How do I Train a Scarlet Macaw?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2019
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The vividly colored scarlet macaw has become one of the most popular types of birds to keep as a pet, although training can often be a challenge for beginners. Because training is difficult, it is best to obtain any species of parrot at a very young age. If your scarlet macaw has not been accustomed to handling, it will be especially challenging to tame him, although your patience and effort can make it a success. Training your scarlet macaw to talk typically will not happen overnight.

Before you begin teaching any bird tricks, you must develop a mutual bond. A hand-fed baby macaw will typically make the ideal candidate for any type of training. The breeder will feed an enriched formula, typically delivered by syringe. Hand feeding a parrot from the earliest age will make the bird accustomed to human handling. This will ensure the bird will be gentle, affectionate, and trusting of its potential human owner after it has been fully weaned from formula and begun eating solid food such as seeds.


Always start off slowly and do not make any fast or quirky movements that may frighten your bird. If you want to train him to speak, clearly say a word you'd like him to repeat. Be sure there are no distractions present during this training session. Don't become frustrated if he doesn't repeat your word after several attempts. This process can take a while. Remember to keep your sessions short, no longer than 10-15 minutes at most. Concentrate on only one word at a time so you don't confuse your macaw.

Remember that a parrot has the intelligence of a toddler, and can become easily bored and display frustration. Always keep an adequate amount of safe and stimulating bird toys for him to occupy himself with. This will aid in training him. Also keep in mind that a scarlet macaw is a huge bird, and his cage needs to be large enough for him to spread his enormous wings.

During training, keep your scarlet macaw on a large play gym, or tree perch. You can buy these from your local exotic bird store. Your macaw will need plenty of exercise outside of his cage on a daily basis. If you want him to be well trained, you will also need to interact with him one on one.

If your scarlet macaw does something you are pleased with during your training session, reward him with a treat, such as a piece of fruit or millet. Praise him by softly telling him what a good bird he is. Always offer plenty of love and affection.

Remember that a hand-fed bird who has bonded with his owner will typically love to receive head scratches and contact from his human. Keep in mind that while many species of birds have a wonderful talking ability, some are simply not inclined to be talkers. Even if your macaw never learns to speak one word, he can become a good pet and enrich your life. With patience and love, you can enjoy many years with a well-trained, well adjusted, and happy scarlet macaw.


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