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need advice/tips with newly adopted macaw

t_sti

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Hey Guys !
I’m recently just joining this page to get some tips/advice on a newly adopted macaw(2months).
A little back story on this big guy:
-we are the 3rd/4th home
-he is about 30years old
-we’ve gotten him fully vetted by our vet including blood work. All this has come back good except for a vitamin deficiency since he was not on the best diet. I’ve been successful in switching him over to a better diet and offering chop (which he’s accepted with little issues lol).
-extremely unpredictable and aggressive

I do allow him to be out of his cage several hours a day and on his T stand, he has his good and bad days. He’s not lunged at me once so far, but I know he’s done this to the other owners. He does attempt to step up or atleast place one foot on me, I don’t fully trust him yet so I don’t allow this at the moment. He’s extremely unpredictable and will come to bite out of no where. I’ve tried to do target training but he’s extremely terrified of the stick and will lung and chop it in half. I know this is not an overnight fix and will take several months if not years, but I’m wanting to get advice from experienced macaw owners.
thanks !
 

macawpower58

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2 months is still quite early, you may still be in the honeymoon stage.
I've never tried the target training, how about using something other than a stick?
I know it can be taught with patience and treats.
As for stepping up I use a thick small baby blanket I toss over my arm.
I've seen some very aggressive hormonal behavior from mine, and step ups became risky, thus the blanket.

Try and stop your approach if you sense a bite or lunge. Come back later to try again.
Macaw body behavior is pretty easy to read once you've become used to it.
See if the blanket, or a thick sweatshirt makes you feel a bit safer when allowing him to step up.

Take your cues from the bird. Don't push too hard, allow him to make the first overtures.
You and he have years ahead to learn about each other.
 

Hankmacaw

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@macawpower58 is right - avoid the bites. A successful bite is self perpetuating. With your guy just imagine what people may have done to him over a 30 year life. He probably has no reason to like or trust you.

Not liking the stick is telling - he has probably been hit with sticks. Don't use a stick. Macaws as a general rule like humans - they are fun and supply good stuff to eat. Try being silly around him - dance with him, sing silly songs -be silly. Give him treats through the bars where he can't bite you, walk by and drop a treat in his cup.

It takes time and patience - lots of it. If he is your only bird he will get lonely and finally approach you.

Did I mention - it takes patience.
 

Toy

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I assume him being 30 years old & having been in 3-4 homes you don't know his full history. He may never let go of all his baggage, so you need to learn it & find ways to work around it. Mine hated towels with a passion. I warned the vet about her hatred of towels, but he ignored me & got nailed big time. She feared hands, as she had been abused, beak slapped, hit, kept in the dark 24/7, never left out of her tiny cage, no toys, etc. It took 6 weeks for her to stop ACKING. During that time I'd try to handle her some each day, sing, dance, act silly, share food & just show her she was finally in a good home.

I'd suggest just give it time. Talk to him a lot, sing, dance, just act silly. Macaws LOVE silly. Try to relate words to an action or item. Action...step up/down, dance, etc. Items could be the T-stand, a toy or treat. You're learning from him as he learns from you. Watch his movements, eyes, etc. Every sound & movement he makes is for a reason. Scared/lung, excited/eyes pin, scream/excited, ACK/scared. I took a badly abused B&G Macaw (recently passed in August) & turned her into a silly fun loving companion. Keep in mind he is not a dog, he is a bird & needs to be allowed to be a bird. Give him time to earn your trust. If JaJaBinks even thought you were going to touch her she'd run screaming across the room. Eventually she learned we would not hurt her. Eventually I was able to kiss & rub her feet, her wings, her beak & face, stick my fingers in her beak & touch her tongue, etc. Keep slowly trying to get him to step up. He needs to feel safe on your hand or arm, like he won't fall off. Once he steps up take him for short walks thru the house explaining everything as you go. This is the frig, chair, table, etc., & let him touch them with his beak. Then take him to his T-stand & ask him to step down. Tell him good bird, and then walk away. Let him set awhile & then do it again, if he's willing. He will learn he is safe with you.

Diet should be pellets daily, veggies daily, some seed mix, a little fruit & a few in-shell nuts. Many lack Vitamin A due to lack of proper diet. Sweet potatoes contain vitamin A & most parrots like them. I peel & cut them in chunks & roast them in the oven. You can also microwave & mash them. Chop is OK, but keep in mind macaws like to eat with their feet. Make big bites.

Also know this is macaw breeding season & also molting...usually runs from October into January or February, so he will be hormonal. You may not be able to do a lot until he's thru breeding season, so just do what you can & wait it out.
 

Miss Annamarie

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Everyone else gave great advice, but as for target training, try using something other than a stick. What kind of stick are you using? I usually use a chopstick I glued to a clicker. Isla is terrified of it so I use a pen and she does great with that. River would bite the stick and snap it, so I started holding it farther away from her once she learned what she gets when she touches it so that she can't get a grip on it. Once she learned she shouldn't have a grip on it I could move it closer.
 

Miss Annamarie

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Everyone else gave great advice, but as for target training, try using something other than a stick. What kind of stick are you using? I usually use a chopstick I glued to a clicker. Isla is terrified of it so I use a pen and she does great with that. River would bite the stick and snap it, so I started holding it farther away from her once she learned what she gets when she touches it so that she can't get a grip on it. Once she learned she shouldn't have a grip on it I could move it closer.
While training IS a good for bonding, I'd hold off on target training until you're a little more comfortable.
 

t_sti

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thank you so much for the advice, everyone has been telling me I had to do the target training to be able to get control of him. I’ve personally never done target training on my rescue U2, just treats and time which worked fabulous. I was never concerned about wearing towels or anything, but the bite of a macaw if far worse than a U2 (atleast from my experience). From the story I was told, he came from a hoarding situation and was kept in a blacked out trailer. I’m willing to try anything as my vet feels I can offer this parrot a better home/life. The vet who supposedly seen this bird did not even recognize the person or this bird.. He was also getting tons of colorful zupreem pellets and I was told it’s a myth about it having sugar.. I still decided to gradually switch him over to the same pellets my U2 is on (tops). He’s currently getting fresh chop with sprouts and some cooked grains. I also have a dry mix I place at night that’s recommended by an avian nutritionist. But if you guys have a dry mix recipe you’d like to share, feel free.
 

Shezbug

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If you feed tops do you offer regular unfiltered sun light or an alternative source of vit D3? I am not a fan of tops to be honest but I am a big fan of target training. I hope you stick around and share lots of pics and stories of your new lucky guy :)
 

macawpower58

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There many decent pellets. Try for ones with less sugar/preservatives.
If he eats and likes the Tops, they'll do.
Most of us feed varied diets that include pellets.
Veggies, fruit, legumes, pasta, seeds, and nuts are all a part of it.
Zupreem colored is not one of the best, but it's better than none.
What dry mix are you talking about? Do you mean seed mixtures?

As for target training...do it if it works and you and the bird have fun.
If it's a stressful thing, do not do it.
You want trust above all else right now.
There's lots of time for training.

And getting control of him? :laugh:
If you ever learn how, give me a few hints.
My macaw has controlled me for over 20 years!



 

t_sti

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If you feed tops do you offer regular unfiltered sun light or an alternative source of vit D3? I am not a fan of tops to be honest but I am a big fan of target training. I hope you stick around and share lots of pics and stories of your new lucky guy :)
Can you please share your experience with tops ? I’m extremely open minded and want the best for my birds.
 

t_sti

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Can you please share your experience with tops ? I’m extremely open minded and want the best for my birds.
I also forgot to mention I do roll my cages outside or in the sunroom with open windows (as D3 doesn’t penetrate screen or glass). They are outside on a nice day for 15mins, I’ve been that leaving out for more will cause harm ?? I’ve learned a lot on my own as I stepped away from birds years ago but unfortunately all the information provided was not proper as well as the diets
 

t_sti

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There many decent pellets. Try for ones with less sugar/preservatives.
If he eats and likes the Tops, they'll do.
Most of us feed varied diets that include pellets.
Veggies, fruit, legumes, pasta, seeds, and nuts are all a part of it.
Zupreem colored is not one of the best, but it's better than none.
What dry mix are you talking about? Do you mean seed mixtures?

As for target training...do it if it works and you and the bird have fun.
If it's a stressful thing, do not do it.
You want trust above all else right now.
There's lots of time for training.

And getting control of him? :laugh:
If you ever learn how, give me a few hints.
My macaw has controlled me for over 20 years!
Here’s the dry mix I’ve been following from an avian nutritionist. Let me now if you have any suggestions I’m 100% open to trying me things.
 

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macawpower58

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That's fit for a king! :xflove:
 

Shezbug

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Can you please share your experience with tops ? I’m extremely open minded and want the best for my birds.
Tastes like grass clippings and has a horrible texture- I know because I tasted it lol, my bird really hated tops and when given the choice he chose every other pellet I offered over tops including his previous least favorite pellet. Tops has very little vit D3 which is extremely important for our birds. I see for some other bird owners it is their go to brand- I just personally do not like Tops. I have no bad stories regarding deficiencies from it or anything like that but I also only fed it for a very short time frame (a few months and with other pellet brands). When I spoke to my vet regarding what foods and brands of pellets I was feeding she suggested I just used the other brands I was also feeding at the time.
 

Hankmacaw

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I don't think many of we macaw owners on this forum feed a dry mix. So many dry mixes have peanuts (and sunflower) in them. Both are high in saturated fats and very low in vitamins. Peanuts are noted for aflatoxins and aspergillosis ( I lost my beloved female macaw to aspergillosis two months) ago. Rather than a dry mix most of us leave pellets available 24/7 and give nuts as treats.

I hope you are keeping your U2 and macaw in separate rooms with air purifiers. Pulmonary Hypertensive Syndrome is real and real bad.
 

macawpower58

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I do keep a higher quality seed/nut mix and feed it about 2 times a week. It's my birds favorite meal of the week! :laugh:
Even so, mine is nothing like yours.
How often do you give that dry mix? IMO it's an awesome snack/special meal.
For me, chop (veggie/pasta/beans/grains) mix is the go to meal, a small bit of fruit tops it off.
Pellets are my evening feed.
 

Shezbug

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Burt wont eat seeds unless they are sprouted and if I give them to him as a whole seed he will only touch them to throw them across the room :laugh: He loves freeze dried foods though, it is rather unfortunate that finding FD veg is not as easy as finding fruit.
 
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