Cage Birds

Blue and Gold Macaws

Although generally healthy, there are some blue and gold macaws that may be plagued with a few issues. The blue and gold macaw (Ara ararauna) has many devotees. Despite its beauty, it is not the easiest of pets to manage. It can be very nippy, not to mention noisy. If it is to be a pleasure to own, it will need lots of attention and training.

Blue and Gold Macaw
Credit: Wikimedia

Healthy Birds

Healthy Birds
The blue and gold macaw is a big, intelligent bird and needs a large cage with plenty to occupy him. If he is healthy, he will have dry eyes and dry nostrils. He will take an interest in his surroundings and will keep himself preened and groomed. His feathers will be bright and lie flat and smooth.

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Signs of Ill-Health
Sick birds become 'fluffy'. He will look unhappy and not his usual bright self. The plumage may be soiled or chewed or it may appear patchy. The nose and eyes may run and there may be wheezing or sneezing. His stools may be runny or discoloured.

He will be uninterested in his surroundings, perhaps sitting on the floor for extended periods. He may have little or no interest in his food. Take note of your bird's habits and appearance at all times. Once this attention becomes routine, you will immediately notice if something is not quite right. Noticing a problem before it escalates into something serious will help avoid worry and stress for both you and the bird. You will also save on vet bills if you are able to address simple disorders before they become serious.

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Psittacine beak and feather disease
This is a virus which needs the advice of an avian veterinarian. Symptoms of the disease include abnormal feather colouring, feather loss and beak deformities.

One of the most common diseases of macaws is Ornithosis and Parrot fever or chlamydiosis. This is a serious viral infection which can be transmitted to humans. The eyes redden. There will be discharge from the nasal passages with associated respiratory problems. The bird will have a fluffed up appearance and diarrhoea.

Diarrhoea is itself a sign that not all is well. It may indicate something as simple as the addition of an unfamiliar food or it may indicate an infestation of parasites. Soiled tail feathers and stools that are not properly formed are indications of diarrhoea. Although diarrhoea may clear up without treatment, the condition is very dehydrating and quite dangerous for a macaw.

Feather plucking and mutilation
These may be symptoms of boredom or an unhealthy diet. These behaviours may also occur when the bird loses a mate or has a change in environment.

Some birds will endeavour to clean their feathers by plucking and chewing when they aren't able to bathe to their liking. If you suspect he is bored, rotate his toys and try to provide more variety. Perhaps hide some of his food in toys or hang food from the roof so he is better occupied.

Macaws can also suffer from obesity. Use a good quality mix and give your macaw the chance to fly and exercise himself. This will also help him maintain an interest in his surroundings. Poor feeding regimes and unhealthy foods contribute to obesity.

Observe your pet when he is in good health. Take note of his little mannerisms then, when he is not well, you will know what is normal and not normal for your particular bird.