Rescued Macaw Issues

JLJ4EVR

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Feb 17, 2021
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B&G Macaw
Hi everyone! We just rescued an around 10 year old B&G Macaw. He came out of two seperate abusive situations. First 3 years he was with a single male and rescued due to hoarding. 2nd home he loved the husband and son but hated the wife. She would run when he would attack her and now we think she used a spray bottle on him because he HATES to even see one. The 2 men lost interest and he started attacking them too. They then left him locked in his cage, in a seperate room ALONE, for guessing around the last 4 years of his life. Only fed every two days. Now he has bonded with my husband but no matter what I have done only wants to attack me. Even if I ignore him he will be OK for a little while then just decide to try to bite me. So far succeeded 3 times and bad enough to leave scars. Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated.
 

SailBoat

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First, it comes down to whether or not there is a family agreement that this Mac has a forever home.

If there is a true 'want' to provide a forever home, everyone will need to be involved in providing this Mac an assurance that s/he will no longer be abused, will be loved regardless of how long it takes for s/he to begin kind of trusting one or all of you.

Let's remember that this very intelligent creature has been abused for a much longer time in years than days in your home. Recovery from abuse takes time, lots of time, and recovery starts with very tiny steps.

Everyone, gets to spend time sitting along side the Mac reading aloud in a comforting tone the Highlighted threads in the Macaw subforum. The goal is simply getting s/he use to your voices and that no one has tried to kill s/he yet...

So, time for a family meeting, with the Mac in the center. If you come to an agreement, then it will be time to start developing a Trust Bond.

Some of that Trust comes from: Only Good Things Happen When Humans Are Around!

FYI: Try misting high is the sky above the Mac allowing the 'mist' to gentle and slowing fall from on high.
 
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JLJ4EVR

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We will be his forever home and luckiky for him I understand and have the patience and enough knowledge to know that we may never be best buds. I am just looking for the best advice to help me get him to just stop attacking for no reason. Thats what I am not the most knowledable on. He can be awesome and out playing and behaving great then all of a sudden just decides he wants to run over and bite me. I cannot turn my back on him no matter all the tricks I know that I have tried to get him over it. He LOVES me to give him his showers. Plays and lets me rub all over him. Come back out sit down and he will be calm and fine then boom runs over and tries to bite me. It's just so obvious that the past women tortured him. You can see him thinking "why is she not running from me?". When I say attack I do not mean a quick nip he gets determined to get a chunk out of me!
 

SailBoat

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This is going to be a very gutsy recommendation and if you are not comfortable with it, simply do not try it!

The out of nowhere attack sounds like abuse as its foundation. With your other interactions, this is clearly an outlier. Kind of like a push away, because the Mac believes it is just a matter of time before he gets swatted.

Okay, now the dangerous stuff!
The goal is to see the bill opening and before your Mac gets close enough to bit, place your pointing finger on the upper part of the bill near the top. Insiders information, their muscles to open their bill is far weaker than closing. Place light pressure on the upper bill, while telling your Mac how good they are.

Now this can also be done by using the thumb and pointer fingers and with light pressure back slowly rub the upper bill with the same statement as above.

The goal is to 'distract' them from what was being contemplating!

Anytime you can break the link to a past behavior, is one small step forward.

WARNING! This is an advanced technique that requires a comfort in Parrot handling. It maybe well worth your time to watch the behavior a few times to understand the steps involved and when you distract the Parrot.

Assure that your Mac is not signaling that playtime is over and they want some downtime...
 
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JLJ4EVR

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Thank you everyone! His efforts lesson a little more each day but...lol. I feel comfortable enough to try that Sailboat. I know enough to know when he is deciding to try now (ugh, lol). It sucks because I am not upset with him more would love to "meet" this woman that ruined him!
 

SailBoat

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Best to let the past fade from one's mind as it does nothing toward opening the future!

Remember that Parrots tune into our emotions and although I fully agree with you and even have some tools that would prove useful. I have found that those emotions hiding in the background can find their way to the now.

You need to be locked into the here and now! A flicker of a moment, and you may miss a very important body language signal and be subject to a bite.
 
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JLJ4EVR

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Update everyone. After some progress he reverted really badly. Our friend that rehabs for a rescue and brought him to us picked him up for training. We all thought it was a combo of his abuse issues and overbonding with my husband. She planned to do some intense training. She does not work and has rehabbed several birds with these issues then rehomed them safely. She kept him seperate and he was super sweet the entire time. She had him outside and her husband walked by. He INSTINTLY latched on to her arm FULL FORCE and refused to let go. Which he had done to me. He never was given a chance to bond with him to do that. He got her good a few other times out of the blue after that. She contacted the owner of the rescue and none of them had ever seen anything like this. Wanted to ship him somewhere in New York. We refused and told her we will not give him up. My husband can handle him and he was SLOWLY getting better. He is back home. All experts believe he has a hormone inbalance and reverted so bad because its breeding season now. Going to a specialty vet soon. Any one else ever deal with this before?
 
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JLJ4EVR

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FYI as you all know macaws bite (yes very hard) and release. They do not naturally full on attack anyone on a mission. HE DOES it is literlly like a light switch goes off and he full on will keep coming at you or bite and REFUSE TO RELEASE. This is not normal for a macaw at all.
 
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JLJ4EVR

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B&G Macaw
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Update everyone. After some progress he reverted really badly. Our friend that rehabs for a rescue and brought him to us picked him up for training. We all thought it was a combo of his abuse issues and overbonding with my husband. She planned to do some intense training. She does not work and has rehabbed several birds with these issues then rehomed them safely. She kept him seperate and he was super sweet the entire time. She had him outside and her husband walked by. He INSTINTLY latched on to her arm FULL FORCE and refused to let go. Which he had done to me. He never was given a chance to bond with him to do that. He got her good a few other times out of the blue after that. She contacted the owner of the rescue and none of them had ever seen anything like this. Wanted to ship him somewhere in New York. We refused and told her we will not give him up. My husband can handle him and he was SLOWLY getting better. He is back home. All experts believe he has a hormone inbalance and reverted so bad because its breeding season now. Going to a specialty vet soon. Any one else ever deal with this before?
 

noodles123

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If your husband is doing anything to send mating signals (i.g., petting beak for some macaws or places other than the head or neck, I would strongly urge him to stop, as it often sends the wrong intentions and intensifies mating behavior which includes him attacking both of you--- you first, as you were the threat and then your husband, because he may have sexually frustrated the parrot-- not blaming him, but it is super easy to do even with a parrot who doesn't have a complicated past). The same should be said about any huts, blankets, hampers, boxes, shadowy spaces etc. 10-12 hours of sleep on a schedule (quiet and dark, like a toddler) is also essential, as parrots regulate their breeding cycles via light and their mood and immune systems go downhill without proper sleep and light/dark cycles.


Just saw your post above after writing this first part. You need to all be clear that not a single one of the family is his mate. No cuddles...no shadows....plenty of sleep...lots of time out of the cage...teaching him to play...do not force him to do anything he is uncomfortable with (within reason). You need to all build trust but set firm boundaries in terms of this being a non-sexual relation. It's going to take a lot of patience and consistency and controlling the hormones is going to fall largely on you guys (while nature will still amp them up in the spring, that doesn't mean that it's okay to touch him, swaddle him, allow him under hair/clothing/furniture afterwards-- he should no have access to those spaces). This is even more important because of his complicated history. You don't have to walk on eggshells or make a super rigid routine, but predictability creates a little less anxiety (assuming there is a bit of natural deviation just to prevent overly-rigid behavior),


Also- avoid shreddable paper-type toys and warm mushy food during hormonal spells--- with these, there is some wiggle room during non-hormonal times, but with a bird like you are describing, that wiggle room should never apply to sleep schedules, petting inappropriately or shadowy spaces...Those things will need to be pretty solid indefinitely if you want this to stop and stay gone. His past is complicated and he needs constancy.


Find out what motivates him (other than sexual petting and "cuddles" and find ways to give him attention/praise in a new and fun way that revolves less around touching and more around a game, dancing, a puzzle, foraging, etc etc. I am not saying you shouldn't handle him, but do not push it if you know you will get bitten or if the bird is unsure, as that often leads to practice biting and the discovery that biting can be used to manipulate (I'm sure he knows this by now). Look into ABA as well (applied behavior analysis). It works when everyone is on-board.
 
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JLJ4EVR

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Thank you. My husband is distancing himself a little more. We are restricting some of his free roaming and what he can do but still training and play time. We let him have a little too much freedom out at first so starting with working on his new more limited boundries. Vet visit coming soon. And our friend recommended the book Parrot Problem Solver. Ordered and on its way lol
 

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