B/G Macaw deformed foot

by Mary
(Fort Lauderdale)

I have a local breeder that wants to sell me a BG Macaw approx. 12 weeks old. The bird was born with 3 front toes on the right foot and only 1 in the back. Lady said she just noticed that the bird was not stepping right and that is how she noticed it.
Will this bird have a problem as it gets older supporting its weight with only 1 back toe on one foot, the other foot is normal? I don't know if I should purchase the bird or wait until a healthy one comes along. Anyone ever have this happen? I just don't know what to expect in the long term. It currently has a cast on it's foot but it comes off next week and was only on for 2 weeks, don't think that will do much. It is clearly 3 toes in the front. Advice please!!

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Jan 09, 2010
B/G Macaw deformed foot
by: Linda

Hi and thanks for writing. I have a male Amazon who lost a short back toe on each foot because of a pumice perch he favored. They dried the bird's feet out to the point the toes just dropped off and this is with several hundred dollars spent at the Avian Vet to find problem. Problem was the perch not the bird. He has no trouble sitting his perches or getting around though he is slower than the other Amazon.

I'd take this bird to an Avian Vet and have him checked out BEFORE buying him. If breeder isn't willing to allow you to do that, then ask her if she will just to hear what the vet has to say about this. I have no idea why his foot has been wrapped unless another bird tore these toes off.

The other thing you'll need to consider is that 3 months is TOO YOUNG TO WEAN THIS BIRD. Macaw and Cockatoo mothers, in the wild, feed their babies up to 9 months or a year. They are not feeding them all the time by then, but the large birds mature slower than do the smaller ones, and need the security and extra nutrition of baby parrot handfeeding formula. What happens to newly weaned baby birds is that they will REVERT back to infancy immediately upon being moved into a strange environment. Have breeder show you how to do this as it is more difficult with the Macaws because they do a lot of head jerking when being fed and head has to be held still. Sounds easy, and it is NOT until you get the hang of it. You can continue to offer your bird weaning foods like organic pellets, some fruit and veggies (not much) and even some of Harrisons' Birdy Bread mix using the organic Red Palm Oil Tracie has out here. She also has the baby parrot handfeeding formula. You'll need two 60cc syringes, and the baby will probably need two of those at least twice a day for a while in the morning and evening before he sleeps. During the day is where you offer him his pellets and some organic fruit like small amounts of bananas and/or baked squash or sweet potato. Do not overfeed on the fruit and veggies as you want him to be learning to eat mostly the pellets. We've used Harrisons for many years with exceptional results, so you may like to get sample sizes of several kinds as babies like to explore and play with their food. Tracie has several kinds of organic pellets here, and now is the time to get him started on a wholesome diet.

If you can't take him to vet BEFORE you buy, then do it immediately after you buy. Make sure perch material is suitable for his big feet and at least 3-4" in diameter. You'll want to use safe wood branches like Manzanita, Walnut, as he will tear up most soft woods.

Be sure to get your handfeeding formula/syringes BEFORE baby comes home because I promise you he will revert back to infancy in a strange, scary place with strangers. I envy you this new, beautiful baby Macaw, please take wonderful care of him!


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