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December 2023

Ten Things To Consider Before Adopting a Macaw

Monday, January 22, 2018
posted by Jim Murphy

My partner works in a hotel where there is a Macaw in the lobby. Over the past two years the bird has gotten very attached to him and he has also gotten attached to “Peanut “the bird. We were talking about someday adopting our own Macaw and it’s still on the table, sort of.

First I want to thank for providing the following very helpful information on the Macaw. Thank you again for this helpful information!

There are things that we have t consider before bringing a Macaw or any Parrot into your life.

  1. Size – Macaws are large birds and they need a lot of space. They range in height from 28 to 36-plus inches, with wingspans up to 48 inches. The minimum cage size for a larger macaw is 30 inches deep by 48 inches wide by 60- to 72-inches high. Larger is always  betters. Apartments are not good places for Macaws. It’s good to have a separate bedroom just for your bird.
  2. Noise – Since they are from the rain forest and need to communicate, they are quite noisy and can screech very loudly especially of they feel they are being ignored or alarmed. Just like people, the need to “talk” varies from bird to bird.
  3. Diet – Macaws are fed a diet of fruits, nuts and vegetables. It takes time each day to prepare their meals and chop up all of these foods. Birds are much more sensitive to pesticides than humans. It’s a good idea to by organic pesticide products.
  4. Veterinary Care -Not all vets are familiar with birds. It’s important that you find an avian veterinarian but they could be many miles away.
  5. Expense – The cost of owning a Macaw is expensive. Your must also consider the cost of the cage and food. Especially if it’s organic. Macaws also need toys to keep them occupied. Their big beaks could keep you replacing their toys frequently.
  6. Longevity –  This is one of the things my partner and I struggle with. I am in my 60’s and my partner is in his late 50’s. Macaw’s live between 50 and 70 years so they will outlive us. A new caretaker should be agreed upon and documented in the will. A few owners I know have set up trust funds or bought life insurance policies with the bird as the beneficiary, to help the new caretakers with costs.
  7. Social considerations –  Macaws are social creatures. In your home, they will want to be with the family all the time.
  8. Intelligent – Macaws are very intelligent, they are smart, learn fast and learn to mimic. Being that they are social, they like to interact with other people. If they get lonely, they can get destructive or pluck their feathers which could be very dangerous. You need to interact with them frequently. They should not be left alone for many hours at a time.
  9. Household Hazards – On the simplest level, Macaws are lungs with feathers. Air quality is a big consideration when bringing them into the home. Many common things cannot be used in a house with macaws: candles; most cleaning and disinfecting products due to their odors; anything treated with PTFE (e.g. Teflon coated pans); stain resistant carpet; cigarettes; and air fresheners. This list is not even complete. Check with your vet for a complete list.
  10. Allergies – Bird dander and dust mites may be bothersome to some members of your household.

So before making a decision to adopt a Macaw, consider all of these things. Macaw’s are wonderful birds to own but you should be aware of these facts before making your final decision.

Remember, your pets count!

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