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 have long lives, typically living 70 years or more. So, potential owners should expect a lifetime commitment when getting a Macaw.
Figuring out what age of Macaw to bring home is trickier than understanding how long a Macaw may live. There is a bare minimum age that should be adhered to, but otherwise, there is room for flexibility. It’s always best that a Macaw has been fully weaned before they are adopted, which is typically when they are 12 weeks old. Here is everything that you need to know about the optimal age to bring home a Macaw and alternative options to consider.
The Bare Minimum
Baby Macaws should be fully weaned before they are adopted by their new owners. 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 know how 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 as soon as possible so they can get accustomed to their permanent homes, surroundings, and companions. The longer that they remain with their breeder or parents, the harder it will be for them to adjust to a new place. The adjustment period for older birds takes a long 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 their 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 acquire one is important to consider when deciding whether to buy one for your household. Hopefully, this guide has given you a clear idea of how old your new Macaw should be when you bring them home for the first time!
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Featured Image Credit: Sandro Riedmann Shutterstock