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Old 11-05-2013, 01:41 PM
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soon to be B&G parent with a few questions

Hello Everyone!

I have decided to become B&G macaw parent. After reading many books and online resources, there are still a few areas that I would like some advise on and would therefore be very grateful for any information you all could give me.

one of my main concerns is regarding the screaming, I am well aware that screaming is a normal and natural part of a macaw's behavior and I do not wish to completely eliminate this behavior, in fact the only concern I have about screaming is during sunrise. I wake up at 8am every morning however sunrise depending on the month can be early as 5:45 will I be forced to wake up at this time due to my macaw screaming? or is there a method I can use to delay the screaming until I wake up? maybe by using a thick cage cover?

Also I am confused as to whether I should keep my macaw on a strict schedule or not, I have read conflicting arguments on this. some resources say to keep to a strict schedule others say not to adhere to such a strict schedule because if this schedule is broken for whatever reason, it will cause the macaw much stress and encourage screaming whenever the schedule is not strictly adhered to. I would therefore be interested to know what you as macaw owners adhere to with your birds, do you follow a strict schedule or not?

Finally I am curious to know how you taught your macaws to know when they are applying too much pressure. Right now I visit my macaw 3+ times per week and the biting (well it isn't actually biting) just chewing and preening, can sometime be a little painful, when this occurs I either blow in his face or drop my arm slightly so as to refocus its attention while I say "gently" will this eventually teach him to stop applying too much pressure? if not what else can I do to teach him how much pressure is acceptable?

Thank you all in advance for any advice you can give me, also if you have any advice for new macaw owners you think I will find valuable, please feel free to include this in your replies, Thanks again,

Terry
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Old 11-05-2013, 01:51 PM
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Re: soon to be B&G parent with a few questions

Bite pressure training usually involves lots of beak play, and working with the bird when he is young is preferable.

Communicate when the bird is applying too much pressure. "That's too hard. That hurts." The game is stopped. The bird calms down. Start it up again. Keep playing until he gets it...

None of mine scream at sunrise. They aren't roosters. If he is a "Morning Screamer" then cover the cage when you put him to bed, but please don't forget to uncover him first thing in the morning. Sensory deprivation is bad.

Mine go to bed at around 9:30 or 10:00, and I wake them up and feed them breakfast when I go to work at around 6:30 a.m.

If their needs are met, and they have the appropriate out time, they tend to not scream. If they are locked up too much, or their needs are not met, they will tend to scream.

IF YOU TEACH THEM TO SCREAM, I.E. SCREAM AND YOU GET YOUR WAY ON EVERYTHING... YOU ARE IN HELL.

DITTO BITING. BITE ME, AND I WILL REWARD YOU BY DOING WHAT EVER YOU WANT ME TO DO... Congratulations. The term "bird slave" may now be taken literally.

Don't let this happen to you!

Also, these are pair bond birds, if they over bond with you, you will be the only person who can handle the bird. Have this bird handled by everyone, all the time, and he will become mushy...

Last edited by Birdman666; 11-05-2013 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 11-05-2013, 02:01 PM
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Re: soon to be B&G parent with a few questions

Good questions and answers. Thank you both.
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Old 11-05-2013, 02:15 PM
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Re: soon to be B&G parent with a few questions

Thank you birdman, I will be sure to touch and handle his beak and encourage beak play whenever I visit him, he is still being weaned so I want to try and teach him as much as I can whilst he is still very young.
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Old 11-05-2013, 02:24 PM
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Re: soon to be B&G parent with a few questions

A couple of beak play games I use while the bird is on my lap include making a mouthlike snapping motion of your fingers, and playing "I'm gonna get your beak."

A game I call "The claw." Dangle a claw like hand over the head, usually accompanied by both laughter and sound effects, and do "I'm gonna get your face."

And then the snapping alligator with two hands clapping together like a mouth, and then going for the beak.

Gently... make sure the bird knows it's playtime. But don't be surprised if they do the roll over on their backs and play with both beak and feet. You are gentle, he is gentle, this is fun, is the message we are sending.

Of course, I also do beak play games with mine, with my face. (Mine are shoulder birds.) Don't try this one until they are bite pressure trained because they will grab noses, ears, and once in awhile, lips, if you are not careful...
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Old 11-05-2013, 02:30 PM
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Re: soon to be B&G parent with a few questions

Thank you for the update on the beak games you play, I was wondering how you'd incorporate beak play into games. I will start using these games on my next visit with him on thursday
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Old 11-05-2013, 02:53 PM
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Re: soon to be B&G parent with a few questions

Let us know how it goes...
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Old 11-05-2013, 04:45 PM
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Re: soon to be B&G parent with a few questions

Birdman pretty much covers it....I'm rarely waken up by my birds. They're generally quiet unless the dogs start to whine and that gets the birds going. Almost 99.9% of the time I'm being awakened by the dogs instead of any other animals. Sometimes it's the cats but rarely the birds. I have a cat that tap me to wake up to feed him, if I don't get up he learned to pull my hair to get me up....lol
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:21 PM
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Re: soon to be B&G parent with a few questions

Quote: Originally Posted by terrygore87 View Post
one of my main concerns is regarding the screaming, I am well aware that screaming is a normal and natural part of a macaw's behavior and I do not wish to completely eliminate this behavior, in fact the only concern I have about screaming is during sunrise. I wake up at 8am every morning however sunrise depending on the month can be early as 5:45 will I be forced to wake up at this time due to my macaw screaming? or is there a method I can use to delay the screaming until I wake up? maybe by using a thick cage cover?
Well, I'm prob going to have people say I did the wrong things but I do not allow animals in my home to be loud without reason. My dog's do not bark just to bark and so my birds do not scream just to scream. When I first got my BGM she would spend about 30 minutes in the morning and evening just SCREAMING. So, everything time she did it I would go over and pop her on the beak. It took about a month and she would only do it once a week or so; yes, only one scream a week. Now, we have had her for about 3 years, she only scream once every few weeks for no reason or when she get's scared like when the neighbors gardener is in their back yard because from her perch all she can see is his head and whatever he is carrying.

Quote: Originally Posted by terrygore87 View Post
Also I am confused as to whether I should keep my macaw on a strict schedule or not, I have read conflicting arguments on this. some resources say to keep to a strict schedule others say not to adhere to such a strict schedule because if this schedule is broken for whatever reason, it will cause the macaw much stress and encourage screaming whenever the schedule is not strictly adhered to. I would therefore be interested to know what you as macaw owners adhere to with your birds, do you follow a strict schedule or not?
I really play it by ear with her. Her cage is also in my bedroom and she sleeps on an open perch, not in a cage. So usually at night when I am winding down from the day I'll be in the room watching TV and she is there also. I also heard about the 12 to 14 hours of sleep thing and quite frankly there is no way my BGM would EVER go for that. For the most part she is pretty much at "bed time" around 10pm and usually can wonder the house when we get up at 7am.

Quote: Originally Posted by terrygore87 View Post
Finally I am curious to know how you taught your macaws to know when they are applying too much pressure. Right now I visit my macaw 3+ times per week and the biting (well it isn't actually biting) just chewing and preening, can sometime be a little painful, when this occurs I either blow in his face or drop my arm slightly so as to refocus its attention while I say "gently" will this eventually teach him to stop applying too much pressure? if not what else can I do to teach him how much pressure is acceptable?
Due to the power of her beak I do not let her do that. She can lick or try to clean me but it is very rare that she is allowed to do something that would seem like bitting. If she does though and i do not want her to I just say OWWW a bit louder then normal talk and put her on her cage and give her a sad look. Honestly, it's like a little kid and I think she actually feels bad about it. After 5 to 10 minutes or so I will go back to get her and ask if she is sorry and make her give a kiss then I will pick her up again.
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