When properly trained, macaws are delightful pet birds to have: intelligent, colorful, and able to talk! Breeding macaws, though, is a serious business that needs commitment by the breeder. But with due diligence and determination to see baby macaws, you too can learn how to breed macaws.
Get a Male and a Female Macaw
Unlike other bird species, macaws are monomorphic… meaning male and female macaws look alike. Make sure you get a male and a female macaw by buying “proven pair” macaws from reputable breeders. If you have macaws at home to begin with, have it sexed by an avian vet through DNA testing. DNA sexing is the most accurate way to determine a macaw’s gender.
Especially if you’re buying another macaw to bond with your macaw at home, you have to order a thorough health check for the new macaw. Request the seller to show recent certificate of complete physical, blood work, and culture of the bird’s throat and vent to prevent infecting your macaw at home with nasty bird diseases. If the seller is not willing to cooperate, find another seller or have your own vet check the bird before bringing it home. Your vet should be able to tell you the age, state of health, and correct gender of the macaw you’re planning to buy.
Bond the Breeding Pair
If you’re lucky, you can buy a “proven pair” that’s already bonded and ready to mate. But if you’re buying another macaw to bond with your macaw at home, it’s time to play matchmaker.
Although it’s possible to strike love at first between two macaws, it’s best to be patient when paring them. Start by placing the bird’s cages side by side. Adjust their perches to be level and in line with each other to create the illusion of sharing the same perch. It’s okay to give a little distance between their perches, which you can slowly decrease through time until the perches are adjacent with each other but still in separate cages. When you see the two mutually feeding each other through the cage, it’s time to join the bird in one cage.
Prepare the Nest
Prepare the nest because it’s not going to be long before the pair can use it. In the wild, macaws nest in cliff crevices or tree hollows. In your house, your breeding pair is happy to use an oak barrel or a rectangular wooden nest box measuring 12x12x36 inches.
If you use an oak barrel, remove the top and replace it with removable lid. Punch a hole in the middle just enough for a single parrot to comfortably enter and exit. If you use the wooded nest box, fashion a hinged door near the bottom just enough for you to comfortably check the baby macaws inside. But, make a separate bird hole in the middle for the breeding pair to use as its door.
To prevent the breeding pair from jumping from the bird hole to the bottom of the nest, install a steel ladder where the breeding pair can use as stairs to go up and down the bottom of the nest. The nesting material should be wood chips (not pine or cedar) and small twigs you can gather from nearby woods. Encourage the breeding pair to participate in constructing the nest. Place a soft tree branch in the nest which the macaws can shred and make into nest material. Don’t forget to remove what’s left of the branch after the construction.
Parent Rearing Baby Macaws
For a newbie, it’s best that you let your parrots incubate and rear its offspring. Just supervise if the baby parrot is properly fed and taken care of by the parents. Macaws have strong parenting instinct to know how to care for their offspring from egg to adulthood. You don’t have to interfere in most cases.
Hand Rearing Baby Macaws
However, there are instances when the “proven pair” is not able to rear its young. In this case, you can take the eggs or the baby macaws from their parents and hand rear them yourself. Except for hyacinth and green wing macaws, macaw baby formulas are now available from pet bird stores or from your vet’s office. You can ask a veterinary technician to show you how to hand rear baby macaws to properly care for your fids (feathered kids).