Caring for a Blue and Gold Macaw typically begins with the understanding that it could be a lifelong commitment. Macaws are highly social birds and will generally bond to their primary caregiver if given plenty of human interaction and time outside of the cage. To care for a Blue and Gold Macaw, you typically will need to provide fresh food daily, offer fresh-filtered water, have the cage in a sunny location, provide various perches, and spend social time with the bird outside of the cage.
Blue and Gold Macaws can grow up to 35 inches (about 88.9 cm) long and can live for more than 40 years. Their diet generally consists of specialized pellets that comprise about 60 to 70 percent of the diet, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, berries, grapes, carrots, and broccoli. As a general rule, Macaws should not be fed avocados, fruit seeds, caffeine, or alcohol, as these could cause serious harm. All fruits and vegetables typically need to be fresh and should be discarded within 24 hours if not eaten. A Blue and Gold Macaw usually likes for its food to be fresh and to vary — this rule of thumb includes pellets, fruits, and vegetables.
Fresh, non-chlorinated, filtered drinking water typically needs to be provided and changed daily. Non-chlorinated, filtered lukewarm water can be provided for bathing. When the Blue and Gold Macaw is finished bathing, the water should be removed from the cage. Flight feathers can be clipped by a veterinarian to prevent escape or injury. Nails typically need to be routinely clipped by a veterinarian as well.
Macaws generally prefer bright areas for their cages, which typically need to be off the floor and away from any drafts as well. A Blue and Gold Macaw will usually acclimate quickly to the household temperature, but extreme temperature changes should be avoided. Cages typically should be made of metal, have bars no wider than 1 inch (about 2.54 cm) apart, and be at least 36 inches (about 91.4 cm) wide by 36 inches (about 91.4 cm) deep by 5 feet (about 1.52 m) tall. Ideally, you will want to provide the largest cage possible for the bird; a flight cage is generally considered the best option. Cages need to be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
A Blue and Gold Macaw will typically need several different perch sizes. This helps the bird to stretch and exercise his or her feet and can help prevent arthritis. Macaws are aggressive chewers and typically need plenty of toys and wood on which to focus their energy.
Adequate space usually needs to be provided at the bottom of the cage for droppings. A metal grate typically separates the droppings from the Macaw. Food and water containers should generally be placed away from perches to avoid contamination by excrement. Non-stick cookware and appliances release fumes that can be hazardous to the health of a Blue and Gold Macaw. Cages should also be checked for zinc, lead, or lead-based paint or parts that can be ingested and cause harm.