Having more than one Macaw

Hello! My name is Angel, and I am so glad to have found such a supportive and active community for bird and animal lovers. My very first bird was a feisty and sweet little green cheek named Bonnie. She proved herself to be a playful, friendly, and loyal companion, and I have been a bird lover ever since. I have always been a huge animal lover, and have always admired the beautiful and majestic macaws. I was fortunate enough to add a baby Catalina to my home, and I couldn’t be happier with him. He has a very sweet disposition, is playful, and a great eater of his fruits and veggies. I think the only challenge that I have encountered is that my husband and I just can’t get enough of him. We are always vying for his attention and affections, and he is with us at all times when we are home. Things have gone so well, we have discussed the possibility of bringing another baby into our home not only to share our affections, but also for Sheldon to have the social interaction with another macaw. He was very well socialized at the breeder, and every time he sees his reflection he tries to say hello to himself and play a game. We feel that with his calm and laid back disposition, he is not likely to get jealous. With that being said, we have considered that it might change his personality and the way that he interacts with us. We love the bond that we have with him, and only want it to get stronger. I just wondered if anyone has been through this and what advice you can offer in making this decision, and even in transitioning into being a two macaw household.

I dont have any advice regarding macaws specifically but I dont think you will go far wrong in following the standard advice - quarantine, introducing them slowly on neutral territory and training exercises. Of course you should read up on potential problems so you know how to deal with them should they arise just in case. I would also like to ask you to consider a rescue bird as there’s loads out there needing good homes. Good luck.

Thank you Marie. We actually are scheduled to meet a rescue bird sometime next week. He is 10 years old and had to be re-homed due to the one of the owners getting emphysema. The dander was making it much worse and they had no choice but to find a home immediately for Merlin, a ten year old blue and gold here in Ohio. They recently found at the the person who took him, a friend from work, had been smoking around the bird. He has had some aggression towards strangers, so it is really just going to depend on how comfortable he is with us. The original owner does eventually want him back (his wife is going to die sometime soon according to her doctor), so it is a very different situation than adding a bird for forever. We are new to big birds, but are very open minded and have had incredibly good fortune with pets throughout our lives. I think if you have respect, genuinely good intentions, and you prepare yourself by doing appropriate research, you can be a great companion to just about any type of pet.We have rescued many dogs and found them great homes over the years and it had given us so much joy to help train and rehabilitate them. It is a proud moment to find a great home for dog that just needed a little attention and affection to become a great companion. My boyfriend and I had always admired birds, but it wasn’t until we came across one by chance that we really fell in love and knew that someday we would be in the right position to add one to our lives. It has been a great experience so far, and we learn something new about our little guy just about everyday. We know that the decision to add another bird will effect Sheldon’s life just as much as ours, so we are not taking it lightly.

Personally, I would not take in that bird because if yours bonds deeply with it, he will be devastated when he leaves (you do NOT split up a bonded pair, it’s too cruel) and the owner doesn’t seem to be what you would call a reasonable person (smoking in the same room as the bird, waiting for the wife to die so he can get his bird back -there are other options than just expecting other people to care for your bird for free). Fostering (which is what you will be doing) is fabulous but it’s VERY hard on the foster parents as well as special infrastructure and techniques (not with dogs or cats but definitely with animals that bond for life so deeply).I don’t see anything wrong with taking another bird but if you both work full time, I don’t know if you will have enough time to interact enough hours with three of them (they all need one-on-one time and macaws are especially demanding -as are GCCs). The other consideration is how old yours is because, if he is not sexually mature yet (5 years old), you might want to wait and see how he is going to turn out. Birds change a lot from when they are babies to when they are adults -you never have behavioral problems with a baby, it’s later on that these things begin to happen.

actually pajarita is right and normally I would advise waiting until after sexual maturity. the other points about being a temporary foster home and the affect on your existing macaw are very valid concerns.

Those are good points. I apologize for not being more clear, but the original owner is not the one smoking around the bird. The fostering owner claims they are not, but friends of the original owner who have visited from time to time say that they can tell it is happening. If we did foster this bird, we would not get another bird during the time that we cared for it.

The decision is yours but be aware that you can’t keep a foster bird in the same room as your own without risking bonding because, even when birds are not allowed to interact, they can still bond with another bird and I know because I took in birds from the same home that were never allowed to be physically together (2 amazons from one house, 2 amazons from another and 2 cockatoos that had been left on consignment in a pet store) and the first thing these birds did (and they had always had their cages separated by the entire room) when I let them out was go to the other and start kissing it as if there was no tomorrow. Also, please ask the rescue to test for EVERYTHING because even if the bird showed no symptoms during quarantine, it could be a carrier and pass on disease to yours (two days ago, a 2 year macaw died from PDD in another forum, the lady had just adopted her from her foster home and nobody had tested her).