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Macaw Bird: General Care, Food, and Housing

As a pet bird, the macaw is not for the faint of heart. They are large and demanding birds and are prone to loud shrieking. These birds are no quiet little tweety birds. Though a properly raised macaw can make an active and affectionate companion bird, these large birds can also be aggressive and may not be safe to house around other pets or even small children.

Facts About Macaws

Macaws are truly gorgeous birds, with vibrant plumage in red, blue, green, and yellow. They can run anywhere between 20-42 inches in length (including the tail), depending on the species. Like the cockatoo, the macaw can be found as a wild bird in Australia.

The best way to acquire a macaw is as a baby bird. When you find a bird for sale, make sure it was hand-fed. The average cost for a baby macaw is around a thousand dollars, but a Hyacinthe macaw will set you back nearly ten times that much. 


Macaws are usually fed a specialized bird food pellet that is formulated for their nutritional needs. You shouldn't feed them common birdseed. They will also enjoy any number of healthy snacks such as raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, cheese, pasta, and even meat. A mineral block could also be made available if the bird doesn't get a variety of foods in its diet.


A big bird needs a big birdcage. You should probably get the largest birdcage you can find, with the minimum dimensions for a macaw as 2 feet by 3 feet by 5 feet, with the 5-foot dimension being the height. Your macaw needs toys for entertainment and they will get bored with the same toys every day. Rotating bird toys will keep things interesting. 

red-and-green macaw
Wooden bird toys are a particular favorite and will be chewed into splinters in no time. Actually, anything wood within the bird's reach will be chewed, whether it be a toy or a piece of furniture. The door must have a secure latch. These bright birds are smart enough to master the basics of a simple door latch and are known, escape artists. 

The bars of the cage must be stout or a strong beak can bend them. Some of the bars should be horizontal to allow for climbing, another one of the macaw's favored hobbies. A heavy ceramic dish can make a good bird feeder.

General Care 

Exercise time out of the birdcage is a must, particularly playtime with a person. These birds may seem robust because of their size, but they are quite sensitive to their environment. The use of aerosols or even scented candles should not be allowed in the home, as you will run the risk of poisoning your macaw.

Like most large birds of the parrot family, macaws live for a long time. The average life span is 50 years meaning your pet bird could very well out-live you. You may have to include instructions for their care in your will.

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