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Macaws and children

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Crunchyhippo

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Does anyone have any experience with having a macaw and small children? I have three - seven, five, and three. I'd love to have a macaw, but I have concern that one of my children might poke at the bird one time too many and it would take a finger off. If anyone has both the bird and children, how do you prevent this from happening?
 

Bokkapooh

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You prevent the child from poking at the birds. You supervise all the time. If a child poked at a large macaws(or any large parrots) cage will most likely lose a finger or be badly injured. Always supervise.
 

Danita

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I have a macaw, she is a rehome. She was rehomed because she hates children. When she hears a child's voice she goes crazy :(

But that doesn't mean all are like that, so many macaws love kids!

That being said, there is no guarantee a macaw will like children or all members of your family. They can bond to one person and despise all others.
 

merlinsmom13

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The odds are it wouldnt be a good idea. Those beaks are so huge! My amazon also hates kids, especially boys. I think they picked at him at the pet shop. Its just the nature of kids to be facinated w/parrots. Maybe a conure would have a more acceptable bite. :D Those little fingers don't stand a chance w/a macaw. :eek:
 

Macawnutz

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Those are some really young kids for macaws. I have a eight year old son and he grew up around all of my birds. He is very respectful of all of them. My older macaws really dislike him and I mean really. Not because he is a child, but because he is my child. When my son is around them there is no jumping around, spinning in circles, throwing of objects, he is an angel because he was taught to be an angel near them and they still hate his guts. They know he is special to me and they are jealous of that. They will go out of their way to try to get him. We are VERY careful. My younger two macaws, don't mind him at the moment. They don't want to sit on or near him but if one gets into trouble he can have them step up and help, but they are babies. I'm sure give them some time and they will not like him either. This is a child that grew up with birds, he knows how to act around them, he is not afraid of them, he knows how to read their body language. IMO macaws and kids don't mix. Even if you have taught your child how to act around them.
 

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I would say no birds other than the very small (budgie, cockatiel, lovebird) would be safe around small children. Even then, they will likely get bit. There is no way you can supervise them every minute of the day (you'll need a shower at some point) so the risk is always there and kids are curious and do what they know they're not supposed to.
My first Timneh, Pogo, was on my shoulder a lot. My ex-bf had a young daughter (still does). She loved him and wanted to hug him and touch him. He was allowed to give her a kiss until he bit her (more of a pinch really, but she cried). She would want to touch him, so I would distract him for a bit for her to touch his back. And once she came to say goodnight and he was on my shoulder. I didn't notice but he bit her finger & drew blood. She loved him more than the cat, so blamed the cat (probably thinking we would get rid of the cat for scratching her but didn't want him to go). I knew she was nowhere near the cat so figured he grabbed her finger when she went to hug me. She eventually admitted it was him. He was a very tame bird. But her actions often freaked him out. Little fingers just look like something to bite.

Not fair to get the bird, have it go wrong and then have to rehome the bird.
 

MacDaddie

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Heck! With that many kids; who has time for a macaw?!! Okay, my real opinion is this. Do you want a two-year-old? Macaws are basically two-year-olds that will never grow up, they want to be mischievious, playful and adored and you need to spend quality time with them so you have that perfect bond. Do you have at least an hour and a half outside your normal routine to dedicate to another living soul each day? Do you have the time to make another diet every day that is quite different from your other kids' foods? Do YOUR CHILDREN respect the words "No", "behave", "not now!" etc.? Can you be a dedicated teacher to both the macaw and the children and educate your children on how to interact with a bird with that size and intelligence? Can you be a dedicated teacher to the macaw so he/she is brought up with an "understanding" of children?

What you're asking can be done, but it takes more effort given the circumstances. I am not trying to put you off, but I am trying to give you a fair and realistic idea of what would be necessary... Think about it. I hope you make a fair and wise decision. Best of luck!
 

featherbabies

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If you do want a larger bird, here is one idea. You can buy a puppy or baby playpen, the kind with panels. You can set it around the cage to prevent the kids from reaching the bars, while working on teaching your kids about interacting with the bird. As others have chimed in, just supervise, supervise!
 

TheBeesKnees

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I have Sozzie and I have Layne (my daughter is almost 3). Sozzie doesn't LOVE being held by her, etc but he is respectful, preens her, and plays with her from his cage. He secretly really likes her :lol: it isn't for everyone, but as long as your child is respectful, and you watch them cautiously, it can work.
 

waterfaller1

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My friend who used to breed macaws, taught them to be around children and never had any do anything bad to them.
 

Kayaker

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I have 5 macaws, George hates everyone but me and chase away anyone near me.
Big Boy is my big baby he doesn't want to be touched by other people all the time but he is ok with kids watching tv or hanging out in the house. He has never tried to bite anyone he just walks away if you are bugging him.
Maggie, again just ignores kids/people she want whatever Big Boy is doing and just sits by him singing or talking to anyone in the house.
Bridget, she wants to be where the action is. As the biggest macaw, she is also the gentlest. I take her to visit preschools and she worked all summer on the beach with me. Anyone could pet her and she is most happy when she is getting lots of attention.
So yes kids and macaws can mix just fine as long as the bird will tolerate it.
Oh yeah the last macaw, Buster never leaves her cage, she is content to just sit and watch everyone.
 

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We don't have children but when children come to visit all of my Macaws love to see them... the birds love to clown around with the kids.... Our Hy is mesmerized... he gets as close as he can and talks to the kids....
Kids are drawn to the birds as well... and they naturally want to touch and pet them, when anybody visits I am such a nervous wreck when I have them in the bird house just watching everybody to be sure nothing happens....

Of course, when anybody comes to visit they are instructed before they go anywhere near the birds and not to even get close to the cages....Quito especially can reach his long feet out a good ways and grab, he likes to "hold hands"... and that's all he wants to do but if you pull away it can really hurt, his grip is so strong. This could really hurt anybody, and especially the little hands....

The thing is none of my birds would intentionally hurt a child.... an injury would most likely come from play or what the bird considered to be self defense.... Macaws have huge powerful strong beaks and a very playful nature, and for mine they all love using their beaks for playing....and sometimes they don't know how hard their bite is

Another huge consideration is that even if your own kids are perfect with the bird, they will want friends to come over and that would be a huge responsibility to be sure somebody else's kids don't get hurt.....
 

ortegah

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I think it all depends on your children, your ability to control them and how they act around animals. I'm not saying that to be critical. I mean that if your kids are rambunctious and curious and have to touch and squeeze everything then it wouldn't be a good idea. But if your children already know how to respect birds and are cautious then it might work. Our Blue and Gold is great with kids, but we've also had our kids around him constantly since he was 4 weeks old. Also the breeder had small and actually very rambunctious children bouncing off the walls around him, so he was exposed to that very early on.

It's all situational I think.
 

Big Blues

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We have several large macaws and although I believe you can train both the macaw and the child and provide 100% supervision it would be a daunting experience unless you have lot's of time. Our friendly Blue Throat, Mango, was held like a baby by his previous owner's little 4 year old girl before coming into our flock and we have taken him to assisted living facilities for the elderly to sit with them, but my fear is you "never know" when a macaw might bite if they are scared or during hormonal times. When our grand children visit, I don't allow them in the bird room at all without going with them.
 

Holiday

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The only thing I'll add is my usual mantra, which is based on what I've seen with my ADULT Blue and Gold macaw: Hormones change everything.

My B&G is very nice when she's not hormonal.

When she's hormonal, she's not so nice. When she's hormonal, she'd bite a child. She'd bite his mom. She'd bite his mom's parents and her parents' friends. She'd bite people who owe them money. She'd "burn down the houses they live in and the stores they work in." She's Keyser Freakin' Soze when she's hormonal. Baby birds are pretty safe around kids. A hormonal adult macaw guarding his/her "nest" is usually not.

Different birds have different degrees of hormones, of course, and some birds don't really change that much during breeding season. Others really, really do. And, you wouldn't know what you had until the bird hit about 5 years of age...

I agree with the people who are providing cautions.

There's a very sad thread here somewhere in the archives. A woman had a large macaw who bit her child. Her husband was horrified and outraged, and he wanted rid of the bird. They don't post here anymore. I don't know what became of the macaw :(
 
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Macawnutz

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When she's hormonal, she'd bite a child. She'd bite his mom. She'd bite his mom's parents and her parents' friends. She'd bite people who owe them money. She'd "burn down the houses they live in and the stores they work in." She's Keyser Freakin' Soze when she's hormonal.
I'm sorry, I did not quite get that, How hormonal can your bird be?

Keyser Freakin' Soze :rofl::rofl::rofl:
 

Tigra

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I would be very careful getting a Macaw... There beaks are huge and could do small children alot of damage!! It could just take a split second.. I would go for something much smaller and maybe get a Macaw when your Children are much older
 

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It depends on what kind of parent you are and how determined you are to make it work. Once mature, a macaw probably will not be a pet where everyone piles onto the couch with a bowl of popcorn and watches cartoons on Saturday mornings and everyone gets along and its all one big happy family and everything is wonderful all day long for ever after. If you are the kind of parents that says something like "If an animal bites my child, it can't live in my home", then probably a large parrot and most small ones will not work for long. All baby macaws are wonderful. You might have mass snuggle fests with a 3-6 month old baby. But sometime around 6-14 months the little darling will start picking favorites and testing everyone especially the less favored. For less favored people, it might require some special handling and training to maintain a civil relationship. Young kids might have a hard time with that and have feelings hurt, jealousy etc depending on the dynamics of your family.

Yes, they can seriously injure a finger. You teach your kids not to poke. Some parents have that kind of control and respect from their children. Some just don't. Its not a criticism, its just fact. I had a family come over several years ago wanting to buy one of my quakers. The kids were screaming and running all over the place and the little girl kept jamming her finger in the bird's face. The bird didn't like that and lunged. The kid apparently modeled behavior it had seen its parents do and shouted No and jammed her finger in its face some more. I swatted her finger out of the way a few times not wanting a confrontation with mom and dad but the kid kept doing it. So finally I decided fine, don't listen to me and feel the consequences. Yup, she got a little pinch, she did some screaming drama but didn't do it again. Bigger beak can mean more damage.

If your kids are literally too young to understand, then a plexiglass barrier or child gate or dog's X-pen put up around the cage will help. If your worried your kids are going to poke at it anyway even when they know not to, and you don't want your kids to learn the hard way, then don't get a macaw. However, it can be a great experience for them. They learn how to communicate with and respect a basically wild animal that is totally other than themselves. That is a great life long lesson to learn. It depends on people's attitudes within the home. Its the parent's job to train the kids and the kid's job to listen. You'll have to decide how well that works in your home before bringing a macaw into it.
Melissa
 
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