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Macaw Lifespans...

Small to Medium size Birds. Hawks, Owls, Chicken, Ducks, Finches, Parrots Etc.

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Macaw Lifespans...

Postby Ash » Wed May 08, 2013 1:48 am

So for some reason, anything with a long life span just really bothers me. I have a hard time with knowing that a certain animal might out-live me. This has turned me away from the big turtles, some iguanas, and parrots. If I die before one of my animals, then I know I'll be placing a big responsibility on family still living, or it may not have a place to go. I feel much more comfortable with animals that have shorter lifespans.

But lately I've gotten quite interested in macaws, and unfortunately, they can live up to 70 years! So I feel very conflicted. They're such neat, beautiful animals, and I've always really liked birds, but their lifespan just seems too long. I've thought about adopting an older bird, but macaw rescues in general seem very elitist and seem to have very nitpicky things and their interviews seem invasive. That, or there are macaws that people are getting rid of that are pluckers (nothing wrong with that, but I would like the chance to own a bird with a nice set of feathers; I understand though that even a completely content bird can start up the habit and that it's hard to break, but I hope you get what I mean).

So it seems the best option is getting one as a baby. But then it will outlive me.

So I have two questions... Is this an irrational fear? And do most macaws not live to be so old?
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Re: Macaw Lifespans...

Postby Nìmwey » Wed May 08, 2013 3:48 am

It's really hard to know how old most of them will get - they "should" be able to reach well past 50, but most of the birds born back in the day die by the age of 30, 40 or younger, because people didn't know how to properly take care of and feed them. So even if they have a good life with a perfect diet today, if they were poorly fed for 30 years and sat in a tiny cage with no exercise, that is obviously going to shorten their lives.

Today a number of birds still die in accidents and diseases that have nothing to do with good/bad care (it's been said that the average lifespan of a large parrot today is 3 years!), and since it's so recently that we started knowing more about how to care for them, there's no telling how long they (the parrots that don't die in accidents or diseases) will live. But probably longer than the previouly mentioned old birds that die around the age of 30-40.

So what I'm saying is, I'm betting there will be a lot more old birds of 50+ in half a century from now, than there is today. :icon-wink:

Not a Macaw, but I wonder if you've heard of the Major Mitchells' Cockatoo Cookie, who is now 80 years old and still going strong:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7TSNI8GcBM
I'm guessing he reached that impressive age because he's at a zoo, which probably had a somewhat better understanding of how to care for him than the average pet owner in the mid 1900's. (Still, he was on an incorrect died for the first ~40 years of his life!)
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Future animals I want to have when we have land are camels, wolfdogs/wolves, coyotes or jackals, striped hyena or aardwolf. Also poultry, rabbits water buffalo and/or yak for livestock.
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Re: Macaw Lifespans...

Postby minervasden » Wed May 08, 2013 12:12 pm

Any pet has the potential to out live us as we all can 'go' at any time. That said, we all should have a plan for the animals we have in the event we leave our pets behind. There is plenty of infomation on various websites and at least one book on the topic http://newsagepress.com/whenyourpetoutlivesyou.html. You may feel more comfortable making a decision after reviewing such materials.

I also suggest joining an avian society. Through networking with other members you may obtain a rehomed macaw and a potential safety net for his/her wellbeing should something happen.
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Re: Macaw Lifespans...

Postby Ash » Thu May 09, 2013 1:13 pm

Thank-you for the information. I really appreciate it.

That's impressive that that cockatoo is 80 and still going strong. :shock:

I'll look into joining an avian society. That would probably ease my fears. I'll also review those materials. Thank-you very much.

If I do get a bird, I really want to free-fly them. I've watched some videos on how to train them for free-flight as well as free-flight videos, and it just looks so amazing to see them soaring through the sky. Birdtricks.com is an invaluable resource for training birds--those people are professional and just amazing.
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Re: Macaw Lifespans...

Postby Ash » Mon May 13, 2013 7:46 pm

I think I actually may want to get a macaw or a cockatoo sometime. There are many in rescues that are a decent age that may or may not outlive me. But I've also seen some babies up for sale and they're really cute and cuddly when they're little.

Now for issue number two: the noise!

I don't know if I'll be able to put up with the racket. I've read that through training you can curb their screams, but they'll in no way go away. They're louder than fennec foxes! :shock:

I like the umbrella cockatoos, scarlet macaws, catalinas, and high-yellow camelots (but they're pricey).
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Re: Macaw Lifespans...

Postby Juska » Mon May 13, 2013 8:45 pm

I like smaller parrots, like Conures. For one they don't live as long, and they're not as strong/loud. The last one we had at my old PetSmart was bonded pretty closely to quite a few people, too. She even had a friendly relationship with a Rough Collie whose Dad would bring her in a few times a week to see the bird. It was adorable. The dog would sit in front of the glass and watch her, and the bird would watch back. She would sometimes even put her paw up on the glass and the bird would come over to inspect her :D
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Re: Macaw Lifespans...

Postby Lasergrl » Mon May 13, 2013 8:58 pm

We had a female blue and gold macaw at our clinic for 18 years. Recently rehomed her because we revamped the building and she wasn't getting as much interaction.
Anyway she turned me off to macaws for sure! She was a moody, tempermental and conniving thing. She had a few people she liked but still far from cuddley.
Loud for sure, and very bitey.

I really like the caiques, the lineolated parakeets, goffins toos, and if you really want a large colorful bird the eclectus are quieter and more gentle.
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Re: Macaw Lifespans...

Postby Ash » Tue May 14, 2013 4:14 am

Thank you for the responses. I really appreciate your insights. I do really like the sun and jenday conures. The goffins do seem really nice in the videos I've watched; their colors are nice too. I haven't looked too much at the eclectus, so ill have to research those. Thanks again.
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Re: Macaw Lifespans...

Postby Ash » Tue May 28, 2013 5:08 pm

So I've been researching and reading a lot about macaws and I've joined a really neat bird forum with lots of good info (Avian Avenue). I've ordered training DVDs from BirdTricks.com, and am super excited to start watching them. BirdTricks has really reassured me that you can tame down any bird, even those that seem to hate people or are one-person birds.

I've also learned that macaws can be extremely destructive, so care must be taken to make sure they don't tear through the dry wall of your house. :shock:

I love the scarlets and hyacinths, though the latter are so out of my price range.

It's been very discouraging though to look at rescues. I see some good possibilities for me on petfinder, but then I read about the rescue's adoption process, and I am completely turned off... It's just so invasive and wishy-washy. They won't let you adopt the bird you want, instead they want to do all of these personality matching things so they can match you with a bird. :roll: Their prices are half the price you would pay for a baby bird from a breeder. They require home inspections. They have this policy where the bird isn't officially yours until you've had it for 6 months and they require weekly updates about how the bird is adjusting, and if it's not adjusting well you have to return it. It's no wonder these rescues are full of birds and the rescues keep whining about needing donations. For goodness sake, place the bird in a decent home and step down from your elitist tower! Sorry for the rant, it's just been the most frustrating thing ever.

I'm debating between getting a macaw or getting a doberman when I move later this summer. I'm still trying to decide which I would want, and it's hard because I want them both, lol. I've got my eye on a macaw listed on ksl.com (Utah's classifieds) as well as on a doberman in Nevada.
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Re: Macaw Lifespans...

Postby Herbst » Thu May 30, 2013 1:41 pm

Ash wrote:It's been very discouraging though to look at rescues. I see some good possibilities for me on petfinder, but then I read about the rescue's adoption process, and I am completely turned off... It's just so invasive and wishy-washy. They won't let you adopt the bird you want, instead they want to do all of these personality matching things so they can match you with a bird. :roll: Their prices are half the price you would pay for a baby bird from a breeder. They require home inspections. They have this policy where the bird isn't officially yours until you've had it for 6 months and they require weekly updates about how the bird is adjusting, and if it's not adjusting well you have to return it. It's no wonder these rescues are full of birds and the rescues keep whining about needing donations. For goodness sake, place the bird in a decent home and step down from your elitist tower! Sorry for the rant, it's just been the most frustrating thing ever.

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After years of research and buying my own home I finally decided my situation was stable enough to own the long term investment that is a parrot. I didn't want to buy one when there are so many that need rescued but honestly, parrot rescues are ridiculous. Either we looked at the same rescue or more than one has that silly "we'll pick one for you based on this questionnaire you fill out" policy. I want to meet all your birds and see which one clicks, not just meet one based on some answers I gave. :roll:
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Re: Macaw Lifespans...

Postby Ash » Thu May 30, 2013 3:39 pm

Glad I'm not the only one, Herbst.

Did you ever get your parrot? Do you think you'll get one from a breeder?
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Re: Macaw Lifespans...

Postby Juska » Thu May 30, 2013 9:03 pm

Not to get off topic but I hate dog rescues that do that. They want to inspect and criticize your house, know your job and income, and charge out the &*$ for an older, possibly abused or not properly trained dog. You want a puppy? Yeah right!
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Re: Macaw Lifespans...

Postby Lasergrl » Thu May 30, 2013 11:53 pm

You could just privately adopt like through craigslist.
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Re: Macaw Lifespans...

Postby Ash » Thu May 30, 2013 11:56 pm

Lasergrl wrote:You could just privately adopt like through craigslist.


That's what I've been looking at. There's a macaw for sale in Salt Lake that I've been keeping my eye on. It's 30 years old too, so it may not outlive me if I were to get it. It also comes with its big cage.
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Re: Macaw Lifespans...

Postby veralidaine » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:08 am

That sounds good, although you should probably make sure that the reason it's being sold isn't because it's aggressive or makes noise 24/7

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