Macaw eating habits

by Fran

Our 11 year old female macaw grinds through her food within a matter of minutes, discarding 99% of her food as she grinds. She had started swallowing her wooden toys, which we have taken away from her. Now I see her eating her manzanita perch.

Her primary diet is an organic pellet, fresh fruit and vegetables, (unsalted) pretzels, and almonds. If we feed her 1/2 cup of food or if we were to give her unlimited food, she still grinds through her food letting it drop to the floor like sawdust. We also have a second macaw, on the same diet, with no problems.

Comments for Macaw eating habits

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Feb 01, 2012
Macaw eating habits not good
by: The Avian Vet

This bird needs to be seen by an avian veterinarian. There is certainly a medical condition that needs to be addressed. I highly recommend that x-rays because there may be a blockage or foreign body inside. Also blood work should be done. This is not a normal behavior and this needs to be done today.

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Dr B

Jan 31, 2012
Macaw eating habits
by: Tracie

I have sent this question to Dr B, but it may be a week or more before he answers it.

Jan 31, 2012
in response
by: Fran

Linda, thanks for your comments. Her primary diet is Harrison's. (I'm new to this site and didn't know if I could use the name brand). The Harrison's is supplemented with the fruit, veggies, almonds and pretzels. She has been seen by an avian vet (he used to be San Diego zoo avian vet), and her tests have returned great. She grinds through her Harrisons just as much as she does through her almonds and pretzels.

Jan 31, 2012
Macaw eating habits
by: Linda

The organic pellets have to be 80-85% of your bird's diet, and I think you are feeding her too much other food and not enough pellets. Feed NO pretzels and NO almonds as both are full of fat which fills bird up, and then she does not want to eat what she's supposed to eat. What happens is the junk food is not giving her body what it needs though she feels full, so she's trying to give her body what it needs by eating the wood. This is really messed up, and your bird may already be sick or very close to it.

Feed the proper amount of the organic pellets and keep any fruit and veggies to 10-15% of total diet which is only small amounts a few times a week. Harrison's makes a very good bird bread mix, and this could help bridge the gap while she is learning to eat more pellets. Be sure and get the Organic Red Palm Oil as the oil mix calls for and both are found here. The bread mix comes in three flavors and the base is the same as the Harrisons organic pellets which are the best on the market in the US. You may wish to try both the pellets and the bread mix as you begin to get your bird on a more healthy diet. It's not what we feed them, but what they are actually eating when it comes to the organic pellets.

So, stop the junk food and too much fruit and veggies. I highly recommend you take her to be examined by an Avian Vet to make sure she does not have an infection either viral or bacterial or other physical issues before beginning this. Get her completely off the junk food now, and don't look back because you are doing her harm feeding that stuff.

Let us know how it's going and thanks for writing,

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