Need advise on if I should get a macaw.


New member
Feb 7, 2023
None ATM.
My name is Kylea and I am a 23. I currently am living with my husband in a home that we own. We both work from home and are home all day every day unless we need to run a errand. We do not want any actual human children and currently have 2 dogs. I have had cockatiels growing up and me and my husband both want to explore the option of getting a blue and gold or a scarlet macaw.

We would not be bringing the new bird home for about 1-2 years if we decide to get the route of a bird, but I just wanted peoples option on macaws temperament. Money, time, and noise isn’t a issue for us.

What I am looking for in a bird:
*A active member of the family
*loving/likes affection
*trainable. I am very experienced with postive reinforcement based training and would love to have a ‘smarter’ bird.
*I would like the bird to be able to talk, but if they don’t, that’s okay too.
*Funny/outgoing. I want a confident bird who would enjoy going outside on leash, or possible free flight training.

People who own macaws, are they like everyone says they are? ALSO, what gender does everyone reccomend if I do decide to get a macaw?

I greatly appreciate any feedback/comments. Im just doing the initial research so If anyone has good info on macaws send it my way!
Please go to our macaw sub-forum, and read all the threads at the top of the page, especially those by birdman666, who is our resident macaw expert.

Bear in mind that every bird is its own individual and while macaws have some generalities known about them, individuals may not conform to that. Yes, they are not known for speaking but some do quite well, for example. Some macaws are like kitty cats, and some are a big handful. A lot has to do with your involvement with the bird and training. Parrots - you get out of them what you put into them.
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My macaw is not a handful...he's two handfuls 🤣. But he is very loving, affectionate, intelligent, outgoing, willful, demanding, honary. He's like a toddler, that will never grow up. He is a wonderful talker, but from what I've seen from other macaw resources, his talking skills are above average for most macaws.
It sounds like you've done your research and realize what a responsibility it's going to be. Have you ever been around a macaw? You may want to interact with some, if it's an option, to see how you react to the BEAK! You can't fear it, or they WILL sense it and take full advantage. But you must also have a healthy respect for its power to avoid injury. They are wonderful members of the family, for the right family. They can also be holy terrors.
I am an Amazon Snob, but enjoy socializing with Macaws as their use of body jesters and movements allow a full on discussion from the other side of a room, with several other humans. without a single word or call. Contact calls are very important to them as they are a social Parrot that develop strong family links.

You do not want to fall in love with a Mac unless they have first chosen you!! Some Mac's will act like they are interested in you, but are only suckering you in for a nip or face scream. A Mac that chooses, should choose both of you and be willing to pass between the two of you equally. Much of that comes with the both of you working with your Mac equally and passing s/he between the two of you, kind of like the game of "Passing the hot (warm) potato between you targeting equal time.

Training: Mac's like the other mid-to-large Parrots are wicked smart and can easily turn you best efforts in training into a reversal of roles. The use of Love and working at the speed of your Mac, avoiding the common process of most dog training manuals will help. They are more in tune with your emotions and will follow those clues quicker than process training.

Number one rule with mid-to-large Parrots is to dump your expeditions, there are no goals, only their interests at that moment! I really like the approach that: wrench13 uses when he is working with his Amazon. Salty loves training, but much of it is on his terms and he expects his 'interaction' time to be on schedule!! It is a hoot to watch their videos.

Avian Vet Care: I cannot stress the importance of having an Avian qualified Vet as when you notice your family member maybe sick, they have been sick for several days, or longer. They hide their illness and it takes catching their being ever so sightly off and then you are commonly running to your Avian Vet's Clinic calling while one of you are driving and the other is comforting your Mac. Not being mean, but the average dog and cat Vet hasn't a clue how to care for a Parrot, nor will they want to.

If you have a Parrot Rescue around you provide them your free time to learn from the bottom-up the reality of 'being owned by a Parrot.'

Let me add, if you're free flight training, you NEED a professional. Free flight is not something that can be learned off the internet, and every bird's process is different. Which is why you need an experienced trainer to work with you and the bird.

What the other's said is good, but maybe I can explain it differently from my experience. You listed a lot of the more common positive traits that everyone who has never had a bird wants in their bird. Realistically, you may not get all of them. With a macaw, you have a higher chance of getting all of them (not necessarily because they're more intelligent than other birds, but because they're different, as every species is) from what I've seen and read about them. But don't expect them all. You may eventually achieve them all, but you will most likely need to do some training for that.

Here are some things I've learned that I wish I knew as a beginner, maybe they'll be useful to you:
  1. Don't over look older birds or birds with "issues". Sure, you may not want a very challenging bird to begin with, but it's OK to get a bird that's not in the best condition mentally. I've worked (and kept) with a couple birds that either had some sort of trauma or a mental disability. You learn to be extremely patient, maybe more patient than you've ever been. And there will be extremely challenging days where you want to give up, but every little bit of progress is so rewarding.
  2. Challenging days. I only have experience with budgies, however the challenging days make me want to rehome them sometimes. Expect your bird to be a loud, annoying little bugger, and push you to your limit at least once. I am not saying this to scare you, I am just giving you a little bit of what to expect. When this happens, you must remain calm. They more worked up you get, the more worked up the bird gets. Macaws especially are excellent manipulators (form what I've seen and experienced), and love to cause drama and get a reaction (again, from my limited experience).
I'll type some more tomorrow. Good night.
Macaw ownership is extremely challenging.
Honestly and truly they own you.

I am happy that we can give our B&G Max a good safe home but he is a handful.

Keep researching, maybe visit a Macaw owner and see the mess and all else it entails.
Macaw ownership is extremely challenging.
Honestly and truly they own you.

I am happy that we can give our B&G Max a good safe home but he is a handful.

Keep researching, maybe visit a Macaw owner and see the mess and all else it entails.
It's funny how macaw owners LOVE their macaws, but don't recommend to a friend. If anyone sees Pancho and says "I want a macaw" and someone from our family hears it, our first reaction is "No, you don't ". But we wouldn't trade Pancho for the world!

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