ETA *Scarlet* Macaw... my future new "husband"

Discussion in 'Caged Birds - Finches, Canaries, Cockatiels, Parro' started by mandelyn, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Edit:.... I feel dumb. Today was the first time I have seen him in about 4 months, and he is a SCARLET macaw. Geeze. [​IMG]

    Ok, I know at least one person on here has a Macaw. My land lady wants me to take on their neglected bird. When I caught wind of this, the first thing I did was call the Avian vet. (a really good one) Right out of the gate I know he needs all around trimming and extensively at that, and he won't be happy about it one bit. That vet bill is going to be $258.

    His cage is large enough, luckily. This is the list I've put together for what I'm going to need. He's a sweet bird as ignored as he is. He's a feather picker. He's not naked, but I don't think he has not one feather on him that hasn't been chewed on. He doesn't own ANY toys.

    Should mention too that I have large parrot experience. They've all been happy, healthy, well adjusted birds though. I did take on a rescue one time that I passed onto a sanctuary because her care was beyond me with her being wild caught. She was a very depressed Orange Wing Amazon. She much preferred the social bird-only enclosure environment. The difference between her and Moses is that Moses craves human attention, as independent as he is, he wants some love. She didn't.

    Needs...

    - Large Plastic Dog Crate for transport. Will be arranged so that he goes straight to the vet first while he's loaded.
    - Play stand
    - TOYS.. different types to see what he likes
    - Better feed than he has (that's going to be what, $40 for a big bag?). His fresh foods will come from our stuff. His favorite is Apples
    - Cage Cover (they don't even tuck him in at night!)... just in case I can talk him into a bedtime. The first night will be easy. The second night... he'll know what I'm up to.

    The vet mentioned a collar that will prevent the feather chewing. I'm home all day, so I'm hoping that between much time, attention, introduction of toys, and a collar that we can eliminate that habit.

    It will be a process for us to leave the house once he's here... Dogs to the basement, cat to his room, Moses contained. The dogs know all about new animals and how to act. Moses has been around dogs his whole life, and a cat. So he should adjust. The recent pound kitty is declawed and afraid of things. He has his own room though so that we can put him up when we can't supervise.

    The way our house is laid out, Moses needs the bank of windows in the dining room, where my computer is. I'm in there most of the day, and from that spot he can see us in the living room. The room he's currently in is drafty as heck, so this spot will be better for him. He's been living like this for at least 5 years.

    He's a sweet boy. He says Hello to me and will take food from my hand. Much to the shock of the owner, apparently that's a big deal for him and strangers. So that's why I find myself in this situation I guess... I have the time and resources and the bird showed he likes me.

    Am I missing anything on the needs list? I haven't owned a bird in 8 years.

    Will you all be here for support as I work for his affections and get him into better health.. physical and mental?

    For anyone that has a Macaw, what do you find your monthly expenses to be like for diet? I can't remember what my expenses were, and they were on an African Grey ( my mom's) and a Yellow Naped Amazon which are much smaller.

    Anyone take on a neglected bird? What was that experience like?

    Moses really needs this intervention. I'm glad he's getting a shot at a better life. But at the same time I'm freaking out and wracking my brain for everything I need to do for him, the commitment I'm about to make for him (he's maybe 10 years old?)... I'm basically marrying this bird for the next 50 years whether he loves me or not. [​IMG] He's not mean enough or bad off enough to warrant a sanctuary. More on that after the vet trip though.

    This won't be for 2 weeks I think... they want it done while they're on vacation because it's really emotional. His human doesn't want to watch him leave. I totally get that. When my husband had orders to Germany, I had to give up Cooper, and I had my dad do it... I couldn't bear it. I'm still heart broken over that bird and it's been 8 years. So I understand how hard this is for them.

    So... commence on Operation Moses Move!
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2011
  2. Ukiah

    Ukiah Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I own an adopted hahns macaw. Not the same as a large macaw, but personality wise...They're close haha.

    Good luck with Moses

    edited to add in, theres a category for caged birds and parrots here, I'd post something about him there.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011
  3. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Haha... I always forget each type of birds has their own section... I always think "not chicken" goes here.
     
  4. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    I'd be glad to answer your questions! I've worked on and off at a friend's parrot sanctuary for the past 6 1/2 years or so.

    As far as food goes, I really like LaFebers pellets. Harrisons is also an excellent food, but quite pricey. I really don't see much of a difference between birds on Lafeber and birds on Harrison though. As for cost of food per month, that's a bit harder for me to answer because it was usually hundreds at the sanctuary! It will also depend on the type of pellets used. It shouldn't be too much because you'll only have the single bird, but you can easy research how much it will be on the internet. The macaws at work usually get about a handfull of pellets with some nuts and avi cakes or nutri berries once per day. Then throughout the day they get fruits and veggies in a separate bowl.

    As for the picking, I would try to avoid using the collar if you can. Start with toys, especially toys that have peacock feathers on them. In fact, peacock feathers clipped to a cage are an excellent toy. The few birds I've seen who have to use a collar are pretty miserable. If he isn't that bad, I would resort to a collar as a very last choice. Chances are, in a happy environment, he'll turn around in no time. Just keep him as occupied as possible. Change his toys around, hold him, let him out on the playstand, etc.

    Also, when he first gets to your house, it may take him a little while to come around personality wise. If he's sweet where he is now, chances are, he'll still be sweet with you. Just be careful because I have seen cockatoos calm down when first moved to the sanctuary and then they become holy terrors when they settle in! I have scars to prove it! LOL Just don't let your guard down around the bird for a couple months while he settles in. You'll know he is settled when you start seeing his true personality (playing with toys, talking, feeling comfy outside of his cage, etc).

    Also, be aware! parrot rescue is highly addictive! It's difficult to have just one!

    Feel free to pick my brain some more! I don't have any parrots of my own yet, but there is a cockatoo waiting for me at the sanctuary named Big Bird. He is the same age as me we get along like peanut butter and jelly. He's not so good with other people though, including the owner! I told her I will adopt him as soon as I am in a situation where I can!
     
  5. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! I feel good about his prospects.

    My biggest concern... how do I load him for transport if he doesn't want to go? Thick leather gloves and a bath towel? I'm not sure that "step up" is in his vocabulary. He also might turn territorial when he figures out my intentions.

    I contacted the local parrot club here in case I need help. I have ONE parrot bite scar, I intend to keep it that way!

    He's never been a screamer, he chooses not to fly (getting his wings trimmed anyways in case he changes his mind after the move... don't want him making contact with a ceiling fan or anything)

    Poor guy has to be bored to tears without toys... not even window blinds to chew up. I'm hoping I can keep him entertained enough that the feather picking gets forgotten without a collar.
     
  6. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    The feather picking might take a while, but it's really not that huge of an issue as long as it doesn't get worse or he start mutilating. Also, try a product called "featheriffic". It's a powder you put on their food and it has helped some of the pickers at the sanctuary grow feathers back.

    As for the loading, a big thick towel or blanket will do that trick. It's what we use when we have to give meds or clip nails/beaks. We just throw it over them and wrap it around their bodies. You want to be able to know where the head is so just be careful of that. Once you get a tight grip around the wings though it's really hard for them to reach around and bite.

    Once you get him home, it is a good idea to try and get him used to towels in a positive way. That way it will make nail clipping and med giving really easy in the future! You have plenty of time for that though.
     
  7. stoopid

    stoopid Chicken Fairy Godmother

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    Good luck with him, it's good that he already trusts you.
    As far as toys go, I have found that as much as you spend on a toy, the first thing they go for is the paper tag on it. Sometimes the simplest things amuse them.
    I have spent hundreds, maybe even thousands, on toys over the years.
    Think outside the box. A toilet paper roll, adding machine paper, a head of lettuce, celery. All these things can keep a bird amused without breaking the bank.
    I have been using mysafebirdstore.com for food and supplies. Kathy there is fantastic. If you visit her facebook page, you can get a discount.
    I recommend them highly.
    And good luck with Moses, I am sure you both will be thrilled with each other!
     
  8. AquaEyes

    AquaEyes Chillin' With My Peeps

    Good for you (and Moses) for being prepared and taking on this challenge. I'm sure you'll be making a new friend for life.

    Macaws are basically giant conures. If you know people with conures, get to know their birds. Macaw behavior is so similar, except that everything is just BIGGER. They have a wonderful range of sharp, exaggerated movements, and you'll soon learn his language.

    If he's a feather chewer, look for toys that can be shredded as a distraction -- sisal or cotton twine tied in knots, leather straps, coconut shells with the fibers still on, cardboard boxes, etc. Also, before you go the collar route, try and figure out what his triggers for chewing are. Wearing a collar is only a physical prevention of engaging in the act. Think of it as someone with OCD -- feather chewing is a behavioral means of reducing anxiety, but spiraled out of control. It's a hard habit to break, and he may never be perfect, but if you understand it as a symptom of something else going on in his head, you may be able to minimize the symptoms by getting at the root cause, rather than just blocking the behavior. Collars, in general, work as long as they are on. As soon as they're removed, if the root cause wasn't addressed, the behavior will return. And wearing the collar is not going to improve his anxiety.

    For diet, start with a dish of a good pellet, another for fresh food. I've been feeding Sammy, my DYHA, Harrison's pellets and a sprout mix from www.chinaprairie.com. I don't bother with multiple jars, but simply start a batch and feed until it's empty, then wash and start over. The green supplement powder is an awesome source of many nutrients. Sammy gets a sprouted breakfast every day, and pellets are in the dish for snacking. I also mix veggies/fruit into his sprout dish, but that part I vary from day to day. Also feed whole nuts in the shell. The basic "mixed nuts" bags you find in the supermarket are good (Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts). Macaw diets should have sources of good fats, and nuts are the natural choice.

    A little off-topic, but reading your post made me think of sending you a link to Joanne Abramson's Raintree Macaws website, but apparently she's no longer raising macaws. A bunch of years ago, she put out the large macaw BIBLE called simply "The Large Macaws." It had chapters written by experts in any field pertaining to the birds. I bought a copy as a gift for a couple with a blue and gold (I used to house- and bird-sit for them, and actually lived with them for a year or so), and boy was that the right time. I think I spent $150 on it. It's really a resource book for macaw breeders, but made an awesome gift for a pet owner. I looked it up to see if I could post a link for where to buy it, but apparently it's become a bit of a collector item. I guess it's no longer in print. I should let the owners of that blue and gold macaw know that the book now sells for $600-$900.

    I hope you keep us up to date on your progress, and even simply share funny stories. I think Moses is going to have a great time with you.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Goshen, OH
    We used to make our own toys for Cooper, his favorite thing to do was rip the rawhide to dislodge the blocks strung on it, throw the blocks, then call the dog over to "fetch", so that he could call the dog a "bad dog". Shredding paper too. I used to have him "help" with mail, I'd pass him the junk mail to open.

    I heard back from the local parrot group, the president is going to help load him and teach me about handling an unwilling bird. She has 4 Macaws.

    I'm familiar with the towels... with Cooper we'd play hide and seek with a towel, so that when it come time for nails, you could wrap him up easy enough. He traveled well... he would not shut up as he climbed into his cage to go bye-bye.

    Moses has a dignity about him that Cooper the Yellow Naped Amazon did not have at all. [​IMG]

    Really excited now... a weight was lifted when I heard back from the club. I know the trick to bird moving is to control the wings and watch the beak. But he's so big!

    He's never once offered to bite me, but... I'm about to stress him the heck out. Unless he is just going to be ok with it... who knows? He might view it differently than I think he will. He might be like "take me, please". I want it to be as low stress for him as possible though... I don't want him to hold a grudge against me.

    He's going to change how we do animals a lot. No more rescue kittens, no more rescue dogs or fostering unless they have just the right temperament. Part of what's happening is they put him into his own room alone because of the other animals. So the dogs get more attention than he does just because of proximity.

    He'll have his own room here too, but it's the room I spend the most time in... not off in a far corner of the house. He'll be central to everything.

    We have a window into the kitchen from the dining room (that we don't use for dining) I was thinking about setting a poop tray on it, and hanging a rope across so that he can set there and watch everything. Once we figure out "step up". He's willing... he WANTS attention. Then I can pass him bits of fresh food while I cook, since the food prep area is across the room from where that window thing is.

    We'll get it sorted. We have a plan, need to get set up and get him checked out and then moved in.

    Thanks for the tips. The club also has a store they work out of, and there is a discount when you join so I think I'll do that.
     
  10. stoopid

    stoopid Chicken Fairy Godmother

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    Long Island, NY
    I don't want to scare you, but I look at all my parrot scars, and remember a line from a parrot behavior book.
    "A parrot is a baby dinosaur, with a can opener attached to its face"
    Especially Macaws, their beak power is tremendous.
    But it seems he likes to see you, that means alot of the work is already done.
    I went into a bird shop once, and put my hand up to a Military, and said step up, he jumped right up, and flapped his wings, and was enjoying himself. Everyone looked at each other like he was the beast of the store, and they were surprised I wasn't bloody...
    They said that sometimes, parrots choose their owners.
    Something to think about...
     

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