Has anyone else experienced this?

SpankysMom

New member
May 9, 2024
4
9
Parrots
Spanky- Blue and Gold Macaw
Hello everyone,

I have a Blue and Gold named Spanky. He is around 35 years old and we are his 4th family. My husband had him for 4 years before we got together and we've now been together for 13 years so spanky has been with is for a long time I don't really know his full history. I am wondering is it possible he could be suffering from emotional trauma from being passed around to several families or if the time he bit an electrical cord and got shocked fried his brain(that happened before I came around) for 13 years I have been trying to teach him new words. He hasn't learned not one new word. His vocabulary is limited to: spanky, hello, hi spanky, rock and roll, out, shut up, Jennifer (my sister in law), quiet, mother ******* and bye bye. Mostly he just screams, no matter where he is or where we are. He also doesn't allow his chest to fully grow back and I think he's damaged follicles on his legs and under his wings as those feathers never grow back.

Has anyone else experienced this with their macaw? He is like a sour patch kid, sour one minute, sweet the next. 😆

He has a well balanced diet. He gets his showers, gets attention, he's not a fan of many toys but he does enjoy tearing up paper and cardboard, chewing up his vine wood perch.

I don't know how to help him 😞
 

wrench13

Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
Parrot of the Month 🏆
Nov 22, 2015
11,546
Media
14
Albums
2
12,838
Isle of Long, NY
Parrots
Yellow Shoulder Amazon, Salty
With any serious plucking, first thing is to make sure it is not caused by some physical condition, so a full work up with a Certified Avian Vet is in order here. If its not cause by any medical reason, then you need to work on the psychological reasons, and honestly, once they have been plucking and barbering feathers for a long time, its very, very difficult to get them to stop, as it has become almost a nervous habit by now. Special knit sweaters, cone of shame and other physical inhibitors may prevent him from plucking , but once removed, most parrots go right back to plucking. Hopefully some of our members who have succeeded in fighting plucking will jump in here with advice.
 
OP
S

SpankysMom

New member
May 9, 2024
4
9
Parrots
Spanky- Blue and Gold Macaw
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #3
Thank you for your response.. His plucking started before my husband ever had him and when he got him he took him to the vet to get checked out and bloodwork and everything and he was fine. I figured after all these years the plucking was a habit for him. I am mostly curious about him not learning even a single new word in the 13 years I've been with him and if it's something that should be of major concern.. Could his past trauma have inhibited his learning capabilities? Are some parrots born with mental disabilities? Maybe he remembers being stolen from the jungles of Panama 30 years ago? He is 90% screamer even when we are right in front of him. I don't know what he wants or how to help him.

Does he need to be living in a sanctuary with his kind? I feel so bad that I can't figure out what he needs. I 😢
 

SailBoat

Supporting Member
Jul 10, 2015
17,687
10,139
Western, Michigan
Parrots
DYH Amazon
Plunking at this point is habitual and is likely not going to change much if any. It is not you or his environment it's habitual!! Just that simple. There is a possibility of a skin infection, but after all these years, it can no longer be Identified or treated. That would have been something that was checked when first noted, likely a couple of decades ago.

At this point, it is important that you monitor his skin looking for indications that he is chewing his skin, which can cause open cuts (bleeding). Regular minor beak blunting of the sharp points commonly helps. The goal is tiny blunting every month or two. Only a well trained Avian Vet or Avian Vet Tech should be allowed to preform such, as most overtrim and other unwanted problems can arise! Likely not an issue with your guy, but wanted to cover it.

Understanding that Mac's and other Large Parrots communicate over very long distances and as a result they are loud! Our DYH Amazon loves the greet the Sun, the passing of the noon hour and the end of the day, loud and clear!! As very social creatures they have a base want to communicate and commonly with lots of brass!

Loving your large Parrot requires becoming a Crazy Bird Person!! It helps to be in near constant interaction with your Mac!! I am over here, where are you!! I am doing this, what are you doing!! Etc, etc, etc...

So your Mac has elected not to learn new words! So what! The vocabulary he is using is sizable as some others out there would love to have just half of what you are hearing.

Stop worrying and just keeping loving your guy and letting him know that regardless of how long he has been with you, your plan is for even much longer!!

Expectations are a Human illness and causes us to worry about meaningless stuff!! Your Mac Loves you and his home and he would be heart broken to loose his home. In his mind he is communicating his love with volume, Join in and enjoy being a crazy bird person1!

Hope this helps!!
 

GaleriaGila

Well-known member
Parrot of the Month 🏆
May 14, 2016
15,134
8,948
Cleveland area
Parrots
The Rickeybird, 40-year-old Patagonian Conure
Maybe this info will be helpful...
Certified Avian Vets
If none are near you...
Avian Veterinarians
In my opinion, any of the vets listed here should be better than a regular vet.
International contacts, too.

Thank yo for taking this bird on. We can only imagine the trauma and loss this parrot has experienced. I'm so glad you're here!
 

GambotheGreyt

Active member
Feb 8, 2024
132
110
Parrots
Currently.. congo african grey
Hello everyone,

I have a Blue and Gold named Spanky. He is around 35 years old and we are his 4th family. My husband had him for 4 years before we got together and we've now been together for 13 years so spanky has been with is for a long time I don't really know his full history. I am wondering is it possible he could be suffering from emotional trauma from being passed around to several families or if the time he bit an electrical cord and got shocked fried his brain(that happened before I came around) for 13 years I have been trying to teach him new words. He hasn't learned not one new word. His vocabulary is limited to: spanky, hello, hi spanky, rock and roll, out, shut up, Jennifer (my sister in law), quiet, mother ******* and bye bye. Mostly he just screams, no matter where he is or where we are. He also doesn't allow his chest to fully grow back and I think he's damaged follicles on his legs and under his wings as those feathers never grow back.

Has anyone else experienced this with their macaw? He is like a sour patch kid, sour one minute, sweet the next. 😆

He has a well balanced diet. He gets his showers, gets attention, he's not a fan of many toys but he does enjoy tearing up paper and cardboard, chewing up his vine wood perch.

I don't know how to help him 😞
What came to my mind was to work on training with him. Look at BirdTricks videos for touch training and go from there. Your macaw needs mental stimulation. Keep his mind (and mouth) occupied.

I know macaws destroy toys almost as soon as they are put in the cage. Does he always have access to natural toys (made from wood, sisal, etc)? You mentioned paper... my CAG loves a hanging string of toilet paper rolls. Have you made these? Have you hidden treats in his toys to encourage foraging behavior?

It definitely sounds like your parrot needs stimulation. The vocabulary may improve as a result of improved relationship with you through training.

Does your macaw get access to the outdoors (aka sunshine), etc? What is his diet?

There are many factors that go into screaming and plucking. You can also train to NOT scream. Again, the basic training principles are on BirdTricks... reward the desired behavior, ignore/shun the undesired behavior. Whispering to a parrot is also very effective. They will shut up to listen to you.

I hope this helps.
 
OP
S

SpankysMom

New member
May 9, 2024
4
9
Parrots
Spanky- Blue and Gold Macaw
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #7
Plunking at this point is habitual and is likely not going to change much if any. It is not you or his environment it's habitual!! Just that simple. There is a possibility of a skin infection, but after all these years, it can no longer be Identified or treated. That would have been something that was checked when first noted, likely a couple of decades ago.

At this point, it is important that you monitor his skin looking for indications that he is chewing his skin, which can cause open cuts (bleeding). Regular minor beak blunting of the sharp points commonly helps. The goal is tiny blunting every month or two. Only a well trained Avian Vet or Avian Vet Tech should be allowed to preform such, as most overtrim and other unwanted problems can arise! Likely not an issue with your guy, but wanted to cover it.

Understanding that Mac's and other Large Parrots communicate over very long distances and as a result they are loud! Our DYH Amazon loves the greet the Sun, the passing of the noon hour and the end of the day, loud and clear!! As very social creatures they have a base want to communicate and commonly with lots of brass!

Loving your large Parrot requires becoming a Crazy Bird Person!! It helps to be in near constant interaction with your Mac!! I am over here, where are you!! I am doing this, what are you doing!! Etc, etc, etc...

So your Mac has elected not to learn new words! So what! The vocabulary he is using is sizable as some others out there would love to have just half of what you are hearing.

Stop worrying and just keeping loving your guy and letting him know that regardless of how long he has been with you, your plan is for even much longer!!

Expectations are a Human illness and causes us to worry about meaningless stuff!! Your Mac Loves you and his home and he would be heart broken to loose his home. In his mind he is communicating his love with volume, Join in and enjoy being a crazy bird person1!

Hope this helps!!
Thank you for this! His skin seems fine, he doesn't really bite at himself it's just the plucking.

It does sometimes get frustrating and discouraging when he is screaming and bite-y even though we've tried offering him many things, food water, attention, paper to destroy. It sucks not know what he wants or needs in those moments and makes me feel like I'm failing him.

But he's also very sweet and loves when I let him hang out of my shoulder when I do dishes or laundry. And he loves when I sing to him. He's definitely character. And has amazing timing with his laugh.

I hope he's happy with us.

I appreciate everyone who has reached out to me. I wish I found this site sooner
 

Kentuckienne

Supporting Vendor
Oct 9, 2016
2,743
1,634
Middle of nowhere (kentuckianna)
Parrots
Roommates include Gus, Blue and gold macaw rescue and Coco, secondhand amazon
First, he is probably not going to learn to say new words at this age. Parrots learn most of their words when young. It’s the same with people: it’s very hard to learn a new language when you are older. I notice that our birds have learned to understand new words but not say them. For example, I say “want a nut” or “want a chip” and the bird makes no reaction until I say the words nut or chip. Then they perk up, bob up and down, act excited. Then I go in the other room to fetch the Precious.

Second, it’s likely the follicles are damaged and the feathers won’t grow back. But there was a member here from Denmark who had a plucked scarlet, and she made little sweaters by cutting holes in socks and would put those on the bird so the head and wings poked out. I believe her bird did grow his feathers back out eventually, but maybe not all birds would tolerate that.

I have managed to teach three birds not to scream by simply leaving the room when they do. I don’t say anything and try to move slowly but when there is screaming I leave. Or at least I don’t look in the bird’s direction. We have an Amazon and a B&G and they sometimes get into a shouting match, but for a two bird house it’s really pretty quiet. If you watch your bird carefully, pay attention to his face and demeanor, try to understand what he’s communicating and communicate back to him as an equal, you might find your relationship evolves in surprising ways.
 

PrimorandMoxi

Well-known member
May 29, 2015
479
666
New Jersey
Parrots
Max (23yo) Blue and Gold Macaw,
&
PRIMOR (8yo) Red Lored Amazon,
&
ABBA (33yo) Red Lored Amazon - RIP
We have had our B&G for ten years and he had a long life before us.

Our Mack sounds like your B&G in many ways.
He has a mind of his own: one minute he is happy and playing, the next minute he is screaming, one minute he is sweet, the next he is biting.


He will only occasionally say "Hello" but says "what" all the time and in context...He is filled with curiosity about everything: what? what? what?

I think over all he is happy and trusts that we are here for him.
 
OP
S

SpankysMom

New member
May 9, 2024
4
9
Parrots
Spanky- Blue and Gold Macaw
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #10
I appreciate all the feedback and advice. A lot of the suggestions are things I've been doing for years bit finding that others have similar experiences helps me realize I'm not crazy! I will keep loving him the way I do. I made him a sweater a long time ago and he was NOT cooperative and I don't want to cause him additional stress or trauma. I wish I knew his full history, maybe there would be something more or different I could do for him if I knew and it's a good thing "jennifer" is my sister in law and not an ex girlfriend of my husband lol

Thank you all so much
 

Most Reactions

Latest posts

Top