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Anyone have birds?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Ok so I got a surprise this morning when I woke up. David got a macaw from his "uncle". Bill had it for nine yrs and is rehoming Peter now so David who has been bugging me forever to get a bird finally got his dream. The only problem. Im the one who has to take care of the animals and kids..AND IM SCARED OF BIRDS! I know its dumb (im scared of fish too) but Ive never had birds dont know anything about them, unfamiliar territory is freaky for me. So basically Peter wont let us get him out of his cage but he will let Dave feed him and stuff. Hes LOUD!!! Squawkin like crazy right now. But Bill said that he will take a couple days for him to get used to us and stuff...Which Im hoping is the case. But anyways anyone with some first time bird owner advice..Please pass it on!!!!!

post #2 of 14
Give him a few days.
I feel so bad for him, birds form extremely close bonds with their chosen humans and it must be really hard on him being uprooted like that.
If he was owned by a man, chances are your husband will be his favored person and he will have to step up and be responsible for his care.

Yes, they are loud, they call in the mornings, then again before roosting.
Any other calling will be flock calls as he tries to get his human to answer him.

Two books I would highly recommend are Guide To A Well Behaved Parrot and The Second Hand Parrot, both by Mattie Sue Athen.

ETA: I also recommend you register and join the Macaw Forum over at upatsix.com
post #3 of 14
Crikey, a Macaw is quite a pet to suddenly find yourself responsible for.

The first thing you need to be aware of is that there are many normal household things that can kill birds - anything smelly such as air fresheners (any kind), febreeze, scented candles etc. can have them just keel off their perch in respiratory failure. The other thing is heated teflon - it blisters their lungs and airsacs and kills them painfully, so things like non-stick cookware and hair-straightening irons are potentially lethal.

I don't know a lot about Macaws, but they are very intelligent and need lots of mental stimulation or they can become destructive or start pulling their own feathers out. Lots of safe toys on rotation. Although they look scarily huge, Macaws are 'gentle giants' and are less likely to bite than for example a lovebird.

It's probably going to take him a while to settle in as they get very attached to their special human and it will take time and patience for him to see you or your husband in the same way. He's probably quite upset by all the upheaval.

They scream frequently, it is just part of their natural behaviour to scream so you'll have to get used to it. Inappropriate screaming (ie. all day every day) is usually due to boredom and loneliness. You need to pay him a lot of attention, it's no use getting another bird to keep him company because he is bonded to humans and won't take easily to another bird, so the attention needs to come from humans.

There are some good forums out there, but I am a bit out of touch with the parrot-forum-world at the moment so hopefully someone else will be able to recommend some good sites

ETA: I agree with Arlyn who has just reminded me about upatsix - glad to hear it's still going strong
post #4 of 14
I had a bird but...Well, we went on vacation and hired a petsitter, who pretty much neglected the bird and...When we got back, she was dead....
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well so far today things have been going good. He wont let anyone go to pet him or anything so we just kinda stay by his cage and talk to him trying to get him used to our voices and stuff and then for a while today we left his door open and he just hung out yapping at everyone. The information that I got from Bill was that he really doesnt like men, or as Bills best friend Tony says Peter just doesnt like him! I had to laugh because when Bill and Tony brought Peter to the house he was an angel and let Dave hold him. I found a bird forum and put a intro post in but havent checked it yet to see what the "bird" people have said. Hercules has taken a liking to lounging (from a safe distance) in front of Peters cage and just watching. Dawkins however tried to climb inside of it but was scared spitless when Peter let out a squawk that was designed to wake the dead. Good thing Dawkins learns fast because he now avoids the cage at all costs and will walk all the way around the room to go thru it and its always at a mad sprint like the hounds from 'you know where' are on his heels. Well Peter is beckoning for company so Im going to go visit for a while. Hopefully Ill have some more information and a better view on how things are going to be tomorrow.
post #6 of 14
Ooh. A Macaw is definitely not a good "starter" bird. I agree with what has been said above. Macaws are big bluffers too. They like to lunge, but rarely bite. I will admit that I'm intimidated by the Macaw beak, but I just recently fostered a large Milligold Macaw. If you are afraid of birds, this Macaw will act upon that. One of the recent Bird Talk magazines was even talking about that. Macaws love to tease those that fear them, so be prepared. I've dealt with a number of different species of birds, but the Macaw (IMO) is one of the most challenging. He was a very large bluffer. He would lunge and then laugh at you. Also, Macaws do "blush" (faces turn red). The problem with that is that they can do this when excited or when angry. You have to know your bird to know which it is. Also, remember that bigger is better when it comes to Macaw cages, especially if the bird is not going to have a lot of out-of-the-cage time. You didn't mention what size Macaw, so I'm assuming that it's a large one like the Blue and Gold. A minimum cage for a B&G should be 40W X 30D. I work closely with a parrot organization and the way it was described in one of their classes was that we wouldn't want to spend our lives in a small closet, so don't make the bird. Macaws love to interact with their people, so being allowed out of the cage is crucial. The best ways to describe Macaws are loud, messy, loud, demanding, messy, and did I mention loud or messy? LOL! Good luck to you!
post #7 of 14
Best of luck! I can't really add anything that the others haven't said... but I will agree that a macaw will be a challenging first bird. You really should join a parrot forum so you can get all your questions answered.... www.tailfeathersnetwork.com is a good site with friendly people similar to this one, although it's not as large.

Take your time... read up on parrot body language, feeding, and training. You have to be consistent with parrots as they get offended easily. Watch for pinning eyes (when the pupils get really small)... if you see them, don't put your hand near that bird or you might end up missing a finger (especially with a macaw beak!). Like with dogs, don't ACT scared or he will take advantage of you. They are quite manipulative if you let them be.

With a lot of patience, training, and good care, parrots can be wonderful pets. I love mine as much as I love my cats. They are truly unique, and while their antics get annoying, you can't help but love them for their intelligence and affectionate nature.
post #8 of 14
I definetely wouldnt have suggested a macaw as a first time bird. They can pack on heck of a bite if you don't know what your doing. But since you have him now, do you have any friends that know how to handle birds, that could maybe show you the ropes? I have a hahns macaw. Thier basically mini macaws, they have the same big bird personality, but in a much smaller size. Diet is very important, along with his macaw diet, he'll also need fresh fruits and veggies daily. Out of cage time is very important as well, birds that are kept caged too much often develop issues, that can be damaging to them.
post #9 of 14
Wow, another Hahn's owner
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Ok well we made it thru a week....Peter is doing great and Im doing even better. He still likes to shake around and give me a good wake up call. He wont let anyone hold him or play with him except me and the girls. He loveeeeeeees Maddi and Katy and will shriek and scream with them while they are playing. Its so funny (but really headache inducing) He knows how to unlock his cage so I have to be careful getting him out in the morning because he hears me coming downstairs and when I lift the blanket up he will be hanging there and push the door open so it just kinda jolts out at me. All of this while laughing like a loon. I called my Poppy because he always had birds and macaws were his favorite. He told me that I just need to let him go at his own pace and he will let me know when he wants held. Well sure enough thats what Peter did. I was walking by his cage while he was out and about on top of it and the lil booger jumped on my shoulder as I was walking past. Scared the living crap outta me but when he started making kissy noises I was all better. So now he makes kissy noises when he wants to be held and I just walk up to his cage let him out and he climbs right onto my arm. He loves grapes and peanuts. And his favorite place is right in front of the big bay window we have. Im getting better with having a bird in the house but its really funny that Peter doesnt like Dave and likes me even tho he will tease me cuz he knows that Im still wary of him. And woohoo noone got bitten!!
post #11 of 14
You really need to put one of those little bolt things on his door to stop him letting himself out, he could get into trouble if you're not around! Most parrots will at some point work out how to open their cages, little terrors and too intelligent for their own good.

I can't find a picture of one because I don't know what they are called but they're metal, circular or rectangular, and have a gap in them with a thread on one end of the gap and you screw the other end up over the thread. Make sure it's stainless steel, not zinc, as zinc is deadly to parrots, so get one from a bird shop rather than the hardware store.

I'm pleased that he's seems to be settling in ok
post #12 of 14
I would also caution you against allowing him on shoulders, this is never a good idea with large birds.
It places them in a dominant position (above eye level) and can lead to all kinds of dangerous behavioral problems.

What Epona is describing are called quick links, and I second the recommendation.
post #13 of 14
Originally Posted by Arlyn View Post
What Epona is describing are called quick links, and I second the recommendation.
Quick links thank you! My mind went totally blank when I was writing that post
post #14 of 14
Wow, what a challenge, finding yourself with a pet bird so suddenly, and such a large one!

Sounds like you're doing very well, though.

We found ourselves with a rescued conure very suddenly four years ago, with no idea how to take care of him, but I did some very quick research. There is so much wonderful information online, both in website articles and in forums, and I'd recommend joining a few different ones. One of the largest, maybe the largest, is Bird Board


and they have a separate forum about macaws, one of their largest forums


Our rescued parrot is a conure, much smaller than a macaw, but he's one of the conures in the Aratinga classification -- Aratinga is Latin for "little macaw" -- and he's a lot of parrot in a three ounce package, lol. He's out of his cage most of the day, and fairly spoiled. He's also a lot of fun.

Re parrot care -- I'd also recommend finding out who the best avian vet is in your area. If there is one at all. Most vets have at least some experience treating birds, but it's best to find one with as much experience as possible.

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