Consultation with a Hyacinth MacawWeaned by 5 Months … NOT!
by Sally Blanchard
A man called me about a new Hyacinth macaw he and his partner had purchased. Both men were professionals in the medical field so they both had very busy jobs. One of the men was to assume the major responsibility for the macaw but he was having serious problems because the macaw constantly begged bobbing his head and flicking his wings and demanded attention by making a repetitive and irritating “gronking” noises. Nothing the man did seemed to make a difference and he had no idea that these were classic symptoms of a bird that was force weaned too young. They called the breeder and were told the same old nonsense, “He should be weaned by now. Don’t start feeding him again or he will be spoiled.” Then they called an avian veterinarian who recommended them to me. The bird came home with them not quite weaned at 4 months and they received very sketchy information about how to feed him until he would be weaned about a month later. This was horrible information from a breeder who didn’t have a good reputation. The men had paid top dollar for the bird and were told that a hyacinth would easily fit into their life situation. Obviously, she didn't bother to tell them that a baby Hyacinth was almost like having a human child. I guess the breeder didn't want to lose the sale!?!
By that time I had talked with dozens of people who did a good job breeding and raising Hyacinth macaw chicks and had worked with several of these sensitive macaws. Everyone I knew who cared about the birds they raised devoutly believed that no baby Hyacinth should be weaned before 8 months of age. They also believed that Hyacinths should never be sent to a new home unweaned, particularly to new caregivers who had no idea how to hand-feed babies. They had also been told that Hyacinth macaws were easy-care pets. Unfortunately, this disgusting breeder made some big money selling an unweaned Hyacinth to total novices way before the bird was old enough to be weaned. Because of this, the Hyacinth’s early life was traumatic to both the bird and to his new caregivers. Once I sat down with them and explained the reality of what was actually happening with their majestic new companion, they asked me to find a new home for the macaw. They didn’t realize how time-consuming living with a parrot, especially a Hyacinth macaw could be. With their work schedule, it would be impossible for them to give him the care and attention he needed. They wanted to do the right thing and wanted me to find him a home where he would get the care he needed. It took me a couple of weeks but I found a home where his new caregivers knew how to take proper care of a baby macaw. The two men sacrificed a lot of what they paid so the macaw would go to a good home where people had the time to give him what he needed. To me, this was the right choice for them to make.