Here is a compiled list of ten things to consider before getting a macaw.

10 Major Things to Consider Before Getting a Macaw

Getting a Macaw?

Some important things to consider

Guest Writer Bio: Valerie Jocums

Macaws are colorful, intelligent, social birds and they make amazing pets, but they are not for everybody. To help you decide if a macaw is the right companion for you, I have compiled a list of ten things to consider before getting a macaw.

Macaws are colorful, intelligent,Here is a compiled list of ten things to consider before getting a macaw.

Image Source: – Creative Commons

1.  Size

Macaws are large birds and they need a lot of space. They range in height from 28 to 36-plus inches, with wingspans up to Here is a list of ten things to consider before getting a macaw.48 inches. The minimum cage size for a larger macaw is 30 inches deep by 48 inches wide by 60- to 72-inches high. Larger is always better.

Macaws are not meant for apartments or small houses. It is best to have a separate bedroom just for them. Between the cage and toy storage, they need a lot of room.

If size is your only negative, there are several mini-macaw species. They range in height from 12 to 20 inches. They are not as colorful as the larger birds, but they have the same personalities and intelligence.

2.  Noise

Macaws are from the rain forest. They frequently need to communicate with flock members from a distance. If they decide they need to communicate with you in the house, they can squawk – no, the word is screech – very loudly. The numbers I have seen range from 105 to 115 decibels. For comparison, that is noise on the level of a jackhammer, in the house. Luckily, macaws do not vocalize often at that level. Mine usually only let loose if they feel ignored or if they are alarmed. Just like people, how talkative they are varies from bird to bird.

3. Diet

As with other pets, there are many opinions about the best diet for macaws. That is a longer discussion than this article can encompass, but I have always fed my macaws a varied diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. Every day I chop up fresh fruits and vegetables to feed them, which is more time-consuming than throwing some kibble in a bowl like I do for the dogs. In addition, because birds tend to be even more sensitive to pesticides than humans are, I always buy organic for them.

4.  Veterinarian Care

Not all veterinarians have the knowledge to care for birds. Depending on where you live, there might be several avian vets in the area, or you might end up driving many miles. It is a consideration when thinking about getting a macaw. Often, when there is a problem, time is of the essence and if the nearest avian vet is 100 miles away it could be a life or death difference.

5.  Expense

The initial cost of macaw ownership is high. They are expensive to purchase, plus the cost of the large cage. Also, seed and nut mixes are more than most bags of kibble, and we all know the higher cost of organic food. The other consideration is toys. Macaws need toys to keep them stimulated. This is often just another way to say they need things they can destroy. With those big beaks, they go through toys very quickly. It all adds up.

To help you decide if a macaw is the right companion for you, I have compiled a list of ten things to consider before getting a macaw.

Photo Credit: Marcel Sigg, Flickr

6.  Longevity

Another serious consideration is life span. The average macaw will live between 50 and 70 years. There is a big difference between committing to a dog or cat for 15 years and committing to a macaw for a lifetime. Responsible macaw owners will have a plan for their bird when they pass. A new caretaker should be agreed upon and documented in the will. A few owners I know have set up trust funds or bought life insurance policies with the bird as the beneficiary, to help the new caretakers with costs.

7.  Household Hazards

On the simplest level, macaws are lungs with feathers. Air quality is a big consideration when bringing them into the home. Many common things cannot be used in a house with macaws: candles; most cleaning and disinfecting products due to their odors; anything treated with PTFE (e.g. Teflon coated pans); stain resistant carpet; cigarettes; and air fresheners. This is actually a short list. Talk to your vet or do research online for a more comprehensive list of items in your house that can be dangerous to pet birds.

8.  Social

Macaws are very social animals. In the wild, they live in flocks and mate for life. In your house, they will want to be with the family, all the time. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, they want to be involved. For some people, this is one of the wonderful things about them. For others, it is a burden; they do not like always having to interact and include their macaws. Carefully consider your own personality in this respect, because a lonely macaw will become unruly, noisy, and destructive.

Here is a compiled list of ten things to consider before getting a macaw.

Image Source: – Creative Commons

9.  Intelligent

Along with social factors, consider how intelligent macaws are. They are smart and will learn to mimic. They are very trainable. On the downside, if they do not get enough mental stimulation, they will become troublemakers. Just like the intelligent child who is bored in school, they will find something to do. Usually, it will be something noisy or destructive. Even worse, it might become self-destructive. Feather plucking is a serious danger to birds, often caused by boredom or neglect.

10.  Allergies

Allergies to birds are not as common as cat or dog allergies, which are usually caused by the saliva, not the hair. However, bird dander and dust mites that might hang around can be problematic for some people. If you have anyone in your household that you think might have allergies, think seriously before getting a bird. If possible, have them spend a lot of time around birds first. Nothing is more heartbreaking than having to find a new home for a beloved bird because of allergies.

If any one of these items have given you second thoughts, do more research or talk to other macaw parents. Bringing a macaw into your life is a long-term commitment and you should be positive when you do it. I love having macaws in my life, but it is not for everyone.

Here is a compiled list of ten things to consider before getting a macaw.

Image Source: – Creative Commons

Guest Writer Bio: Valerie Jocums loves the sun, her fur and feather babies, and her fiancé George.

Guest Writer Bio: Valerie Jocums loves the sun, her fur and feather babies, and her fiancé George. When she isn’t mountain biking, practicing her public speaking skills, or reading, she is writing about everything she has learned.



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37 thoughts on “10 Major Things to Consider Before Getting a Macaw

    • I heard that too, that a macaw could snap finger bones. They’d be dangerous to have around pets, children, and strangers, wouldn’t they? They are beautiful, though. Thanks for your visit! I hope you’ll come see us again sometime.

    • Yes, I was amazed too to learn how long a macaw can live. I can’t imagine being willing and able to give that kind of commitment. So many things could go wrong in the meanwhile. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog, and for taking the time to read the post. I hope you’ll come back and visit us again sometime. Peace

    • Hi Beth. I’ve never had birds as pets, but my fiance has. He’s thinking we might get some again one day. I wouldn’t mind. I think birds are fascinating. However, I do have 6 cats … It might not work out for the best. I’m glad you visited my blog! Come back soon!

    • Knowing that a macaw can live 50-70 years certainly is a huge commitment. I’m not that brave. I met a macaw once. My goodness, was that thing loud. 50-70 years? Ouch. Thanks for your visit, Tonya. Take care.

  1. Definitely if you want to own a bird like a Macaw you better know what you are getting into it before you do it, and this article would be great for that. My husband had a bird named Bingo when we met, he stayed with his roommate after we got together, which I guiltily wanted. I’m not sure what kind of bird he was, I remember he was black though.

  2. I found the comments at last HURRAH! Well done with a splendid post about these gorgeous and amazing birds.

    I remember in the UK a pub had two Mackaws who lived in the main bar area because they loved the constant stimulation, the coming and going. For customers the birds were beautiful to watch but many, I suspect, would not know they take work to keep healthy and happy.
    Dash Kitten Crew recently posted…The Grand Canyon A Natural WonderMy Profile

    • Hi there! Thanks for checking out the post about the macaws. Two macaws in a UK pub would certainly be interesting. I imagine they learned a few choice words too. Oh dear! 🙂 We had one in a department store here years ago and he used to whistle at all the women. He was comical. Take care, and come back soon.

  3. This is really informative, I can’t believe these beautiful birds can be so complex! I’m amazed they can live so long, you really do need a will or trust in place for them.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  4. Wow they are absolutely magnificent looking! I hope anyone considering committing to a macaw will read this very helpful and informative post first. As Sherri mentioned above, I do think it’s important to know exactly where they came from. The illegal trade in exotics is incredibly cruel, and you want to be sure you won’t be supporting it. Thanks again for a very interesting read.

    • Hey, thanks for stopping by. I hadn’t realized all that was involved in having a macaw for a pet. I certainly hope potential owners would do their research. I’m glad you mentioned about the illegal trade. That’s terrible what happens to animals on the black market. I think I’ll add a note about this to the bottom of the post. Thanks so much! Take care!

    • Hi Sherri, thanks for your input on this post about macaws. You’re absolutely right that I should mention knowing where your bird comes from because of the illegal trade. I will do that. Thank so much!

    • Hi Sherri,

      That is a good reminder. Not only is the illegal trade horrible for the caught birds (most die) and the species as a whole, but they are not good pets, usually. For the best experience, you want a hand-fed, domestically-bred bird.

  5. Very good info here that anyone considering getting a macaw should read! I visited Best Friends last year and they also spoke about things to consider — and truly opened my eyes that I would likely never be the right person to adopt a parrot.

  6. I hope people think this through before they get such a beautiful bird! If people can’t commit to a dog (10-15years), imagine wat 50-70 year might be!
    I think they are just beautiful, but deserve to fly free in nature :)!!


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