On 6/12/09, Leah wrote:
> I have a b&G, and GW but never had experience with a
> Scarlet. Found an ad for a Scarlet on craigslist. What I
> found was a beautiful, biting macaw in a cage that's way
> to small with a family who took her in hoping to give her
> a better home, but without a clue on how to deal with a
> large, screaming, biting bird. Help, I need advice on how
> to rehabilitate this girl. I was told she is 2 years old,
> but they didn't even know her name. Where should I
> begin? I have been bitten hard several times, she's not
> kidding with her lunges. She says step up, but won't step
> up without taking a chunk out of you first. Came with a
> sunflower mix parrot food. Where do I begin. My other 2
> macaws are a joy, and I hope she can be also.
For starters, I wold have her examined by an avian vet to
establish her health status. While you are there, have him
trim her nails and clip her wings which will come in handy
later for training, not to mention safety. Better to get this
trauma over early on in the game. You might want to DNA her
at this point also so you can plan for gender-specific issues
in the future.
Introduce her to a healthy diet, which I would think you
would be aware of since you already have two other birds.
I'm assuming you now have her in an appropriately sized cage
with a few new toys for stimulation.
The most important thing, in my opinion, at this time is to
have PATIENCE with the bird and not force anything on her
until she becomes acclimated to her new home and feels
somewhat secure in her environment. The worst you could do
is force her at this point in time, but it is encouraging to
hear that she will step up even if it is with a bite.
You also know, hard as it is, to not react to her biting when
she does it. With macaws, this only encourages more negative
behavior. If you attempt this again, try having your forearm
protected with long sleeves and close your hand to make a
fist. Approach her with your forearm and not your hand. She
may find stepping up without sight of your hand easier. Also
you could attempt stick training until her behavior improves.
But again, give her time and lots of patience. This poor
bird has been through so much and you really don't know her
Fortunately she is young and you stand a much better chance
of gaining her trust and affection.
Good luck and kudos for saving this unfortunate bird.