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The good, the bad, and the ugly about Large Macaws

Discussion in 'Macaw Motorway' started by tozie12, 3/17/13.

  1. svetlak

    svetlak Strolling the yard

    Real Name:
    Kat, hi!

    I personally do not think there is a way to know if there would be a difference between working with a younger or an older bird simply because they are all individuals.

    One's approach to training/teaching and interacting with a bird of any age (or species) should, in my personal opinion, be the same: respect the bird's signals (body language), respect the bird's free will and right to choose (within safety limits of course), treat the bird with understanding, patience, love and empathy, apply what is called applied behaviour analysis in training, do not take personally any "no" coming from your bird ("no" is communication just as much as "yes" is), such as a refusal to interact with you at a given moment, or a rejection of an offered treat for example, and you will be able to develop a trusting relationship with any bird. It may take a shorter or a longer period of time for the bird to give you his/her complete trust, but birds are always a work in progress. We need to earn and keep their trust daily and try not to break it at all if possible, otherwise it is easily back to the drawing board.

    If I were in your shoes and were looking for a bird to add to my current flock, and also if I had access to a rescue, I would go for a bird that would choose me, preferably an older one. I do love younger birds (not necessarily babies), don't get me wrong, but I love the older guys who need a home just as much. With an older bird, chances are his/her personality, once in full bloom after having integrated into your flock, even if that flock is made of just you and your bird, will not change too much, which may not be the case with a younger bird, which will go through stronger hormonal changes throughout the years and the personality of which may change more dramatically at time goes by. Old or young, they all change, and so do we.

    I love the older guys (birds, I am talking birds here :) ). I also love those who need a bit of help in restoring their confidence and becoming a bird again (those who have, unfortunately, been through traumatic experiences). They were young once, too.

    Whichever way you choose to go - younger or older, rescue/rehome or not, enjoy seeing your bird's personality unfold before your eyes, and remember, they will change with age, more likely than not.
    Mama Kirs, Lodah, TikiMyn and 3 others like this.
  2. bentleyesghost

    bentleyesghost Moving in

    Real Name:
    Hi. We have Chloe, a Harlequin Macaw for going on 4 years. It will be 4 years in November. She is also knows as Chlo, Chlovine, Good Girl, Baby and probably some other things. She's a good bird, a DNA tested female, born June 4, 2014 so she was about 6 months old when we got her. We learned a lot on this forum and other places which helped us avoid some mistakes. She is also, not sexually mature so there are probably some bumps in the road ahead.

    She does not Scream very much, and she talks a lot. There are five humans living here and we all ignore screaming and melt away if we are in the room. At the same time wherever we are in the house, if she is talking in such a way that looks for a response somebody will answer her. When she screams, she gets silence. She'll say "Ring Ring". That means say "Hello" like you are picking up the phone. Or she'll say some part of "One, two, three, ... Peek a Boo!" Then you complete the rest. Usually she'll count. I love how she says "Thuh ree". Being a smart girl, for a while she was doing a thing where she would scream once or twice. Wait. Get nothing. Then try "Ring Ring" or something. I was afraid that was going to turn into a game but it seemed to fade away.

    She is also Beaky sometimes. But we reprimand that verbally, negatively but not loudly and withdraw from her if it is too hard. I think a lot of times birds at bird stores learn bluff biting. They stand on stands and strangers come by and act dramatically when the bird goes for them. I don't blame the people. Big Macaws are scary looking. But when you live with one, it no longer looks like a gigantic bird. You still respect it obviously but you don't get bluffed. She bites us too hard a couple times a week, but just uncomfortably so, not painful and gets reprimanded. After reprimand she is super exaggerated gentle with her beak like "I know how to do this. Don't be grumpy" Two or three times over the years she's bitten painfully hard so it hurts after, but without drawing blood or making serious bruise. Those have been occasions, such as once when I was trying to grab her when she was strolling along a curtain rod breaking the rings.

    She is good with everyone she lives with. She is stand offish with new people in the house but will warm up to them. We take her for walks outdoors secured with a leash and bird harness. (Probably less than once a month.) She hates the harness but likes to go out. She will step up on anyone we ask her too. And take a treat like a pistachio from them. People of course are thrilled beyond belief.

    It is easy to go on and on about her, because she is a great girl. She has been much easier and more delightful than I expected. I was not in favor of getting a large bird, so maybe expecting the worst helped.

    I also have to say that I feel like we have a responsibility to socialize her and make sure she has a good image of humanity, because we may not have her always. The ideal is a "forever home", but nobody has a forever home. A bird should be able to adapt and be happy in a new home. My wife and I are in our 50s. Our kids love her and would take her if possible and hopefully be in a position to after we are gone. But you just never know.

    She loves to call the dogs to come and eat. I always imagine that somewhere in 50 years she'll still be calling "Zorro! Waggy!" to the puzzlement of future generations. She especially likes to call Zorro. She can't say Waggy very well.
    Mama Kirs, Fia Baby and TikiMyn like this.
  3. lexalayne

    lexalayne Rollerblading along the road Avenue Veteran

    Pelee Island
    Real Name:

    I cannot for the life of me remember what this link was about !!
  4. Budgiebuds

    Budgiebuds Moving in

    Our scarlet macaw rusty is super sweet and affectionate most of the time. He dosent scream too often but when he does it is soooo loud! He's also a plucker because before he came to us he had been in a cage pretty much his whole life so he does nip sometimes but he is sweet most of the time. He came wake hello and good bye too!
    BeanieofJustice likes this.

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