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Parrots/Blue and Gold Winged Macaw


QUESTION: Hello, I was wondering if you could help. I work at a zoo that runs a Parrot Show (which I participate in) and as of the last two weeks the most worked parrot (Cleo) has been slowing down to a point of not doing any of her tricks and as of a few days ago started refusing food so is now being hand fed baby parrot food and various nutrients and pulled from the show. She has displayed various strange behaviour like shaking on her perch, stretching her beak (like a person pops their ears) and her eye activity seems very docile, her life mate partner attacked her face last time during a grooming session (in quite a vicious manner) and displays little interest in her recently. I have been looking for info online and have had no luck at all. Please could you help, I'd be devastated if something happened to her ... she was the first macaw to warm up to me when I first started and has always been my favourite.

ANSWER: -- does Cleo belong to the people who are behind the show or to the zoo?

When a bird goes off eating the symptoms are as severe as it gets. Tell me more, whatever you can about the bird owners, the feeding, the food, where it's kept/housed and what do the droppings  look like?

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello, yes Cleo belongs to the owner of the Zoo.

We have sourced the problem, her droppings were fine, green/brown. The problem was a blockage in the crop and she is receiving medical treatment now.
The macaws are fed daily a mixture of dried food, given fruit every day (usually orange, banana and Apple).. they have cuttlefish bone for calcium and also get bathed daily and a bath in the sun. Also they have vitamins and nutrients put in their water.
Their cages are of adequate size and cleaned multiple times a day as is the room they are kept in.
I wouldn't have needed to ask had one of the Curators not been fired.

--  Thank you so very much for following up and letting me know.

It sounds like the birds are beautifully cared for except for one little thing:  stuff in their water.

 IF fed a good diet and it sounds like they are, no supplements are necessary and could very possibly lead to chronic infections in the gut.   The ONLY thing I ever put in any bird's water is a bit of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to help prevent polyuria caused by excessive yeast in the gut.  

 And even at this, the water is changed every 2-3 hours throughout the day for safety  


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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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