Green Wing Macaw prep: advice pls

Yav

Regular Member
I am getting my baby GW MAcaw in <<16 weeks. I’ve done intensive research and found what I believe to be the right cage and have also ordered a large java tree.

My experience is 20 years with Gilbert and Lola - Ammys who have Bonded and now gone almost totally hormonal. They have been fed mainly whatever seed mixes i found best value from amazon / ebay / gw titmuss or whatever. But this is supplemented with fresh fruit. I also only ever eat parrot friendly meals of an evening, which they share (think jacket spuds tuna rice beans sweetcorn. - they love my parrot chilli - which is basically mince with rice :))

Getting my Macaw is a huge step - I have already read up on @Roz sprouting guide and have ordered a jar with a premix sprouting mix. I never considered this for my ammies so they will be my test subjects.

So my questions are firstly for @Roz How can I buy these seeds and legumes etc at a reasonable price. It seems to mainly healthfoodshop stuff which is a premium. I was wondering if you had a good ebay contact for bulk (assuming it is a dry food that will keep for bulk use)

This brings me to my main question. Macaws need a higher fat diet - hence I will need expensive nuts such as walnuts, brasils. Does anyone have a good contact for bulk buy? I have found 5K for walnuts for about £50 is this reasonable? I hate to spend say £20 for half a kilo when you can spend £50 and get ten times as much - this tends to be the case with anything you buy . Intending to stock up also on almonds, hazelnuts and macadamias - so possibly a £200 outlay.... buying small amounts from super markets is unfeasible - they only got unshelled nuts at xmas.

One thing I could consider is if any member is close to me we could bulk buy and share the value.essex ss8.... @Michael Reynolds - as I’m thinking bulk buy every 6 months at a guess.

An unknown thing at the moment is what diet the baby will be fed on before I collect - I suspect it will be pellets. I know jack poop about pellets. I tried a bag with the Ammys and they gave me a look as if they were saying “yeah you eat that cardboard crap!"

I like feeding a seed mix but it is hella messy. It seems the best most natural feed. Pellets although technically perfect just aren't palatable - think eating bran flakes every day.... I know its a HUGE divide - but my feeling would be if a parrot lived for 30 years and enjoyed tons of naughty food - wouldnt that be a better life than a parrot living on a strict technical diet? Kill me now if you insist I eat Bran flakes!

Ideally I’d like all my birds to eat both, so i intend to start mixing in pellets- could someone advice me on what brand and size I should buy to try to get my ammies switched a bit? They are very spoilt and selective eaters.

It would be very helpful if I could chat privately with some people with recent experience of a baby macaw. I’m gettin a bit scared! Like an expectant father!
 

Michael Reynolds

Regular Member
I have bought nuts on the internet but always worried about the quality, I had a couple of bad batches that stopped me. had a garden centre not too far away that I used to by three months supply from but they have now closed, I have bought walnuts and brazil nuts from farmers markets, pine nuts from Waitrose
 

Yav

Regular Member
Ordered some shelled pine nuts from tesco - will try on amas. £5 for a small bag i think. Will have to use sparingly
 

Roz

Regular Member
When you get your baby it is a good idea to keep feeding exactly what Barratt has been feeding - ask him for a bag of whatever it is. Also ask him what sort of fruit and veggies she also gets/likes. Moving home is highly stressful for a parrot. If you can keep some things the same, like her diet for the first couple of weeks it will be one less thing for her to worry about. Then you can slowly add more variety.

Yes, Macaws have a high fat diet in the wild, but captive, she will be expending far less energy - she won't be flying miles every day, so she won't need the same volume of nuts. If you over feed she will still be prone to a fatty liver, etc. Ask Barratt's advice on the amount of nuts. You could also try palm nuts which are high in beta carotene, but not so good for the environment. These have to be stored in the freezer.

I get my organic grains and legumes for sprouting (and cooking) from:
https://www.buywholefoodsonline.co.uk
They also sell nuts. If you Google you can check out price differences between companies. Buying online is definitely cheaper than in the health stores as you can buy in bigger quantities. But don't store too much at once because the older it gets the less likely it will sprout. If you are sprouting you'll only need a small amount daily.

For every living creature, high quality food is vital for health. I would rather spend money on organic food that is free of pesticides (parrots don't eat pesticides in the wild). Pesticides are a poison, highlighted only a few days ago in Guernsey when three Peregrine Falcons were killed by pesticides:
Be aware too that non organic meats and dairy are likely to contain growth hormones and antibiotics.

Similarly, I would rather spend money on good quality nuts rather than bulk buy substandard meant for animals, which, should they have been badly stored, are likely to contain mould in the form of aspergillus spores (I won't take that risk after experiencing a bird with Aspergillosis).

Poor diet, according to my previous avian vet, is by far the main reason our parrots get sick. Most captive parrots are lacking in Vit A. That's when you get immune problems, respiratory problems, etc. But overdosing on synthetic Vit A causes awful side effects too. So much better to make sure the diet is rich in beta carotene (brightly coloured fruit and veggies) which the body can use to make its own Vit A. Sprouts are great because they are so fresh... they are still growing whilst being eaten - sad for the sprouts, but excellent for those doing the eating. They are a powerhouse of nutrients.

"The Dirty Dozen" is a list of the foods with the most pesticides. If you can get organic substitutes for these at least, all the better. Here's the latest 2020 list:
You can draw out some of the pesticides by soaking in a solution of bicarbonate of soda and water for 15 minutes then thoroughly rinsing.

As for pellets. I use some or all of these:
Harrisons are certified organic.
TOPs used to be certified organic, I believe they still are, but are not paying for the certification. TOPs have no artificial vitamins and minerals.
Beaphar CARE+ pellets are 95% organic.
Roudybush are usually recommended by US vets.
Zupreem are ok - they contain more sugar than the above.
 
We do feed our macaws nuts but only perhaps 2 or 3 large in-shell eg... walnuts, brazils or pecans a day due to the high fat content. They get 5 pine nuts each morning as part of their foraging. We get the human grade nuts from Scarletts, but only the smaller bags (about 1kg ish) at a time and have mixed nut jar. Macaws can have a tendency to become a little chunky in captivity so you just have to monitor what yours can get away with eating!
 
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Yav

Regular Member
Thanks guys. I probably should have said the nut components would be used for treats sparingly. I think you are right about bulk buying, after all who knows how old the nuts are by the time they are sold..... incidentally sometimes as I near the end of sack of seed mix, I get a bunch of moths - anyone else get this?

Ive bought myself a sprouting jar and a £15 bag of sprouting seeds from NP. I had no idea how easy is it to do. I’ve got tons of little jars for dried goods so will experiment and buy different seeds and build up a stock. @Roz did you say in your sprouting post you can sprout sesame seeds? Would those coming from a seed mix be viable or not fresh enough?

that dirty dozen food list is an eye opener, especially as i get through a bag of kale per day for the bunnies. Ammies refuse to eat it.

holy crap, just checked out prices of Harrisons and TOPS!
 

Roz

Regular Member
You don’t have to feed pellets. :pancarta: Pellets and/or seed should just form a small percentage of the diet if they are eating sprouts, fruit and veggies and maybe cooked grains and legumes too.

Ollie (OWA) has never eaten seed or pellets since he arrived 10 years ago. It’s his choice - I always provide a dry bowl should he change his mind. Chico (elderly Panama) rarely chooses to eat seed or pellets... only if he dislikes his fresh evening meal.:D Kobe (Pionus) won’t touch pellets, but he’ll eat seed. Bobbie (RLA) loves TOPS and sometimes Zupreem, but also seed. She is the fattest! 😁 They all pick out the nut pieces from their dry bowls.

I’d say you are more likely to get moths if you are buying in bulk. I have never had moths in the seed mixes I buy. I do try to get the best quality seed mixes I can. Even then I pick out all the fruit and nuts as they look so awful. If I wouldn’t eat them why should my birds? I add my own organic instead.

Yes you can sprout your seed mix, it’s a good test to see how fresh it is! However only whole seeds will sprout. The fruit, nuts, split lentils/peas etc won’t sprout and will turn your efforts into a stinky sludge. I prefer to make up my own sprouting mix that has equal quantities of grains and legumes for a complete protein. (Grains contain the amino acids missing from legumes and vice versa.) A lot of shop ready sprouting mixes are made up of just legumes. Sesame seeds will definitely sprout if they are fresh - I add a sprinkle of them to my sprouting mix for variety. I did find that adding a little safflower to my sprouting mix got the Amazons more interested in trying it. Sprouting is so easy.
 

Yav

Regular Member
I’ll have plenty of time for experimentation on the ammys, i’ll find out what pellets Barrett uses nearer the time. I think i’ll mix seed and pellet as well as their other usual stuff. Give them the choice. As for the bulk seeds i get it every 3rd bag or so. Each sack lasting 3 months. Its a pain, the moths get everywhere. When I get my big girl we’ll go through it a lot faster. I never buy seeds with dried fruit anymore - the ammies just throw it out :)
 

KEV H

Regular Member
my greenwing only has nuts for treats mostly when shes out flying on harness for now. shes fed chop in the morning and harrisons and tops of a evening dont feed her much fruit try to keep sugar levels down i buy organic nuts off the internet il try find the website or buy them from tescos
 
I don't know if this is a 'thing' but a lady I follow on Instagram (has a parrot fresh food company in the US, along with 3 macaws, an AG, a toucan and a baby BP cockatoo), suggests freezing any dry food mixes you get for 2 to 3 days which will kill off any bacteria in the mix?
 
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Scott199

Regular Member
I don't know if this is a 'thing' but a lady I follow on Instagram (has a parrot fresh food company in the US, along with 3 macaws, an AG, a toucan and a baby BP cockatoo), suggests freezing any dry food mixes you get for 2 to 3 days which will kill off any bacteria in the mix?
Yes I’ve read this on a lot of different sites, I think the US people suffer badly, could be the warm climate or maybe the poor quality, but they all say to freeze and only defrost a week or so’s worth at a time.

our grey won’t touch seed, so I’ve never had any experience.
 
That's a nice shaped tree! With the bowls, just be careful not to over tighten them when screwing them back on after cleaning as the bolts will just go right through the bottom. You can buy spare bowls, but it's best if you don't have to :lol: . We don't use the bowls for food other than the odd nut, as Gary isn't a sharer so usually food = fights in our house! They do love to sit on them though. :biggrin:
 

Yav

Regular Member
Yes, lovely shape.will take some decent pics once i’ve had the weeklyyyyyy tidy up :) as u say the bowls are silly - just for a few treats maye. Might try to buy bugger ones - i’ll watch out for the tenson as they are ceramic and bound to crack.Gilbert seems to like it but the ammies are very wary of it at mo - hopefully getting the big german vage soon which prolly means I’ll have to chuck out the arm chair.
 
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