Macaw bitting her own leg

by Shelly

We just got a female B&G macaw she loves me but hates my husband and anyone else that comes in the house but I have to give my husband credit he will not give up on her he tries without pushing her to far and she has stopped lunging at him for the most part but she has started to bite her own leg there was even a little blood on her leg that I cleaned up with warm water why is she doing this and how do I stop her from hurting herself
We are Rose Buds 4th family and yes there are behavior problems but we are working them out Rosie is 23 years old and Im hoping that that is not to old to be retrained we are taking everything slow and easy and she decides when we are done for the day she went from an all seed diet to bird safe fresh fruits and veggies with her seeds and that seemed to help a little with her additude I am also concernd that her beak and claws are to long the beak seems long but the claws are very long and I think that she would get around better if they were trimed the problem is that I cant get her to step up yet so getting her in the carrier to take her to the vet is going to be a problem I read that putting a towel over her might help but I dont want her to hate me or stress out to much is there any other ideas out there her cage is much to large to take the whole thing in to the vet Any ideas for either problem would be great

Comments for Macaw bitting her own leg

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May 27, 2009
B&G biting leg
by: The Vet

First you need to determine the cause of this self mutilation. Is it anxiety from being in a new home, fear or anxiety related to your husband...? Your bird may be in a cage that is too small. It should be at least 3 x 4 x 6h. He may not have enough light. Dim-lit rooms affect their behavior. Give her a full spectrum light and let it be on for 2-3 hours twice daily. She may be afraid of something else, something outside the window perhaps, or your cat or dog. The location of his cage may not be suitable. She should be able to see when anyone enters the room or approaches her cage. What about her diet? She should be eating 80% pellets / 20% treats. Poor diets will make them feel bad, which can contribute to behavioral issues.

Switching to pellets will help even more. (Preferably Harrison's ) I also recommend that you have her examined by an avian veterinarian. Sick birds misbehave. She may not be sick, but you can?t know without a good exam and some blood work because birds hide their illnesses very well.

When the nails are too long it can be very uncomfortable and even painful. This could be the cause of the leg mutilation. To get her into a carrier, you will likely have to towel her. Maybe have someone else do it so she does not become afraid of you. You could also find an avian veterinarian that does house call.

Dr B

May 26, 2009
Getting B&G into a carrier
by: Tracie

You guys are so sweet to take this "big" bird that is not tame.

I have no experience with this, but what came to mind was to get a large "dog" carrier for the bird. Then place it on a table, chair or something stable and even with the cage door. (You might have to "rig" something on top of the carrier so that the bird has to go into the carrier if it wants to go inside.)

Put a favored treat inside the carrier and if necessary, hide and watch and as soon as the bird goes into the carrier you can close the door.

I guess you would have to make an appointment for the day you would try this and mention to them that you may not be able to keep the appointment. Make sure they don't have a policy of charging you if you don't show up. I would make an afternoon appointment and try to get the bird inside a few hours before that. Oh, and make sure you have other food and water in the carrier.

I hope this works out. I think Dr. B will have some things to share too.

May 26, 2009
by: Linda

The Blue and Gold Macaws are very gentle and intelligent. This one sounds like she is a victim of abuse and neglect. See if you can get her to step up on a perch or dowel and then put her in the carrying box. Use the stick to get her out of cage, and if she does not go in the carrier, then very gently put a towel over her and see if you can move her into the carrier. Macaws can give very bad bites including breaking fingers, so be very careful.Call your Avian Vet to see if they can come to your home.Because she has been severely neglected, they will need to be trimmed in several sessions because of going into the quick in beak and nails.She cannot eat properly with her beak overgrown, and she will become crippled with her toenails overgrown, so call the vet and see what they have to say about getting her into her carrier to come in. She will need a lot of time and patience from you and your family. Sadly, the abuser could have been a man or a succession of men,so your husband needs to give her a lot of space and leave the handling to you now and maybe always. Special needs birds are never going to act normal, and at this one's age, she has already made her mind up about some humans.

It is wonderful that you took her in. Please keep working with her as she needs a home where she can stay.This is the problem with breeding so many of these birds. They have long lives, and they usually have to change homes many times in their lifetimes.It fosters a lack of trust in anyone after living in abusive homes along the way.She is afraid of your hand, so use a stick and see if she will get up better that way. Work slowly or you will lose her forever.She has already possibly been bullied, hit and thrown and neglected, so say a prayer that you be shown exactly what to do and how to do it.
Call Avian vet as soon as possible.God Bless You for taking in one of the walking wounded. She needs all the love and comfort you can give, and she needs it for an extended time. She will not trust you for a long time, so understand that this is not personal.Explain this to your family and make sure they understand. Her experience with people has been negative, and her trust is gone. She WILL trust again, and let it be you.

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