New Dad to a Recued Wild Baby Red and Green Macaw

Mar 6, 2022
44
187
Bolivia
Parrots
"Rosemary" Red-and-green macaw (Ara chloropterus)
So I'm tending my first baby macaw. I've raised other baby bird rescues before but this is the first time with a large parrot. So here is the backstory: some local farmers were clearing forest for pasture (soap box: Don't eat South American Beef! I have a front row seat to how cattle practices in SA are destroying forest) and knocked down a snag that her nest was in. They decided to keep her. It wasn't clear how long they had her, sounded like anywhere from 1-3 weeks and were feeding her bread soaked in cow milk at room temperature. Honestly shocked she's still alive. With in 2 days of getting her on a diet of fruit, veggies, seeds, etc (blended), her activity, appetite, and coordination improved quickly. She seems to be doing great now. I'm digging for info but I'd love to hear suggestions. Bellow are some questions.

Questions:
Age: I attached a photo, any guesses on age? In this week I've had her she's gone from fairly stationary with poor coordination to wanting to perch and today she had been exercising her wings a lot. She's even taken a few flying leaps off her bin. Feathers on her back are starting to push.

Feeding: Currently feeding her various blended mixes of the following: Carrots, sweet potato, papaya, banana, broccoli, moringa, apples, blueberry, flax seed, sunflower seed, oats, Brazil nuts. Are there any other foods you recommend adding or taking away from this diet? I do not have access to bird formulas found in the developed world. Also, what volume of food is normal for a bird this size? She easily takes 100-120cc every 4 hours, 4x a day. And yes, I'm being careful with food temperature.

Cleaning: Her feathers are a mess, some from food and some from the conditions she was kept in before I got her. Is there a particular age that would be okay to bathe her?

Impacted Feathers:
She has a lump on her head and a lump on her back that look like impacted feathers to me. The one on her head is going down as the feathers have found their way out. The one on her back hasn't really changed much. Any recommendations on what to do about it? Unfortunately I don't have access to good vet care here. Most of the vets around here I wouldn't even trust with a cat or a dog much less a parrot.

Housing: I had her in a large Rubbermaid bin initially but within a few days started climbing out and hangs out on the lid. She just goes in the bin to sleep at night now. Would you say she is ready to be moved to a cage? Also, what cage size do you recommend? Minimum recommendations I've seen run around 3'x3'x5'. I do plan to have her out of the cage a lot. I might end up having an indoor and outdoor cage. Eventually I would love to build an aviary outside. I already have a partially enclosed area 6mx12m. It wouldn't be hard to wire it. How high would you recommend going?
 

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PippTheBananaBirb

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I'll just bump this thread so that other macaw owners see this!

Bump!
 

Laurasea

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Well if you know what the wild adults are eating you can try and add .

I feel like you might want a little more protein??? Maybe some soaked cooked legume, maybe occasionally boiled egg blended in? I really don't know, experience that protein is needed for growth ...but how much is skresdy in your diet snd how much is needed I don't know.

The feather bump doesn't look red , I would leave alone. Or if you wanted warm compress a few times a day.
 
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JayInTheJungle
Mar 6, 2022
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Bolivia
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"Rosemary" Red-and-green macaw (Ara chloropterus)
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Well if you know what the wild adults are eating you can try and add .

I feel like you might want a little more protein??? Maybe some soaked cooked legume, maybe occasionally boiled egg blended in? I really don't know, experience that protein is needed for growth ...but how much is skresdy in your diet snd how much is needed I don't know.

The feather bump doesn't look red , I would leave alone. Or if you wanted warm compress a few times a day.
That was my thought too with the bump, it doesn't look angry but wanted another opinion. I figured she's getting a bit of protein with the nuts and seeds but some beans might be a good idea.
 

Laurasea

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You might also sprout, then blend in.

Wild birds eat a lot of leaf/twig/flowers buds...so wish there were good wild parrot foraging studies....I have one or two in my ornithology thread...
 

wrench13

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Are the nuts and seeds being pulverized enough? Honestly, I think I would back off on them until she is a bit older, I dont know if her digestive system is mature enough to digest seeds and nuts, even if you get them to a powder like consistency. Cooked beans and some eggs seem like a better choice for proteins
Notice the temp they state. .
Here is Roudybush baby formula contents:
81vIm6pzF3L._AC_SL1500_.jpg

91hOQFnub4L._AC_SL1500_.jpg
 

Laurasea

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Wrench! Brilliant, look at all that protein! I will take a picture of my hand rearing formula and add too!!! Smart smart smart!

Kaytee baby bird formula
22% protein
20220308_135903.jpg
20220308_135912.jpg

Also decreasing water ratio as they get older
20220308_140100.jpg
20220308_140035.jpg
 
Last edited:
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JayInTheJungle
Mar 6, 2022
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Bolivia
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"Rosemary" Red-and-green macaw (Ara chloropterus)
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Are the nuts and seeds being pulverized enough? Honestly, I think I would back off on them until she is a bit older, I dont know if her digestive system is mature enough to digest seeds and nuts, even if you get them to a powder like consistency. Cooked beans and some eggs seem like a better choice for proteins
Notice the temp they state. .
Here is Roudybush baby formula contents:
81vIm6pzF3L._AC_SL1500_.jpg

91hOQFnub4L._AC_SL1500_.jpg
So basically these formulas are corn and soy with a bunch of vitamins! Sounds like most American processed foods! ๐Ÿ˜ Definitely useful though to give me an idea of ratios to shoot for. I have to think a bunch of grains, fruits, veggies and seeds in the blender are a little closer to what they get in nature. The seeds and nuts get ground up pretty good.
You might also sprout, then blend in.

Wild birds eat a lot of leaf/twig/flowers buds...so wish there were good wild parrot foraging studies....I have one or two in my ornithology thread...
I sprout a lot of my own seeds and beans as it is so I'll add sprouted beans. Macaws are always munching figs around here so I imagine adding some fig fruits wouldn't hurt.
 

Laurasea

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Oh I agree on the crap ingredients! Its the ratio of protein and fats i was wanting to share. With feathers coming in , those are protein.

Soy is cheap and terrible. I try and avoid
 
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JayInTheJungle
Mar 6, 2022
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187
Bolivia
Parrots
"Rosemary" Red-and-green macaw (Ara chloropterus)
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You might also sprout, then blend in.

Wild birds eat a lot of leaf/twig/flowers buds...so wish there were good wild parrot foraging studies....I have one or two in my ornithology thread...
It hit me, with eating flowers in the wild, I wonder if mixing in some bee pollen would be good. Certainly would add some protein and lots of other nutrients.
 
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JayInTheJungle
Mar 6, 2022
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187
Bolivia
Parrots
"Rosemary" Red-and-green macaw (Ara chloropterus)
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Well after digging around, my guess is she is about 10 weeks old now (got her at about 8 weeks) and will be fledging in a few weeks!
 

Shez

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Feb 17, 2022
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How is this baby doing now?

I would google the ingredients in a formula specifically for baby macaws as they actually have different dietary requirements to the smaller parrot babies. Their suggested food intake is usually a bit higher in fats and I am pretty sure lower in protein than that of most other parrots, so, if I was in the same situation then I personally would feed the nuts (preferably almond or walnut as they have healthier fats) and I would also feed most of the other things you mention but I would swap out some of the fruit (as it is high in sugars and your baby wont be working all the sugars off like wild birds will) for more leafy greens, red and orange veggies and I would also think that adding soaked or cooked grains, legumes and beans like chickpeas, oats, buckweat, brown or other rice (preferably not white rice), lentils etc would be very beneficial. I would use a nutribullet type of blender to pretty much liquify all the foods to make feeding and digestion easier. Maybe see if you can buy some appropriate probiotics as your baby would still be getting fed healthy gut bacteria with digestive enzymes from the parents to help digestion and keep its gut healthy. Also maybe start offering your little one chunks of fresh foods to play with and try- they play with food a lot when they are babies and they are learning to eat independently so the more healthy foods it can explore and become familiar with the easier it will be to have your bird eat a wide variety of healthy foods in the future.

To clean your baby up some you can use a cotton ball or very soft cloth and warm water and gently wipe the feathers- take your time and do it over a few sittings, try to avoid wetting the skin if you can, you do not want to cause bubs to get cold or need to keep itself warm.

If you can't keep baby in a tub anymore then I suggest you really well pad the bottom of your cage with pill free fleece blankets and put the perch down nice and low so it can learn to use one and when it falls (which it will do- they are kind of clumsy for a bit) it won't really be falling far so can't hurt itself.
 
Last edited:
OP
JayInTheJungle
Mar 6, 2022
44
187
Bolivia
Parrots
"Rosemary" Red-and-green macaw (Ara chloropterus)
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #13
How is this baby doing now?

I would google the ingredients in a formula specifically for baby macaws as they actually have different dietary requirements to the smaller parrot babies. Their suggested food intake is usually a bit higher in fats and I am pretty sure lower in protein than that of most other parrots, so, if I was in the same situation then I personally would feed the nuts (preferably almond or walnut as they have healthier fats) and I would also feed most of the other things you mention but I would swap out some of the fruit (as it is high in sugars and your baby wont be working all the sugars off like wild birds will) for more leafy greens, red and orange veggies and I would also think that adding soaked or cooked grains, legumes and beans like chickpeas, oats, buckweat, brown or other rice (preferably not white rice), lentils etc would be very beneficial. I would use a nutribullet type of blender to pretty much liquify all the foods to make feeding and digestion easier. Maybe see if you can buy some appropriate probiotics as your baby would still be getting fed healthy gut bacteria with digestive enzymes from the parents to help digestion and keep its gut healthy. Also maybe start offering your little one chunks of fresh foods to play with and try- they play with food a lot when they are babies and they are learning to eat independently so the more healthy foods it can explore and become familiar with the easier it will be to have your bird eat a wide variety of healthy foods in the future.

To clean your baby up some you can use a cotton ball or very soft cloth and warm water and gently wipe the feathers- take your time and do it over a few sittings, try to avoid wetting the skin if you can, you do not want to cause bubs to get cold or need to keep itself warm.

If you can't keep baby in a tub anymore then I suggest you really well pad the bottom of your cage with pill free fleece blankets and put the perch down nice and low so it can learn to use one and when it falls (which it will do- they are kind of clumsy for a bit) it won't really be falling far so can't hurt itself.
She seems to be doing great! She is getting more active and coordinated every day. She sleeps in her bin at night but during the day, forget it! She's out and exploring and trying to follow me everywhere. I'm having a cage made for her in the city. It's suppose to be ready on Monday. I think she'll be much happier there than the bin. You can tell she just wants to be part of what's going on. Do you know have they done much study on guy bacteria of macaws? I wouldn't want to give her human probiotics since i imagine we have quite different gut fauna. I'm hoping she has good gut bacteria established since her first couple months we with her parents. If they have parrot probiotics I'd have to have them sent down from the States which isn't easy here. Thanks for the pointers!
 
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JayInTheJungle
Mar 6, 2022
44
187
Bolivia
Parrots
"Rosemary" Red-and-green macaw (Ara chloropterus)
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Update on Rosemary:
She's growing up so fast! (and not fast enough... so much hand feeding! ๐Ÿ˜). So we've hit what seems to be a rather odd routine now. She use to be starving in the mornings. Now she could care less about food when I get up. She has a one track mind to get outside. She doesn't want to play, cuddle, or eat, just get the heck outside no mater what I do. So she spends the morning up in her "morning tree". She climbs up and just snuggles in to watch the world. We chatter at each other while I'm out there working but she has no interest in food or anything until noon when she glides down to me and we go in for lunch where she usually takes some food from a syringe and nibbles some solid food. Side note she seems to be eating some on her own now, hard to say what she eats and what she just chews on. Papaya I definitely see her swallowing. She also loves to chew on walnuts, carrots, string beans and sweet potatoes but hard to tell how much she actually eats. Anyhow, back to her schedule, after a little feeding and some hang out time she is usually happy to go in her cage and chill while we take our siesta hour. After that she is mildly interested or not at all interested in a feeding. She then wants to go to her afternoon bush, a lower bush and hangs out there for a bit. This period she is a bit more interactive though, sometimes coming down to visit and check on what I'm doing and starts getting more playful and willing to take more food. Her interest in being social and food increases as the afternoon/ evening progresses with usually 2 big feeds before bed. The evening she is extremely playful and cuddly before bedtime. Then the next day the cycle repeats. The lower volume of food and total lack of interest in the mornings really surprises me but she seems to be staying healthy and growing well.

Other notes:
She gets along great with the family... except the 2.5 year old. They clash and she bit him pretty good the other day. Any tips on working on that would be helpful.
When she's feeling playful, she seems to love to flip onto her back and roughhouse in my lap, but only when no one else is around. I know some are good doing that but it still messes with me such a big bird being okay flipping onto her back like that.
She went from being scared of water to loving it the other day when she discovered running through the hose water as I water my plants. Crazy girl won't stop running in front of the hose now!
Every evening she does this intense workout thing where she either goes to her favorite spot in the hall or clings on to me and starts beating her wings intensely for a bit.

Anyhow, that's where we are at. She is pretty amazing! Let me know if you spot any concerns with the above info.
 

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