HELP! Clueless Me Needs to Help A Macaw!

KiwiParrot

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Jan 27, 2022
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Kiwi, the harlequin macaw
Ok, so let me say this right off the bat, I'm 15 and my b-day was yesterday. My eccentric uncle decided it would be a great idea to get me a macaw. I have no idea how to care for her and I need as much help as I can get. She is not being well taken care of right now; my uncle knows nothing about macaws but he just knew I was an animal lover so he purchased some supplies he thought would work well. She only has a budgie sized cage so I handled her the rest of yesterday and all of today. I felt infinitely bad when she had to sleep in there. She only has pellets for food right now because I'm not 100% sure what's safe for her to eat but I'm doing research and going grocery shopping tomorrow morning. She only has cheap petsmart stuff for toys, bedding, perches, and food. I'm looking for a reputable store where I can buy good toys, perches, cages, or anything she'll need. Anything about birds helps. Literally anything. I've never owned a bird before and I want to get off on a good start. Or at least try.
 

foxgloveparrot

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Happy belated birthday!
Have you been doing research? Either way do more and don’t stop. Read all you can and watch every video you can find on macaw or general bird care.
You are only a teen and you probably go to school. Kids and teens are not the best matches for big birds no matter how responsible, because they often can’t give the bird the care and attention he or she needs.
So make the right choice FOR THE MACAW. If you know you can’t care for her rehome her.
 

Terry57

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Welcome to the forum and a belated Happy Birthday!

I'm so glad you're doing your research to give her a good life. I'm sorry you were put into this position by her being a surprise gift.


I'm going to add some links that may help you.

My Safe Bird Store is a great place to order toys and toy supplies to make your own. A Macaw can go through an insane amount of toys so a lot of people make their own.


Read through the Parrot Food, Recipes and Diet forum. You will find a lot of information about diet there, and how to make chop. Chop is chopped up veggies, with some fruits. There is a sticky about safe foods for birds that will help you as well.

Here is a thread about cage sizes. You will definitely need a new cage, and it should be gotten as soon as possible.

Definitely read through the Macaws forum and make sure to read posts by Birdman666. There is a sticky by him here and you can go to his profile and look at his past posts. He really knows macaws.

This is a huge undertaking, and if you feel it is too much there is no shame in rehoming her. Macaws can live up to 70 years so they are a lifelong commitment.

I'm glad you joined us, and are here asking questions.
 
OP
K

KiwiParrot

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Jan 27, 2022
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Happy belated birthday!
Have you been doing research? Either way do more and don’t stop. Read all you can and watch every video you can find on macaw or general bird care.
You are only a teen and you probably go to school. Kids and teens are not the best matches for big birds no matter how responsible, because they often can’t give the bird the care and attention he or she needs.
So make the right choice FOR THE MACAW. If you know you can’t care for her rehome her.
Thanks! And yes I've researched tons and I haven't stopped but I still feel like there's more that people don't normally think about putting in care guides. Right now I'm doing online school so I have a lot more time just to hold her but for the future I would love to make it work. The high school I'm going to has a schedule that requires you to be there 3 1/2 hours in the morning with 1 hour for lunch and my home is close by so I'll spend lunch with her and then another 2 1/2 hours in the afternoon. School ends at 3pm so I'll have time to play with her and fly her. I found out about free flying and as a future goal once I get her living situation figured out I'd like to free fly her. As for college, I'll have to play it by ear. I really don't want to re home her but I will if it's best for her.
 
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KiwiParrot

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Jan 27, 2022
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Kiwi, the harlequin macaw
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Welcome to the forum and a belated Happy Birthday!

I'm so glad you're doing your research to give her a good life. I'm sorry you were put into this position by her being a surprise gift.


I'm going to add some links that may help you.

My Safe Bird Store is a great place to order toys and toy supplies to make your own. A Macaw can go through an insane amount of toys so a lot of people make their own.


Read through the Parrot Food, Recipes and Diet forum. You will find a lot of information about diet there, and how to make chop. Chop is chopped up veggies, with some fruits. There is a sticky about safe foods for birds that will help you as well.

Here is a thread about cage sizes. You will definitely need a new cage, and it should be gotten as soon as possible.

Definitely read through the Macaws forum and make sure to read posts by Birdman666. There is a sticky by him here and you can go to his profile and look at his past posts. He really knows macaws.

This is a huge undertaking, and if you feel it is too much there is no shame in rehoming her. Macaws can live up to 70 years so they are a lifelong commitment.

I'm glad you joined us, and are here asking questions.
Thanks a ton. I'll try to get the cage within the next few days and I'll read through as many links as possible.
 

Terry57

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You can also look for a used cage, as long as it isn't rusted you can clean it well and sanitize it and it will be fine. All of my cages are used.
Make sure the bars are thick enough so that Kiwi can't chew through them. I Googled it and what I found said 3.15mm gauge wire for the bars. The bar spacing should be 1 inch to 1.5 inches.
Please keep us updated on how you two are doing:)
 
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KiwiParrot

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You can also look for a used cage, as long as it isn't rusted you can clean it well and sanitize it and it will be fine. All of my cages are used.
Make sure the bars are thick enough so that Kiwi can't chew through them. I Googled it and what I found said 3.15mm gauge wire for the bars. The bar spacing should be 1 inch to 1.5 inches.
Please keep us updated on how you two are doing:)
Alright! I had no idea you needed to consider bar spacing and thickness. I'll make sure to look for a good cage ASAP
 

Laurasea

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hello and welcome to the forum. This is a great resource , and great job in trying to learn all you can, its a continuous process.

If you decide to continue forward, we are always supportive.

But macaws are one if the most re homed parrots for a reason. They can be quite loud and destructive, and messy..and live for decades.. Requirements are everything bigger and that comes with bigger costs.

Its a lot like you just adopted a 3 year old child with special needs who never grows up, but will experience hormonal frustration seasons twice yearly. This can be very disruptive with aggressive behavior and extra screaming, but varies by individual some are not so bad , while some are a huge handful.

You also have to change many things for their safety. As non stick cooking, pans, pots, cookie sheets, air fryers, insta pots, iron boards with non stick coating are deadly toxic and kill burds anywhere in the home even on a different floor and behind closed doors. Plus many other household items. Like air freshners, plug ins , cleaning products ect..
Most of us have to do a lot of research to determine what is safe. Most of switch to cast iron, glass and stainless steel.

Parrots also come between many people and their significant other, or when they have children.

So its a lot to think about.

They are incredible and rewarding, but do also come with many sacrifices and adjustments.

If this is your dream you can make it all work.
But spend time thinking, not about how you can make it work right now, but in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years in 20 years...

Take the time , do more research, be honest with yourself and your goals.

Then if you are in, go all in.
If you are all in, the congratulations and may you both enjoy a happy life. And one of the deepest bonds you can share with these magical, exasperating, complex , demanding, entertaining souls.
 

Laurasea

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A good run down on behavior and a few tips on problem behavior

Foraging a great way to keep them occupied, and to do together. Start with treats. Only after they really get great at ( maybe fast or a month or more...) thrn you can think about doing it for their diet, or just keep st daily fun for a few treats.
 
Last edited:
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KiwiParrot

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hello and welcome to the forum. This is a great resource , and great job in trying to learn all you can, its a continuous process.

If you decide to continue forward, we are always supportive.

But macaws are one if the most re homed parrots for a reason. They can be quite loud and destructive, and messy..and live for decades.. Requirements are everything bigger and that comes with bigger costs.

Its a lot like you just adopted a 3 year old child with special needs who never grows up, but will experience hormonal frustration seasons twice yearly. This can be very disruptive with aggressive behavior and extra screaming, but varies by individual some are not so bad , while some are a huge handful.

You also have to change many things for their safety. As non stick cooking, pans, pots, cookie sheets, air fryers, insta pots, iron boards with non stick coating are deadly toxic and kill burds anywhere in the home even on a different floor and behind closed doors. Plus many other household items. Like air freshners, plug ins , cleaning products ect..
Most of us have to do a lot of research to determine what is safe. Most of switch to cast iron, glass and stainless steel.

Parrots also come between many people and their significant other, or when they have children.

So its a lot to think about.

They are incredible and rewarding, but do also come with many sacrifices and adjustments.

If this is your dream you can make it all work.
But spend time thinking, not about how you can make it work right now, but in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years in 20 years...

Take the time , do more research, be honest with yourself and your goals.

Then if you are in, go all in.
If you are all in, the congratulations and may you both enjoy a happy life. And one of the deepest bonds you can share with these magical, exasperating, complex , demanding, entertaining souls.
Wow this is a lot, but really helpful. I'm going to get rid of most of our cookware now and as for candles and other scented things, we don't have any really but I got rid of the few stray candles we were going to throw out anyway. As for boredom, I noticed she had been plucking a few feathers (there was just a small pile on the floor) and I kinda freaked out. I went to petsmart and bought a bunch of bird toys. They're cheap and not well made and made for smaller birds but they'll work until our order of large bird toys arrives. We did purchase a very large cage and it should arrive with the toys on Sunday. We can certainly manage the costs portion of owning a bird and I'm really hoping we can give her enough attention. I am working on the step up command so I can free fly her one day. I really hope to keep her and we've already bonded. The only problem is she's not too fond of my parents. She gets a little scared around everyone but she'll let me pet her for the most part.
 

Laurasea

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Do you know how old your bird is?
There us molting and then there us the dreaed plucking. Plucking is a complex issue, but stress, lack of time out of cage, stuff to chew, over all mental health, diet, how the burd was raised all play a role. Can you share a picture?
Some info on tge toxic stuff

If you have cats the bacteria in their mouth one if which is Pasteurella, can kill burds in 24 hours or under. So just one minor bite or claw, can kill them, the bacteria spreads throughout the burds body and doubles in under a half hour. So any contact with a cat get them to the veterinarian immediately for antibiotics. Your can not wait till the next day , some can due within hours. You will need to find a certified avian veterinarian specialist.
This is another brief safety talk
 
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Laurasea

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Aug 2, 2018
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Diet is very important in parrots. You want to be careful with diet changes as some birds will starve ot slowly eating only some of new diet starve themselves.

For newly acquired birds, continue offering what they had been fed at first, but you can start offering the new stuff in addition from day one. I highly recommend getting a digital kitchen scale set to grams and get weight and weigh burd weekly fot life as best practices . And definitely during diet changes.

Birds hide being sick as a hard wired evolutionary behavior. By the time the burd is sick enough to have classic sick bird symptoms its often 24 hours from death. But early on most sick burds start loosing weight. When caught early by weight loss its often easy to treat them and have them recover. So thsts why tracking weight is important. For a large burd like yours a fluctuation of 20 or so grams is OK. You are looking for downward trends. And % body mass loss , more than 4% get them checked out, 10% get to vet quickly and offer support foods. To find % lost
Take numerous of grams lost ÷ by healthy normal weight × 100 =% lost

Random example
Normal weight 850 grams
weight lost 36 grams
36÷ 850 = 0.0432 x 100 = 4.3% lost
Ok veggies are awesome for parrots! Sometimes they have to be convinced about that, some fig in right away.

A lot to throw at ya , I know
 
Last edited:
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KiwiParrot

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Jan 27, 2022
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46
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Kiwi, the harlequin macaw
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  • Thread starter
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Do you know how old your bird is?
There us molting and then there us the dreaed plucking. Plucking is a complex issue, but stress, lack of time out of cage, stuff to chew, over all mental health, diet, how the burd was raised all play a role. Can you share a picture?
Some info on tge toxic stuff

If you have cats the bacteria in their mouth one if which is Pasteurella, can kill burds in 24 hours or under. So just one minor bite or claw, can kill them, the bacteria spreads throughout the burds body and doubles in under a half hour. So any contact with a cat get them to the veterinarian immediately for antibiotics. Your can not wait till the next day , some can due within hours. You will need to find a certified avian veterinarian specialist.
This is another brief safety talk
Oh, well she's 5 1/2 months so maybe molting? We have no cats or other pets. I can share a picture but I can't seem to take any good ones. I might just post the picture the breeder sent my uncle.
 
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KiwiParrot

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Jan 27, 2022
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Kiwi, the harlequin macaw
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
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Diet is very important in parrots. You want to be careful with diet changes as some birds will starve ot slowly eating only some of new diet starve themselves.

For newly acquired birds, continue offering what they had been fed at first, but you can start offering the new stuff in addition from day one. I highly recommend getting a digital kitchen scale set to grams and get weight and weigh burd weekly fot life as best practices . And definitely during diet changes.

Birds hide being sick as a hard wired evolutionary behavior. By the time the burd is sick enough to have classic sick bird symptoms its often 24 hours from death. But early on most sick burds start loosing weight. When caught early by weight loss its often easy to treat them and have them recover. So thsts why tracking weight is important. For a large burd like yours a fluctuation of 20 or so grams is OK. You are looking for downward trends. And % body mass loss , more than 4% get them checked out, 10% get to vet quickly and offer support foods. To find % lost
Take numerous of grams lost ÷ by healthy normal weight × 100 =% lost

Random example
Normal weight 850 grams
weight lost 36 grams
36÷ 850 = 0.0432 x 100 = 4.3% lost
Ok veggies are awesome for parrots! Sometimes they have to be convinced about that, some fig in right away.

A lot to throw at ya , I know
Alright thanks! All very helpful! I'll try to get her to eat veggies right away and I'll start weighing her and get in touch with a vet just for a checkup.
 

wrench13

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Remember that we are here for you! Taking on a macaw for an inexperienced new owner is daunting, with so many Don'ts and Watch Out Fors, but with research and advice from our senior members I think you can succeed. Being a Parront (parent + parrot) can be a life changing rewarding thing, but it's not easy and it's not cheap.
 

Shez

Member
Feb 17, 2022
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Ok, so let me say this right off the bat, I'm 15 and my b-day was yesterday. My eccentric uncle decided it would be a great idea to get me a macaw. I have no idea how to care for her and I need as much help as I can get. She is not being well taken care of right now; my uncle knows nothing about macaws but he just knew I was an animal lover so he purchased some supplies he thought would work well. She only has a budgie sized cage so I handled her the rest of yesterday and all of today. I felt infinitely bad when she had to sleep in there. She only has pellets for food right now because I'm not 100% sure what's safe for her to eat but I'm doing research and going grocery shopping tomorrow morning. She only has cheap petsmart stuff for toys, bedding, perches, and food. I'm looking for a reputable store where I can buy good toys, perches, cages, or anything she'll need. Anything about birds helps. Literally anything. I've never owned a bird before and I want to get off on a good start. Or at least try.
How are things going with your baby?

Has there been any regression or begging for baby/hand feedings?

6 months is rather young for a first molt, what kind of feathers are you seeing dropped on the floor? It is not super common for babies to pluck so I would be interested to see a good clear pic of the dropped feathers if possible... a pic of your baby would also be awesome :)
 

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