Macaws are some of the most beautiful parrots found in the world. There are 17 species of the macaw and most of them naturally originate from forests and rainforests. Macaws are sought after pets because of their bright colors and their huge size.
They are not suitable pets for just about anyone. These birds do require large cages that allow them to fly and they need to be offered a balanced meal to keep them healthy.
Macaws are omnivores. They eat both meat and plant matter but mainly follow a vegetarian diet. These birds do enjoy eating a huge variety of food. They have strong beaks that can easily bite into hard foods or crack open hard shells of nuts and seeds. In order to stay healthy, they do need to be offered a variety of foods. Here is a quick look at the most common food these birds love to eat;
All species of macaw are fond of eating seeds and nuts. In the wild, they eat a huge variety of seeds. Their favorite seeds are peanut seeds and sunflower seeds but they also enjoy other high-fat seeds such as caches and almonds.
When macaws are offered seed mixes, they tend to pick out fatty seeds and will leave the rest. It is however important for these birds to consume other seeds and foods because fatty seeds tend to contain very little calcium, vitamin A and many other nutrients.
Macaws love to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Their daily diet should consist of about 20 – 25% fresh fruits and veggies.
The best fruits to offer your macaw include apples, bananas, peaches, pears, raisins, grapes, watermelon, and many others that you can find in your local store. Fruits should be washed and sliced before they are offered to your birds.
You can also offer your macaw a variety of veggies such as dandelion greens, collard greens, green peppers, bell peppers, butternut, carrots, mushrooms, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and many others. Some foods like sweet potato or butternut can even be cooked and cooled before offering these to your birds.
You can also offer macaws pelleted foods. These pellet foods usually contain various ingredients and offer your bird all the nutrients it needs. Pellets are the ideal diet for domesticated macaws. If you choose this food source, you should offer 75 – 80% pellets.
These foods come in various flavors, colors, and shapes. Ideally, you should look for quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fat.
Macaws need fresh water every day. If you have a pet macaw, it should always have access to fresh clean water. Without water, these birds can become dehydrated and their digestive system will cease to function properly.
These birds often crave a bit of protein in their diet. Insects are a fantastic source of protein. Macaws will occasionally hunt for and eat insects. They enjoy insects like snails, grasshoppers, beetles, butterflies, roaches, and a few others. Typically, they avoid insects that might be poisonous.
Macaws are big enough to catch a variety of small insects. They will hunt and eat mice, small rats, moles, lizards, and a few others.
They also enjoy eating eggs when they feel a need for calcium or protein in their diet. These parrots may even eat their own eggs if they feel stressed or if there has been a disturbance around their nests.
You can also offer your pet parrot a bit of lean cooked meat. They can eat a bit of fish or low-fat mince. These foods should be offered moderately or as a special snack every week or so.
Macaws can sometimes consume few dairy products. Dairy products such as cheese can be offered moderately. Macaws will also learn to eat junk food such as chocolate, candy, and other human foods that are not healthy for them at all.
To feed a macaw, you need to offer them a variety of foods every day. If you are offering pelleted food, you can offer 80% pellets and 20% fresh fruits or veggies. If you are offering seed mixes, you should offer 70% seed mixes and 30% fresh fruit and veggies. Ideally, you should wait for your macaw to consume all food before adding more to its bowl. This way you can ensure that it consumes a variety of needed nutrients.
Your macaw’s water and food bowl should be washed every day and fresh food should be offered daily to ensure its health.
In the wild, these birds eat a huge variety of foods they find in their natural habitat. They seek out foods such as soft leaves, fresh grass, fruits, nuts, seeds, berries, insects, and small animals to feed on. Their diet is greatly altered throughout the year since different foods are available in different seasons.
In captivity, they can be fed on seed mixes, pelleted foods, and fresh fruits and veggies. It is important for these birds to enjoy a variety of foods even in captivity so they won’t become ill and malnourished.
Macaw babies are called chicks and new hatchlings need to be fed as often as a newborn baby. They need food every four hours throughout the day and night. Young chicks are fed by their parents and are offered regurgitated foods. Orphaned chicks can also be raised on a specialized food formula.
Older chicks will soon start to eat small amounts of strained meats, mashed fruits, vegetables, and specialized formula. Some macaws can reach maturity in 1 – 2 years but some may take 3 – 4 years to fully mature.
Adult macaws need to eat about 10 – 15% of their own body weight every day. An average bird that weighs 925 grams will need about 125 grams of food every day. In one year, your macaw needs to eat about 98 pounds of food.
Macaws eat every day and they may eat several times throughout the day. As young chicks, they need food every four hours.