Pet Macaws, FAQs and Photos at KAT's Meow
|How can a pan in the kitchen kill a bird in the living room?
When overheated, pans with Non-stick coatings such as Teflon and Silverstone produce toxic fumes that can kill birds instantly. As these products don't carry a warning label, many people have found out about this danger only after their pet birds have died. I never cook with non-stick cookware because I can't guarantee that I'll never accidentally overheat a pan. I refuse to own any items with these coatings, though I do miss their convenience. Anybody know where I can find a waffle iron that isn't non-stick?
||What do macaws eat?
Anything except avocados, chocolate, caffeine and alcohol. Anything else is Ok.
Sonora and Chiquita get a basic diet of Lafeber's Premium Daily Diet for Macaws & Cockatoos. They love these pellets, which are good for training treats. I also give them lots of mixed nuts with the shells on. They love to crack open pecans, walnuts, filberts etc. They only eat the meat inside. They also get lots of leftover people food. Sometimes I cook legumes or corn on the cob just for them. The birds love "Happy Hour" on weekends in the desert, as they're likely to get buffalo wing bones to chew. They also love popcorn, and bringing home fresh tortilla chips results in ear-shattering squawks until they get their share.
||How can you teach macaws not to chew on furniture?|
You can't, and the sooner you learn it the better off you'll be. It's your job to keep them away from anything you don't want destroyed. Their intelligence is nearly that of a two-year-old child, and they're great climbers. Yelling "No" does no good at all. After awhile you realize they've trained you to yell when they want you to.
It takes a lot of ingenuity to keep a step ahead of them. 2" PVC pipe in 12" or greater lengths is great to use as a vertical gap over which they can't climb. This picture shows a ring suspended by a bungee through 2" PVC capped at each end. You can just see a bit of the PVC cap at the top. This keeps them from climbing to the ceiling and unhooking the chain that suspends them. By the way, they've already chewed up the wood ring they're on, but it was fun while it lasted.
|How can you tell a boy macaw from a girl?|
You can't tell by sight. They can be chromozone sexed by sending a blood feather to a lab that does this (recommended), or an avian vet can determine the sex with surgery (very invasive and not as accurate). Once they're sexed, the vet puts a tatoo under the left or right wing, depending on the sex.
Of course, this one is a girl, Chiquita. What self-respecting preteen boy would ride on this playground horse?
|Do they talk?|
Yes. Though I've heard my birds say hundreds of words, I haven't gotten them to talk on command. When they talk they usually make sense, such as saying goodbye when I pick up my purse to leave, laughing when someone does something funny, saying "oh oh" when they're on my arm and I stumble on a rock. Sonora's favorite is to nip me and say "Ow!". Blue and Golds are often used as talkers in bird shows. Mine do a few tricks on command, like handshakes, kissing, dancing, and spreading wings. Sonora is a ham and loves to entertain.
|Can they swim?|
Don't try asking a vet. All we got was "They're not ducks you know. They don't have webbed feet" But he couldn't tell us if Sonora would sink. It was a serious question for us because we often spent weekends on a boat. We got the answer the first time out when Sonora accidentally fell into 60' deep water at Lake Mead. He was panicky, but didn't immediatly sink. With effort, he used his wings to manuever himself to my outstretched leg and climbed out. Since then we've taken both birds into the lake in the summer to show them how to swim to, and climb up the back of, the boat. It's not their favorite activity, but they no longer panic. Once Chiquita got tired of my reading a book on the beach, and swam out to a nearby friend's boat to visit.
Page updated February 17, 1999
|All photographs on this webpage are copyrighted by KAT Moser, Katsmeow.com, 1998. Email requests to use photos for non-commercial purposes are usually granted free. Have a commercial use? Make an offer.|