Pets and Animals
What can I say about my birds? Well, there is a reason why they are called "exotic pets." Let's just say... it's a code word for "children who don't know how to behave themselves properly." Birds, especially big ones are messy, messy, messy, and like children, they don't clean up after themselves. Birds have been called "The Gardeners of the World" as they go around spreading seeds from one end of the globe to the other. Well... imagine them doing that very same thing in your living room; however, not only dropping seeds, but feathers and dander and poop. And they have been rightly called "poop machines," that if you could package and sell the end product, you would be in business. In fact, if you own a big bird, you've now added a new title to your name. It is called... servant. And while I am at it, let's talk about their other down sides by species and then I'll address their up sides but not necessarily in that order.
Macaws are loud. It is said that in the wild, they speak to each other from a mile away. Noise is music to their ears so don't go owning a McCaw if you live in an apartment. Macaws need lots of attention especially if you have only one. Remember, birds are flock animals. They need company. If you have a pair of Macaws living together, usually they will bond with each other and they will become very territorial to the point where you will become the intruder as they protect their mate. This also coincides with hormonal changes during mating season where they become overly aggressive. On the other hand, if they do not have a mate, then you are it, and if you don't give them attention, they will scream until you do, and if not that, they will scream just for the hell of it. In this category, I am also including other large birds like Amazons and Cockatoos, and especially the Moluccan Cockatoos as they have a deadly scream. Amazons have a built in clock which goes off when the sun rises. They think it is their duty to holler at everyone to get them up in the morning and also when the sun goes down at night to announce that it's time to go to bed. And let me not forget to mention that they love to holler in between those times too. Amazons are great talkers, but they are very loud. But honestly now, do you really want to know why birds scream? It's for the fact that they are alive. They love being alive-they rejoice in life's presence. However, that decibel is considered deafening to the human ear, so now you know why your neighbors complain and you have permanent hearing loss if you own one of these birds.
Macaws are not for everyone. They are very big birds and the very virtue of their size can be overwhelming. They have big beaks. Big beak means big bite and anyone who tells you that birds don't bite is lying to you. I have proof. Most times you can know if they are going to bite by their body language, like crouching down and backing away when you try to hold them. This means, "STAY AWAY! I don't want to be held." Or if you see their eyes "pinning," which looks like a kaleidoscope that is spinning, that means the same thing. But there are times when you don't know that they are going to strike, like when they become spooked when the dog suddenly barks alerting them to danger and you are holding them. Remember, birds are prey animals and people have only been breeding them for a few generations which is a very short time to breed the "wildness" out of them.
They require lots of out-of-cage time because, let's face it, they are used to flying around and they are very energetic by nature. Believe me when I tell you that there will come a time when you will leave your Macaw unattended for just a minute, like say, when the phone rings, and when you come back, the family heirloom-the one made out of teak that was passed down to you by your great, great, grandmother...you will be horrified when you see your delighted bird perched on top it gleaming at you as if to be praised for his wonderful work of art. How Nice.
That said, all birds need toys and activities to stimulate them and to keep them busy. They are not optional. Macaws need to chew and they need lots of toys made out of big pieces of wood. They go through them like nothing. It's like they have a buzz saw attached to their mouth. Toys made out of big pieces of wood are very expensive so unless you want to add carpentry to your title, you will not be amused every time you have to fork out big bucks in order to entertain them.
Macaws also need big sturdy cages and big sturdy cages are very expensive. They have very strong beaks and very long tails and if you buy a cage that is too small or too flimsy, the enclosure will break or fray their tail feathers and they will also escape as they eat their way through the wire. Remember, this is their house so it has to be roomy enough for them to live in. They require a good seed mix but they also need a variety of fruits and vegetables and nuts and protein which I give to them in the form of hard boiled eggs, chicken, meat and peanut butter. Have you seen the price of eggs and meat these days? Yes, by now you know....IT IS VERY EXPENSIVE. Now, that's enough said about the cons.
I think the people who should own Macaws would be similar to people who would want to own a Rottweiler, a Doberman, or even a Great Dane. They like the energy of "big," and they are not afraid of, or discouraged by everything that comes with that word. If you are one of those people and you want a bird in your life, then this is a perfect match for you.
"Frannie" - Scarlet Macaw
"Big Bird" - Blue & Gold Macaw
"Pee Wee" - Blue & Gold Macaw
"Pee Wee" and "Manny"
"Mr. & Mrs. Scarlet" - Scarlet Macaws
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