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Old 05-10-2019, 09:57 PM
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Pre-first big mac checklist/advice

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Hey guys, we are adopting Charlie (Rehoming B&G Macaw) and will be meeting his current owner, Noel, some time between the 15th and the 22nd somewhere midway between the two of us. He will be my first macaw of any size and I am beyond excited.


He is coming with a cage and a kennel as a travel cage, but I want to make sure we have all the bases covered(and also I am just excited and full of excited energy), since all our current birds are small beaks. We have time if we act fast to order any supplies we do not have on hand before he arrives(nearest petcosmart is literally 50 miles away even).



I am making some toys now(stuffed pizza boxes, take out containers, etc), we will hit a hardware store for safe lumber, and pick up some food dyes. I am trying to make a bird toy parts order, but my go to site seems to mostly have toy parts for small birds and somehow I never really noticed that lol. We will order some roudybush(current diet) and will either keep him on that or slowly switch his pellets to Harrisons, haven't decided yet. Going to order whole in shell nuts, dried fruits, dried veggies etc etc etc as treats, we already order spray millet by the 5# box until we grow some.


Things like ladders, perches, swings, boings, etc I figure we can order some now but build up supply of those over time as long as he doesn't destroy them. Noel does tell me he loves to CHEW, though, so no guarentees lol. We have access to PLENTY of natural branches, etc from the forest(properly sanitized first, obviously).


OK. WHAT am I forgetting, because it has to be something! Obviously!





Oh, and I took it on myself to read lots and lots of birdman666 posts and have been reading TONS else on big macs too. I have never had a macaw myself, but I have worked with them before, and I have had 2 Amazons previously.
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Old 05-11-2019, 01:08 PM
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Re: Pre-first big mac checklist/advice

I read the topic and I’m so glad he’s going to a good place! I’m not very experienced when it comes to big birds so I can’t really advise you
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Old 05-11-2019, 01:18 PM
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Re: Pre-first big mac checklist/advice

A large cage with room for his large tail

No shadowy places and lots of toy---introduced very slowly, as they can cause fear when unfamiliar. It has taken my re-homed U2 YEARS to learn to play with the most obvious toys.

CONGRATS!!!
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Old 05-11-2019, 01:56 PM
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Re: Pre-first big mac checklist/advice

The cage he is coming with is on the very small side for a Macaw(4'◊2.5'◊5'), but he is apparently quite an escape artist and that cage is Charlie proof. We are going to watch him and see how he thinks and then build both an outdoor aviary and an indoor very large cage that will stand up to his beak and his mind. Also, we will be working to minimize his cage time of any sort(other than outdoor aviary time if that is something he really really enjoys).
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Old 05-11-2019, 03:11 PM
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Re: Pre-first big mac checklist/advice

Hey; Go Big or Go Home!

Birdman really pushed getting past the 'Big Beak' thing! I recall he had a Thread regarding that subject. The mid to large Mac's know they have a Big Beck and are going to test your reaction with a couple of well timed lunges with an open Big Beak! Nerves of Steel helps as does a well stocked emergency first aid kit size for both Humans and Mac alike.

Over the years, I have found that one can communicate with Mid-Large Mac's using single head bob of the Head (up and down) and single side shift of the of head (left and right). Movement based on Break Dancing, the stiffer and more square the movement the better. I have started from across the room with one or the other movement and watched the Mac for a return movement. If I got one response, I would use the other next. If a like response occurred, I moved a few steps closer and repeated. By the time I was much closer, the Mac would reply with a smooth body swing. By the time, I made it across the room the Mac had her leg held high and was ready for a step up. Have done it a couple of times with Mac's I had no prior contact. No assurances, but it is worth a try.

Another of Birdman's saying was that under the 'I'm A Big Bad Mac' is a Mush Bird that want's nothing more than more than to be loved up-close and personal. But, you need too earn the trust!!!

FYI: Assure that you build in self-entertainment time! Kind of like Too's, they do need to learn you need to be other places.


Enjoy!!!
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Last edited by SailBoat; 05-11-2019 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 05-12-2019, 12:38 PM
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Re: Pre-first big mac checklist/advice

Ok, we are adopting him on the 15th it looks like now. So not really time to order things to arrive before he does. What bare bones basics MUST we have already before he comes home?



We were thinking:
Food (pellets and a healthy supply of veg and fruit, maybe a bag of in shell mixed nuts if the grocery store has some, etc etc etc)

A place for his cage to go for quarantine
Toys(shredder type and ideally some wood for him to chew on)

Perches


Anything else? We are looking for a vet that might be convenient for us to stop at on the drive home(we are meeting Noel roughly halfway so we don't have to be away from the farm for even an overnight). Figure a quick wellness exam and nail clip if needed would be a good idea, since the largest bird I have ever groomed was a BFA and I will want to watch someone else groom him a few times before I'd be confident to try.



Any other last minute tips or suggestions of supplies to try and grab local?
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Old 05-12-2019, 12:40 PM
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Re: Pre-first big mac checklist/advice

Macaws are sensitive to respiratory stuff-- dust from your other birds could pose a problem. You will definitely want an air purifier is you don't already have one (non -ionizing/non-ozone producing).

FYI- You definitely will want to form a solid bond with this bird before attempting to trim nails etc. I know you are planning on waiting and that is smart, because failure to do so would definitely harm the process of building trust...I would wait AT LEAST a year or more (just my opinion) before attempting to do beak/nails yourself (if ever)--just because you don't want to scare or upset the new bird and they move very slowly in terms of trust etc. I never do my cockatoo's beak just because I would rather pass that buck off on a vet (whose office we can leave), plus, if using a dremil, there is too much that can go wrong. Hand files are the way to go, but they do take longer. Also, I typically step out of the room during a beak/nail trim just because I get anxious and I don't want my bird to see that...nor do I want to be associated with the procedure.

My "Too" is still harboring feelings of resentment towards me after our latest nasal irrigation fiasco (and I just took her to the building), so even though she doesn't really bite me these days, she does make my life difficult when trying to prove a point...You have to live with the bird day-in and day-out, so if it's mad at the vet, there is not that overflow into your home-life (unless nasal irrigation is involved LOL!!), but if she is mad at you, that is a bigger problem.

If you give your bird nuts in the shell, be very vigilant. They can sometimes eat the shell bits and become impacted. My cockatoo started eating the shell the first time I gave her a nut and I had to wrestle it away from her (much to her disappointment lol). Walnut shells etc are particularly common when it comes to intestinal blockages. I had just assumed that my bird would know better, but it is more common than you would think. I found that out after calling the vet and Dr. Google.

Last edited by noodles123; 05-12-2019 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 05-12-2019, 01:11 PM
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Re: Pre-first big mac checklist/advice

GREAT tips, thanks! We will probably shuffle around and do Charlie's quarantine in our bedroom. It is the only room with air conditioning currently. We keep basically all the other windows open 24/7 unless it is cold or raining super hard these days. Eventually we will have to do ac out there too probably, but for now pleeenty of fresh air for our birds. We have also been talking about getting more air purifiers and this just cements it. We only have 1 currently and it really is not enough.
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Old 05-12-2019, 01:16 PM
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Re: Pre-first big mac checklist/advice

Winged Wisdom Pet Bird Magazine - Respiratory Diseases in Macaws - Pulmonary Hypersensitivity Syndrome

Glad you were already discussing more purifiers- with a cockatiel and macaw in the same house, it will be important (as tiels are powder down birds). If you can keep their cages far apart, that also is probably a good idea. I know you will initially, due to quarantine, but even after that, I wouldn't want a powdery bird right next to the macaw...It will be important to really stay on-top of the dust (more than usual).

Last edited by noodles123; 05-12-2019 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 05-12-2019, 01:39 PM
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Re: Pre-first big mac checklist/advice

Just more evidence that my deciding to never have the little guys out around the macaw is a good idea. For both the big bird and the little ones!
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