Texas, United States
Posted Oct 27, 2008
During my days of rescue and rehab for parrots, I took in everything from naked neonates to 5 year old rejects. A properly raised Blue & Gold macaw is a complete delight and, given time, patience, consistency and love, even most rejects have a better than average chance of coming to trust humans. B&Gs are bumbling, clumsy goofballs that can keep you entertained for hours; they love to follow you around the house and, if you're gone too long into another part of the house, they'll come looking for you if at all possible ... waddling down the hallway, long tail swishing back and forth as it drags the floor behind them, calling out "Mama" or "Hey?" or "Where are you" or whatever phrase they've been taught or they find entertaining at the moment. The biggest issue people seem to have with Macaws is the "terrible two's" phase. Though the terms does refer to the emotional and behavioral changes they go through at approximately 2 years of age, don't get the idea that only '2 years old' is when they go through it. Like children, some are advanced and can start the phase as early as 15 months old, and some are slower to mature and might wait until they're 3 years old. One thing you can count on, though, is they will attempt to stage a hostile takeover for self-sufficiency. Just like the 2 y/o old human child that wants to "do it myself!," the macaw will go through a phase of fierce independence. Their best and, as far as I know, favorite trick during this phase is the lunge. What was once your adorable snuggly 'baby' is now running away from you to the top of the cage, curtains, refridgerator or what-have-you and, when you tell him to step down, he lunges at you with that enormous beak! Once you give in to the natural "fear" of that big bird and his big beak lunging at you ... once you back off and allow him to do as he wants to as a result of his lunge ... it's allllll over! He now knows he has a weapon to use against you. Further, if you continue to be intimidated by the lunge, he will throw in a few pinches for additional effect. This is the reason so many macaws end up for sale or in rescue between the ages of 2 and 4 years old. Owners who had not done their homework, who were not prepared for a beak that can bite with over 600 pounds of pressure, and who have no clue how to take control of the situation. Do your homework, be prepared to get nipped a couple of times, and be prepared to be in charge and you'll have an adorable companion for life, with very few exceptions. The only negatives I would contribute about the B&G is that that beak can and will inflict damage. B&Gs love to do remodeling: they will chew through the sheetrock on your walls if given a chance, they will trim up your woodwork, whether or walls or furniture, and they will steal anything they can get their beak on. They can also be so loud as to leave one's ears ringing after the screaming, calling and squawking has stopped. Don't plan on turning up your television as the macaw will just take this as a challenge to get louder ... and it will win. The B&G is as high-maintenance as any other parrot, requiring homemade meals of fresh foods and a lot of your time and attention. Always remember that parrots are quite often a novelty pet that gets a lot of attention. Sooner or later, though, everyone becomes accustomed to the bird being part of their lives and the attention they've been receiving begins to be less and less. Take the time to speak to many parrot owners and find out just how much work is involved in owning a parrot before you get one- you may find yourself surprised. Because people don't understand them, parrots are one of the most "disposable" pets we have.. Sadly, people usually as for as much in a sales price as they paid for the young hookbill. So, consider that parrots, like dogs, do not 'appreciate' in value. Selling your 2nd or 3rd-owner macaw because it's no longer as friendly as it was when it was a baby or because you don't have time to spend with it that you should, is no reason to charge as much as you paid for it. Remember, you were the one who purchased it! The second home or rescue association that is taking it in is already looking at a what issues need to be rememdied in the parrot and it's very hard to sell someone over $1,000.00 worth of issues!