I did lots of research before deciding on the avatar. The first thing I did not like about the flight suit is how unsanitary it is for them to be able to poop in it and have that mess on them. I thought of it as more of a way to keep them from pooping on your furniture then a safe way to let them be free flighted outside. Velcro doesnt seem to be a very secure way to keep my FID safely attached to me.. The Avatar DVD shows you exactly how to use it and has no metal parts to hurt the bird it just slides across their chest for a safe slightly snug fit and it will move from side to side as your bird does.
So now I will post a comparison of the 3 major bird harnesses made by someone that lives in the UK that was given all 3 by the manufactures to evaluate for he shows Greys in free flight as a daily part of his life over the past 20 or so years.
the Feather Tether, Henry's Freedom Harness and The Aviator, listed in chronological order.
I shall grade each of these harnesses for safety, how easy is it for your bird to escape from the harness, comfort and ease of use, how easy it is to put on and take off.
The Feather Tether
Safety: 2nd of 3 It has metal clips that cannot easily be undone by your bird. As they are metal, your bird cannot chew through them.
Comfort: 3rd of 3 Too much metal. This is also the heaviest of the three.
Ease of use: 3rd of 3 Very fiddly to put on. It is very illogical and is far too easy to put on wrong.
We nicknamed this harness "The Iron Maiden". It really is difficult to use and is very constricting for your bird. The metal clips are uncomfortable. We still have it, though, and when Ndhlovu is being extra stroppy, we threaten her by saying "Co-operate, or it'll be the Iron Maiden for you!"
Overall Rating: 3rd of 3
Henry's Freedom Harness -- The second harness – and the one that, at the time of writing, we have used the longest
Safety: 3rd of 3 This harness only has one clip, but it's made of plastic. We're confident that Ndhlovu doesn't want to leave us, but I would hate for someone to lose their bird!
Comfort: 2nd of 3 The only complaint with this harness was that, sometimes it could ride up and constrict her crop.
Ease of use: 1st of 3 Putting it on and taking it off was very easy!
This is the harness that we have had the longest. The Iron Maiden was difficult to use, so we soon looked around for a replacement. Fantastically easy to use and adjust! If only the clip was metal instead of plastic… If you trust your bird 100% and need only the lightest restraint, then this is probably the best harness there is! If I have a few chores to do in the back yard and want to take Ndhlovu with me, this is the harness I choose.
Overall Rating: 2nd of 3 If it had a metal clip, this would be in equal 1st place!
The Aviator -- been using for the past couple of months at the time he posted this.
Safety: 1st of 3 No clips at all, so nothing to come undone.
Comfort: 1st of 3 No clips mean no hard bits pressing on your bird's body. The material that it's made of is very slippery, so there's little friction against the bird's feathers, reducing the chance of ruffling them. The neck yoke is very deep cut to ensure that it doesn't interfere with your bird's crop.
Ease of use: 2nd of 3 A bit unfair really, as it's easy to put on, but adjusting it to the right tightness around the chest can be fiddly with a fidgeting bird.
This is a far better harness than the Feather Tether in every respect. It comes second to the Henry's only in ease of use. It's the lightest of the three and the elastic leash means that, if your bird flies to the end of the tether, it doesn't stop with a jerk and a plummet! It comes with a DVD with a fantastic film about how best to introduce your bird to wearing the harness – it's worth the money for that alone! Overall Rating: 1st of 3 Without a doubt, the best of the bunch!"
So this is why I choose the Aviator and did exactly as the DVD said and after about 6 weeks we can put the harness on with absolutely no problem at all and Echo is excited to go outside and play with me!!
I don't think he comes to this forum but if he does the honor of the above excellent knowledge on harnesses and African Greys in general goes to CaptainQuark aka CQ Thank you CQ Chris
A comparison of the 3 major bird harnesses
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