Is my Macaw young or old

Eppie

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Aug 10, 2009
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I am buying a Blue and Gold from a man out of town. I have only seen pictures of the bird. He says the Macaw was 2 years old when he got it and he has had it for 2 years and the bird is now around 4 years old. This will be my first Macaw. How can I tell if he is really a young bird? I have arranged for a DNA test for sexing the bird when he gets settled in here. I want my home to be his for the rest of his life. I think it is sad to keep taking the bird to a new owner.
 

Auggie's Dad

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I'm sure macaw experts - or perhaps an experienced vet - might be able to gauge age by looking at the bird, but there is nothing clear cut or obvious that changes about their appearance between 4 years and much older.

Of course a really old bird's feathers may look 'old' but so would a young birds if not well cared for.

The best way to know would depend on where the bird was from (ie US bred or imported). You should ask for vet records and check for a leg band. Open leg bands are placed on imported birds and closed bands used on US bred birds. Either way there are numbers on the band that can be used to look up data on him. Some bands do actually have the two-digit year that they were applied, for closed bands this would be the hatch year with the possible exception of December hatchlings but this would still be a close estimate; if open bands have a year it is the year the band was put on so it can only tell you that the bird is at least that old. Many owners do remove the bird's band, so he may no longer have one; but also many owners keep them on so it's worth a check [Auggie still has his bling-bling].

Vet records should also have his hatch date. The previous owner might have a copy of those, but if he doesn't you should ask him to get a copy or ask what vet(s) he has taken the bird to, you could then call that vet and ask for the records - though I suspect if you do this the vet will likely need authorization or approval of the previous owner to give out those records.
 

RKZX2

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4 years old is nothing. he hasn't even reached sexual maturity yet. i hope you have large bird experience. these guys are no joke. not demanding like a cockatoo. but a lot of work none the less. just do your homework on B&G's. good luck.
 
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Eppie

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Thank you. He told me the bird does have a band on his leg. I will check it out. I used to have had a green Amazon and a Mynah but that is it. No birds at this time.
 
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TexDot33

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Best way to tell how old a Macaw is is to cut it in half and count the rings ... hehehehe ... (I guess I shouldn't joke like that someone might take me seriously) ...

Though I am unsure how to tell how old a macaw is I believe there may be a way to tell by their beaks ... but again, I'm no medical expert, I just play one on forums. But what I can tell you about age is this ... saying that a macaw is 4 years old is like saying a 4 year-old human ... these birds are long lived ... and if you want to give a your new macaw a forever home ... you better be prepared.

I am reminded of a Bolivian Blue and Gold macaw that I had the pleasure of meeting, his name was Sam. Sam had been with his original owner since she was 16 (he was her sweet 16 birthday gift) ... I met Sam last year when his original owner had to give him up because she had developed Rheumatoid Arthritis and couldn't really handle him any more ... SHE WAS 80! That made Sam at least 64 years old ... and oh my goodness, he was a love.

So, these birds will out live you if you give them the care, routine and non-routine, that they need, and that these awesome, awesome creatures deserve.
 

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