Thinking about a macaw but were to start?


13 Years
Nov 13, 2008
Salina, OK
I'm getting merried next nov to the man of my dreams. A rugged woodsman/animal lover...he is very natural with most animals. But while watching a nature show he said he has always wanted a macaw. I have thought about what it would be like to have one for as long as I can rememver. So it is now something we are talking about, I know most birds are in a nut shell very needy. But I've really only been around cockatiels and parkets, and I have been around two small parrots. It would be a few years befor we could bring an animal like this into our home

I stay at home to take care of our slowly growing farm, and work on my art & books. So I'll be around a lot. And we have a garden, so there will be lots of fresh goodies on hand.
But what is the best why to go about this? Books & other homework first. Then would it be better to start with a smaller bird? Should I get younger or older? I know they live into there 60's - 70's guess I should say that I'm only 23 so I've got a life time to give.
And knowing my self I wont want just one, not saying they'd all be macaws but maybe a parrot or two too.

Like I said right now we are just talking, but it's never too late to learn.

My experience with parrots are an African grey and a torquise conure. We got both as young babies and we even got to see the AG after he hatched! Parrots need lots of attention and plenty of (frequently rotated) toys otherwise they can start feather plucking. Our conure is our "family" bird, as in he likes everyone kids included. Our AG started out friendly to both the hubby and I, but after a year he chose me to be his favorite person. I would think with a macaw it would be the same, so your DH needs to be prepared for not being that person! They are intelligent birds and will test their boundaries. If it decides to bite you and you jerk back and make noise, be prepared for it to do it again in the future. Chances are you will bleed when it bites too! During the day the parrots are never quiet either and the bigger parrots can be quite loud! For a macaw you will need a large cage (approx. 36in x 48in would be a good starting point) with about 1-1.5in bar spacing.
Now with all the negatives out of the way parrots are definately entertaining birds and can be trained to do lots of silly tricks! I think you will enjoy whatever kind you get!
My, first ever bird was a macaw and it was (and still is) great!
I too have longed dreamed of being owned by a Macaw. But I have a Senegal Parrot and an African Grey. You will quickly learn that the bird owns you, you don't own it lol. Macaws can be and ARE very loud. Not all birds speak, a macaw can speak if it chooses to but there's no guarentee that yours will. the other thing is what kind of macaw do you want? Blue & Gold, Scarlet, Military, Hyacinth? although they all are macaws, there are differences in size and character. I personally think the best place for you to start is try finding a "local" breeder, if you find a breeder that you are comfortable with, ask to be allowed to go see their aviary, ask to enteract with the birds. Ask about the mating pair, are they wild caught or captivity bread? Parrot bites hurt like hell! and like one poster wrote, they will bite you just to get a reaction or to show you who's boss when you upset them. In the parrot world you can't tell male from female just by looking at them, your best bet if you want to know if you have a male or female is to have it DNA sexed. You will also want to make sure you have a good avian vet "near by". I have to drive 4 hrs to get to mine. Avian vets are expensive. Get reference books on Macaws and parrot behavior in general. Macaws can live a very very very long time in captivity, you will have to make plans of what will happen to the bird should something happen to you and your hubby. Also, like a poster above wrote, most often birds pick one person over the other, as much as you may love the parrot, you may be the one to give it treats, feed it, clean it and so on, you may not be it's favorit person.

I love my babies and wouldn't trade them for the world but some days, I'd put them on the BBQ! Parrots are wonderful pets, they will be with you for decades!

I think finding a breeder will be the hard part... but that is what I would love to do, find someone not to far off that would take me under his or her wing. Until then guess I learn what i can on the net and at the library
I think there is a vet about an hour from us that would know birds, I took a duck to him once. And he gets called into zoos and wild life parks to help from time to time.

I know they can bite, but I never thought of one biting just to get a responce from me. I can't say that suprises, I will be keeping that in mind. My mother who has never had bird but meny of her friends did always said it was like having a 2yo for life. She would be happy to bird sit for us. But I'm sure I'd find another person(s) for long term in case it was needed.
As far as the toys go I think I have something in common with them, cuz if I didn't have all the meny hobbys I do I'd be a bitter and bored person. lol.

When you have more then one bird and they are not the same typ would you keep them in seperate cages? My aunt has a Cockatiel & and small Parrot together, but they are close in size and the cage is large. They live out of state some I'm not around them much. One of my brothers is an awesome welder, I think I'd put him to work making nice cage.
I like Scarlet's, I just love all that color.

How did you all go about finding your birds and the people you get them from?
Don't know about others, but separate cages here! I was told it helps them form a strong bond with people instead of just with each other?

I got my AG from a breeder when we lived in VA and my conure from a pet store here. Breeders are cheaper though!
I know you're young but I caution people to think long and hard about owning a bird that will outlive you.
Think about yourself in your 80s and your bird is in the prime of it's life and you are essentially it's mate.
I'm not trying to discourage you but eventually it may not be good.
We had a breeding pair at a facility in CR that was over 90.
Most of the breeders were rescues from hotels, zoos and pets. Lots had emotional problems.
Just wanting you to be prepared.




Also, keep in mind these birds LOVE to chew!! NEVER leave them out of their cage when you are not there to supervise!!! I had a friend with a Blue & Gold Macaw some years ago. She had to take a trip that would have her gone for about 8 hours. She thought the bird would get bored in his cage for that long, so she left him the run of the house. He had a large perch, lots of food and toys; yet when she came home
The couch and all pillows were shredded! Curtains and window sills had been chewed to shreds!! Mr. Bird, was sitting happily on his perch, preening himself, he was quite proud of his accomplishments!
Birds can get very jealous and vindictive, so she found out! This applies to all birds, not just Macaws!! Besides the devastation, the bird could've really hurt or killed himself by eating something poisonous or trying to go through a window. They are like 2 year old toddlers!!
i would also not suggest the large macaws for a first time parrot owner...
if your dead set on a macaw look into the minis, the hans, yellow collar and the severe...
now...being smaller doesnt make them EASIER, they have no idea there MINIS, but it does make them a LITTLE less intimidating and a little easier to handle.

quite honestly though for someone just getting itno parrots id suggest a green cheek conure...for someone getting into parrots and think they can handle noicse, the sun conures are wonderfull pets (but their voices go right through me)

ive been aorund parrot smuch of my life and took on a baby (out of nest) Severe macaw
Jack Jack is amazing...
but hes also a challenge.

it is like having a toddler, there needy and prone to mood swings, bite for "no reason" (they have a reason but we as humans tend to forget that "biting" and geenral beak use is their main form of communication...) they are destructive, messy and can be increidbly loud...
but there also funny playfull and cna be ever so sweet.

glad your getting started early.
my suggestiosn t you.
1: join a parrot specific forum
2: see if theres a parrot rescue neerby that would let you visit or volunteer on a regular basis for a while (see what taking care of these birds realy entails.

spend time around these large may fall in love with their attitudes (and they ALL have attitudes lol), but you may decide the mess, and noise just isnt what your looking for in a truly life long companion.

Jack jack with gramma (my momma) a few months back.
just to get an idea of size.
the sever is the largest of the minis...
the hahns is about the size of a cockateil!
Many here have provided great advice. Hubby and i used to buy/read bird talk all the time they have some great columns and advice. At the back of the magazine they also list breeders of various birds, that's how I found mine for my African Grey. Be aware of breeders who will not allow you to see their aviary. When I went to see the breeder for my grey I brought a change of clothes with me that had just been washed and clean shoes. As soon as we got to the breeders and were invited in I asked if I could use the sink or washroom to wash my hands before handling the birds. Breeders should ask you to wash your hands before you touch their birds if you don't ask first.

Both my birds have their own cages. In my house, everyone has to have their space. With such a difference in size, temperment and age I don't want to risk a fight.

Your sounds like a nice person but you should still have at the very least contact information for an avian vet just-in-case.

Cages... It's great that you think your brother can build you a bird cage but you have to keep in mind that parrots chew and they WILL chew on their cages. What this means is you have to be very careful about the material chosen to make the cage. Welding in MOST cases involves lead, lead is deadly to birds. You'll need to research what can be used to build your cage. In my opinion, I rather just pay the big bucks and buy the biggest cage I can afford from a reputable company. I've had 2 Island Cages for the last 10 years and they are great. One of them has a play top and the other a dome top. I like the dome top better and so does my Grey. Make sure your bird has more than enough room to flap it's wings.

Another thing to beware of are ceiling fans. make sure your fans are off if you decide to let the bird out.

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