All people, when considering making a macaw part of their family, have many questions regarding the care, feeding and personality of these large birds. The more questions the better, we think! However, we realized that many of those questions are the same for all potential macaw owners. Below we have answered many of the most frequently asked questions, in hopes that you, as a future macaw owner, will be better informed to care for your new family member!

Q: I'm told I need to wait until my macaw is "weaned" before I bring him home. How long is that and what does it mean?

A: "Weaned" means they are able to eat normal bird foods on their own. Here at All Macaws, we do not force the babies to wean. We give them an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables and warm soft foods several times a day. Because of normal bacteria growth, we do not allow the fresh foods to remain in the cage longer than a couple of hours. Macaws will wean at different ages. Generally speaking, the Blue and Golds and Scarlets usually wean between the ages of 3 1/2 months to 4 months. The Greenwings wean between 5 to 6 months, and the Hyacinths wean between 7 to 11 months of age. Each of our precious little babies wean at their own pace. Be sure to watch the bird to be sure he is eating once you arrive home. All Macaws does not sell unweaned babies, as it is extremely dangerous for the baby to do so, and contrary to popular belief does NOT make your bird bond better to you (quite the contrary, to be honest).

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about what makes the All Macaws babies so unique?

A: All Macaws babies are from our private collection, incubator hatched and handfed from day one. They are raised with children and pets. They are very well socialized by myself, my daughter and my husband. Our grandchildren come to play with the birds as well, and what fun that is! With a large bird the most important thing you can do is to keep the bird well socialized by all members of your family. Our babies are raised under the most stringent of avian health and sanitation conditions, and with our highly specialized "macaws only" stance, we believe that our macaws are "the cream of the crop" and to our credit, Oprah Magazine and National Geographic seem to agree!

Q: Does a macaw make a good family pet?

A: Yes…The blue and gold in particular make wonderful family pets.

Q: Is a male or a female a better pet?

A: Both make great pets.

Q: What is the talking ability of the macaws?

A: Although you can never guarantee whether or not a bird will talk…..most macaws will talk. Their vocabulary varies between a few words and a few hundred words. My personal b/g pet says over 300 words and phrases. The more you talk to the bird the greater vocabulary they will have.

Q: Can children play with the macaws?

A: Macaws have very powerful beaks and the children must be supervised when the bird is out of the cage. The children must also be taught to respect the bird.

Q: How long will my macaw live?

A: On the average, 60-80 yrs.

Q: What should I feed my bird?

A: Your macaw should get a variety of FRESH fruits and veggies in the am and a good seed mix with mixed nuts in the evening. Be sure to wash your fresh fruits and veggies before cutting it and giving it to your bird. You will have to crack the mixed nuts until your baby learns to do this on his own…and that depends on your baby. That can be anytime between 7 months and 1 year. On the average, you will need 25 lbs of seed per month for your macaw. We highly recommend a high quality seed and nut mix. We feed seed and not pellets. In our opinion, macaws need the extra fat from the seeds. They also need to forage for their foods and the seeds allow them to do that Do not expect your bird to eat every seed in his dish, because he absolutely won't and at times may seem like you're throwing away more than you feed. Regardless, he must get a new bowl of seed each and every day. And a clean bowl. It would be wise to have an extra bowl on hand for both feed and water, so one set of bowls can be in the dishwasher while the other set is being used.

Q: What about soft foods?

A: Your baby will love such foods as home cooked meals you serve to your family, and if you don't have time for that they absolutely LOVE Beak Appetit. This is the warm, soft food our babies are weaned on here in the All Macaws aviary.

Q: How often should I change my macaw's water?

A: The best way to keep your bird happy and healthy is to give him fresh cold water twice a day.

Q: How will I know if my baby is sick?

A: The very best way to tell if you baby is sick is to have a scale. You should get into the habit of weighing your baby every day until the baby is 1 yr old and keep a record of it. That way if your baby starts to lose weight you will know and you get to the vet. Birds hide their illness. That is how they protect themselves in the wild.

Q: Should I bath my bird?

A: Yes. Your bird should be soaked, and at minimum misted, 3-5 times a week.

Q. How often will my bird molt?

A. The bird will go thru several molts per year, usually three. You can mist or soak your bird more often when he is molting which will definitely help with this process.

Q: Obviously I need a cage, but I'm so confused on which one and when to buy it. Can you help? Are there any other purchases I should make as well, along these lines?

A: You will need a durable and long lasting cage for your new baby macaw. You should buy the largest cage you can as it will be home for your baby for most of the day. Your bird should be able to spread his wings and flap without hitting toys or food bowl. Our Kings Cage # 406 would be the smallest cage that I would like to see my baby in. Our Kings Cage #506 is the largest, and in our opinion the most ideal, single size if you can accommodate it. We also offer the Kings Cage #506 Twin which would be heaven for your macaw, if you removed the mid-section and used it as a single cage.

Your cage should be set up before your baby comes home. It should be placed in an area that the family would most likely be, like the living or the family room, with plenty of natural light if possible. I recommend a dome top cage rather than the playpen top. If you put the macaw on the top of a cage he will defend his home and you are likely to get bit. You really need a separate playstand for your macaw, such as one of our All Macaws "Macaw-Tough" playstands. The bird will not think of the playstand as his home and will not have to defend it.

You should also have a carrier. This is a must for your bird as it is absolutely not safe to travel without having your bird contained. Our Voyager carriers are ideal for traveling, and make perfect carriers for those important veterinary visits.

Q: Will I need to cover the cage?

A: It is not necessary to cover your cage.

Q: If there is one command that the All Macaws babies know, that I should keep working with, what would it be?

A: This is an easy question to answer: step up and step down. You should always say "step up" or "step down" when picking up the baby or putting him back to the perch. This should be done for the life of the bird. Your pet wants to please you but he needs to know what you want and by remaining consistent in these commands, you will continue to hold the upper hand and the bird will appreciate the firm love and boundaries you set for him.

Q: I always feel guilty when I put my bird in the cage. Can I leave the cage door open?

A We do not recommend leaving the cage door open so the bird can come out as he wants and go in as he wants. The bird needs to know that if he wants to come out of the cage he needs to step up. He is like a child in many ways and you need to be firm in your commands.

Q: I understand I need to have a veterinarian lined up before my baby comes home. Is there any insight you can provide in my selection?

A: Birds are very different than cats and dogs. Find an avian vet, one who knows about birds. Take your bird for a new bird exam to ensure it is healthy and to establish a baseline in case of illness immediately upon arrival to your new home (or within 24 hours if not convenient right away). We encourage you to develop a relationship with your vet. Find a vet or hospital that you can contact at night or weekends in an emergency, and have those numbers readily available! Birds should also have an annual exam to ensure they are healthy.

Q: What about my birds weight? Is there anything I should watch out for?

A: You should weigh your bird daily if possible, at the same time each day on an empty crop (meaning before you feed a fresh bowl of seed and nuts or fresh foods). We highly recommend our Sterling Scale, which is the best and most accurate scale we've found and the most affordable price. A loss of 10% of body weight at any time should immediately be reported to your avian vet.

Q: How much attention am I going to need to give to my macaw?

A: Birds are very intelligent and social animals. Keep your bird in an area where there is family activity, but be sure he has a quiet area to sleep in at night. He will need 10 hours of quiet time nightly. Talk to your bird during the day. If you work, leave a radio, CD or TV on when you are gone. Take him out for play and cuddling every day. We recommend 3 hours of playtime out of the cage per day minimum.

Q: What about toys?

A: Macaws are aggressive chewers. They need a variety of toys and textures to keep those big beaks busy and happy. Our All Macaws line of bird toys is perfect for your macaw, and designed specifically for the macaw, although they can be used for all mid-large species. Toys should be provided in abundance everywhere your macaw spends significant amounts of time, which is normally his cage and his playstand. Your bird's toys should be rotated every month to avoid boredom.

Q: I see all different types of perches on the market, what is the best for my macaw?

A: Try the sandblasted dragonwood! These wonderful perches are not slippery whatsoever (as opposed to manzanita), more natural and look like real tree branches.