressed while you are away?
Give your African Grey plenty of attention while you are home
This means spending some time with them before you leave for work, and spending time with them when you return home from work.
Provide your parrot with lots of mentally stimulating toys
Toys that your parrot has to “work” at are the best ones for keeping them stimulated throughout the day while you are away.
Remember, African Greys are extremely intelligent and can figure out puzzles quickly, so it’s important that you change their toys regularly to prevent boredom.
Turn on some music or television in your absence
You could leave the television or radio on to keep your feathered friend entertained while you are out.
Place their cage near a window so that they can see what’s going on outside
The answer to this question is that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
When two African greys are raised together as babies, they will probably do just fine in the same cage together.
But just like humans, not all African Greys get along with one another.
Some become friends, while others fight like cats and dogs.
In other words, some personalities simply don’t mesh.
The best way to find out is to keep your two parrots in separate cages near each other.
If you find that they gravitate towards one another, they will probably do fine in the same cage together.
If they fight often, putting them in the same cage would not be a good idea.
In conclusion, African Greys are extremely social birds that require a lot of attention.
If you don’t have a lot of spare time, the African Grey probably isn’t the best choice of pet for you.
They require several hours of interaction each day, and can’t be left alone for long periods of time without becoming stressed out or depressed.
And remember, African Greys are not a 10 year commitment – they are a lifelong commitment.
The African Grey bonds closely with one person, and will become depressed if that person is suddenly no longer around.
So unless you have 3-4 hours to spare each day for the next 60 years, you might want to consider a different household pet than the African Grey.