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What Food Can Macaws Eat? Everything You Should Know!

The macaw is a magnificent creature of the tropical forests, and it has few rivals when it comes to the lavish splendour of its plumage. The Glaucous macaw and the Spix's macaw are two of the 19 species that still exist in the wild.

The macaw is intelligent, affectionate, gregarious, and talkative, but it is not advised for beginners due to its high maintenance needs. But, pet bird owners used to having huge parrots fall head over heels for these lovely and amusing creatures.

You must feed your tropical parrot a nutritious and balanced diet in order to give it the best care and quality of life possible.

Learn everything there is to know about feeding your priceless macaw in "What Food Can Macaws Eat? Everything You Should Know!" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org).

What Is the Macaw's Staple Diet?

Macaws are incredibly fun and intelligent birds that are also quite devoted to their owners. Don’t succumb to your lovely bird’s pleading gazes and bows at the first sight of a bag of chips or a piece of chocolate, therefore. Animals, including macaws, are not biologically suited for these delicacies. Thus, what should you feed your bird?

A balanced diet consists primarily of:

  • 75% of pellets

Based on your bird’s age and health, select the right recipe. If in doubt, consult your veterinarian.

  • 25% of finely chopped fresh fruits and vegetables Fruits and vegetables include:

apples, bananas, peaches, pears, grapes, pineapples, tomatoes, carrots, beans, peas, maize, broccoli, spinach, and cucumbers.

  • Only a few nuts and seeds each day:

Avoid purchasing commercial seed mixtures because your macaws will probably just select their preferred foods, which are typically the fattiest ones, such peanuts and sunflower seeds.

  • Give young macaws protein from animals: 

You can give growing young macaws eggs, tiny bits of poultry, cooked meat, sprouting beans, and other foods in moderation.

  • Every day, provide access to clean, fresh water:

A healthy diet is crucial for a long life. A healthy macaw will therefore have a higher chance of spending many years by your side if it eats a full and balanced diet.

Although while studies determining the “ideal” diet for macaws have not yet been conducted, most experts in the field of birds can agree on what is best to maintain your pet bird’s optimal health.

Moreover, feeding your macaw solely seeds or nuts is not advised. Birds require a balanced diet that contains all the necessary nutrients. In fact, a diet consisting solely of seeds may cause illnesses or deficits due to a deficiency in nutrients and an excess of fat.

But, they are not detrimental to your bird when provided in moderation and in combination to anything else.

Quick Facts about Macaws

  • Scientific Name: Psittacidae
  • Lifespan: Up to 60 years in the wild; 35-50 years in captivity
  • Size: 12-40 inches; 4.5 ounces to 3.75 pounds
  • Habitat: Central and South American rain forests
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • IUCN Red List status: Critically endangered

Note: Notably, domesticated macaws typically live shorter lives than their wild counterparts, which is odd considering that captive species typically have better living conditions and live longer.

However the majority of avian veterinarians think that their lower lifespans are probably due to poor diet. These huge pet birds frequently suffer from fatty liver disease, obesity, and nutritional inadequacies.

As a result, they require a variety of foods in addition to seeds, such as fruits, vegetables, pellets, other bird food, and a few nuts.

Things to Consider

This new study examined the possibility that atherosclerosis, a cardiovascular condition frequently observed in captive parrots, could be caused by a diet high in fructose, a sugar naturally present in fruits.

For a month, the fruits were removed from the birds’ diets and replaced with vegetables by the researchers. Further research is required to determine the impact of a high fruit intake on the cardiovascular health of macaws and other parrots housed in captivity, even though no discernible effect could be shown.

It is therefore advised to avoid giving your macaw too many high-fructose fruits until fresh studies can clarify the precise origins of this lethal condition (such as watermelon and grapes).

How Much Food Do Macaws Need?

The daily food requirement for adult macaws is roughly 15% of their body weight. Therefore, for instance, a two-pound macaw would require roughly 135 grams of food each day.

How Often Should I Feed My Macaw?

Every day, macaws eat, and they frequently eat during the day. Little macaws require food every four hours.

What Food Should You Not Feed Macaws?

The macaw is no different from other pets in that certain foods and food items should be completely avoided from their diet to prevent health problems:

  • Avocados
  • Parsley
  • Rhubarb
  • Chocolate
  • Fruit seeds
  • Milk and other dairy products
  • Alcohol

Final Thoughts

As was made clear earlier in “What Food Can Macaws Eat? Everything You Should Know!” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org), with their intellect, macaws will seek out excitement in just about everything they do. If you consistently feed your pet bird the same meals, he will rapidly grow bored.

This is also the reason why, in addition to making pellets the foundation of his food, you must unquestionably include fruits, vegetables, and nuts that he can chew on, such Brazil nuts, that he will enjoy breaking with its strong beak.

This will not only keep your macaw entertained and stimulated, but it will also guarantee that he has access to a balanced food.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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