Red Update #4 FAQ's
Here are the most frequently asked questions about my foster Red:
What is he? Red is a Hybrid macaw meaning he is a cross between 2 different types of macaw. Most likely a Blue and Gold and a Green wing called a Catalina. Hybrids are specifically bred for color and Red's is fantastic and he isn't a plucker.
Male? Yup, far as we can tell, though you would probably need a DNA test to be positive. Our assumption is that he is in fact a he.
Age? Red is older than 25 for sure as he spent the last 25 years with his previous owner. It is unclear exactly how old he was before then but it somewhere between 5 and 15 years. He could be as old as 40. Macaws in captivity can live to be more than 50 and Red seems to be in pretty good physical shape. We will find out more at his first vet appointment.
Does he talk? Yes! He does say some things. Hello is the most frequent and he says it a lot, mostly to get your attention. Every morning he greets us with 'Good Morning!" and some coughing which probably mimic his last owner. The other day I was just watching him play with a toy and he looked me in the eye and said "What?" He might have said "I love you" the other day but it was a little muttered. Like my last 2 macaws he also says "Aroo." Best of all his vocalizations is the laughing which he does often. He laughs right along with us at the TV or in conversation and he has an awesome "WHA HA HA HA HA" evil laugh also!
Is he loud? All macaws are loud end of story. A better question might be "Is it a problem?" So far the answer is no. Red is really not a problematic screamer for me. When he does scream it is usually in response to one of my other birds yelling and he is yelling back. The Goffin's cockatoo will often get him started and they yell back and forth a bit. He doesn't seem to be one to scream just for the heck of it. He never makes a noise at night and on the weekends when we sleep in a bit you can hear him making some small noises here and there but nothing loud.
How is he with other birds? Not sure. He doesn't appear to be aggressive towards them but I try really hard to keep them apart so this is difficult to judge. I do know he is not a fan of other birds flying near him. When the Goffin's does a fighter jet pass through the room Red will Scream at him.
Does he bite? He will strike at you if you ignore his body language which is usually pretty clear. He doesn't go for damage but instead a warning shot but again this usually only if you ignore the body language. That isn't to say it doesn't hurt, that beak is pointy and sharp, but he isn't out to seriously hurt you.
Can he fly? He hasn't so far and even if he can it would be poorly and very short distance.
What does he eat? He came in eating a nearly all seed diet (Higgins I believe.) He has since transitioned to a diet of Zupreem, Harrisons, and fresh chop. He like apples and heads for those first. For treats he loves all sorts of nuts, pistachios in particular. I have been using shelled unsalted pistachios for training treats.
Does he play with toys? Yes! So far his favorite toys are 2 rubber dog toys that he hold in his foot and then pounds his beak on before biting them a few times all the while making a squeaky toy noise. He also likes pieces of wood to tear up. He likes fabric a great deal but I an not giving him any right now because he was having a hard time distinguishing between fabric the toy and fabric the clothing.
Does he step up? Not as reliably as I would like and only to an arm not a hand. This is something we are working really hard on. He will step up when he feels it is in his best interest like when he is on the training stand and wants to go back to the cage. However if he thinks he is going back into the cage or somewhere he might not want to go, forget it. He will strike out. He lived life by his own rules for the last 25 years and is just now learning how to do the things most people want their birds to do. He will get it, but it will take some time.