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Old 05-21-2020, 08:56 AM
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Advice for neglected macaw

Mother's Day, we had a Military Macaw show up in our yard. This isn't the first exotic bird to show up over the years, so we knew where he came from. Long story short, we talked to the guy, and he said yes, his macaw escaped the cage, but "he was mean, so he's yours if you catch it".
We did let him know when we caught it, and he still does not want this bird back. He did tell us he bought Rock in Mexico (we live on the border in Texas).
Rock took to my 9-year-old daughter, so he would fly down to our picnic table to get water, follow her, and he dive-bomb me from the trees if she came outside when I was there. We moved his water to the inside of a XL dog crate, and he walked on in one day. He's now in a suitable cage, but he is grumpy, for sure. He lunges at the cage when he gets tired of us sitting and talking to him.

He is in a corner of our living room so he can see us, but not high traffic. Sometimes he will take a treat from us, sometimes he will take it, break it up quickly and throw it, sometimes he'll lunge. He has started making different noises aside from the usual wrraaakkkk over the last few days, and slowly is becoming slightly less grumpy with me & my husband. He always squeals and gets excited when my daughter enters the room, and seems to call her when she leaves.

We spend 10-15 minutes several times a day sitting next to him, singing, talking, etc to him, and back away if we notice him getting too stressed. I've asked my daughter to read books to him, sing and dance for him, which she has started doing.

I am aware this is a massive undertaking for someone without large bird experience, (I have Quakers) and well aware if we find ourselves way over our head, a rehab may be in his best interest, but we definitely want to try and give him a better life.
Any advice anyone can provide, resources, etc, I am open ears for.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:09 AM
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Re: Advice for neglected macaw

Keep building trust--- what you are doing so far sounds excellent. Don't try to push him to do anything he doesn't want to do.

What did the old owner tell you about his history?
Has he ever been allowed out of his cage or was he always locked up there?
How old did he say he was?
I would call him and get as many details as you can about his history, where he was housed, if he ever knew how to step up etc....and how often (if ever) he was allowed out. Also, try to discretely find out if they ever would have punished or abused him (without being obvious)....Like, "was he a biter? Oh really???He bit your wife, what did you do to stop it? " and see if he says anything that sounds like it might be physical---if he says "well we sprayed him with water and that didn't work" that will give you an idea of his previous owner's mindset and it will allow you to better combat past experiences if you know more about his background. Also- just to be clear, a bird should never be sprayed for punishment lol/eek.

Has he been out of his cage at all at your house?

Macaws go through a bluffing stage, which is why knowing age could help, but in all likelihood, the bird has some trauma and trust issues--- doesn't sound like the previous owner cared much. There is a whole thread on here that deals w/ macaw body language, so I would look into that as well, but remember that your bird likely will need to take it slow due to his past. If he was cage-bound, that is going to be another thing you will have to work on...slow- and-steady though...trust is key

Last edited by noodles123; 05-21-2020 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:37 AM
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Re: Advice for neglected macaw

i love military macaws.trust is huge with big birds well all birds really. great advice above. when i was younger my military was in an enclosure that took up almost the whole room i really couldn't let him roam much becuz we had dogs. doing a great job with having your daughter read,sing and dance with him. sounds like he already claimed her as his own lol. they are such a great bird. take it slow and dont get discouraged. we are here to help you through this very exciting new journey! please get a notebook and write all info down that you can retrieve from the previous owner. also it will give your daughter a chance to start a journal of things he likes and dislikes this is a fun way for you all to connect. at least this is what i do. good luck and i cant wait to see pictures and read updates.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:05 AM
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Re: Advice for neglected macaw

We didn't get much from the previous guy. We're out in a small ranch area, and we only caught him because we happened to catch him leaving his ranch a couple of times. He had somewhere to be both times, so the conversations were short. He's kept himself holed up for the most part because of the virus, and is even more of a recluse than he was before.

But knowing of him, and from talking to one of his ranch hands, I'm going to have to assume Rock (or his other birds) was never allowed out, and judging by his tattered tail, in a cage much too small for him. Everything about this bird is a mystery.

We've only had him for 5 days now, so we have not let him out yet. I figured some more trust-building is needed first, for both of us - I need to mentally prepare for it, too, lol. The picnic table adventures did get me bit (he just walked up and bit my arm), the 2 dive-bomb incidents prior to capture, and he did get my daughter's finger pretty good when she got too close to the cage shortly after we captured him (He was still in the dog crate at that point, so WIDE bad spacing on that) He likes her, but he's understandably nervous about all this.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:46 AM
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Re: Advice for neglected macaw

Avoid spaces like dog crates, as they are shadowy and while they like them, it can make them more hormonal/aggressive. I know you probably had no choice, but I am just saying not to let him into spaces like that unless you HAVE to-- He would have acted like this either way, I'm sure, but that was just a little side-note that I mention as a general FYI...moving forward.

Last edited by noodles123; 05-21-2020 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:08 PM
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Re: Advice for neglected macaw

The crate was what we had on hand, but he was moved to a large 3'd x 4'w x 5' tall parrot cage I borrowed from a friend the next day.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:02 PM
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Re: Advice for neglected macaw

I know- that was why I said you probably had no choice- I have moved mine in one too (out of necessity) but I just said that because you mentioned that he liked it and I wanted to make sure that you didn't give him boxes or hampers to play with because he liked the crate. No worries! I knew what you meant-- wasn't judging-- just giving you a heads-up in case you didn't know about the cave/hormone thing.
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