Macaw Bonding Suggestions

Curious_Caique

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Hello,

I have recently acquired a 5 week old blue & gold macaw. I am handraising him, he is currently being kept by himself as he was the only baby to hatch from his clutch of eggs (the other two were infertile). I'd like to start building a trust bond with him, and would like suggestions to start doing that. I spend a lot of time with him napping on my lap (warm room, towel tucked around him), I stroke him gently all the time and spend a lot of time talking to him, his brooder in where I am all the time. Any other suggestions on things to do to help build a bond? Or does this kind of thing need to wait until he's older? I understand that macaws are delicate emotionally, so I don't want to stress him out.

Avery
 

Birdman666

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Sep 18, 2013
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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
Hello,

I understand that macaws are delicate emotionally...

Avery

I guess my reaction to this statement is SINCE WHEN?! Maybe as itty bitty fledglings, but most are pretty hardy and resilient.

What they are is attention oriented. Any time they feel like they are the center of attention you are golden...

At this age, laptime feedings are pretty much it. Warm oatmeal on a spoon, head scratches, getting the bird used to hands around the beak, accepting beaking and tonguing from him, etc.

When he gets a little older, you get into the game playing and generally goofyness. Peek-E-Boo seems to be a universal favorite. As is hide and seek. And beak wrestling, of course. And getting down on all fours on the floor and playing the chase me/I'm gonna get you game is always fun... but that doesn't come until he is fledging...

These are play-ahaulics at heart. (Think slapstick... ) Watch a few of those goofy macaw videos I posted.
 

Christinenc2000

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Big Bird _ Blue & Gold Macaw
Here are some link's that were given to me when I started in Oct. I still refer back to them.

Birdman666 gathered them for me

Here are some other interesting threads that you might find useful:

START WITH THIS ONE! Because this is probably what you've just gotten yourself into:

Feathered buzz saws...

And some more light reading:

Amazed at Gracie the Rescue

Rita made huge progress

This is the way we like to have our tail preened

What a lap bird.

What's your bite pressure training technique?

How do you all play with your Macaws?

Roscoe is crazy

gaining my macaws trust

very aggressive macaw

And if that isn't information overload enough, here's a good one on parrot diets:

Converting Parrots to a Healthier Diet - Tips
 

Birdman666

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Sep 18, 2013
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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
None of that stuff applies quite yet...

At five weeks you've got one of these:

[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6r8jn0QpSQ"]Blue and Gold Macaw 5 week old baby "Gracie" - YouTube[/ame]

He's not even all there yet!

Food and lap time, poop and sleep. Wake up and repeat. This is snuggle time. He just has to feel safe, warm, and well fed. That's it for now - And you're giving him that!

The big thing with baby big macs, is ABUNDANCE WEANING AND ALLOWING THEM TO FULLY FLEDGE AND BECOME CONFIDENT FLIERS BEFORE CLIPPING...

Where you mess them up emotionally is FORCE WEANING (creating abandonment issues - which could lead to psychological issues later on in life.) And NOT ALLOWING THEM TO FULLY FLEDGE (which can give them a complex and destroy their confidence entirely. Well adjusted big macs are SUPER CONFIDENT BIRDS. Mess them up that way, and you get an introvert who wants to be left alone instead of the goofball extrovert who wants to play!)
 
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Curious_Caique

Curious_Caique

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Thanks for all the responses. I've read a lot about macaws, and I understand about their mushy personalities. And have a very good relationship with the breeder. Thanks for correcting me about the emotional delicateness (or rather, I guess, lack thereof). I guess I'm just a little freaked out about messing up and ending up with a problem instead of a loving companion. Note that I'm not afraid of bites, I know that's usually more of a when not if thing.
I've already read most of those threads, but thank you! And I have a specially formulated diet from a breeder to wean him onto. My current adult bird (Black headed caique) is very spoiled with treats, mostly by the way of fresh fruits and veggies, I expect that I will provide nothing less for this little guy.
 
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Curious_Caique

Curious_Caique

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None of that stuff applies quite yet...

At five weeks you've got one of these:

Blue and Gold Macaw 5 week old baby "Gracie" - YouTube

He's not even all there yet!

Food and lap time, poop and sleep. Wake up and repeat. This is snuggle time. He just has to feel safe, warm, and well fed. That's it for now - And you're giving him that!

The big thing with baby big macs, is ABUNDANCE WEANING AND ALLOWING THEM TO FULLY FLEDGE AND BECOME CONFIDENT FLIERS BEFORE CLIPPING...

Where you mess them up emotionally is FORCE WEANING (creating abandonment issues - which could lead to psychological issues later on in life.) And NOT ALLOWING THEM TO FULLY FLEDGE (which can give them a complex and destroy their confidence entirely. Well adjusted big macs are SUPER CONFIDENT BIRDS. Mess them up that way, and you get an introvert who wants to be left alone instead of the goofball extrovert who wants to play!)

Thanks! I have always been a huge advocate of abundance weaning and letting birds fledge. So, I guess I'm good to go. :)
 

Birdman666

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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
If you play with him with fingers around the beak from this age, and teach him to control his bite pressure, this bird will probably NEVER bite... Macaws learn to pinch. My RFA who I got from Cindy at the end of abundance weaning, when it was at the oatmeal/bent spoon feedings... was bite pressure trained on my lap from about that age.

Has only really drawn blood once. I had her at the park in a tree, and someone snatched her by the feet and tried to run off with her. She put her beak CLEAN THROUGH his trapezius muscle, and flew back to me... (The thief got the worst of it.)

LIKE I SAID, THESE ARE POWERFUL CONFIDENT BIRDS!!!

They are not particularly psychologically fragile, except for those two things I mentioned... that's really the key. Sounds like you are doing everything right!
 
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Curious_Caique

Curious_Caique

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If you play with him with fingers around the beak from this age, and teach him to control his bite pressure, this bird will probably NEVER bite... Macaws learn to pinch. My RFA who I got from Cindy at the end of abundance weaning, when it was at the oatmeal/bent spoon feedings... was bite pressure trained on my lap from about that age.

Has only really drawn blood once. I had her at the park in a tree, and someone snatched her by the feet and tried to run off with her. She put her beak CLEAN THROUGH his trapezius muscle, and flew back to me... (The thief got the worst of it.)

LIKE I SAID, THESE ARE POWERFUL CONFIDENT BIRDS!!!

They are not particularly psychologically fragile, except for those two things I mentioned... that's really the key. Sounds like you are doing everything right!

How exactly do I teach him? I do rub his beak and allow him to beak me gently, so far he hasn't tried biting hard.
Wow! That thief did deserve it, I'm actually laughing pretty hard thinking about it. Did the guy pay you to take the bird back? ;)
 

Birdman666

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Sep 18, 2013
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San Antonio, TX
Parrots
Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
None of that stuff applies quite yet...

At five weeks you've got one of these:

Blue and Gold Macaw 5 week old baby "Gracie" - YouTube

He's not even all there yet!

Food and lap time, poop and sleep. Wake up and repeat. This is snuggle time. He just has to feel safe, warm, and well fed. That's it for now - And you're giving him that!

The big thing with baby big macs, is ABUNDANCE WEANING AND ALLOWING THEM TO FULLY FLEDGE AND BECOME CONFIDENT FLIERS BEFORE CLIPPING...

Where you mess them up emotionally is FORCE WEANING (creating abandonment issues - which could lead to psychological issues later on in life.) And NOT ALLOWING THEM TO FULLY FLEDGE (which can give them a complex and destroy their confidence entirely. Well adjusted big macs are SUPER CONFIDENT BIRDS. Mess them up that way, and you get an introvert who wants to be left alone instead of the goofball extrovert who wants to play!)

Thanks! I have always been a huge advocate of abundance weaning and letting birds fledge. So, I guess I'm good to go. :)

AMEN to that one. SO AM I... IT'S ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL! Virtually every study proves it. It's a huge factor in the onset of plucking disorders.
 
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Curious_Caique

Curious_Caique

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None of that stuff applies quite yet...

At five weeks you've got one of these:

Blue and Gold Macaw 5 week old baby "Gracie" - YouTube

He's not even all there yet!

Food and lap time, poop and sleep. Wake up and repeat. This is snuggle time. He just has to feel safe, warm, and well fed. That's it for now - And you're giving him that!

The big thing with baby big macs, is ABUNDANCE WEANING AND ALLOWING THEM TO FULLY FLEDGE AND BECOME CONFIDENT FLIERS BEFORE CLIPPING...

Where you mess them up emotionally is FORCE WEANING (creating abandonment issues - which could lead to psychological issues later on in life.) And NOT ALLOWING THEM TO FULLY FLEDGE (which can give them a complex and destroy their confidence entirely. Well adjusted big macs are SUPER CONFIDENT BIRDS. Mess them up that way, and you get an introvert who wants to be left alone instead of the goofball extrovert who wants to play!)

Thanks! I have always been a huge advocate of abundance weaning and letting birds fledge. So, I guess I'm good to go. :)

AMEN to that one. SO AM I... IT'S ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL! Virtually every study proves it. It's a huge factor in the onset of plucking disorders.

I don't understand people and breeders that don't get that those 2 things are so, so, so important. It's not even that much harder than force weaning and lopping flight feathers as soon as they come in!

Perhaps you didn't see my question on the previous page? I would be ever so grateful if you could explain to me how exactly you train bite pressure.

And a picture is attached. He's a BIG boy. :D
 

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Birdman666

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Sep 18, 2013
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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
Somewhere I've got a training protocol posted on that. I'll have to find it for you and post it here... It's essentially beak play, communicating to the bird the instant he starts to apply too much bite pressure.

http://www.parrotforums.com/macaws/48181-what-s-your-bite-pressure-training-technique.html

You essentially teach the bird how much pressure he can apply to a human finger without hurting you. At this age you just have (sterilized) hands in the beak, and let him beak your fingers.

As he becomes more aware, you play games with your fingers in and around the beak, communicating to him, and pausing the game for a second when he gets too hard.

Everything with macaws is taught by attention. They are so attention oriented. It's more motivating than food, and GOOFY OUTGOING HAMS are created with attention oriented training.
 
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Dopey

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And don't think for one second they don't you aren't paying attention. Mine got me last night and I was trying to figure out what I did differently...I wasn't paying attention.
 

Birdman666

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Sep 18, 2013
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San Antonio, TX
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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
If you play with him with fingers around the beak from this age, and teach him to control his bite pressure, this bird will probably NEVER bite... Macaws learn to pinch. My RFA who I got from Cindy at the end of abundance weaning, when it was at the oatmeal/bent spoon feedings... was bite pressure trained on my lap from about that age.

Has only really drawn blood once. I had her at the park in a tree, and someone snatched her by the feet and tried to run off with her. She put her beak CLEAN THROUGH his trapezius muscle, and flew back to me... (The thief got the worst of it.)

LIKE I SAID, THESE ARE POWERFUL CONFIDENT BIRDS!!!

They are not particularly psychologically fragile, except for those two things I mentioned... that's really the key. Sounds like you are doing everything right!

How exactly do I teach him? I do rub his beak and allow him to beak me gently, so far he hasn't tried biting hard.
Wow! That thief did deserve it, I'm actually laughing pretty hard thinking about it. Did the guy pay you to take the bird back? ;)

I was standing in the vicinity on the other side of the tree. I had several birds in the tree, and my attention was on one at the top of the tree. He had a bike. He thought he could grab the bird and pedal off with it and I wouldn't be able to catch him. HE WAS WRONG!

So he grabbed the macaw. Obviously completely unaware of just how hard they are capable of biting! (He found out though! Beak clean through the muscle on the side of his neck! Fell off his bike. Bled pretty good.) I had several that I used to take to the park and free fly in those days...

NEEDLESS TO SAY I WAS PISSED!!!

"Oh is that your bird. I thought it was an escaped pet." (Yeah, right, he sat there and watched me put them all in the tree!)

But Sweepea was the one who did all the damage. She's pretty feisty... !!!

The thief learned his lesson. I'm sure he was thinking "expensive bird."
 

Birdman666

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Sep 18, 2013
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San Antonio, TX
Parrots
Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
"Big" is a relative concept. I have a Bolivian Greenwing. 1700 grams, and she IS NOT fat! She's a Hyacinth sized GW! Neither of my macs really bite unless you are really, really threatening them. I wouldn't worry too much about that one. Just bite pressure train, don't let the bird overbond to the point where you're the only one who can handle him, and introduce him to strangers from a young age.

By the way, I'd love to use this one as my profile picture, but I don't know how to do that. This is actually one of my favorites.



Maggie will go to anyone and plays with everyone.
 
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Curious_Caique

Curious_Caique

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If you play with him with fingers around the beak from this age, and teach him to control his bite pressure, this bird will probably NEVER bite... Macaws learn to pinch. My RFA who I got from Cindy at the end of abundance weaning, when it was at the oatmeal/bent spoon feedings... was bite pressure trained on my lap from about that age.

Has only really drawn blood once. I had her at the park in a tree, and someone snatched her by the feet and tried to run off with her. She put her beak CLEAN THROUGH his trapezius muscle, and flew back to me... (The thief got the worst of it.)

LIKE I SAID, THESE ARE POWERFUL CONFIDENT BIRDS!!!

They are not particularly psychologically fragile, except for those two things I mentioned... that's really the key. Sounds like you are doing everything right!

How exactly do I teach him? I do rub his beak and allow him to beak me gently, so far he hasn't tried biting hard.
Wow! That thief did deserve it, I'm actually laughing pretty hard thinking about it. Did the guy pay you to take the bird back? ;)

I was standing in the vicinity on the other side of the tree. I had several birds in the tree, and my attention was on one at the top of the tree. He had a bike. He thought he could grab the bird and pedal off with it and I wouldn't be able to catch him. HE WAS WRONG!

So he grabbed the macaw. Obviously completely unaware of just how hard they are capable of biting! (He found out though! Beak clean through the muscle on the side of his neck! Fell off his bike. Bled pretty good.) I had several that I used to take to the park and free fly in those days...

NEEDLESS TO SAY I WAS PISSED!!!

"Oh is that your bird. I thought it was an escaped pet." (Yeah, right, he sat there and watched me put them all in the tree!)

But Sweepea was the one who did all the damage. She's pretty feisty... !!!

The thief learned his lesson. I'm sure he was thinking "expensive bird."

I would be FUMING, don't you dare try anything funny around my babies or you're going to get heck or worse from me. :cool: I have a Mama bear complex when it comes to my fids. That thief was a idiot, spur of the moment crime I guess?
 
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Curious_Caique

Curious_Caique

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"Big" is a relative concept. I have a Bolivian Greenwing. 1700 grams, and she IS NOT fat! She's a Hyacinth sized GW! Neither of my macs really bite unless you are really, really threatening them. I wouldn't worry too much about that one. Just bite pressure train, don't let the bird overbond to the point where you're the only one who can handle him, and introduce him to strangers from a young age.

By the way, I'd love to use this one as my profile picture, but I don't know how to do that. This is actually one of my favorites.



Maggie will go to anyone and plays with everyone.

Big compared to my little caique is what I meant. :rolleyes: My macaw has been exposed to tons of people already, always clean hands before he gets touched, of course. ;) That's a HUGE bird. And gorgeous.
If you go to your user CP (http://www.parrotforums.com/usercp.php) you should be able to change your avatar (the picture that shows on each post) and profile picture.
 

Birdman666

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Sep 18, 2013
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San Antonio, TX
Parrots
Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
I would be FUMING, don't you dare try anything funny around my babies or you're going to get heck or worse from me. :cool: I have a Mama bear complex when it comes to my fids. That thief was a idiot, spur of the moment crime I guess?

I was mad as a hornet, but Sweepea did enough damage to the guy that he learned his lesson... (Macaw beak CLEAN THROUGH the neck muscle. Followed by face plant bike crash... Followed by angry bird and bird owner in your face... !!!)

I don't think he will be grabbing at any more macaws. And he's actually kinda lucky Sweepea is as tame as she was, or it could have been worse...

I think it was either a "resale value" crime, or a "that's so cool, maybe I can get him when no one is looking." (This was a teenager on a bike after all...)

I just collected my birds from the tree, and got out of there...
 

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