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Severe Macaw help!

jenalamp85

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Jena Lamp
Hello all. I just 2 months ago rescued a 4 year old male severe macaw, that we renamed Groot. When he first came into my home it seemed as though he was more interested in initiating contact with my boyfriend (who is not a bird person by any means). He has a room to himself and I make a point to come in everyday and spend time with him. It seemed like he and I have been really coming along great in our relationship. He climbs down off of his cage to the floor to tear up cardboard boxes, he will climb up on my lap and preen and allow me to preen him (he is currently going through a molt). Anyway, yesterday I was out of his room opening a toy for my daughter, and my boyfriend went into his room to talk to him. Groot was down on the floor and started biting his shoes. I went in and in and knelt down and he literally linged at my leg and latched onto my calve. Basically attacked me. Anyone have any idea why this occurred? Is it because he was being protective of me or protective of my boyfriend? My boyfriend does very very little with him at all. I am a little confused by it. He is usually a sweetheart to me but occasionally is nippy to my legs and such, nothing unbearable. I feel like he nips at times just to get a reaction. That being said, I haven't stepped him up because the few times I have he rushes my shoulder and I don't completely trust him up there. I know he has been hormonal, and he came on a poor diet, so I have tried transitioning, but have laid off some just to let him adjust to his home environment, as I feel that all the changes may be overwhelming to him. Please if anyone can offer advice on the behavior, please let me know. Thanks!
 

macawpower58

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At 2 months you are still in the honeymoon phase.
Your macaw is not showing who he really is just yet.
That show of aggression/territorialism may be a bit of what he can be like.
Or it may just be a bad day. You'll not know real bird for some time yet.
He is still judging you and others in the home.
Not quite sure if he wants to bond with you, or your boyfriend.
It also doesn't matter if boyfriend wants to or not.
Sometimes it's the one not involved that becomes a target of affection.
Many adult macaws go through stages like this. Hormones and maturity effect behavior.
Be cautious, as they can change moods quickly. Learn to read the feathers and eyes.
Go slow and don't take any behavior changes personally.
And good for not allowing shoulder time. Too dangerous with a new macaw!
 

Big Blues

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Sorry that you are having behavioral issues with Groot. The behavior you are experiencing with Groot is not unusual for a new addition or even one that has lived with a family for a long time. Any species macaw that I have experienced can change their favorite human at anytime for just about any reason and jealousy can set in when the caretakers try to change that. We have an adorable Severe that can his personality in a minute so always be aware. Our Kashi wants a beak kiss one minute and bite anyware the next. I carry a ‘happy‘ pine nut with me always. :joyful:
 

jenalamp85

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I think he was previously bonded to the lady's husband who sold him to me. She neglected to tell me that tid bit of information. So I think there's a high chance he'll bond to another male. She kept him in a cage since her husband passed away, for about a year. Anyway, so far we are getting on nicely and though he has bit me, I am still not afraid of him. So he can try to run me away..but it's not going to happen. Hahahah.
 

Big Blues

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I think he was previously bonded to the lady's husband who sold him to me. She neglected to tell me that tid bit of information. So I think there's a high chance he'll bond to another male. She kept him in a cage since her husband passed away, for about a year. Anyway, so far we are getting on nicely and though he has bit me, I am still not afraid of him. So he can try to run me away..but it's not going to happen. Hahahah.
Loving and patience is the way to go; :heart:
 

flyzipper

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You didn't mention how much previous bird experience you have, so some of these questions and comments might be basic, but it's always best to start with the fundamentals.

He has a room to himself and I make a point to come in everyday and spend time with him.
How much time do you spend in Groot's room?
It's better to have our birds in a central location so they can maintain awareness of what their flock (us) is up to.
There's a tremendous amount of indirect interaction that can be accomplished by a central placement, and it will likely accelerate the relationship for everyone.

my boyfriend (who is not a bird person by any means)
My boyfriend does very very little with him at all.
Groot was down on the floor and started biting his shoes.
You're describing a relative stranger approaching Groot, who doesn't have experience with reading birds and their cues.
In any event such as this, analyse what happened immediately before, and what was the person's response after.
Did your boyfriend approach Groot too closely without heading Groot's display that he wasn't comfortable, for example.

I feel like he nips at times just to get a reaction.
What reaction do you provide?

I haven't stepped him up because the few times I have he rushes my shoulder and I don't completely trust him up there.
Teaching step-up to a hand (rather than forearm, where we have less control) is a fundamental bit of training that we all need to initiate with our birds.
Teaching step-down is part of this, and should be done in conjunction.
I'd encourage you to work on this in some focused training sessions.

though he has bit me, I am still not afraid of him. So he can try to run me away..but it's not going to happen.
What leads to a bite? When he bites, how do you respond?
It's on us to proactively learn to read our bird's body language to avoid bites (and to avoid giving them a reason to bite).
Regarding, "... but it's not going to happen", be careful to avoid the old bird training advice that we shouldn't back down (we definitely need heed what they're telling us, and build some incremental trust in the process).

As others have said, everyone is still learning each other, so please don't feel discouraged.
 

tka

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As an addition to the good advice that you have already been given, I wouldn't allow a bird who has been hormonal to tear up boxes. Boxes - and other enclosed or dark spaces - are viewed by birds as a potential nest site. In the wild, parrots will enlarge or modify a suitable hollow by chewing the wood. By tearing up boxes, your bird is replicating that behaviour and thinks he is preparing a suitable nest. This will encourage his hormones.

Try to direct him to other kinds of toys.
 

PetFoster

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As an addition to the good advice that you have already been given, I wouldn't allow a bird who has been hormonal to tear up boxes. Boxes - and other enclosed or dark spaces - are viewed by birds as a potential nest site. In the wild, parrots will enlarge or modify a suitable hollow by chewing the wood. By tearing up boxes, your bird is replicating that behaviour and thinks he is preparing a suitable nest. This will encourage his hormones.

Try to direct him to other kinds of toys.
I guess she could have been lied to about the bird's age, but isn't 4 months (even for a smaller macaw) still a little young to be seeing hormones?
 

tka

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I guess she could have been lied to about the bird's age, but isn't 4 months (even for a smaller macaw) still a little young to be seeing hormones?
The bird is four years old - easily old enough to be affected by his hormones.
 

Hahns0hmy

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this seems to be a season worse than usual in hormones, craziest I've witnessed
 
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