Scarlet Macaws as Pets:
They are beautiful, yet high-maintenance pet birds that require an experienced bird owner, or someone who is committed to learning about them, and providing the appropriate environment and care for this magnificent parrot. In the wild, macaws are used to "customizing" their environment, chewing on branches, creating a nest to raise their young. In a home, they will continue to chew and explore with their beak anything that is in their environment. Training is important to integrate them into the family, and develop acceptable behavior. Providing them with a very large cage that allows for movements inside the cage, toys, several food dishes and branches is important.
They can be cranky at times and may be a one person bird or sometimes develop a liking for only men or women.
These large birds can be very noisy, as they make loud, low-pitched, throaty squawks and screams.
They are popular cage birds for those who can pay both the hih price of the bird and the price of the big cage needed, can stand their loud calls, and can give them considerable time outside their cages. They are considered sociable and affectionate, and some talk well.
Daily care includes keeping the cage, playground(s) and food / water / bathing dishes clean, providing fresh food items, dry food as well as clean water for drinking and bathing; plus providing daily exercise and time out of the cage.
They tend to be more aggressive than other macaws and generally do not tolerate other birds, pets or small children. They are only recommended for experienced bird owners, with some knowledge of bird training and handling.
They need a roomy cage and extended periods of out-of-cage activities. Providing them with a play pen or parrot perch will provide them with a safe-out-of-cage hang-out, and prevent them from sitting and destroying (chewing on) on your furniture.
Macaws in Captivity / as Pets - Things to consider before adding a Macaw to your family
Macaw ownership generally presents multiple challenges, such as excessive chewing - especially at certain stages in their life. They do discover their beaks as method of "disciplining us" once they are out of the "baby stage" and they can generally be somewhat naughty, and it really is important to learn to understand them and to guide their behavior before an undesirable behavior has been established. Undisciplined macaws will chew on electric wiring potentially causing house fires.
They regard anything in your home as a "toy" that can be explored and chewed on; destroying items that you may hold dear or are simply valuable. Even a young bird that has not been neglected and abused requires proper guidance; this becomes even more challenging when it involves a rescued bird that may require rehabilitation. Not everybody can tolerate the natural loud call of a macaw and even though it can't (or should not) be entirely eliminated, there are ways to discourage screaming / screeching in your pet macaw.
Overall, it is important to guide parrot behavior, but even more so if your feathered family member is a magnificent and powerful macaw.
Diet / Feeding
They eat a variety of seeds (unfortified / organic), fruits, veggies, nuts and high quality pellets (Dr. Harvey's, Lafebers, Harrisons, etc.), as well as nutritional food items, such as fruits and vegetables.. *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.
Species Research by Sibylle Johnson
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