To young for a macaw or other large parrot?

Jul 1, 2021
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2 male cockatiels
This is so far totally up in the air and the chances of it happening are not high but I thought i'd like to make this post. I am 13 I got my first tiel when I was about 5-6 and added another a few years after, both were completely wild and my dad tamed my first one but I by myself trained my second bird Storm when I was about 11. I had to do the research to learn how to tame him as my dads method was very harmful. He is now very comfortable with me doing many things like holding and petting his back giving him scratches and he flies to me often. I have owned and past owned many different animals as well but parrots are most definitely my favorite. I am the only one who takes care of my pets and pays for their needs. The tiels are kept in a large flight cage with many toys and natural wood perches. They get 2 meals a day, chop in the morning and pellets later in the day. I had to change their diet and housing once I was old enough to start doing research and some to a conclusion they did not have proper care. I am home schooled and plan to stay that way (mostly for the birds) and spend many hours home hanging out with them. I plan on doing online college so that I can provide a comfortable situation for the parrot and would like to live on at least a few acres and get more parrots when I'm older. I spend lots of time doing as much research on birds as possible and have watched many care videos on macaws, cockatoos and other large parrots. Is the idea of keeping such a large bird this young even worth thinking about? Is there a large bird that would be better for a teenager? I understand they are loud, needy, expensive, and live a long time but I am up for it. I plan on trying to get as much hands on experience with them and learning how to properly train and handle one and harness training so I can bring it places with me if needed. If a macaw works out a green wing or blue and gold seems to be the better choice (If not please tell me). I do pet sitting, babysitting, horse exercising, ranch work, and more to earn money. I plan on saving up not only for the bird, large cage, outdoor aviary, many toys, perches and more but also setting aside a few thousand dollars in case of a large vet bill. Also I have learned many great information from birdtricks and was wondering if anyone has had experience with their training courses because i'm considering getting those If I get a macaw. Is having a macaw even as a responsible teenager a good idea?
 

Tikitiel

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i would find that when you are older a macaw would be better ,why?
taming means you will get bitten atleast once at a young age- it can break bones and possibly lose limbs i will not recomend getting a macaw
 
OP
D
Jul 1, 2021
30
44
Parrots
2 male cockatiels
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  • #3
i would find that when you are older a macaw would be better ,why?
taming means you will get bitten atleast once at a young age- it can break bones and possibly lose limbs i will not recomend getting a macaw
Ok thank you I agree they are huge birds I just want to consider every angle of it when I’m young so when I’m more capable of owning one I’m prepared.
 

Noahs_Birds

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I've been in your shoes before, I was 11 when I first started to get the urge to get higher end birds. Now I'm 17 and I've managed to hold myself back!

I've had a lot of harsh experiences in my time as a keeper and breeder of 50+ birds currently, and some of those experiences, especially with more expensive high end birds, can and will break your heart in worst cases of scenarios and I have met many younger people who have been turned away from birds completely after one bad experience, even teen's older than 13.

There's plenty of other options between cockatiels and macaws/ other larger parrots. There's always the wide world of conures and quakers as a next step up once you've done tonnes of research beforehand.

Save up your cash in the meantime! Few more years down the track and the right opportunity might come by your way...........maybe it might not be a macaw by then that takes your fancy, who knows!
 

LaManuka

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I personally think owning a bird, any bird, at your age is challenging, because there are so very many things that will change in your life in the next few years. I'm sure you are already aware of this, hence you are asking the pertinent questions rather than just ploughing ahead and impulsively acquiring a macaw. As you discovered with your cockatiels, birds more than any other type of companion animal really do require the whole family to be on board and on the same page with their care. This would be even more true of a much larger bird with far higher demands on time, resources, emotions, money, all of the fundamentals. Beyond that there are future romantic relationships, landlords, moving for further education or work, plus all kinds of unexpected situations where you may end up being forced to choose between something or someone else and your bird. These things are usually much more easily negotiated with a smaller bird like a cockatiel (or two) than a macaw, although even then, a lot of people are faced with making a heartbreaking decision between one and the other, and it's often a choice that they later come to regret very much.

You could equate it with being a teenage parent, which effectively you would be since these beautiful creatures are every bit as high maintenance, intelligent and emotionally demanding as any small child would be, if not more so because parrots bond so very closely with their human parront and they never grow up and become independent like kids do. Not saying that you yourself could not do it, just as there certainly are many very successful teen parents of young children out there, but the sacrifices you would need to make would be at least at that level or higher. As much as I loved birds and always had budgies when I was in school, I ended up moving across my State and living overseas quite unexpectedly when I left school, so having a larger bird would not have worked for me, although I have seen it work for a few.

I'm not sure if you've read this sticky, which was written by one of our most highly esteemed Moderators, but if you multiply it by a factor of about 5 (maybe even more?) it may give some more insight into the various issues that need to be considered...


Research all that you possibly can, although I don't think any amount of reading can really prepare you for the lived experience. Perhaps if there are parrot rescues or shelters near you, you could volunteer there, handle them if allowed, and learn from other workers and volunteers, maybe even get bitten a time or two, to get a bit of an idea of what a macaw would be like to live with. Unexpected changes in life can crop up for any person at any stage in life and age does not always automatically mean that it's necessarily a terrible idea. But you do need to approach this with your eyes very much wide open, because all pet parrots regardless of size deserve to have a loving home, and preferably a permanent one.
 

Kitekeeper

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Excellent advice LaManuka!!

When I read the question posed by DiscotheCockatiel, which I found quite mature to ask, I thought of all the changes a person goes by in life and many of them would make it difficult to accommodate a macaw.

Most teenagers are not yet settled in life to provide a more predictable future for such a long lived bird. Macaws can reach more than 80 years of lifespan in captivity. Also having a bird like that, with so high emotional demands is like having a 5 years old child for decades as LaManuka said. It might prevent a young owner to have a "one year backpack traveling adventure" or even to go overseas to study for many months. It is not a bird easy to adopt or to rehome in case life demands, it might require a lot of luck to find someone else to keep the macaw for you.

Last but not least, most people don´t know well how they will adapt to take care of a child. Some people are just not comfortable with someone that depends on them for almost everything for a prolonged time. A macaw is exactly that, for many decades...

Thank you DiscotheCockatiel for dedicating some time to think it through :)
 
OP
D
Jul 1, 2021
30
44
Parrots
2 male cockatiels
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #7
I've been in your shoes before, I was 11 when I first started to get the urge to get higher end birds. Now I'm 17 and I've managed to hold myself back!

I've had a lot of harsh experiences in my time as a keeper and breeder of 50+ birds currently, and some of those experiences, especially with more expensive high end birds, can and will break your heart in worst cases of scenarios and I have met many younger people who have been turned away from birds completely after one bad experience, even teen's older than 13.

There's plenty of other options between cockatiels and macaws/ other larger parrots. There's always the wide world of conures and quakers as a next step up once you've done tonnes of research beforehand.

Save up your cash in the meantime! Few more years down the track and the right opportunity might come by your way...........maybe it might not be a macaw by then that takes your fancy, who knows!
Ok thank you so much! 50+ birds is a lot! I definetly think a larger medium bird would be more ideal to care for than a large parrot. I will keep doing research and saving up.
 
OP
D
Jul 1, 2021
30
44
Parrots
2 male cockatiels
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #8
I personally think owning a bird, any bird, at your age is challenging, because there are so very many things that will change in your life in the next few years. I'm sure you are already aware of this, hence you are asking the pertinent questions rather than just ploughing ahead and impulsively acquiring a macaw. As you discovered with your cockatiels, birds more than any other type of companion animal really do require the whole family to be on board and on the same page with their care. This would be even more true of a much larger bird with far higher demands on time, resources, emotions, money, all of the fundamentals. Beyond that there are future romantic relationships, landlords, moving for further education or work, plus all kinds of unexpected situations where you may end up being forced to choose between something or someone else and your bird. These things are usually much more easily negotiated with a smaller bird like a cockatiel (or two) than a macaw, although even then, a lot of people are faced with making a heartbreaking decision between one and the other, and it's often a choice that they later come to regret very much.

You could equate it with being a teenage parent, which effectively you would be since these beautiful creatures are every bit as high maintenance, intelligent and emotionally demanding as any small child would be, if not more so because parrots bond so very closely with their human parront and they never grow up and become independent like kids do. Not saying that you yourself could not do it, just as there certainly are many very successful teen parents of young children out there, but the sacrifices you would need to make would be at least at that level or higher. As much as I loved birds and always had budgies when I was in school, I ended up moving across my State and living overseas quite unexpectedly when I left school, so having a larger bird would not have worked for me, although I have seen it work for a few.

I'm not sure if you've read this sticky, which was written by one of our most highly esteemed Moderators, but if you multiply it by a factor of about 5 (maybe even more?) it may give some more insight into the various issues that need to be considered...


Research all that you possibly can, although I don't think any amount of reading can really prepare you for the lived experience. Perhaps if there are parrot rescues or shelters near you, you could volunteer there, handle them if allowed, and learn from other workers and volunteers, maybe even get bitten a time or two, to get a bit of an idea of what a macaw would be like to live with. Unexpected changes in life can crop up for any person at any stage in life and age does not always automatically mean that it's necessarily a terrible idea. But you do need to approach this with your eyes very much wide open, because all pet parrots regardless of size deserve to have a loving home, and preferably a permanent one.
Thank you so much for writing such a long response it has really helped! I think owning a parrot without my families help would be hard. I am the only caretaker of my tiels and it is hard because the bird I tamed is pretty much only ok with me and my dad is the only one who is comfortable holding them but does not have much time or drive to do so much. But if I were to get a macaw It absolutely must be ok and comfortable with many people or it could attack someone in my home and that is not ok for a huge bird to do. I don't plan on traveling much when I'm older as I plan on possibly owning horses and parrots and really just don't like traveling in general. If I do plan on getting into a relationship with someone they would have to like parrots and be ok with them taking over much of my life. Thank you for the link I will definitely read it. There are not any parrot rescues in my city but I think it would be worth it to drive a few hour to get hands on experience at a rescue. There are quite a few bird stores where i could try to hold and learn more in person with the birds.
 
OP
D
Jul 1, 2021
30
44
Parrots
2 male cockatiels
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #9
Excellent advice LaManuka!!

When I read the question posed by DiscotheCockatiel, which I found quite mature to ask, I thought of all the changes a person goes by in life and many of them would make it difficult to accommodate a macaw.

Most teenagers are not yet settled in life to provide a more predictable future for such a long lived bird. Macaws can reach more than 80 years of lifespan in captivity. Also having a bird like that, with so high emotional demands is like having a 5 years old child for decades as LaManuka said. It might prevent a young owner to have a "one year backpack traveling adventure" or even to go overseas to study for many months. It is not a bird easy to adopt or to rehome in case life demands, it might require a lot of luck to find someone else to keep the macaw for you.

Last but not least, most people don´t know well how they will adapt to take care of a child. Some people are just not comfortable with someone that depends on them for almost everything for a prolonged time. A macaw is exactly that, for many decades...

Thank you DiscotheCockatiel for dedicating some time to think it through :)
Thank you! I don't plan on traveling much as an adult but during the summer my family does go on a few trips. There are bird stores that do boarding but it's not the same thing and they are so emotionally intelligent they cant be kept in a cage for many hours.
 

Skarila

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Thank you! I don't plan on traveling much as an adult but during the summer my family does go on a few trips. There are bird stores that do boarding but it's not the same thing and they are so emotionally intelligent they cant be kept in a cage for many hours.
You are indeed right! Not to mention my number one fear regarding boarding is if my bird might catch something from the other birds there!!

When I was 13 I didn't plan to travel much either. Or move. I never planned to go to another country where I don't even speak the language, but life had some weird plans for me it seems xD
You really never know what life holds in future, especially when you're young!
 

AmyMyBlueFront

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i would find that when you are older a macaw would be better ,why?
taming means you will get bitten atleast once at a young age- it can break bones and possibly lose limbs i will not recomend getting a macaw
I got my 1st "parrot" at your age, my mom gave me A Budgie for my birthday. I had raised a baby English Sparrow when younger and all went well until the neighbors CAT got a hold of him one day :(
Wally the budgie flew the coop one night after mom was going out and didn't realize Wally was on her shoulder when she stepped out. We did everything possible to get him back but you need to realize this was over 50 years ago!
Then "life" happened...going to school..meeting new friends,going out with girls and buddies..getting MARRIED and having a child. Still,a bird was always in the back of my mind,an African Grey was on my mind. I loved and still do,birds. Feeding/housing them long before Wally came into my life.
I thought at 30 y.o. I was settled enough for that African Grey. Then I got divorced! Smokey and I were welcomed back to mom's house,my dad had passed when I was 12 and mom was retired and wanted Smoke's and I there to keep her company. I was driving tractor trailer at the time,out most of the week home on weekends and mom cared for Smokes and did an awesome job. She (Smokey) was about 1 yr old and started talking and getting into trouble like alot of AG do. Then about a year later I met my bosses Blue Front and knew I wanted one lol so in comes Amy..Then heart surgery,mom passing,terrible m/c accident..LIFE happened..just saying you have a lot to think about having no clue what it holds for you even if you THINK you know!!


Jim
 

Tikitiel

Well-known member
Sep 21, 2021
1,837
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Riyadh
Parrots
Lutino cockatiel (Tiki)
**RIP**
Tango the sun conure
Flitch the Sparrow
I got my 1st "parrot" at your age, my mom gave me A Budgie for my birthday. I had raised a baby English Sparrow when younger and all went well until the neighbors CAT got a hold of him one day :(
Wally the budgie flew the coop one night after mom was going out and didn't realize Wally was on her shoulder when she stepped out. We did everything possible to get him back but you need to realize this was over 50 years ago!
Then "life" happened...going to school..meeting new friends,going out with girls and buddies..getting MARRIED and having a child. Still,a bird was always in the back of my mind,an African Grey was on my mind. I loved and still do,birds. Feeding/housing them long before Wally came into my life.
I thought at 30 y.o. I was settled enough for that African Grey. Then I got divorced! Smokey and I were welcomed back to mom's house,my dad had passed when I was 12 and mom was retired and wanted Smoke's and I there to keep her company. I was driving tractor trailer at the time,out most of the week home on weekends and mom cared for Smokes and did an awesome job. She (Smokey) was about 1 yr old and started talking and getting into trouble like alot of AG do. Then about a year later I met my bosses Blue Front and knew I wanted one lol so in comes Amy..Then heart surgery,mom passing,terrible m/c accident..LIFE happened..just saying you have a lot to think about having no clue what it holds for you even if you THINK you know!!


Jim
i completly forgot about thier life span!
 

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