Macaws are beautiful, sociable birds that make awesome family pets. They like spending time with their human companions and can get along well with kids and adults alike. These birds are long-lived, typically enjoying 70 years or more of life. So, potential owners should expect a lifetime of commitment when bringing a Macaw home.
Figuring out what age Macaw to bring home is a little trickier than understanding how long your Macaw may live. There is a bare minimum age that should be adhered to, but otherwise, there is room for flexibility. Here is everything that you need to know about the optimal age to bring a Macaw home and alternative options to consider.
The Bare Minimum
Baby Macaws should be fully weaned before they are brought home to live as pets. Until they are weaned, they rely on their parents or breeders to feed them every couple of hours throughout the day and night, which requires commitment and experience that most households are not prepared to effectively handle.
Also, baby Macaws need special accommodations, such as incubators, if their parents are not there to keep them warm and protected until they are weaned. Macaws are typically fully weaned by the time they are 12 weeks old, which is the minimum age that you should consider bringing one home. At this time, they can eat food just like adult Macaws can, and they are prepared to keep themselves warm when it gets chilly at night.
Macaws are ready to socialize, explore, and learn when they reach 12 weeks of age, which means that you can begin training and handling them as soon as they get accustomed to their new habitat in your home. You will not have to worry about taking special precautions to keep the bird safe and healthy.
Younger and Older Birds
Birds that have been fully weaned should be adopted and brought home as soon as possible so they can get accustomed to their permanent home, surroundings, and companions. The longer that they remain with their breeder or parents, the harder it will be for them to adjust to their new home. The adjustment period for older birds takes a longer time and can result in problems, such as depression, to work through, which can be frustrating and overwhelming for new owners.
Therefore, it is a good idea to adopt a Macaw that is no more than 20 weeks old. This will minimize any adjustment problems that the bird might have and optimize the chance that the bird will successfully bond with their new family. Birds that are more than a couple of years old may never bond with their new family members and may end up being too shy or afraid to interact with.
The Optimal Age
Your new Macaw should not be too young or too old when you bring them home for the first time. The optimal age is between 12 weeks and 20 weeks. Anything younger, and you must become a 24-hour caretaker until they are about 12 weeks old. Anything older, and you run the risk of ending up with a pet that refuses to bond with you.
Most breeders only sell Macaws that are between 12 weeks and 20 weeks to ensure a pleasant experience for the birds and new owners. Stay away from sellers who offer birds that are younger or much older than these ages, as they are not keeping the best interest of their birds in mind and their breeding practices should not be trusted.
Macaws make wonderful pets, but the age at which you bring one home is an important topic to consider before deciding whether to buy a Macaw for your household. Hopefully, our guide has given you a clear idea of how old your new Macaw should be when you bring them home for the first time. What age Macaw are you considering bringing home? Let us know in the comments section!
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Featured Image Credit: Sandro Riedmann Shutterstock