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Is mini macaws good for beginners and are they apartments friendly ?

yousef 482

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Hi I want to get a mini macaw but it will be my first parrot I get so are mini macaws good for beginners and are they good for apartment can they talk and what is the minimum cage size for this species specially yellow-collared macaw
 

April

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TikiMyn

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What are you looking for in a bird? Each bird of a species is an individual, if you could spend some time at a parrot rescue that would be a really great way to get some experience with adults of different species and see if you like them.

I think if you want, a mini macaw can definitely be your first bird, but they are not easy birds. I love them, but it would really help getting to know some adults before jumping in. They are pretty fierce and know very well what they want and can be very stubborn about it. You really need to work with them, and not I am the boss and this is going to happen. You really need to train them with positive reinforcement if you want a pleasant companion. They are really active and need to be kept busy, otherwise they will find something to do like chewing something they shouldn't. They can bond to one person and become aggressive to others. Some of these things are true for most of not all parrots species though.
They can be nippy. I never really 'got' what people meant with birds being nippy, I am still not sure but for me it means using a tad to much pressure, leaving a little mark that fades quickly or maybe a little wound. It's not bad in my eyes, my yellow collared just uses his beak a lot, which I love. He may get better as he ages as he is still young. My illigers also nips but in a different way, he doesn't like me and usually we get along fine, but sometimes I am busy and he sneaks up and nips :roflmao: Usually leaves a small bruise so not that bad either. He is also a little beaky, but really good about not using too much pressure unless he wants to.
Both can get really possessive of something and bite.
They are loud. My illigers is really loud, we have a well insulated home but I hear him clearly outside. I don't mind a lot, but he can carry on for a good long while(hours) which may be problematic in an apartment. My yellow collared's screams are less loud but he is under a year old and may get louder. My illigers also does not use the typical illigers vocalisations, he spend most his life with blue and holds so that may make a difference. I find his sounds nicer then the 'normal' sounds which are quite high pitched. It will really depend on your bird, the apartment and your neighbors on whether or not it can work.
My illigers talks very clearly but doesn't say a whole lot of words. He does chatter a lot but not human words per se. He does mimic the sound of water trickling and some other noises I make at him. He also whistles. My yellow collared does seem to be a real chatter box some days but mostly we do little scream fests which both of them love. I would not have a bird for their talking ability, no species is guaranteed to talk and if that's your only motivation, all the mess, screaming and bites probably won't outweigh the pro of talking if that's your prime motivation:) Not saying that it is of course, but something to think about if it's important to you.
My yellow collared macaw is in 1x2 meter cage that is about 2.50 meter high I think, and my illigers has his own room for cage time.
 
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AviaryByTheSea

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Don’t let their small size fool you. They are all macaw. If by apartment friendly you concerned about the noise factor…. You can always train the bird to be quiet. I have 8 macaws and if you had never been to my house before you wouldn’t even know i had them (unless they were talking) because they don’t scream ever inside.The only time they scream is when they are outside in the aviary and perceive danger, or when I free fly my flock.

you can easily train your macaw to be quiet and not scream. However, if someone isn’t home during the day during the initial training, he may scream during the day when left by himself.

The most important piece of advice I have for inexperienced bird people… is to remember every interaction with your bird is a training session. You can inadvertently train a behavior into your bird by not fully understanding operant conditioning.

A perfect example of this would be… if you let your bird out the cage and put him on a perch… and than the only time you handle your bird is to have him step up and you put him back in the cage. The bird will quickly learn you only handle him to take him out and put him back in… so he might not want to cooperate and step up once out of the cage, because he might not want to go back in. That’s an example of inadvertently training a behavior.
 

TikiMyn

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I agree with 99% of what you said, you sound like a great caretaker of your flock. But your birds get to be noisy outside, unlike an indoor bird. Parrots can get noisy at times, bird people often don't mind too much but neighbors that value peace and quiet might. I don't believe it's healthy to aim for a non screaming bird.In some places there are even laws about noise, it's good to look into before getting a bird rather then finding out your bird is too loud and having to rehome. Not aimed at you, but people new to parrots may not know that.
 

AviaryByTheSea

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I agree with 99% of what you said, you sound like a great caretaker of your flock. But your birds get to be noisy outside, unlike an indoor bird. Parrots can get noisy at times, bird people often don't mind too much but neighbors that value peace and quiet might. I don't believe it's healthy to aim for a non screaming bird.In some places there are even laws about noise, it's good to look into before getting a bird rather then finding out your bird is too loud and having to rehome. Not aimed at you, but people new to parrots may not know that.
I appreciate your belief that you feel it’s unhealthy to have a non screaming bird. Allow me to educate you. I promise you it is perfectly healthy and desirable once achieved. Birds don’t behave in captivity the way birds behave in the wild because they birds in captivity are breed and reared by people… so they dont receive the same lessons that birds in the wild get. The lessons learned shape their behavior be it learned in capivity or the wild they each learn to respond to their environments specific conditions which shapes the birds behavior.


You are under the misconception that birds scream in the wild like they do in captivity. That is an incorrect assumption. In the wild macaws don’t scream like they do in captivity. They scream to alert the flock of dangers, to communicate with their mate if one is away from the nest, sun rise and sun set among other reasons. Macaw specifically they are quiet during the day because they are prey animals and they live in hostile environments like the Amazon jungle or the mountains in Peru or Equador where everything else in the wild views them as a food source. So they typically stay quiet and scream to alert the flock danger is close. Threats varies depending on their specific environment…

So when my birds are outside, When they actually scream it’s because a predator makes an appear… the number one
predator are raccoons. If they see a raccoon near the Aviary they scream bloody hell and they have been taught to yell help and help me if a raccoon climbs on the aviary. The purpose of them screaming in that situation is to drive the raccoon or perceived threats away. Just as wild birds do.

Birds in captivity dont have those outside stimuli. Instead almost all screaming birds have been inadvertently trained to scream for attention, because they usually started screaming to get your attention and most people reinforced the scream by running to check on the bird. Do that a couple times and the bird now equates screaming = attention. It’s a relatively simple process to correct.

Now birds have instinct behaviors… they are will squawk when the sun rises or sets if they can view it. Not all birds do that… mine only squawk at sunset, always. They know it’s my que to bring them in… they have stayed outside over night many times, but i stopped that because the raccoons learned the birds were there and they posed a significant danger at night. So I stopped that practice.

something else instinctual is if a bird falls ill, the flock will kill it. It’s the reason why birds hide their illnesses and by the time you realize something is wrong it is often too late.
 
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AviaryByTheSea

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it's good to look into before getting a bird rather then finding out your bird is too loud and having to rehome. Not aimed at you, but people new to parrots may not know that.
I agree it’s good to look into birds especially if you have never owned one before.

honestly, over the 27 years of me training birds… I have literally help hundreds of people free of charge retrain their birds using techniques I instructed the to employ. And by following my steps and keeping me up to date I was able to help people understand their birds behavior, the root cause and the solution on removing the undesired behavior.

in extreme cases where people were going to rehome their bird because of screaming or aggression issues and they couldn’t correct the birds behavior I aggreed to take their bird in and correct the behavior. The deal was simply you pay for the birds airfare here and back… and I will train the bird free of charge and take of his food etc.

I found in extreme instances integrating a misbehaving bird with my flock made the process of training so much easier. One method of teaching a bird to allow him to see what the others are doing and learn the question and proper behavior that way. This form of training is called modeling. I never met a bird I couldn’t correct. Except for one…

There was only 1 instance where I was unable to correct an aggressive behavior and that was because the bird had been so badly abused before he came to me with a broken wing. (Not broken by the owner who sent me the bird, but the owner who had originally rehomed the bird) I worked with George a large greenwing macaw, he was the largest greenwing I had ever seen. George was the most aggressive bird I have ever worked with, and even after almost of month of working with him my thought was the owner will never be able to handle him. So I was always talking and updating and discussing George with his owner and I was always honest about the processes I was using and trying. During this time i reached out to several trainer I personally know… Chris Biros and Daniel Walthers… and we would brainstorm on how to overcome such a traumatic experience, because it literally changed the birds brain in such a way it would never trust a human fully.

I reached out to other trainers and breeders people like Susan and Tony amount others, we are talking some renowned operant conditioning behavior specialist…. And after 4 months I was at an impasse. So after talking to the owner and explaining the dilemma the owner agreed to come to my location and see for herself. At this point she saw how far I had come and had high hope. But George was just as unpredictable as ever and she saw what I meant when I told her he wasn’t ready and I wasn’t sure he ever would be ready, that I was scared for George because unless he was in the hands of a trained professional or at the very least a very experienced macaw owner George’s fate was not destined to be a happy one. George had been cage bound when I got him… if she kept him locked up out of fear of handling him he would become cage bound again. So She wanted to give me the bird for free… I didn’t really want George so I suggested something else. She and I called my friend Daniel who is a trainer I have collaborated with in the past… and he much to many of your chagrin he is also a breeder of macaws. He agreed to give it a shot. We sent to bird to his location… along with videos of my progress with George. Which he had already seen during our brainstorming sessions… and after two months he could not resolve the truamatic event response that George exhibited. He agreed with my assessment that George could not be put back into the home of anyone who was experience or had children due to George’s unpredictable behaviors. Consequently George is living a happy and healthy life as part of a flock. Daniel won’t breed George because Daniel has been breeding his pure bred species for temperament and George doesn’t make the grade.
 
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