The vibrant and beautiful Macaw originates from South and Central America. They have been widely kept as pets since the beginning of the 20th century. Macaws can make excellent pets for the right keeper and have a lifespan of 35 to 60 years.
A hand-reared Macaw is usually gentle and easy to handle. They are very intelligent, playful, have wonderful temperaments, and bond closely with their keepers.
Macaws enjoy mimicking sounds and love to socialize. They are not great at talking but pick up quickly on tricks. Due to their high intelligence and need for socialization, they will require stimulation through toys and human interaction.
Macaws are expensive to raise. They are large, require a lot of space, and eat quite a bit of food. It is very important to consider the financial responsibility that comes along with owning a Macaw. You can expect to pay $300–$1,200 for the initial setup and $100–$150 per month. This is a long-lived companion and you will be taking on a lifetime of responsibility for their care. How much is a Macaw? Read on to find out all the details.
Bringing Home a New Macaw: One-Time Costs
When you decide to purchase a Macaw bird, prices you must consider include the price of the Macaw and the initial setup costs necessary to ensure your bird has a healthy, enriching life in your home.
There are a variety of types of Macaws and the price of the bird will depend on the type you choose to purchase. You will need to do your research on the various types of Macaws that are available in the pet trade.
A Macaw is an expensive animal to obtain. It is highly unlikely an individual will come across one that is free of charge. The most likely scenario for someone to be offered the bird for no cost upfront is if the original owner can no longer bear the responsibility.
If you do happen upon a Macaw free of charge, keep in mind it’s only the bird that’s free. You are still committing to upfront setup costs and decades of costs for the required care over the animal’s lifetime.
Adoption is a great option when considering any pet. Many Macaws have either been abandoned or turned over to rescue due to the complexity of their care. If you have decided a Macaw is a responsibility you can handle and afford, rescuing would be a very rewarding choice for both you and your new Macaw.
Adoption fees for rescued Macaws average about $400 to $1,000. This is considerably less than if you were to purchase directly from a reputable breeder. Not only would you be providing a loving home to your bird, but you will also be freeing up space for the rescue to take in another Macaw in need.
If you opt to purchase your Macaw directly from a breeder, you can expect a pretty high price tag. Macaws are challenging to breed and expensive to raise. Breeders foot quite a financial responsibility in rearing these birds.
The cost of your Macaw will depend on the species. There are a variety of Macaws available in the pet trade and you will want to do your research to determine the most compatible type for you. You can expect the price of a Macaw anywhere from $1,000 to $18,000 for your bird alone.
Initial Setup and Supplies
You will first want to prepare by getting all of your supplies in order before bringing home your bird. The costs will vary dependent on your personal preference, budget, and needs for your bird.
Cages can be a large expense, they can cost upwards of $2,000 but generally fall in the $100 to $500 range for the cage itself. You’ll need liners, perches, toys, food and water dishes, and mineral blocks inside the cage.
Some owners prefer to have a flight harness on hand to enrich their Macaw by allowing them to explore. You can even set up enriching play centers outside the cage for your Macaw’s entertainment needs.
You’ll want to ensure you have located a veterinarian that specializes in large birds. An initial exam will be needed so that you can get established with your veterinarian and have a healthy start to a new life with your Macaw.
List of Macaw Care Supplies and Costs
|Feeding Plates/Water Dishes||$5-$30|
How Much Does a Macaw Cost Per Month?
$100–$150 per month
You’ll need to ensure you’re prepared for the typical monthly cost of owning your Macaw. This is a large bird that has complex nutritional needs. They will eat a variety of food and a lot of it.
Your monthly costs will mostly go to the cost of food. You will need seed mix, pellet mix, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. You’ll also have the cost of replacing cleaning supplies, cage liners, and toys which will be used frequently.
$50–$400 per month
Monthly healthcare costs for your Macaw can vary greatly. Of course, their food expenses are factored into their overall healthcare and that will always be an ongoing expense.
Macaws require routine veterinary health check-ups. Your veterinarian will perform a physical examination and grooming (beak, nail, or feather trim as needed.) Laboratory testing may be required. These check-ups are generally semi-annual rather than monthly. These visits are vital to your Macaw’s health.
$50–$100 per month
You will need to consult with your veterinarian for proper guidelines for feeding and caring for your Macaw to ensure you meet all their nutritional needs.
Typically their diet is 1/3 seed mix, 1/3 pellet diet, and 1/3 fresh fruits and vegetables. Macaws are large birds; the biggest monthly expense will be their food.
$5–$50 per month
Grooming a Macaw involves nail, beak, and feather trimming. Perches can help with nail trimming and are readily available in their cage. You can provide mineral blocks to assist your Macaw in keeping the beak well maintained. Most of your Macaw’s primary feathers are generally clipped to avoid flight.
You can set up a veterinary visit to have grooming needs handled if you are uncomfortable doing so yourself.
Medications and Vet Visits
$0–$200 per month
Visits to the veterinarian are typically not monthly. You’ll have semi-annual check-ups and will need to be prepared to visit at any time if any health concerns pop up. Occasionally, birds may require regular medication. This will depend on your particular bird and the monthly costs can vary.
$10–$100 per month
Pet insurance policies are readily available from a variety of companies. Many individuals feel that the monthly cost of having the insurance outweighs the overall heavy expenses of veterinary care.
You will want to research the different plans and deductibles available from the various companies to determine whether pet insurance is right for you.
$10–$50 per month
Birds need a regular and thorough cleaning. Macaws are large and so are the messes they make. You’ll need to regularly replace cage liners and cleaning supplies, as you’ll be using them often. Mineral blocks will also need replacing, as they are vital for your Macaw’s nutrition and assist with beak maintenance.
$20–$50 per month
Macaws are active, intelligent, and emotional birds. They require a lot of mental stimulation for their overall well-being. They need to be provided with hours of entertainment to keep them occupied.
In the wild, Macaws spend a lot of time chewing. You must place toys in the cage that your Macaw can chew or shred. Toys made from leather, non-toxic wood, cardboard, or paper are good for shredding and chewing.
Play exercise centers and discovery trees outside of their enclosure are a great source of entertainment for your Macaw. They will enjoy toys to clamor around and make noise. Mentally puzzling toys that challenge their intellect are also a great option.
The number of toys on the market for entertaining your Macaw is endless. You’ll need to replace them as needed.
Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Macaw
$100–$400 per month
As seen above, the total monthly cost of owning a Macaw can vary. The biggest monthly expense will be the complex diet your Macaw requires. You’ll need to replace cleaning supplies, cage liners, and mineral blocks regularly.
Grooming needs will vary but can factor into monthly costs. Veterinary visits typically are not a monthly expense but you’ll need to be prepared for semi-annual or any as-needed visits.
Additional Costs to Factor In
It’s vital to factor in any additional costs of owning your Macaw. Below are some extra considerations.
Most of us love going on vacation. When you have a high-maintenance pet such as a Macaw at home, it can make traveling and vacationing that much harder. You will want to have an experienced pet sitter or boarding facility that can handle the complex care of a Macaw.
It’s unfortunate, but humans and animals alike tend to need emergency care at some point in their lives. Veterinary emergency care can be very expensive. A variety of illnesses and injuries are possible for your Macaw.
You can expect to pay at least $250 for an emergency visit. Diagnosis and treatment will typically run much higher in these situations. You’ll need to be financially prepared for the unexpected.
Owning a Macaw On a Budget
You cannot cut corners when it comes to owning a Macaw. This is an expensive animal to rear. But you can trim some costs here and there to provide a little more cushion for your wallet.
As for the upfront cost of a Macaw, opting to adopt from a rescue is much less expensive than purchasing directly from a breeder.
Making sure you visit your veterinarian for routine exams will help ensure the overall health of your Macaw. Health conditions can be quite costly, so you’ll want to do your best to help avoid any if possible.
Couponing and Bargain Shopping
Supplies can be expensive. There are many couponing apps, reward programs, and sales to keep be on the lookout for. This can help you get the quality items needed for your Macaw at a lower cost to you.
Saving Money on Macaw Care
If you’re looking to save money on the care of your Macaw, you do have a few options. As mentioned above, it’s best to keep up with regular health exams. It will be much less expensive overall than having an unhealthy bird.
You can learn to clip feathers, trim nails, and file down your Macaw’s beak at home rather than taking a trip to the veterinarian for grooming purposes. This should be done with caution for the safety of both the Macaw and the owner.
Macaws are intelligent, emotional, and active large birds that require a great deal of commitment. Deciding to own a Macaw should not be taken lightly.
Not only are Macaws expensive to purchase, but they are also expensive to maintain. You are looking at thousands of dollars in upfront costs and at least $50 to $100 per month to own one.
It’s vital to consider the types of life changes that can occur and be confident your feathered companion can remain with you throughout the journey. You may even have to consider what will happen to your Macaw if you were to pass away before your bird.
You need to ensure you have the financial resources to provide for a Macaw during its lifespan of 35-60 years. These animals are very sensitive; they require your time and attention. A Macaw that lives several decades will be with you through most stages of your own life.
Featured Image Credit: Richard Bernico, Pixabay