Paper shredding

by Rita
(Stafford, VA)

My B&G macaw lately shreds the newpapers lining the bottom of his cage - why? Never did it before. He is about 15 yrs old.

Comments for Paper shredding

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Mar 05, 2010
Bird shredding paper
by: The Avian Vet

My first guess is that he is bored. What size cage is he in? It needs to be at least 3 feet by 4 feet. If not, then it is too small and this may be contributing to this behavior problem.

Does he forage for any of his food? If not or not enough, then this could be part of why he is bored. Cage destructive behaviors such as chewing paint, plunking bars, and pulling up the paper are all symptoms of a cage that is too small and boredom. Foraging is the most important activity you can provide a bird.

The Avian Innovations Original Forage Feeder is a good place to start with to teach foraging behaviors. And there are hundreds of other forage feeders that work. Get the Captive Foraging DVD by Scott Echols as a good starting place. Breeding behaviors are possible, but I don?t think that is the issue here. Finally, be sure that you have a check up for him with an avian veterinarian. This should be done annually with vaccines.

Dr B

Mar 04, 2010
Paper shredding
by: Linda

The Macaw does not need to have access to where his cage bottom is covered as he will pick up all kinds of bacterial infections playing with poopy paper. Most cages come with grates that stay between birds and the tray, so hopefully you can change your set up a bit.

Also, don't use newspaper covered with print either as the print is poison and will hurt your bird along with the poop. If you are cleaning your cage every day, the poop is not as big a problem. It takes over 24 hours for the poop to start growing bacteria. Go to your town newspaper offices and ask them about partially empty newspaper rolls. We get them from ours, and the paper is clean with no print on it. Once a roll gets some low, they change them out for new, fresh rolls and it leave lots of unfinished rolls of the paper. It is very cheap, and normally there is a lot of paper on each partial roll. They'll allow you to go to print room and pick out what you want, and they are usually priced on the end of the roll. This paper is clean and shows up condition of bird's poop very well too.

You may wish to get him some of the shreddable toys available made out of paper and that are brightly colored. The grate in bottom of cage would also be a very good idea if you could do that. It's not so bad to tear up paper, but if it has print AND poop on it, that is a very bad situation, and your bird will eventually be either poisioned or develop chronic bacterial infections. I know because I've been there, done that, and didn't bother with a t-shirt about it!!!

Thanks for writing,

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