What Is Involved in Macaw Adoption?

Cindy Quarters
Cindy Quarters

A macaw is a type of parrot, often quite large, that needs quite a bit of special care. This, combined with an exceptionally long lifespan, means that it is not uncommon for one of these birds to need a new home during its lifetime. There are various types of rescue organizations that take in parrots that have been abandoned or poorly cared for, then find them new homes. The hope is always that the new home will be the bird’s last home, so the people that run macaw adoption agencies try to make sure the new owners can give the bird proper care. Prospective families must be able to show that they have the knowledge, resources and ability to care for them to be candidates for adoption.

This can be a somewhat aggressive, dominant bird, and people who wish to adopt one must have an understanding of the bird’s psychology. In many cases a macaw adoption involves a bird that has been neglect or abused, so it may have behavior much worse than the average bird. It may be overly shy, highly aggressive or otherwise show unstable behavior. Some macaw rescue organizations will not allow such birds to be adopted out to any but very experienced macaw owners.

Since the large macaws can live as long as 100 years, and the smaller ones can easily live to be 40, it is important that those interested in macaw adoption have a plan in place to ensure the bird’s care if it outlives its owner. Sometimes an extended family may share a macaw, with the bird spending part of its time in one home and part of it in another. This helps the bird to feel comfortable in more than one place, which can be a benefit especially if one of the family members dies.

In order to be eligible for macaw adoption, it is important to have enough space for the bird to live comfortably. A cage for the larger types of macaws, such as the scarlet and hyacinth varieties, should be about 6 feet high (2 m) and 4 feet wide (1.3 m). Even the smaller macaws still need plenty of space in order to avoid boredom and possible injury.

A macaw adoption organization typically operates independently, so each one makes its own rules. Some do not adopt out birds at all, but others will allow macaw adoption to the right homes. In general, a person must be able to prove that he or she is stable financially, has the room for a macaw, and is in contact with a veterinarian qualified to treat exotic birds. Most agencies also expect that the home does not have a new baby, another recently acquired pet or other elements that could take away from the success of a newly moved macaw.

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