Preparing for First Vet Visit

by Robyn
(Long Island, NY)

Not too long ago I adopted a blue & gold macaw. I was told he's a male, roughly 7 years old. I've located a local avian vet with the help of your website and need advice on how to transport him to his first check up. He only steps up onto my hand when he wants to, not on command. I don't know how to get him into a carrier other than perhaps with a towel, but I don't want to lose all the trust I've earned from him.

Any suggestions? Also, any recommendations on the best way to transport him? I was thinking a dog crate since that should give enough room for his long tail.

Thank you very much!

Comments for Preparing for First Vet Visit

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Jun 16, 2009
by: Linda

Yes, the dog crate will work, and he won't feel so "boxed in" in the larger crate. If he likes fruit, and most of the Macaws do, entice him into carrier by offering his favorite in a bowl you put into the crate. Start playing with him and crate a few days before vet visit, and make it a game if he is willing to play. He will be afraid at first, so work with him a little each day putting his treats in there plus a favorite toy too, so he sees box as a FUN place and not a threat. On day of vet visit, make plenty of time to get him in crate so as to not be late to vet. "Play" the box game with him like you have been doing. Birds feel our tension if we are in a hurry, and will NOT COOPERATE and that is guaranteed.

If he fails to cooperate, it MAY be necessary to use a towel, and be very careful to get hold of him on either side of back of his head at the jawbones, so he cannot bite. Macaws are very strong, so this hold is a good solid one that won't hurt bird. Put towel on him including his head, put hand and fingers behind his head and firmly but not hurtfully on each side of his jaw bones on face. This way, he cannot bite and can then be pushed face first into crate. Don't worry so much about trust as none of them like going to vet, having tests done, tonails done or wings clipped. Anything that keeps them from flying away will be viewed as negative, and there is just nothing we can do about some of it.

Try the EASY approach with food and/or toys first.One or two or more days before vet appointment, put the crate on floor and play with him and it for a while each day. Birds like hiding, so put some treats or toys or both in there and make a game of it. This way, he will KNOW the box is NOT going to hurt him as he has played with it and it did not bite! If you have the time, that is the very best idea. Make the box a play pen so he won't mind going in after the special treat when you are ready to go to vet. Just keep your mood light as if you are playing with him and box again, and you may be pleasantly surprised (WE HOPE SO!).


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