Progress and Questions for M

K.C.

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M's backstory is in New Members Welcome under "New Unplanned Macaw Caretaker." There's another thread regarding what type he is here in the Macaw section titled "Is M a Harlequin or Catalina"--general consensus is he's a Catalina.

Ok, Progress: He's been with us a week now--longest stay yet. He was supposed to leave tonight with K to go her overnight at her dad's, but she has cold symptoms and is staying home. He's playing a lot more. He finally started looking at the new foraging toys with slightly less suspicion last night. He even ventured over to one and messed around with it last night. Yay!

He slept INSIDE the cage last night with the door closed for the first time here! He's freaked out every time K messed with the door, but I told her he needs to be in for safety ASAP. He was extremely agitated for about 30 minutes after K closed the door. She really struggled with leaving him in when he was begging. He made kissy noises, yelled "Hi!," scolded, picked at the latch, etc. He finally calmed and settled on his biggest perch and went to sleep with all but the front of the cage covered. Now we'll see if she can come up with some type of bedtime routine to keep him from hating it. She's going to try a bedtime treat tonight. We're keeping our fingers crossed.

He is eating regularly now--and trashing everything in sight when he does. Lol, a 5-foot radius around him is wearing whatever he's interested in. At least he's feeling his oats enough to be obnoxious! I can't handle wilted/quiet M.

He's actually playing with the colorful plastic toys and bells that came with the cage. Up till this point he would touch only wood toys. He's been trying get the little dingle thingy out of the bells. He started swinging by his beak from a beaded swing that was too small for him, but I left in anyway to see if he'd like destroying it. I'm thrilled he's occupying himself with more things.

We cancelled the prefabricated parrot gym because we decided we could build him a nicer one more specific to him out of PVC pipe. We have been gathering all the pieces and are waiting on a few ordered connections we couldn't find locally to put it together.

He's spunkier and more vocal about his likes and dislikes than he was when I first met him, but K has absolutely flourished with the info about not spooking away when he threatens. She fearlessly doesn't back away, and he just calms down and they work out whatever has him riled. I have been pointing out his irritation at things to her, and she's getting much better at spotting it. I'm the problem spotter; she's the bold, don't-care-even-if-you-do-bite one.
And to be fair, he hasn't really bitten her ever, even when he could have.

He can flat-out fly! He has flown the length of the house twice this evening and landed perfectly on my kitchen chairs both times. He is missing some flight feathers, but it doesn't seem to be an effort at all.

Random funny stuff: He was feeling grumpy and K was having trouble moving him. I innocently went to close the patio blind (he thinks it's suspicious), and his demeanor went from "Put your dukes up!" to "Hold me! I'm scared!" Complete 180, lol! I turned around and his grumpy self was hiding under her chin with a whole new perspective. I can't help but chuckle at that.

He took a bath with a spray bottle today! Now, that might not sound like much, but we know water bottles have been used on him as punishment; and he's been scared of them. Today my daughter sprayed herself several times first, then tried him; he actually fluffed up and started taking a bath in the mist! She is ecstatic! It seems to take the edge off new things if she does it first.

Now for the question. Is he supposed to smell just terrible after his bath? Damp M is not a pleasant smelling creature. K cracks up every time she gets near him right now and tells him he's really a stinky boy. He let her dry him with a hairdryer, but he still smells bad. He smelled better before he started taking baths--that seems backwards. Why's he getting stinkier with more baths? Years of crud getting disturbed?

Do other macaw owners use the bird water vitamins available at Petco and Wal-Mart? My mom used them years ago for parakeets, but I don't know if times/ideas have changed on that.
 

fiddlejen

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ooooh careful with the hair dryer. Safer to just do the mist-showering early in the day and let dry natural. (Do not bathe close to sleep-time, don't wnat to sleep wet.) Many hairdryers have teflon in parts that get heated and heated teflon can kill birds suddenly.

My conure always has that wet-birdie smell after bathing. Is that what you're referring to? Im sure it would be much stronger with a larger bird. Like a damp feather-pillow? If some other smell then yeah, probably just in Need of that bath...

If you haven't already, you may want to consider investing in a nice broom you like, a cordless vac, maybe a new mop, and some wall-hangers to keep this stuff all near the cage. That's what I've done. After a second year of dealing with mice, I vacuum No Less than once daily before birdie-bedtime (often more), and Sunny considers it part of her bedtime ritual. If I seem to forget, she yells at me until I do it.

Healthy birds scatter at Least as much of their food as they eat. They do this hoping (1) to grow new trees to dispense more of their favorite treats and (2) to attract more protein (ie insects & potentially tiny mammals) to enrich their diet.

I love your update! Delighted to hear that M. sounds healthy, confident and happier daily. :)
 
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K.C.

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We won't use the hairdryer if it could hurt him. I really think he's just really overdue on baths.
 

noodles123

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My bird smells like a vintage, wet, wool coat when she gets into water. Think about wet wool coats that you aren't supposed to wash (but end up getting wet in the rain after many years--the ones with a silky lining). That is her smell--not always, but after a bath. It isn't bad, but its comparable to that the wool coat...kind of similar to some "old book" smells, but less sour..I notice it whenever I wear a wool coat.


When she's dry, she smells kind of like a dusty pancake, or a box of tissues mixed with a hint of curry lol!


She gets misted and stomps around, but a "proper bath"? She won't have it...Spray downs, yes-- but there's no wetting the top of her head etc. All the more reason to wash hands before touching the bird lol! I still mist her and allow her to splash in large trays, but if I took a bath the way she does, I would wash my feet up to my calves and then my lips up to my nose...Maybe throw a bucket of water in the air wildly, but only a few drops would hit me elsewhere.
 
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K.C.

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Lol, Noodles123, this is hilarious and a very clear visual!!!! At least her feet and beak are clean!
 
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wrench13

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Never noticed a smell when my 'zon is soaking wet. Only smell he has is that amazon Christmas cookie smell, when he is extremely happy.
 

noodles123

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Never noticed a smell when my 'zon is soaking wet. Only smell he has is that amazon Christmas cookie smell, when he is extremely happy.


I think U2s probably help you get an extra whiff due to all of the crazy powder you inhale when sniffing one LOL! She smells comforting and nice-- but the wool coat thing is a fact when she's damp lol!
 
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saxguy64

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Never noticed a smell when my 'zon is soaking wet. Only smell he has is that amazon Christmas cookie smell, when he is extremely happy.
Al, YES!!! Happy amazon smell is awesome! Happy Ekkie is, to me, kind of a sweet bell pepper kind of thing. Mmmmm I love it! And yeah, I'm a bird sniffer lol! :)
 

SailBoat

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Regarding your question: "Do other macaw owners use the bird water vitamins available at Petco and Wal-Mart? My mom used them years ago for parakeets, but I don't know if times/ideas have changed on that."

The short answer is: NO, it is a total waste of money and time! Never add a supplement! Always 'First' enhance the diet! Unless, as a result of a Blood Test, which defines a need, do not supplement!
 

noodles123

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Regarding your question: "Do other macaw owners use the bird water vitamins available at Petco and Wal-Mart? My mom used them years ago for parakeets, but I don't know if times/ideas have changed on that."

The short answer is: NO, it is a total waste of money and time! Never add a supplement! Always 'First' enhance the diet! Unless, as a result of a Blood Test, which defines a need, do not supplement!


yeah- I missed that part but I agree-don't supplement unless and avian vet does blood and tells you to, and even then NEVER add to the water. It's too hard to know how much they are getting, if they are still drinking (with the new vitamin taste) and it accelerates bacterial growth. You can OD a parrot on vitamins.
 

bug_n_flock

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Hmm, I haven't noticed a stinky wet mac smell other than just "wet bird". I love her fruity excited mac smell tho.



The tiels smell soft, powdery, and good. Lol I always get a big whiff of Alex and then proclaim in mock surprise, "you smell like a BIRD, Alex!"


Budgies smell a bit "greasier" and less powdery than a tiel, but sorta similar. Budgie bath day is awful here, but that is mostly because we have so many... lmao the whole bird room REEKS of wet, happy birds.





Yup. We are all normal here. :D
 
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K.C.

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A bit of an update/rant/vent:

K called her dad to tell about the spray bath. She asked him to promise not to punish M with the spray bottle anymore because M is starting to like it. Her dad told her "maybe if he keeps being good." Now, "being good" in his book is silent bird. (Literally the opposite of happy M!) This is an extremely frustrating circumstance. I cannot be seen as too happy about M being here, or M will have to go right back. Annoying me is definitely higher on her dad's list than making M happy. So for now, my "official" stance is "unhappy about this, but tolerating it for K's sake." I'll leave it to your discretion to read between those lines since most of you have read M's backstory.

M calls loudly to K if she has to leave him.
It's not a scold, it's a loud ascending call. She or I generally call back that it's ok, she'll be back in a minute. (I've read we're supposed to ignore it so as not to encourage it, but we're a little torn on not responding--he's not being bad, he just sounds like he's locating her). K says if M does that calling at her dad's, he gets in trouble. "Trouble" is being scared into silence by making a loud crash or sound to scare him. Sigh! Why?! Why get a bird if you don't like anything that a bird does? These kinds of things hurt my heart, but I cant stop them there; and K can't either.

We are walking a tightrope on this situation because her dad purchased the bird. It was supposed to be hers, but K's ownership will be rescinded in a second if M is perceived as a benefit to this household. The perceived "inconvenience" is probably the only reason M is even here. So, for now, we have to lay low and play our cards right.
I'm not overly concerned her dad will see this--he doesn't seem interested in learning about M.

Ok, I'm sorry to be so negative/down about this. I truly am thankful for the chance to have him here.

On a lighter, funnier note, K has M absolutely pegged: she says he's like a teenage boy playing "Flinch!" I laughed so hard at the accuracy of that. One of the times he flew yesterday he landed near my 6-year-old daughter. He glanced at her, then did a mini lunge to test the waters. We told her to bob her head right back. Lol, she's not an animal lover, so her return lunge was the wrong direction. (Rest assured, I won't let him bully her.) He tried that with me, I did it back, then he sidled over and tried to talk me into picking him up. No--I like you over there, you big Goober. He tries constantly to talk me into holding him. K gets so much entertainment out of his attempting to befriend me and my attempts to keep him at arm's length. I'm getting better with him, but I still don't trust him like she does.

The licking he does! My heavens! M LICKS everything! He especially likes to lick people. He'd lick me if I'd let him. We have a licking machine here, lol.

Right now he's sitting by the window alternating between preening his "ickies" off, watching the snowfall, and licking the window.
 

Scott

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So sorry you have to walk on proverbial eggshells. What a shame K's bio-dad is a manipulative and scornful curmudgeon. Feel free to vent, it is part of M's back-story. One that will hopefully be rectified in the future!

Macaws are world class bluffers and respond well to enlightened pushback. May have mentioned I've been bitten just once by my former three macaws, and it was minimal.
 

noodles123

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A bit of an update/rant/vent:

K called her dad to tell about the spray bath. She asked him to promise not to punish M with the spray bottle anymore because M is starting to like it. Her dad told her "maybe if he keeps being good." Now, "being good" in his book is silent bird. (Literally the opposite of happy M!) This is an extremely frustrating circumstance. I cannot be seen as too happy about M being here, or M will have to go right back. Annoying me is definitely higher on her dad's list than making M happy. So for now, my "official" stance is "unhappy about this, but tolerating it for K's sake." I'll leave it to your discretion to read between those lines since most of you have read M's backstory.

M calls loudly to K if she has to leave him.
It's not a scold, it's a loud ascending call. She or I generally call back that it's ok, she'll be back in a minute. (I've read we're supposed to ignore it so as not to encourage it, but we're a little torn on not responding--he's not being bad, he just sounds like he's locating her). K says if M does that calling at her dad's, he gets in trouble. "Trouble" is being scared into silence by making a loud crash or sound to scare him. Sigh! Why?! Why get a bird if you don't like anything that a bird does? These kinds of things hurt my heart, but I cant stop them there; and K can't either.

We are walking a tightrope on this situation because her dad purchased the bird. It was supposed to be hers, but K's ownership will be rescinded in a second if M is perceived as a benefit to this household. The perceived "inconvenience" is probably the only reason M is even here. So, for now, we have to lay low and play our cards right.
I'm not overly concerned her dad will see this--he doesn't seem interested in learning about M.

Ok, I'm sorry to be so negative/down about this. I truly am thankful for the chance to have him here.

On a lighter, funnier note, K has M absolutely pegged: she says he's like a teenage boy playing "Flinch!" I laughed so hard at the accuracy of that. One of the times he flew yesterday he landed near my 6-year-old daughter. He glanced at her, then did a mini lunge to test the waters. We told her to bob her head right back. Lol, she's not an animal lover, so her return lunge was the wrong direction. (Rest assured, I won't let him bully her.) He tried that with me, I did it back, then he sidled over and tried to talk me into picking him up. No--I like you over there, you big Goober. He tries constantly to talk me into holding him. K gets so much entertainment out of his attempting to befriend me and my attempts to keep him at arm's length. I'm getting better with him, but I still don't trust him like she does.

The licking he does! My heavens! M LICKS everything! He especially likes to lick people. He'd lick me if I'd let him. We have a licking machine here, lol.

Right now he's sitting by the window alternating between preening his "ickies" off, watching the snowfall, and licking the window.




What's really sad about this, is he is creating a monster, which is the exact opposite of what he wants...It's like that marshmallow test, where they sat kids in a room and said, "you can eat one now, or WAIT and get a whole bag later..." This guy is not using any logic-- it's all instant gratification and when dealing with a baby bird who isn't sexually mature yet, but will be soon (and then could live 80+ years)...He WANTS the whole bag, but doesn't have the patience, so he keeps "eating the marshmallow" and then getting upset that it isn't going his way......that level of inexperience/ lack of motivation to learn more is super dangerous...Really makes me mad, because the second this bird becomes mature, things will get way harder and if he doesn't step up now and learn, the bird will suffer even more. He is creating a mess but will get rid of the bird as soon as it gets to be too much for him--even though it could have been prevented.
 
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...when dealing with a baby bird who isn't sexually mature yet, but will be soon (and then could live 80+ years)...the second this bird becomes mature....

Noodles123, I may be reading from the wrong info source, but I thought M would have been sexually mature at 3-4. He will be 16 years this spring if we use the date she got him last year when he was 15 years. He's older than my daughter, actually.

It is very frustrating, I agree. K is determined to keep M with her as much as her dad will allow. When K turns 13, she'll have some say-so in visitation. She loves her dad very much, but he's a difficult person to be around. I think her visitations will slack some as she ages into legal say-so, but I'm not letting her know I think that. That'll be up to her. I don't know how this will all end, but I know her dad pretty well, and I'm hopeful that the irritation he has with the bird being a bird (go figure :rolleyes:) will work in K and M's favor in future--and of course I will be as resistant as is needed to "sweeten" the deal.

Primora/Moxi, that's hilarious!:09:
 

noodles123

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...when dealing with a baby bird who isn't sexually mature yet, but will be soon (and then could live 80+ years)...the second this bird becomes mature....

Noodles123, I may be reading from the wrong info source, but I thought M would have been sexually mature at 3-4. He will be 16 years this spring if we use the date she got him last year when he was 15 years. He's older than my daughter, actually.

It is very frustrating, I agree. K is determined to keep M with her as much as her dad will allow. When K turns 13, she'll have some say-so in visitation. She loves her dad very much, but he's a difficult person to be around. I think her visitations will slack some as she ages into legal say-so, but I'm not letting her know I think that. That'll be up to her. I don't know how this will all end, but I know her dad pretty well, and I'm hopeful that the irritation he has with the bird being a bird (go figure :rolleyes:) will work in K and M's favor in future--and of course I will be as resistant as is needed to "sweeten" the deal.

Primora/Moxi, that's hilarious!:09:


For some reason I thought he was like 1-2...Sorry--- you are correct. Either way, complicated...
It's good that she still sees you both though- I just had a kid tell me that "kid" thinks "kids" life would be different if "kid" had had both parents involved at the same level. I know single parents can rock their jobs etc, but I understand the value in keeping up with relationships (even when they are hard) for the sake of your kid etc. Giving her choices etc= good!!
 
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saxguy64

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This whole thing is a curious situation. Honestly, I can't wait to see how it progresses. Part of me thinks the solution would be to tell bio dad the bird escaped, or died, and that would be the end of it. No more worries about the bird being a bird, and doing what birds do. But, knowing the type, he'd likely replace him just to make sure it continues to either inconvenience/annoy you, or amp up the grief of losing M if he thought you might be sad about it. I guess the best hope is that he thinks he can stick you with M to "make you miserable." I won't tell if you don't. :)

Sadly, I'm painfully aware of bio dad's type. The "sperm donor" of my granddaughters is exactly the same way, except with zero means financially. Super manipulative is an understatement. This one can't hold a job, or quits whenever there's a possibility he might have to pay a nickel worth of child support, leaving my daughter to raise two kids on her own.

My sincere prayers and positive thoughts for everything to work out for you all. You're doing a great job so far!
 

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I'm hating this ex of yours....im glad you know how to handle him, and that you don't have to live with anymore..

Nice to hear the mac is doing do well with you all and your amazing daughter.
 
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M is asking to be held with his foot out here. I'm pretty sure he thinks she's the most bedraggled bird he's ever seen. He tries to straighten her clothing, fix her hair, etc., lol!

Is there any way to find out stuff about M from his band number? I looked up common destinations on parrot tags, but his didn't fit any of them.

25753d1611815037-progress-questions-m-zz7a1k.jpeg
 

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M stayed with us 10 days, went back with my daughter last Friday, and came back Sunday. K said she felt like she was able to play interference for the most part with M. The ride back was the worst part. Her dad came in a tiny truck with her cousin to get her. Their dog was jumping up and down in the back. K groaned when she saw the setup. She told me later that her cousin immediately wanted to "pet M's back." K was better able to warn now that she's learning how to read him. She told the cousin that the scold he got was a warning, and the next thing would be a bite. The cousin reached one more time, got an open-beak lunge, and withdrew his hand. K said it was a tense, stressful ride. Her dad just thinks that the bird "is being bad."

K said that M talked the whole weekend, and the only real conflict she had with her dad about him was if she went outside with the dog, she'd come in to find M locked in his cage. She let him out and asked why. Her dad said it was because he'd "messed on the floor and needed to grow up and be a big boy." (Trust me--there's literally no arguing when there's no logic.) K said ahe just let M out each time she came back.
That was definitely the least confrontational way to handle it.

I made him a beautiful perch, if I may say so, out of PVC to give him a place to be near us while we're still waiting on special fittings for his gym. I proudly presented it to him. He is appalled at the very idea of it. It is greatly suspicious. Lol, we've decided he's Grug from The Croods. "Don't touch it! It's NEW!" For now we're just keeping it near us wherever we are. He picks the farthest arm, chair, etc. from it. I think he'll warm to it though.

He is back, yelling, preening, making messes, and being his cute giant self again. K's to go back tonight until morning with him. We'll see. I'd offer to keep him overnight, but I'm pretty sure that would be too transparent about my feelings about the bird. So, for now, we'll just not rock the boat and count our blessings.
 

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