This is Felie, my first Congo African Grey.
She was a handfed baby that I got when she was 5 months old.
I gave her feedings twice a day for the next several weeks
until she was completely weaned.
Felie was born on March 15, 1983
Felie had quite a vocabulary,
and knew over 100
words and phrases.
She spoke in my voice and
also in my husband's voice.
At one time, she even said
in my mother's Hunagarian accent!
Felie passed away suddenly and will be sorely missed.
Felie had gotten very unpredictable after she began laying eggs at the age of 4, so
I had purchased a male for her and set them up for breeding. He was the "original" Oscar, but unfortunately he had a seizure and died after only a couple years.
They had not produced a single fertile egg.
A few years later I bought two males,
Randy and Oscar.
Randy was the younger, and had been born in '93. He was the more outgoing
of the two, and very talkative.
Oscar had been born in '84 and was quiet
and more dignified. I set him up with
Felie initially since he was older and nearer her age.
Another shot of Oscar.
He allows head scratches, but that's
about it. His vocabulary is much smaller
than that of the other greys.
Still, he's a handsome bird and
I'm very fond of him.
Randy, a big, boisterous grey.
He is an extremely
as well as being very
gifted at reproducing
a multitude of
All Content Copyright 1998,
Anita M. Golden
--All Rights Reserved--
Unfortunately, Felie never gave me any babies. It would have been wonderful to have a part of her still with me.
When she passed on, I was left with Randy and Oscar. They were good buddies but I really wanted to try to find a mate for one or both of them and continue in the quest of Grey babies.
In July of '02 I was able to trade one of my baby meyers plus some cash for a young female grey, called Dante. She was plucking her chest a bit but otherwise seemed healthy and fine. From the state of her eye color, I put her at somewhere between 6 and 9 months old, so figured she had been born at the end of 2001 or beginning of 2002. I renamed her Ruby, and she was soon through her quarantine and fully feathered again. I chose to pair her with Randy, since he was younger than Oscar.
Felie and Oscar, set up for breeding.
Oscar is on the left.
An odd thing happened about this time as well.
When Felie was alive, Randy was fully feathered and beautiful.
Felie was the one that chewed off her chest feathers and always had that moth-eaten look. After Felie died, Randy suddenly began doing the same exact thing, chewing off his chest feathers in exactly the same way.
When he was paired with Ruby, he continued to chew on his own chest feathers, even while Ruby had regrown hers and was (and is still) in perfect feather - and the behavior continues to this day. He also began going into long rambling talk sessions just like Felie used to do, peppered with laughter and pretty much every word he knows.
It seemed to us that Randy was somehow channeling Felie!
This is the cage set up that Randy and Ruby occupy.
Assuming an arbitrary birthdate for Ruby of December '01, we knew she had probably four years to go before she'd even think of nesting. So we let them get to know each other for several years before even adding a nest box to the cage, and when we did, we purposely left the opening too small so they would have to work at enlarging it.
Finally in the fall of 2006 Ruby began showing an interest in the box.
She and Randy chewed the hole opening till they were happy with it,
and began spending some time inside.
Ruby eventually laid two perfect eggs and began to sit on them diligently.
Randy often sat inside the box on the top level, keeping guard (as in the picture above), and would descend to the eggs when Ruby came out to eat or relieve herself.
I got a look at the eggs a few weeks later and knew they were not fertile,
but chose to leave them until they tired of them. After nearly 4 weeks of sitting, I could sense her devotion to them lessening, and removed them.
And of course, I had to photograph them!
They are absolutely beautiful!
I am patiently awaiting their next try.
So it's now 2009 and there have been several breeding attempts from Randy and Ruby. She lays 2 to 4 eggs per clutch and so far has not had a single fertile egg. I had not seen any breeding at all, which would account for the infertility, but in late 2008 we witnessed a very clumsy attempt. We have seen them copulating once since then, and they seem to have finally figured out the moves! However, their last clutch (Jan. 2009) was also infertile. Perhaps in the fall of 2009 we'll get lucky.
In the meantime, I acquired a proven pair of Timneh greys that had produced two babies in 2005. They had not produced since, but shortly after coming here and going through a 30-day quarantine they went to nest. Four eggs, and three babies resulting! So after about 30 years of waiting, I finally am feeding some grey babies!
2012: After many infertile eggs from Ruby and Randy, Randy went to live with a friend. He is out in the living area now, doing his best job: entertaining. I'm sure on some level he misses Ruby, as she does him, but he always loved to entertain and now has the perfect environment for it.
2013: We have added a new male to the mix: Cosmo. He is a gorgeous congo male, about 15 years old. Originally he was a pet for many years, then went to live in a birdroom with many other large birds. We recently brought him home and after quarantine he will be going into the birdroom into a big new cage in which he and Ruby will both be introduced at the same time. I think they are a good match in terms of temperament and looks, so my fingers are crossed that they will strike a love connection and perhaps Ruby finally will have some fertile eggs.