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Old 09-26-2017, 11:07 PM
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Smile Questions about my 8 week old baby macaw

Hi everyone! I am new to this thread and usually trying to find answers looking through old threads, and i finally figured out how to ask questions on here lol.
I recently bought a 7 week old catalina baby macaw and love him. I have had him for one week now and have been hand feeding him and everything has been great. I just have a few questions.
I have read on this site that if you handfeed your baby parrot then they will think you are their parent and when they grow to adults they will leave you and try to find a mate for life and i live with my family? Is this true? Because i have also heard that by handfeeding your baby you create an amazing bond/relationship between you and your bird? which one is true?
Also of course he doesnt step up or anything because he is too young but i was wondering what are some ways to bond with him since hes a baby, just feeding him and petting him? Aslo i work from 10am to 7pm and when i get home of course i play and spend my time with him! The breeder i bought him from told me that is ok as long as he gets used to it, and when he gets older you can put him toys to keep him busy throughout the day!
Appreciate any responses! looking forward to learning plenty more on this site!
Thanks alot!
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Old 09-27-2017, 11:19 AM
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Re: Questions about my 8 week old baby macaw

Breeders who sell unweaned babys are very ir-responsible. At 7 weeks your macaw is a long ways from becoming food independant, and asking a baby to wait 9 hours between feeding is far from ideal. Did the breeder show you how to feed him? How to and when to offer solid foods? Honestly I would bring the youngster back and reclaim him in a few months when he should be naturally weaned ( look up abundance weaning). Both scenarios can take place as you described, depends on the parrot. Go to the Macaw sub-forum, and read every stickie at the top of the page. Especially read all posts by member Birdman666 who is our resident Macaw pro. Good luck and ask lots of questions, that how we grow.
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Old 09-27-2017, 12:29 PM
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Re: Questions about my 8 week old baby macaw

Hello and welcome, congratulations on your new macaw. I love hybrid macaws, Catalinas are just gorgeous.

The above post is right, you will find that mostly all members here are strongly gainst breeders selling unweaned (still on formula) baby parrots. It is because at this age they are very vulnerable to crop infections and viruses and also it is a very crucial time for them to be learning. What they learn now will set the bar for the way they mature and develop. We actually have an active member here who is in the process of taking care of an unweaned blue and gold macaw, and it has been very sick and because of this, the member has had to spend several thousand dollars on medical costs because the breeder he got him from sold him an unweaned baby. They are so vulnerable at this stage that even the slightest temperature change in formula fed can cause a crop burn or crop infection and it may turn fatal. So many things can go wrong.

Is someone else feeding the baby while you are away at work? A 8-9 hour shift is not goof for the baby to go without eating, no matter what the breeder may tell you.

As far as your questions go... there are people on this forum who have hand-fed their parrots themselves from a young age and have retained that close bond their whole lives, however, it is true that when a macaw begins to mature, it will start trying to be more independent (usually) from caretakers, though they aren't necessarily trying to find a mate, but when sexual maturity hits they can become testy (especially since you have a Catalina with some Scarlet in it,) and irritable at certain times of the year. Often times macaws will have their favorite people, and simply tolerate others. That is just their nature.

While I would also strongly recommend you take the baby back to the breeder to allow it to wean for a few more months, I know that is certainly not what you want to hear. But taking on an unweaned baby parrot that is totally dependent on you for food and guidance and learning how to be a bird, it is a LOT to take on.

If you do decide to keep the baby despite our advice, my suggestion is to devote as much time as you can to this baby. Any time you aren't working, you should be with the baby. Do you have a brooder to keep your baby in while it weans, or where do you leave it when you go to work?

You can bond with your baby by touching it all over, stroking its head, getting it used to all human interaction. Talk to it, get it used to human touch. In a few weeks it should begin to start perching and trying out new foods. At this time, I suggest offering softer foods, like fruits and veggies to nibble on. Over time, the baby should eventually refuse one feeding a day, then two feedings a day, etc until eating all solid foods.

It should be offered a varied diet of pellets, nuts, fresh fruits and veggies, cooked legumes and grains, and a small amount of seeds. They will often develop favorites, so be sure to try a wide variety, but stay away from the toxic stuff to birds like onion, garlic, avocado, chocolate and alcohol.
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Old 09-27-2017, 01:12 PM
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Re: Questions about my 8 week old baby macaw

I have read on this site that if you handfeed your baby parrot then they will think you are their parent and when they grow to adults they will leave you and try to find a mate for life and i live with my family? Is this true?

SIMPLY NOT TRUE.

What happens is that usually in the 7-ish to 12-ish age range they become hormonal, and they go through an adjustment period.

Because i have also heard that by handfeeding your baby you create an amazing bond/relationship between you and your bird? which one is true?

CAN, DOESN'T MEAN IT WILL.

ALSO, AN INEXPERIENCED HAND FEEDER WHO DOESN'T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING CAN JUST AS EASILY KILL THEIR BIRD. IT ISN'T NECESSARY. THE TRAINING AND SOCIALIZING PROCESS IS JUST AS GOOD FOR CEMENTING A SOLID BOND WITH YOUR BIRD.

THESE ARE BOTH MYTHS.


Also of course he doesnt step up or anything because he is too young but i was wondering what are some ways to bond with him since hes a baby, just feeding him and petting him?

THESE ARE ATTENTION ORIENTED BIRDS. THEY LOVE ATTENTION. JUST SPENDING TIME ON YOUR LAP GETTING A HEAD RUB IS GOOD.
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Old 09-27-2017, 01:51 PM
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Re: Questions about my 8 week old baby macaw

Hey birdman666,

ALSO, AN INEXPERIENCED HAND FEEDER WHO DOESN'T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING CAN JUST AS EASILY KILL THEIR BIRD. IT ISN'T NECESSARY. THE TRAINING AND SOCIALIZING PROCESS IS JUST AS GOOD FOR CEMENTING A SOLID BOND WITH YOUR BIRD.

THESE ARE BOTH MYTHS.

Are you saying if I am inexperienced I can easily kill my bird or are you saying that is a myth and not true??


Also do you know if we can have a good bond even though I work long hours and only spend time with him at night? My breeder told me he will get used to it? What do you suggest the best way to have a great bond with him even as he gets older to an adult?

My breeder also told me he was feeding him 3 times a day but since I am working long hours to feed him at 9:30 before work and 8:30 -9pm after work is that ok? He told me it's fine? Is this true? By the way I feed him 120cc in each feeding.


Thank you very much I really appreciate it!!!!

Last edited by Jemano; 09-27-2017 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 09-28-2017, 03:17 AM
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Re: Questions about my 8 week old baby macaw

Once again definitely against breeders selling unweaned birds, it only helps to line their pockets. Saving on time and food for the bird and I bet they were gracious enough to sell the formula themselves right?

Yes you can easily kill them when inexperienced, even experienced hand-feeders can easily kill a baby bird. If the food is too hot or too cold it can affect their crop and cause them to die. They can also very easily inhale the food and die that way. Even then if you know what you're doing you can run into issues such as in this thread Macaw vomiting and lung infection the person has now spent 3 times the amount the bird cost on vet bills. Although it is a very unique situation as the bird's mother died.

For an understanding of how frowned upon and irresponsible selling unweaned birds is, over here in the UK it's completely illegal and can levy some serious consequences onto the breeder.

I'd take the bird back, make a note of the ring number and tell them to finish the weaning process, letting them know you have a copy of the ring number so that bird doesn't get sold to someone else who isn't aware of the risks in hand-feeding. You could be weaning them yourself for many more months.

Edit: I just noticed your profile picture, is that your bird there? They haven't even got a full set of feathers yet! Do you keep them in a brooder? Because they need to be kept in a temperature controlled environment at the moment. I know in your situation I'd have some very serious words with the breeder.

Last edited by LordTriggs; 09-28-2017 at 03:20 AM.
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Old 09-28-2017, 03:07 PM
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Re: Questions about my 8 week old baby macaw

Hi and thank you, what do you suggest when I talk to the breeder? What should I tell and ask?
Thanks again
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Old 09-28-2017, 03:40 PM
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Re: Questions about my 8 week old baby macaw

Quote: Originally Posted by Jemano View Post
Hi and thank you, what do you suggest when I talk to the breeder? What should I tell and ask?
Thanks again
You never answered me and LordTriggs questions first...

DO YOU HAVE A BROODER? This is such a sensitive time for the baby to get the proper care it needs. A brooder is a temperature-controlled unit that is used to keep baby chicks who haven't gotten their feathers yet warm, 24 hours a day? DO YOU HAVE ONE? This is what we're talking about when we say 'inexperienced'. If you do not know to use a brooder to keep a baby bird warm, you are inexperienced. If you do not know the proper amount to feed the baby at any given time/age, then you are inexperienced. At 7 weeks old, this baby needs a temperature controlled climate still.


Honestly, with your work schedule, you should have never taken on this baby. It needs so much time, attention and socialization and frankly working as much as you do, I don't think you should be taking care of this unweaned baby. Bring it back to the breeder, wait until its weaned in a few months (most macaws will wean around 5 months old, still a ways away) and THEN it will be much better able to adjust to your work schedule.

Please keep us updated. I truly do worry about this baby not being warm enough, going so long without being fed, and not learning or socializing properly because of an unethical breeder.
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Old 09-28-2017, 03:49 PM
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Re: Questions about my 8 week old baby macaw

I was saying it's a MYTH that you need to hand feed a baby in order to establish a strong bond.

I was also saying it's a MYTH that they will turn on you and seek a mate, if you are seen as the "parent bird."

Old wives tales...

WHAT IS NOT A MYTH is that inexperienced hand feeders do a lot of damage. I assume that your breeder is supervising, and teaching you. That's different from, I'll save a few bucks and wean a bird myself, usually without any idea what's involved.

Crop burns, crop infections, crop punctures, asphyxiation, aspiration pneumonia, and in some cases, malnutrition... are all things that can, and do, result from inexperienced hand feeders not knowing what they are doing...

I've seen birds die from this.

So, yeah, I'm rather strongly against the practice, myself.

I have hand fed. I finished hand feeding both of my two big macs. I've helped others who found themselves in over their heads, when someone sold them on this myth of "if you wanna bond with your bird, you gotta be the hand feeder."

Not true.

Lots of old timers insist that it is true.

Having taken in macaws that could not be handled, and turned them into pet quality birds down at the rescue, and then rehomed them to someone else and had them STILL be pet quality birds... UMMM...

I disagree.

You want a strong bond with your big mac?

ALL LIVING THINGS RESPOND TO LOVE AND PROPER CARE.

BIG MACS ARE ATTENTION ORIENTED PLAYAHAULICS.

LIFE IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IS A FORM OF SLOW TORTURE. KEEPING THEM LOCKED UP, AND ALONE ALL THE TIME MAKES THEM ANGRY. THEY WANT TO BE OUT, AND THEY WANT TO BE WITH YOU. GIVE THEM THAT!!!

FOOD, TOYS, AND STIMULATION HELP.
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Old 09-28-2017, 05:35 PM
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Re: Questions about my 8 week old baby macaw

As always, Birdman hit the nail on the head.

How is the baby doing? Any updates?
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