Macaw won't sleep in cage

by Tiffany
(Virginia)

I have a re-homed 4-year-old Harlequin Macaw and he is super attached to me at bedtime. He starts to get tired and falls asleep on his cage door, then panics when I start to leave the area for the night.

I have tried reassuring him and giving him treats, I have sung to him, and I have tried sneaking up the stairs only to hear him fly and crash downstairs. This makes me have to come back down and get him. Once I have him he won't step up onto his cage door.

I have also tried putting fresh food in his cage and putting his favorite things in his food bowl when it's close to bed time to lure him into his cage so I can shut him in. This works 50% of the time and he'll happily sleep in his cage.

What can I do to get him into his cage at bedtime without breaking the trust and bond we have developed? The last time I forced him in his cage it took three days for him to come near me again. Help please.

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Dec 13, 2011
Macaw won't sleep in cage
by: Linda

You will need to look at some of the training materials here on the Parrot Training page and other places on the internet. You also have to make sure your bird is closed in his cage at night and covered with a light cover if it is chilly in the house. The cover is also something that makes them feel secure, so you may wish to start doing this so he can sleep well at night.

All birds need about 12 hours of darkness in which to rest and sleep and the same with full spectrum light which is NOT provided from a window. Full spectrum light has to be supplied using some kind of light fixture with the full spectrum bulbs either the hanging kind or the floor lamp kind.

So, your bird is afraid to go to sleep or to leave you, and by allowing him to call all the shots, you are spoiling this very large bird and creating problems that will be very hard to handle later. Macaws are large birds and potentially dangerous, so train with love, patience and understanding. Set limits for him in everything including when it's time to go to bed. Also make sure his cage is roomy enough so he can fully spread out his wings and flap without hitting either sides of cage or anything nearby him. If cage is not at least this large, cage is too small, and he will never adjust to it. A good minimum size cage for a Macaw is 4 foot by 4 foot square or something with that width and depth. Height is not as important though birds need to be kept no lower than human eye level in their cages.

If you've not taken him to an Avian Vet yet for an exam, then do so before any kind of training or dietary changes. Most new birds come with some kind of infections from all the stress of being moved, so please find an Avian Vet and have him examined for any physical issues.

Thanks for writing,
Linda

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