Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Posted Oct 21, 2015
Darius was not my bird, but one of the many birds I took care of for a hobby breeder/rescue bird collector.
With parrots, it's important to remember that they have as many personalities as people do. You never know what kind of bird you'll get. Macaw live as long as humans, but they are probably more sensitive than you are. Rescue birds are risky, but they can be rewarding to care for, too.
Dar was acquired when he was about twenty years old. According to my boss, he had been terribly neglected by his previous owners. They kept him in the basement with a blanket over his cage nearly all the time. Terrible. As a result, Dar was a neurotic mess with several tics.
He snapped at 'invisible bugs' all the time. Seriously, he would just pace his cage snapping his beak all day. People scared him. He would hide in the corner when I gave him breakfast and dinner. His cheeks were nearly always bright red, which is a sign of agitation/excitement. The presence of other birds calmed him down, but he rarely participated in their squawking conversations.
Feeding was a big deal. For breakfast, he got various fruits with pasta. I usually prepared the pasta in bulk, and cut the fruit every morning. For dinner, Darling got bird pellets and various nuts. Breaking walnuts was a favorite activity.
Cage cleaning once a week. I didn't often hose down the cages -- that was my boss. I think it was weekly. It was a chore just to coax Dar out onto a perch in the living room.
Big birds like this are a daily, long-term time commitment. Unlike Dar, they can be very noisy, so if you have thin walls, don't do it! Food prep and cage cleaning get easier with routine, but it can take a lot of consistency and kindness to build trust.