Talk someone out of a macaw

amjokai

New member
Apr 19, 2014
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Wahiawa, Oahu, Hawaii
Parrots
Eclectus, Blue and Gold Macaw, Cockatiels, Ringnecks, Green Cheek Conure
I have a friend who saw rio a few times.... She has fallen in love with him. She has always wanted a bird but was saying she wanted a cockatiel, until she met rio.... I think she could be a good home but I want to make sure she knows what she is getting into.... were having coffee tomorrow to talk about it.... she has 3 small children and has never had a bird....

so other than no Teflon and that she will get bit no matter how nice her bird is ... help me make a list of what to tell her.... if she still wants one after being here and telling her everything ill tell her where to get one .....
 

Delfin

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Jan 26, 2014
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Speak to birdman666, He will illuminate your friend on the positives and negatives of owning a macaw.
 

veimar

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Feb 5, 2014
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Chicago, IL
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gcc Parry; lovebird Coco; 3 budgies (Tesla, Franky and Cesar); cockatiel Murzik, red rump parakeet girl Onyx
also just google some picks of macaw bites. :D
 

gracebowen

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Jan 14, 2015
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San Antonio
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Cora lovebird
Sky parakeet
The kids could get bit too. Didn't someone on here almost rehome a biting Macau?

Also in a freak accident one of our members birds bit it's owner and got one of the major blood vessels. She had surgery I think and got stitches.
 

Runzbarrel

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Apr 21, 2015
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Washington
Parrots
"Peaches" G2
"Squeaker" YNA
"Crackers" B&G
I would be very blunt with your friend. First time bird owners do not need to get a Macaw as their first bird. She should stick with the Cockatiel first.
 

June2012

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Apr 12, 2015
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Southern California
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Still on that mission, but looking for my mushy! <3
A macaw shouldn't be for just, "PRETTY!" They're really intelligent and I see so many ads, legit ones, from people that dropped a couple thousand because hey! Why not? They bit the kids, and everything went downhill. I ain't a parent, but you have to understand, that a parent's own instincts to their children is a very strong thing. Are you sure you will forgive your parrot if he or she bites your children? What about noise? PRICES! Being a DIY master or finding Leprechauns to pay for toys? Stainless steel cages for the bigger macaws?

That, and she made it without second thought after watching the movie... It's not bad, but she has to realize that these birds also need a lot of time. It's not a canary. It needs to be out and with the family. My neighbor has a Congo African Grey and left it outside. No one goes outside to play with it, look at it... Just a morning feeding and change of water. I don't think my pound can care for a parrot and rescues can't do much, truly. Plus, my neighbors aren't "people." (Their lifestyle in general...) They're irresponsible obviously, but have many problems as well. [EDIT: She isn't the neighbor, it's the OP's "friend'] Not to say she's a horrible person, but evening just casually leaving them outside is easy but not what birds are for!

Those people are what can tear an African Grey apart. Now just think of a macaw! I don't know about their intelligence against, but it still isn't right. Rehoming them is also dangerous since no one wants a plucked bird/a beak like that. I would get a macaw RIGHT now if my mother wasn't allergic and if my grandmother stops asking me why their eyeballs are so big. (Dunno if it's because I'm Asian lol!) But it's not because she's weird or mentally not there, she's still the genius she is. It's just that I don't want her peering into my macaw's eyes or mishandling the parrot. You know? You really have to plan! Especially since I'm getting a rescue so it could change the circumstances.

EDIT: Also, more than just planing, can she have a consistent schedule? How old are the kids? Any age is fine, it's just from a personal point of view 8 or 9 seems okay for a scratch on the head or simply perch on the arm. I'm sure she isn't a horrible mother dragging her kids into a lion pit, but it just seems she is sort of not taking everything in. Plus, is anyone allergic? (Even if a macaw, some people can be allergic to a hypoallergenic poodle. A macaw is considered equivalent allergies wise, but allergies to something considered hypoallergenic is still a potential trigger.) Okay with the noise? Everyone has to be educated. Okay, they don't have to know how to make chop like a parrot chef. They should know the basics. There are tons of classes too! Many rescues give such classes. Volunteering or taking the family there to just interact with one would be awesome too.
 
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JerseyWendy

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Jul 20, 2012
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I understand falling head over in heels with macaws, I really truly do. BUT - I would never recommend them to someone who has little or no (big) bird experience.

They are smart, they will test you, and they can and WILL bite/pinch/nip if given the opportunity, often when you least expect it. They can be quite ornery, some more so than others. They 'can' be loud, obnoxiously loud.

Their upkeep isn't necessarily cheap unless you are a DIY kind of person.

Please keep us posted, and let us know how the visit went, would you? :)
 

Doublete

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Mar 15, 2015
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Maryland
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"Loki" turquoise GCC 1/4/15 hatch date-- "Chiqui" amazon 9/2010 hatch date---- "Banner" green parrotlet hatchdate 11/22/16

RIP "pineapple" lovebird
That, and she made it without second thought after watching the movie... It's not bad, but she has to realize that these birds also need a lot of time. It's not a canary. It needs to be out and with the family

FYI it wasn't the movie. The OP has a bird NAMED rio in their sig.
 

thekarens

New member
Sep 29, 2013
4,022
3
I would be very blunt with your friend. First time bird owners do not need to get a Macaw as their first bird. She should stick with the Cockatiel first.


I disagree with this. I don't believe in "starter" birds. That doesn't mean a mac is right for this person, but it can be a first bird for the right person. Having a starter bird is a disservice to the bird IMO, especially if the owner has their heart set on a certain species. They just need to do their homework, visit a lot of birds of that species and be aware of what they are getting into.
 

Weezerj

New member
Mar 29, 2015
381
1
Portland, Oregon
Parrots
Illiger's Macaw (Loki)
I would be very blunt with your friend. First time bird owners do not need to get a Macaw as their first bird. She should stick with the Cockatiel first.


I disagree with this. I don't believe in "starter" birds. That doesn't mean a mac is right for this person, but it can be a first bird for the right person. Having a starter bird is a disservice to the bird IMO, especially if the owner has their heart set on a certain species. They just need to do their homework, visit a lot of birds of that species and be aware of what they are getting into.

I'm with you on this one...what happens to the cockatiel after 6 months when you decide that you still want the macaw?

But, she should at least get some time with a Macaw that isn't someone she know's bird and make sure she isn't intimidated by it.
 

Runzbarrel

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Apr 21, 2015
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Washington
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"Peaches" G2
"Squeaker" YNA
"Crackers" B&G
It's just what I was taught. Yes there are certain people that can handle a macaw as a first bird but they are the exception not the rule.
 

Birdman666

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2013
9,904
258
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.)
1. I also hate the starter bird concept.

2. If you have your heart set on a macaw, that's fine, I get it. Learn how to handle one, and train one safely before getting it. Otherwise, you may be setting yourself, your kids, and the bird up for a very unhappy situation.

3. Mine is just a baby. They don't stay like this. In a few months, this bird will be a tad more headstrong than he is now. Do you know how to deal with those issues? (Cuz if you back down, your bird won't. A headstrong macaw can take over a household. I've seen it happen.)

4. Caring for a macaw properly is generally a four hour a day job. That's 365 days per year, probably for the rest of your life. Not just when it's convenient for you. They don't take kindly to being ignored. In fact, they tend to get nippy when they don't get enough attention. And a bird that doesn't get handled DOES NOT stay tame.

5. You're taking on another toddler. This one never grows up or moves out.

6. Any kids in the house need to learn how to safely handle the bird as well. These birds can easily break and/or remove fingers... large macaw beaks and curious little hands are a very bad combination.

7. Expense. Not limited to the cost of the bird. He needs toys, perches, food, large cage, and a playstand, and will need periodic vet care. It isn't cheap.

8. Mess. Large bird = large mess.

9. Destruction - Your bird does not necessarily know the difference between a wooden chew toy, and your wooden door frames, furniture, etc. In fact, clothing is often seen as a chew/tug of war toy... these birds can bite zippers in half. Anything with buttons on them won't have them for long. Prepare for lots of shirts with holes in them...

10. Dominance issues. If that bird figures out that it can control you by intimidation - IT WILL!

11. Screaming issues - If that bird figures out it can get it's way by screaming - IT WILL!

12. Macaws get jealous... sometimes very jealous.

Those are the things that come off the top of my head...
 
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A

amjokai

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Apr 19, 2014
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Wahiawa, Oahu, Hawaii
Parrots
Eclectus, Blue and Gold Macaw, Cockatiels, Ringnecks, Green Cheek Conure
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Thanks everyone. I just want to make sure she knows what she is getting into. If they are dead set on a macaw then I see no issue IF she knows what she is getting. I don't want her to see rio the absolutely sweet 12 week old and decide that hers will be like that because it is a different house. And I have tons of reinforcement to make sure I'm making the right decisions with him. Also I've been bitten 100 times by other birds and even by rio just losing his balance "chomp my face to hold on" I'm hoping she will come to our local parrot club meeting and meet some that are sexually mature. The lure of a baby parrot is so strong but I want to help them avoid the heartbreak of rehoming a bird later. I just got offered an African gray that my cousin LOVED Because she hit 2 years old and they didn't train her at all. She hates everyone on the house except her female care taker, isn't potty trained won't wear a diaper or harness and chases and bites anyone she wants. I can't take her till next year cause she is in Louisiana and I can't import her here. I am just trying to save this family from that experience. And the bird from that experience though there will always be those people :( I just think it's too much of a jump oh I want a cockatiel. Wait where can I buy a rio? So I'm a tad worried and couldn't figure out my own list lol
 

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.)
STOP ME IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE BEFORE, RIGHT... ?!

Macaws are not a good impulse purchase. Neither are large toos...

I've rehomed large macaws with newbie's but I also trained both bird and human before I ever allowed that to happen!

Tell her if she wants a large macaw, then experience handling them is NOT optional. And invite her to the bird club deal... that sounds like an excellent plan.

If there is a large macaw in your bird club who is on the "opinionated" side... let her attempt to handle that one first...

"Your bird does that to one of your kids? Your significant other? Your mother in law? Can you handle it? Can they handle it? How would you handle it?"

(Okay, if it's the mother in law a quiet "good bird" and a treat...) Okay, here's what you do...

Just one of the things you need to be able to do, and be aware of before you get one...

Yeah, I'm evil. But it does tend to be a reality check...

My Ruby macaw was a very, very good reality check for most people... Smart as a whip, Manipulative as hell, and a "dominant" biter...! Here you go, pick this one up...

Yes, I did.

Because I knew they wouldn't be able to.
And there would be quite a shock when they couldn't.
(Especially when I can just walk up to her and kiss her on the beak. What?!)

Still want one?! You have much to learn grass hopper... (anyone remember Kung Fu the TV series?!)
 
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Weezerj

New member
Mar 29, 2015
381
1
Portland, Oregon
Parrots
Illiger's Macaw (Loki)
I got bit today by a green wing (not very hard)....he suckered me in by raising a leg and acting like he was going to step up and then gave me a "what for" just for the fun of it. Didn't really hurt, but made my heart rate jump, thats for sure..

I followed that up by a bite from a major mitchells cockatoo....guess it just wasn't a good day for me.
 

Birdman666

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2013
9,904
258
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 got bit today by a green wing (not very hard)....he suckered me in by raising a leg and acting like he was going to step up and then gave me a "what for" just for the fun of it. Didn't really hurt, but made my heart rate jump, thats for sure..

I followed that up by a bite from a major mitchells cockatoo....guess it just wasn't a good day for me.

MY RUBY WAS A GORGIOUS BIRD HALF SCARLET/HALF GREENWING... GOT THE WORST TRAITS OF BOTH BIRDS... GREENWING DOMINANCE ISSUES, AND SCARLET BEAKINESS...

She used to sucker people in by lowering her head, and raising her feathers, and begging for a head scractch... JUST TO SEE IF YOU'D GET YOUR FINGERS IN RANGE... And the second they were. WHAM! MADE YOU BLEED! And she would sit there and laugh at you and do her "happy dance" when you fell for it.

A stranger asking her to step up was a declaration of war!!! Sit there just as calm and docile as you please, and then - STEP UP?! UMMM... NO! LET'S SEE HOW FRIGGIN' FAST YOU CAN RUN, SUCKA!!! EVEN BETTER IF I CAN GET YOU TO RUN AWAY SCREAMING!!!

Yep, that's the bird I introduced the newbies to in my bird handling classes...

She LOVED ME...

Took me 8 MONTHS to rehab her...

8 months is an eternity for "no bite" training.

She did eventually pick her person... BEEN WITH THAT PERSON FOR WELL OVER A 15 YEARS NOW. SO SHE WAS A VERY SMART BIRD!!!

SHE PICKED WELL.
 

thekarens

New member
Sep 29, 2013
4,022
3
I got bit today by a green wing (not very hard)....he suckered me in by raising a leg and acting like he was going to step up and then gave me a "what for" just for the fun of it. Didn't really hurt, but made my heart rate jump, thats for sure..

I followed that up by a bite from a major mitchells cockatoo....guess it just wasn't a good day for me.


I would just assume I was going to get bit if I picked up a MM. It does make your heart jump when a GW bites you. Their beak is very big and they only open up if they feel like it. Thankfully it's usually just a "I'm making myself known" and let go bite.
 

Weezerj

New member
Mar 29, 2015
381
1
Portland, Oregon
Parrots
Illiger's Macaw (Loki)
I got bit today by a green wing (not very hard)....he suckered me in by raising a leg and acting like he was going to step up and then gave me a "what for" just for the fun of it. Didn't really hurt, but made my heart rate jump, thats for sure..

I followed that up by a bite from a major mitchells cockatoo....guess it just wasn't a good day for me.


I would just assume I was going to get bit if I picked up a MM. It does make your heart jump when a GW bites you. Their beak is very big and they only open up if they feel like it. Thankfully it's usually just a "I'm making myself known" and let go bite.

I was giving the MM a pine nut. He came in like he normally does to take it gently from my hand, then darted his beak to the side and let me have it.

The green wing really just startled me. I didn't even really feel any pain, so I am sure he was just messing with me. I gave him the finger wag and a "no no", and I'm sure he's going to lose some sleep tonight over that :09:

I didn't go 3 for 3 tho, the sulfur crested cockatoo lets me love on her without any thought of biting me...so it wasn't a complete blood bath :white1:
 

AJBirds

New member
Apr 9, 2015
73
0
Parrots
Pixie - Hahn's Macaw
Thank you Birdman for giving me ideas about what to teach a macaw regarding mothers in law ;) ;)

STOP ME IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE BEFORE, RIGHT... ?!

Macaws are not a good impulse purchase. Neither are large toos...

I've rehomed large macaws with newbie's but I also trained both bird and human before I ever allowed that to happen!

Tell her if she wants a large macaw, then experience handling them is NOT optional. And invite her to the bird club deal... that sounds like an excellent plan.

If there is a large macaw in your bird club who is on the "opinionated" side... let her attempt to handle that one first...

"Your bird does that to one of your kids? Your significant other? Your mother in law? Can you handle it? Can they handle it? How would you handle it?"

(Okay, if it's the mother in law a quiet "good bird" and a treat...) Okay, here's what you do...

Just one of the things you need to be able to do, and be aware of before you get one...

Yeah, I'm evil. But it does tend to be a reality check...

My Ruby macaw was a very, very good reality check for most people... Smart as a whip, Manipulative as hell, and a "dominant" biter...! Here you go, pick this one up...

Yes, I did.

Because I knew they wouldn't be able to.
And there would be quite a shock when they couldn't.
(Especially when I can just walk up to her and kiss her on the beak. What?!)

Still want one?! You have much to learn grass hopper... (anyone remember Kung Fu the TV series?!)
 

RavensGryf

Supporting Member
Jan 19, 2014
14,233
190
College Station, Texas
Parrots
Red Bellied Parrot /
Ruppell's Parrot /
Bronze Winged Pionus /
English Budgie
When Mark (birdman666) mentioned buttons on clothing, it reminded me of years ago when I was at a bird store. I was holding a GW when it grabbed a button on my sweater in its huge beak, and to my horror I could NOT get this bird off the button. It felt like it was super glued to the button! :eek:. Fortunately it didn't break. Scary though, I just wanted him OFF of my clothing, but I had to just stand there and wait til the bird was ready lol.

These beautiful birds definitely aren't for "all" experienced bird people either. I've had parrots for 20+ years, and I know I'm not the right owner/home for a Macaw.

I'd ask your friend if she is able or willing to handle the responsibility of caring for and attending to a 4 year old toddler for the rest of her life.
 

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