Macaws are among the most intelligent of pet birds, and this combined with their large size and exotic appearance have made them one of the most popular pet parrots in the world. Macaws can live for up to 70 years on average, so they are a lifelong responsibility that should not be entered into lightly. They also need a great deal of interaction and care and are expensive to purchase and maintain. The golden rule for buying a Macaw or any other large parrot is to never buy on impulse — this should be a well-researched and thought-out decision. With all that said, a Macaw is one of the most affectionate parrots and can make a wonderful companion.
If you’re looking into bringing home a Macaw, you might be wondering about the best place to find one. When buying a Macaw, you have two options: adoption or buying from a breeder. Both have their pros and cons. In this article, we look at the factors to take into consideration before deciding which path to choose. Let’s get started!
Adopting a Macaw
There are many would-be Macaw owners who purchase one of these majestic birds without fully realizing the massive responsibility that comes with caring for them. Unfortunately, these birds then end up with rescue organizations and adoption agencies.
This is the main reason that adopting a Macaw is one of the best options, as you’ll be giving a bird in need a chance at a happy home. Unless you find a reputable breeder, many Macaws raised for the pet industry will have been sold young to increase profits, and frequently, there are breeding issues that cause health problems in Macaws too. When you adopt, you’ll be able to spend time with your Macaw and assess their personality, and rescue organizations usually run a full health check too. Most people who give Macaws up for adoption have done so for financial reasons, or they could not properly provide for the Macaw, but not because the bird was unhealthy.
Adopting a Macaw will also reduce the demand for inexpensive birds sold by backyard breeders, you will end up paying less money, and the rescue organization can help give you information and support about the care of your Macaw and may even take them back if you change your mind down the line. Most rescue organizations will charge $300–$800 for a Macaw — but this usually does not include a cage or accessories — compared to $2,000–$3,500 from a breeder.
A great idea is to volunteer at one of these agencies, and this will give you a chance to spend time with various Macaws and assess their personality, so you can decide whether a Macaw is the right bird for you. There are plenty of rescue organizations in the United States, the Avian Welfare Coalition being one of the biggest.
Buying a Macaw from a breeder
If, for whatever reason, you decide against adoption, it’s vital that you buy your Macaw from a reputable shop or breeder. Pet stores that specialize in pet birds are best because these are often run by people who have a passion for birds and are not driven by profits alone. Also, their business reputation depends on them selling healthy, happy animals. The same can be said for breeders, and reputable breeders typically breed Macaws out of pure love rather than profits. Once you find a shop or breeder, there are a few important questions that you need to ask them:
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
It’s important to note that endangered bird species are subject to strict regulations when sold as pets, and there are a few Macaws that are on this list, including the Military Macaw, Hyacinth Macaw, and Scarlet Macaw. While you can still purchase these birds — provided that they are raised in captivity — you’ll need to make sure that you have all your paperwork in order. If your bird is on the list, they’ll need leg rings or microchips for identification too. Make sure to check with the breeder or shop that they have all the necessary documentation. Otherwise, the bird should not be up for sale, and it’s a criminal offense to sell or purchase one.
Bringing home a Macaw is a huge responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly. If, after plenty of research and careful thought, you do decide to bring one home, we highly recommend getting one from a rescue organization. If this is not possible, a reputable breeder or shop that can provide you with paperwork is the next best bet, but they should specialize in birds and ideally, Macaws.
Macaws are wonderful, lifelong pets, and once you’ve decided to take the leap, bringing home one of these majestic creatures is an exciting prospect, to say the least!
Related Read: How Much Does a Macaw cost? (2023 Price Guide)
Featured Image Credit: Adcharin Chitthammachuk, Shutterstock