Housing Macaws Outdoors

by Andrea
(Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)

Hi i own several scarlet macaws. I want to start breeding them and give them a larger cage in an outdoor aviary outdoors the problem is i live in southern Canada and the winter temps can go down to -20 Celsius or more! i know that a parrot or any tropical animal could never survive the winter but i still want them to be able to go outside in the summer. any suggestions on what aviaries in Canada look like or built like??

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Nov 19, 2012
Housing Macaws Outdoors
by: Linda

Outside aviaries are very complicated and very expensive to build. They have to have an outside wired enclosure and and inside sleeping area like a little house or in the case of a pair of Macaws a larger house. Each Macaw pair would need it's own area where the other birds cannot get in. You will also have to bring them into the house at year end before it gets too cold along with any babies not old enough to sell.

Baby Macaws cannot be weaned until they are 6 months old and even older if possible. Mothers in the wild supplement their babies up to a year of age. Macaws weaned earlier than this suffer emotional and sometimes physical issues. The bigger birds take longer to mature emotionally and physically.

So, you will not only be bringing the pairs back into the house but also any babies still being weaned, and they have to be kept in their own cages because the older they get, the more likely it is they will fight. They cannot be left with the parents either because they will hurt them once weaning is complete.

So, with all that said, you will have a problem with moving them outside. Outside aviaries have to be built where they are made safe from predators, bugs and snakes. It takes several years to acclimate a bird to the outside which means bringing them back in house in winter. It also means a realiable way to heat the outside aviary so once birds are left out there, they won't freeze to death. It will cost as much as some human houses to have one built correctly. You can find contractors in your area to do the work, but you will have to know all the specs before they can start. As I said, very expensive and very complicated. Another issue to think about is once the Macaws are pair bonded and breeding, they will become very dangerous to you and any other humans. People overlook this little issue and many have ended up in hospital with multiple serious injuries because of it. They change once they are nesting and become more like their wild counterparts and will not hesitate to attack you as you go about trying to feed and clean them and examine and feed the babies. They are not a good choice for anyone who does not already have the breeding setup in place with double doors on aviaries and a way to coax adults into the room area where they cannot get out while cleaning and such. Way too complicated and dangerous for my taste. You may wish to sell all but one pair and see where it goes from there.

Linda

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