How to Care for an African Grey Parrot in a Cold Climate
For animal lovers, an exotic pet like a parrot is intriguing. Just viewing one of the videos of Dr. Irene Pepperberg's Alex, the African Grey Parrot, will make you want to add a hook-bill to your family. All parrots are tropical creatures, and among their special care needs is a stable temperature.
While in native Africa, an African Grey would be used to an average temperature of 26.7 degrees C. If you live in any of the northern states in the U.S., 26.7 degrees C might be considered a high, with a median temperature much closer to 15.6 degrees C or even much lower in winter. Parrots can be acclimated to live comfortably in almost any environment, but you'll want to make some provisions once an African Grey has joined your household.
Place your bird's cage in a draft-free area of your home. Regardless of where you set your thermostat, drafts and cool breezes can give your parrot a chill which can quickly lead to serious illness.
Set your thermostat so that the temperature in your home won't fall below 15.6 degrees C in the winter. Likewise in the summer, your thermostat should be set so that you home doesn't get any warmer than 32.2 degrees C. Within the 60 to 90 degree range is the optimal temperature for African Greys, as well as for most parrots.
Feed your parrot a healthy diet as recommended by an avian veterinarian. The correct balance of nutrients is vital for the health of any pet, but keeping your African Grey fed enough without overfeeding is just as important, as an underweight bird will have a hard time staying warm and an overweight bird will just as easily overheat.
- African Grey Parrots: Complete Pet Owner's Manual; Maggie Wright; May 2001
- Crystal Shropshire; Avian Veterinarian; Alameda Pet Hospital; Pocatello, Idaho
- Guide to a Well Behaved Parrot; Mattie Sue Athan; September 2007
- Find an avian veterinarian to assist in caring for the health of your parrot. She will be able to give advice on diet and nutrition as well as help monitor the bird's weight.
- As the seasons change and the temperatures grow hotter or colder, be sure to monitor your home's thermostat more closely so that the temperature doesn't change suddenly. Your parrot should be able to bear the difference in temperature if they are allowed to adjust gradually.
- In a colder climate, and especially during the colder months, it is a good idea to cover your parrot's cage during the night not only to provide them a private, quiet environment in which to rest, but also to help keep them warm.