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Parrots/Aggresive behavior from rescued B&G Macaw


Hello and thank you in advance for any and all help and advice that you can give me. I am in an interesting situation that I'm sure many people have gotten themselves into. I am a bird lover and have some experience with the macaws previously but only starting from a young age. You know with no previous "bad habit" instilled in them just a clean slate to begin with. I currently have a Severe Macaw whom I got at 3 months and she is now 8 months. I heard of a bird that was having a hard time with a person. I know little of his history but I will give you what I was told and also what I seen when I picked him up. His first owner was an older lady who from what I understood treated him very well and he adored her however she had to go into a nursing home some years after having him so family members took him in, this is where it goes bad for poor Pedro, I'm not sure if it was from the beginning of his time with them or not but by the time they were ready to be rid of him he was being kept in a cage outside at all times and apparently the younger boys in the family poked sticks at him thru the cage for fun! Then the lady I got him from had a wonderful notion of him being a shoulder loving kind of bird and what she got (of course) was a very mean and aggressive loud unhappy macaw. He had his own room at her house if you could call it that. He was locked in a cage 24/7 (still) in a room full of junk with the windows constantly covered. She was so afraid of him that she didn't actively participate in his day. Came in only when necessary to feed or clean his area. (which she could do both without opening his cage door) Now I have him. I do not have a cage for him by choice (i can have him one if you think it would help) He has a whole corner of an area of the house that he can see and hear us all but isn't right in the middle of traffic. I built it with pvc and branches from a bird safe tree, its quite the bird jungle gym. Lots of toys and things to chew on. He's still of course very aggressive I try not to intrude upon him too much except when its time to shower. He lunges when you change his food and water, he lunges when you try to play or talk with him, and he lunges and connects when its time to get him off his area. He's bitten me many times because I wont show him fear and I wont back off when he lunges. If I can see trying to play or speak with him is too stressing I talk to him positively and just back off. He seems to enjoy his showers but hes no nicer during or after. I just want to help him trust people again but I'm am unsure how, I know it will take time but I feel like I just ignore him and I don't want to. My severe travels the house with me and just chats all day I would love for him to be able to feel like such a companion. So my question is how? What can I do to further improve how he feels about life? He does speak well, can dance, and will show you his wings so he was taught nicely somewhere along the way, how can I get him back there? Hopefully I didn't ramble on I just wanted to make sure to give you background on the things this poor guy had to go through. Thank you for your time :)

--  I'm not sure if you mention what kind of bird this troublesome 'rescued' bird is.  Not that it matters, but since there is a lot of info here I just can't seem to find where you mention type of bird other than the one you had first is a Severe

 First things first:  Yes, ALL birds have a 're set' button.   I am one of Northern CA's only macaw rescue/rehabs and while each bird has their own distinct personality, there IS a re-set button.   I've had huge success in 8 days or less as long as you play your part consistently and don't ever give up

  If possible, establish a sleep cage or at the very least a sleep regimen.  This is very important.   Many owners think birds will sleep when they need to and to a degree this is correct, but so would humans.   That doesn't mean that a human who has to sleep on the living room couch while  people are in the room talking, watching t.v., etc.  will get genuinely restful sleep.  Nor will a bird


 They need 12+12.  So if you usually arise and start the day at 8 a.m., the birds need to be in bed and undisturbed from 8 pm on.    If you have females you might want to add 2 hours to the sleep time in order to prevent egg laying and broody behaviors


  I have a guideline for you on 'biting' birds and everything else right here

Follow it to the letter and I'd wager at this time next week you'll have your new bird happily on hand.   Umm, shoulder riding  for any bird with a beak as powerful as a macaw (up to 400 lbs of pressure per square inch) is just asking for trouble.  I know a lady who, after 35 years with her precious Severe, ended up terribly deformed from a bite  running from lip to eye.  Birds WILL bite whatever is nearby when something else frightens them  


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Rev. Dr. S.August Abbott


Certified Avian Specialist; Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council member; Own animal rescue org; National Wildlife habitat #66378; bird care, nutrition & behavior consultant; International Assoc. of Animal Behavior Consultants Associate; National Wildlife Federation Leaders Club member; published bird care, info and behavior articles and guides. Ongoing education in exotic bird behavior and nutrition I can answer behavioral, nutritional, environmental, characteristic/personality questions as well as general health and health care. No animal emergency can ever be addressed on the internet. We cannot see your animal, perform an examination, provide necessary care or medication. Please value your companion for the priceless, living creature they are; not for what you might have paid for them.


Certified Avian Specialist. For more than 30 years I've worked with veterinarians, protective facilities, nature centers, preserves and on my own in providing care and education with regard to multiple animal species, including raptors (hawks, kestrals, owls, etc) and marsupials. In recent years I've focused on parrots, usually rescued from abusive or less than ideal situations and helping educate owners as to proper care. Expert in behavior studies and modification of problem behavior.

4AnimalCare is the organization I run as an animal ministry; World Wildlife Association, Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, National Wildlife Federation Leaders Club and more

Bird Talk Magazine articles about rescued and problem macaws.

Doctorate, Ordained Minister

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