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Old 08-20-2013, 07:14 PM
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Preparing for 22y/o B&G adoption

I already posted this under new members, but i was really hopeful for other Macaw owners to help me with some helpful advice.

I wanted to say hello and introduce myself. I am fairly new to parrots. In the last year I was asked to adopted a 12 y/o quaker parrot (Larry) and a 17 y/o African Grey Congo( Mogul). I have enjoyed them very much and things have gone quite well with them. However, these were not bird I was planning to add to my family, but begged by people to take. Everyone knows I love animals, but my bird experience has been in having chickens for the last 5 years. Lol not the same thing as parrots at all. My chickens are my pets tho and I have loved having them. Unfortunately, i lost my 3 favorites this spring and my 13 year old dog. I started thinking about getting a parrot that I would want for myself if I were to get one... And I keep coming back to the Macaw.

Knowing how long they live, I feel a little guilty getting a baby, so I though I would look for an older bird that needed to be rehomed or rescued. I have been leaning towards the green wing or second choice blue/gold. Last night, I decided after a Skype call with "Duke" that he would be a perfect fit for our family. He is a 22y/o B&G Macaw. He has been with a really loving family and seems well taken care of and seems well socialized. His current Mom just retired from teaching and use to take him in once a year for her 3rd graders to see when they were studying birds, he shows his wings, plays dead, tells you when he needs to potty. He hasn't taken a shower in awhile she said because she hasn't had the time in the past year. Her husband has had a stroke and she needs to help with his care too. Anyway, I say all of this knowing it will still be a major adjustment for Duke and me. I will be picking him up Sept 4th and he will bring his own cage. What I hope is I can get some good info about how to best prepare for his arrival? What can I expect? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
Thx Melissa
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:17 PM
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Re: Preparing for 22y/o B&G adoption

First you will need to quarantine Duke from your other birds until he had been tested and cleared of any diseases. I would probably let him settled in for a day or two, sit near him, talk to him, feed some treats from your hand~ then allow him to come out of his cage on his own. Find out if he has any cage aggression, some don't like to be picked up from inside their cage, but that is something you will want to eventually happen, otherwise put him on a play stand, give plenty of toys, hopefully he will come with some he is familiar with. They go through a lot of wood toys, if you are handy make them yourself alot cheaper! Good luck. I too teach and often take Remington to school to visit my class, my 1st and 2nd graders love to read to him!
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:47 PM
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Re: Preparing for 22y/o B&G adoption

A rehomed bird is WAY different from a baby. At 22, he's rather set in his ways.

He'll be confused, possibly angry and no way will he just immediately trust you. Remember that birds are prey and everything they come in contact with is a potential predator. You'll have to earn his trust, exponentially. Start slowly. Very slowly. In rescue, we lived by the 3 day rule. Bring him home, put him in his cage and give him 3 solid days to familiarize himself with his new environment. Basically, just leave him be. Don't try to handle him, don't bother him. Just let him watch you from a safe distance.

On day 4 start offering treats through the cage, reading to him and if he allows, pet his beak. When he's comfortable, ask him to step up. Don't force him. Ask. If he says no (ie: backs away or acts disinterested) respect that and try again later. Clicker training and especially target training is a great idea. He may already know this stuff, but he doesn't know it from YOU.

Macaws are great bluffers and usually get what they want by displaying. However, don't assume he's always bluffing. They can and will deliver a nasty bite.

Read EVERYTHING! Start with familiarizing yourself with macaw body language. If you get bit, it's likely because you weren't paying attention. Ruffled feathers, eyes pinning/flashing and blushing are 3 signs that together mean you're about to get bit. That's your cue to back off and give him space.

Environment and diet play an intricate role in the mental health of a Mac. A clean cage, balanced diet of pellet and fresh fruits and veggies, and clean water will go a long way. If he's eating and living healthy, he'll FEEL good. A happy bird will be more receptive to you.

A word of caution regarding your grey. Macs are fairly sensitive to the dust they produce. I wouldn't house your mac next to your grey and if they're in the same room, you'll need a good air cleaner.
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:59 PM
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Re: Preparing for 22y/o B&G adoption

It all depends on each individual bird! Why don't you go meet him first to see how things go? Both macaws I've taken in got attached to me right away. I was able to handle both from day one. It just depends on how you go about handling them. If you want to wait a few days or so after he settled in that would be fine. You can follow the directions above as they work just as good. Like it's been mentiones, as long as he have some of his old things to make him feel a little more comfortable that would be best! Good luck, ask any questions you may have!
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:10 PM
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Re: Preparing for 22y/o B&G adoption

Thanks for all the helpful tips. I had no idea about the grey dust on a Mac. I've been reading like crazy for a couple of months, but I know reading is different than living it. I have a different room I can keep his cage in a differen room than Moggie. I realize at 22 y/o he's going to miss his family so much, I know it won't happen overnight. I would just hate to see him end up lonely somewhere. He seems really loved and taken care of, I want to give him a great home. Just hope he will give me a chance
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:17 PM
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Lis Lis is offline
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"Larry Bird" Quaker, 12 years "Mogul" CAG 17 years "Duke" B&G Macaw 22 years "Pepper" GW Macaw 6 years
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Location: Indiana
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Re: Preparing for 22y/o B&G adoption

I will have his cage and his perch and toys and travel cage too. I have skyped with him and he seems to have enjoyed it. He is kind of far for a visit, so we thought Skype would be better than nothing. His current owner is sending me with all of the things he likes to eat, way he comes out of his cage, what time he usually sleeps and she will keep in touch with me afterwards too. I know he will be heart broken for a while, but I will do my best to win him over. I feel like I've had pretty good luck with my quaker and grey, and have had MANY Roosters. Lol.
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Old 08-20-2013, 11:31 PM
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Re: Preparing for 22y/o B&G adoption

It sounds like you will give him a great home.

I have also heard that AG have more dandruff. Volunteering at two shelters, I can tell you that the cockatoos are the ones that get me. It's sad, because they are so much fun.

Duke sounds like a wonderful bird and I'm sure he will adapt well to his new home. Thanks for helping out another bird!
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