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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-19-2003, 03:02 AM Thread Starter
 
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Question Macaws

I have always been in love with big birds, especially macaws (toby is the most gorgeous bird I have ever seen!) but now that I'm a little older and thinking this through a little better (ok, and haven't had 1,500+ to spend ) I'm hesitant. I have always heard that whatever they can get thier beak around, they can keep. Is that true? My family has had quite a few birds and more than one has been just plain mean! I would hate to have a bird that big and smart (and that expensive) that I couldn't touch! And I know what a mad COCKATIEL can do... I don't wanna see a mad macaw! So what would you guys say to someone considering a macaw? What are thier tempermants/personalities like?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-20-2003, 01:49 PM
 
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Thank you for the compliment!

Well, you're right, Macaws aren't for everyone. They can be messy, loud, destructive, expensive, needy (attention, etc.) & a general pain in the butt! BUT the reward is priceless and I can't imagine life without him.

He is messy. He loves to chew things so whereever he is and whatever he's chewing on it will hit the floor. We have a playtop cage and a playgym. He spends most of his time on those (if he's not snuggling with us or on our shoulder), so most of his mess is confined to those areas. It's easy to clean up. And Toby is potty trained so we don't have those messes all over either.

He is only loud a couple of times a day. In the morning he wakes me up with "hello?" when he wants out of his cage! In the evening he rambles on for a half hour or so. He screams if I turn the blow dryer on or try to vacuum in the living room. But other than that (oh ya, he doesn't like towels and gets a little upset when he sees me folding towels!) he is pretty quiet. When they do scream they can be very loud but they don't scream that often.

Yup, their expensive! Toby was $1800 and his cage was $900. Expect to spend about $40 a month on food (depending on their diet) and $50 a month on toys. They get bored easily with their toys so they need new ones frequently. We have bought a lot of stuff to make our own toys so that helps with the cost. In fact we won't need to buy anything for toys for probably 6 months or so.

Greenwings are the more destructive of the large Macaws. They can chew and chew and chew. But if they have toys then they will just chew them to pieces (literally!!!). I keep my eye on him when he is not in/on his cage/playgym because there are too many things he could get into!

By needy, I mean they need attention. They are not a bird to buy and then leave in a cage. They love human interaction and will get upset with you if you don't pay enough attention to them. They need to be part of your family. Know what I mean? Toby loves to snuggle and cuddle. He loves to kiss (frenchs me all the time!) and be preened. He likes to be wherever we are. He is a very good boy and VERY smart. We had him potty trained in just a few days.

You do have to be careful with their beaks. They can cause real damage to you!! But Toby knows what "play nice" and "be nice" means. Personally, I think their beaks are more intimidating. Of course, as with all birds, you will get bit at some point...but that is the least of my worries with Toby. If they are trained right, it shouldn't be an issue.

They are such beautiful, intelligent and affectionate animals that it is hard to explain unless you have actually spent some time with one. Wanna come visit?

Of course all this varies with the kind of Macaw. But if you are a "bird person" and have the time, money and willingness I would definately recommend Macaws.

I guess I kinda rambled on again! Let me know if you have any more questions! As you can tell, I love to talk about birds!
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-20-2003, 02:17 PM
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I can' t think of much more to add, and have to agree. You can't give your macaw enough entertainment, or enough toys to devastate. They are constantly on the go looking for something new and interesting.

The price for the bird itself varies a lot though. I got my B&G for 500 at an auction. It depends on how old you get them at really. Definitely go to a breeder, avoid pet store animals at all costs. The types of neurosis developed by parrots in pet stores is truly saddening. Cage price is right on though... I shopped around for months before I got mine and you won't find an adequate macaw cage for less than 800 unless, it was used or something.

Screeching is common place with macaws. Mine usually does it when he hears you talking in another room and he can't get to you. They are definitely not something you want to have if you live in an apartment.

When Twink was little, I played with his beak, tongue, feet, and wings all the time, so he is real comfortable with that kind of interaction and has yet to even try to really bite. He is not real big on beaking everything, but every bird is going to be different.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-20-2003, 03:51 PM
 
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Rav, I agree about the beak thing. I think they know the difference between "good touch" and "bad touch". Toby can be nippy (doesn't really hurt and he doesn't do it on purpose) when he is tired. Kind of like a little kid.

Does Twink ever play like his legs don't work when you go to put him on a perch or in his cage? Sometimes when Toby doesn't want me to put him down he will act like... "my poor little legs just won't hold me up so I guess Mom will have to hold me a little longer"!! It is quite comical!
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-21-2003, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
 
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OOOHhhh, now I want one even more! I had a senegal that used to play the "my feet don't work" game with me It will probably be a long while before I ever could consider getting a macaw, time would definetly be an issue as well as the initial cost...I had NO IDEA their cages were so expensive!

Just for my own curiosity, how hard are macaws to train? My main concern would be losing a finger and the screeching, we had a conure that would shriek endlessly and that was not fun!
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-21-2003, 12:02 PM
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Twink never does the "my feet don't work" but he will grab onto the door with his beak and try and climb back out immediately.

I've had to hide the key to his cage; I used to leave it in the lock. I have a large California Cage, it has the two sliding bar locks and then a single key lock. Well, he figured out all three locks and can open his cage. More than once I came home to him sitting on the bannister waiting for me.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-25-2003, 03:37 PM
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I haven't owned a macaw, but from what I've seen they are really "one person birds" - especially the hand fed ones. Nothing wrong with that for some of us, but in our family since it is only the two of us it's nice if we can both play and have love time.

I've read that all birds have their "time of day" to squawk. It's just nature. Go outside if you have to - but they just have to have their few minutes of realizing that they are animals and it is their natural way of communication.

A friend has one that she says is the best guard dog she's ever had. Any time someone walks across her yard or pulls into her driveway "Blue" raises a ruckus to let her know. Very protective!

I'm fascinated with them, too, Becki, and have been for a long time. Just don't know if I'll ever go in that direction - and also have to consider my age and how long the bird should live (will Zoe want a bunch of birds willed to her?)!

I'm getting a Senegal in a couple of weeks. That "legs don't work" thing sounds hilarious. I'm looking forward to a new breed that I don't know much about.

I'd love to have another Gray, but am hesitant because of the comparison issue. The first one I had was so great - can another ever equal that? I've tried to convince myself and my family that it would be different if I get a Congo instead of another Timneh.....time will tell!

Good luck. It is a big investment in time and money, but I think worth it in the long run.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-25-2003, 04:14 PM
 
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As far as them being a one person bird - it's true to an extent; but Toby is good with both me & my hubby. If 2 people work with them they can bond to both. He is better with me (listens better, behaves better) but he is also good with Kenny. I don't think they are one person birds like Greys are. Kenny snuggles with Toby just as much as I do even though I'm the one hand feeding. But I have heard that they can become more attached to one person. Maybe we have an odd bird?!? It wouldn't surprise me - all of our other animals are "odd"!!
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-26-2003, 02:55 PM
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Just like human two-year-olds, aren't they?? Give him time, he's still a baby yet. Maybe he'll learn to play you against each other just like humans!

Depending on work schedules, etc., it is often hard for me to get Bubba to spend as much time with a bird as I do. That works against him, but he's one of those automatic animal magnets so that works the other way. Pip is finally getting out of that annoying biting stage and has learned to lay on your stomach, lean on your hand and LOVES to have her cheek rubbed - but we're talking two extremes here - from Macaw to Parrotlet!

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-29-2003, 08:08 AM
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Hey, Falcon - you forgot the picture! Didn't even give us the bird's name - I'm appalled!!

I've been fascinated with the "mini-Macaws" for a long time (although I realize that this thread isn't about ME getting a Macaw!). They do seem to be great birds, not quite as costly as their bigger brothers (though all birds are less expensive in FL) and most people who have them just love them, too.

I've always been drawn to the Severe - a bit bigger than your little buddy. In fact, I almost stole one once.......but that's another story (and it was from someone I worked with who didn't take good care of it). Maybe "rescue" would be a better word for that.

So share some pix, some stories, some history. If you need help resizing pix you can email them to me ([email protected]).

Don't believe I've met you before - welcome aboard! If I have, sorry about my bad memory!

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-29-2003, 08:25 AM
 
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Ya, the mini-macaws are pretty neat. I've heard that they have the personalities of the big macaws trapped in a little body. hehehe... of course, Critter & Rav know I'm partial to their big brothers

So, do you have a Hahns macaw? What is his/her name? Do you have any pics?
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-29-2003, 10:55 AM
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Kind of like my parrotlet ( and I know Dena has one - not sure who else) is a mini-amazon. He has finally gotten over this bite bite bite business and realized that we ARE the boss of him. Now he loves to lay cuddled in a hand (he's palm-sized) and have his cheeks rubbed. So far nothing but that mechanical-sounding chatter from him, but it is so funny. If he were to put a word in there I don't know if I'd catch it!

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-10-2003, 10:40 PM
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Hi ! Meet "Eephus"

Hi everyone, thought I'd add my 2 cents worth here. I know Jodi from another bird chat forum, and just joined here.
Eephus is my 3 and a half year old B&G. I brought him home from the pet shop where I work, where he was a lunging, biting, screaming lunatic that everyone else hated. I had absolutely no idea what to expect, but brought him home anyways
Wellllll ... the lunatic bird was gone the minute he got here. My hubby had never handled him, and within minutes, Eephus was cuddling against his chest. The biting and aggression is all but gone, he's taking to his new diet with gusto ... OMG, I worried and worried till I was losing sleep ! But, it was all for nothing ... he's saying new words every day, was actually trying to play with my big dumb hound dog today ... he screams occasionally, but not excessively.
Becki, I hadn't had a bird in over 10 years, and only had budgies before. If you do your research, and have enough patience (and I'm not a very patient person lol) there's no reason you can't be successful with a macaw. Just remember, they live 80 to 100 years, so it's like having a 2 year old for the rest of your life !!
Good luck - I'm sure you'll make the right decision !!

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-11-2003, 12:55 AM Thread Starter
 
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He is Beautiful!!! 80-100 years huh? Geeze! I had thought it was more in the 30-50 range! I might be too old to get one already!
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-11-2003, 12:40 PM
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Becki, just put them in your will for someone! My poor granddaughter is gonna have a house full of birds one day - whether she wants them or not! I've already promised Erin that I will get her a bird for her b'day in July (she lost her Orange Wing last May); she is just having a blast trying to figure out what she wants. Actually I told her I'd get her an Eclectus, since she's the one who turned me onto them, now she's talking Eckie, Amazon (not an Orange Wing tho) and told me last night she'd found a rose-breasted cockatoo she just loves.

Eephus is beautiful!! Isn't it amazing how the right people and the right environment can make all the difference in the world with these guys? My husband has always been drawn to macaws - although he denies it - but I don't think he'll ever take the plunge and get one. Although we came thisclose once - we had seen one at a bird show that we fell in love with and actually went back to get it - but the show was over and the bird had gone home. A sure sign!!

I had a Timneh gray who had decided that she absolutely hated me. I was fearful that she was going to hurt herself by throwing herself at the cage whenever I walked by. I couldn't even put my hand in the cage to feed her without being attacked. My husband had to do everything for her, but he doesn't like the idea of a pet that only one of us can handle. She went to a new home where she loves everybody, talks up a storm and has found a boyfriend. (I hurt my knee and was unable to get out of bed and take care of her for about 6 weeks - and those guys hold a grudge!)

Can't wait to show this guy to Bubba - I like to tease him with the pictures of these big old babies!

Thanks for sharing!!

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