November 2002 Issue of Bird Talk
Reprinted with Permission by Shelly Bohannon
Best pet qualities
Shelly Bohannon, owner and operator of Avian Antics Aviary related, “A properly raised and socialized blue-throated macaw (BTM) is generally a friendly, outgoing and cuddly companion. In some respects, their personalities are much like cockatoos, in that they will seek attention and can easily become ‘Velcro” birds.
My own Blue-throated Macaw will literally spend hours lying on her back in my lap, or snuggled against my neck while I watch television or work at the computer. Reports from owner’s of babies I have raised, tell me much the same. I find the Blue-throated Macaw to be somewhat more affectionate and of a considerably more cuddly nature than many of the large macaws. Blue-throated Macaws are very active, athletic, mischievous, playful and silly. They are an extremely fun although challenging companion.
Biggest behavioral challenges
Bohannon added, “Blue-throated Macaws have a passion for anything mechanical and will literally remove switch plates, thermostat covers and disassemble anything they can get their beaks on. Thus, they must never be let out of their cages unattended.
Not to be overlooked and certainly worth mentioning is the Blue-throated Macaws tendency to be rather jealous and often a bit of a bully. Not so much toward people but other birds that are seeking their favored person’s attention. Supervision and a watchful eye are highly recommended in a multiple bird household.”
Particular dietary needs
Bohannon continued, “The Blue-throated Macaws beak design is quite different than that of other macaws, and this has led to a number of theories about dietary requirements. The most popular being that the blue throat’s beak is designed much like that of a fruit eater. There is nothing scientific to support this, as their diet in the wild seems to be quite similar to most other macaws of the Ara family. However, I make it a practice that all blue throats [that I raise] have fruit included in their diet daily. Otherwise, a high-quality, varied diet of pellets*, fresh vegetables, high-quality nuts and healthy people food seems to serve them well.”
Sprouted or germinated seeds are usually more easily accepted by "seed addicts" than fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Sprouted seeds are healthier as the sprouting changes and enhances the nutritional quality and value of seeds and grains. Sprouted seeds are lower in fat, as the process of sprouting utilizes the fat in the seed to start the growing process - thus reducing the fat stored in the seeds.
- Sprouted seeds will help balance your bird’s diet by adding a nutritious supply of high in vegetable proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and chlorophyll.
- Soaked and germinated "oil" seeds, like niger and rape seeds, are rich in protein and carbohydrates; while "starch" seeds, such as canary and millets, are rich in carbohydrates, but lower in protein.
- It is an invaluable food at all times; however, it is especially important for breeding or molting birds. Sprouted seeds also serve as a great rearing and weaning food as the softened shell is easier to break by chicks and gets them used to the texture of seeds.
“As with all macaws, they do require a diet a bit higher in fat than many bird species. Pellets* formulated for macaws as well as high-quality nuts will provide the necessary fat”
*Please note: When feeding pellets to your pet, please be aware of the fact that overly feeding citrus fruits (including oranges) or vitamin-C-rich foods to your birds can lead to "Iron Overload Disease" as vitamin C increases the amount of iron absorbed from foods and supplements.
“Probably the biggest and most important thing in keeping a Blue-throated Macaw is keeping it contained,” Bohannon said. “A large majority of them are excellent mechanics, and it is difficult to find a cage they cannot open and/or literally take apart. Toys and perches will often end up on the floor of the cage, and (to blue throats) quick links are a mere annoyance. They will have a quick link open in a matter of seconds.”
What potential owners should know
“There are, of course, exceptions as with all exotic birds,” Bohannon mentioned. “However, if you are going to be owned by a blue throat, be aware that they are escape artists. They can be very manipulative and are extremely destructive. Be prepared to spend a small fortune on toy sand never, ever let them outside of their cage unattended, or you may find your home falling down around you.”
Species Research by Sibylle Johnson
Please Note: The articles or images on this page are the sole property of the authors or photographers. Please contact them directly with respect to any copyright or licensing questions. Thank you.