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Not just any food will do for your feathered friend. We're reviewing some of the best macaw food products on the market so you can make a more informed decision when it comes to your pet's diet. Still want some more information? Not a problem. You can skip past our reviews and check out our in-depth buyer's guide below.
The Fruit Blend from ZuPreem tops our list, back by hundreds of reviews from satisfied pet parents. These colorful pellets are packed with 21 vitamins and minerals to help your feathered companion stay healthy and happy. The fun colors, interesting shapes, and tasty flavors can definitely help make dinnertime a fun experience for your pet. If you're looking for something that parrots and pet parents alike love, look no further.
The Menu Vitamin-Fortified Parrot Food from Vitakraft is the best-priced item on our list, with a 5-lb. bag coming in at an amazingly low price on Amazon. Besides the awesome price tag, this formula includes a mixture of different foods that will nourish your pet: grains, fruits, veggies, and seeds. Even better? Your birdie should love the taste!
Want to add some enrichment to your pet's life? It's easier than ever with these Classic Nutri-Berries from LAFEBER'S. The shape of this food is perfect for allowing your pet to forage, so your indoor birdie can feel more like a wild parrot. Besides being fun to eat, these Nutri-Berries are also free of GMOs, artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors.
Birds are some of the most popular pets in the United States and several other countries around the world. It's no wonder why, either: these lovable and quirky animals make amazing companions. Whether you already own a macaw or are planning to get one as a pet, it is helpful to learn more about what they eat. After all, many species can live for decades, so it's important to provide them with a diet that can help them live their lives to the fullest.
"Macaw" actually refers to several species of large parrot. Altogether, there are 19 macaw species. These are a few of species most often kept as pets:
These are a favorite macaw species to raise as pets due to their distinctive looks. Blue and gold macaws are almost three feet in length, with a distinctive yellow belly and blue back. They are bright and highly energetic, so they do best when they have an involved owner.
Military macaws are very social. They tend to see their humans as part of their flock and try to interact with their owners as if they were part of the same family. Military macaws can be a lovely pet, but they need quite a lot of socialization to behave well.
Greenwings, also known as red and green macaws, are another classic macaw species. They have a rounded head with bright red feathers and beautiful blue and green wing tips. They tend to have a distinctly gentle personality, and they love picking one person to bond with closely.
These macaws have a rainbow appearance that makes them truly stunning to see. Owners should keep in mind that scarlet macaws are incredibly bright, so if they do not have enough toys and attention in their cage, they can get bored and act out.
Hahn's, or red shouldered, macaws are often chosen by enthusiasts in smaller homes since they are the tiniest macaw species. Red shoulders are bright, so they tend to do well with being trained.
Macaws are classified as omnivores. This means that they will eat both plants and other animals. In the wild, macaw diets are quite varied; the same exact species may eat very different foods depending on where they live! In general, much of a wild macaw diet is made up of seeds, nuts, fruits, and leaves. Some will also eat insects, small reptiles, small mammals, and the eggs of other species.
A particularly unique part about wild macaws' diet is that some species eat dirt or clay. In the western Amazon basin, people can see hundreds of birds flying down to the river bank to eat clay. Animal behaviorists believe that wild macaws do this for health reasons, namely to introduce more sodium to their diets.
Of course, the ideal diet for a pet macaw might be similar to what they eat in the wild. The reality, however, is that pet owners typically are not capable of providing their birds with a variety of exotic jungle fruits and seeds. Wild macaws also move around a lot more, so pet birds typically do not need quite as many calories throughout the day. In a domestic environment, the macaw diet is usually tweaked to contain blend of processed and whole food. Some primary staples of a pet macaw's diet include:
According to the VCA, around 75 percent of the base diet mix for a macaw can be a specialized macaw bird food mix. This can come in pellets, cakes, or other shapes. Most macaw-specific pet food can provide your bird with the basic nutrients she needs, but you should still read the ingredients carefully.
Some mixes contain a lot of cheap filler rather than healthy nutrients. There are plenty of all-natural and all-organic bird food mixes if you want your macaw to get the best nutrition possible. However, if you prefer a completely unprocessed approach, it is possible to make your own with a blend of seeds, root vegetables, and other carbohydrates.
Macaws love seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, safflower, and fennel. They particularly love it when they can crack the seeds open and get the treat themselves. However, try to keep this to an incredibly small amount of your bird's diet. A common behavioral issue with macaws is that they can turn into "seed-aholics." This happens when your bird refuses to eat anything besides seeds. It can be a problem because she cannot get all the nutrients she needs from a seed-only diet. In fact, if she eats nothing but seeds, she can end up with major health problems.
About a quarter of a macaw's diet should be fresh fruits and vegetables. Try to switch up the fruits and vegetables they get each day to ensure your macaw has a varied diet with all sorts of nutrients. Good options for macaws include mangos, pears, bananas, papaya, grapes, apples, tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers. Many birds also love dried fruits like raisins and apricots, so these can be good options if you have ones without added sugar. Just remember: make sure these fruits and veggies are fresh, without added preservatives and sugars. They should also be seeded/pitted.
Like seeds, nuts are another special treat for macaws. Since they are high in fat, they can cause dietary problems if a bird eats too many. Many owners recommend hiding nuts around the cage instead of just putting them in the bowl. Having to hunt for food is a fun game for macaws, and it helps to keep them stimulated and active.
Meat is not a necessity in the macaw diet. However, many macaws love meat and see it as a special treat. Too much meat, though, is bad for these birds because their bodies cannot handle all the protein. So, limit meat intake. A small piece every now and then is normally fine for a macaw.
Macaws tend to be very sturdy parrots that can tolerate eating just about anything. However, there are a few types of food that can harm your macaw. In some cases, incorrect preparation or storage can also make foods dangerous. These are the safety concerns that every macaw owner needs to consider:
There are some foods that you should never feed a macaw. Mushrooms are associated with liver failure, so it is best to avoid giving these to your bird. Chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol can all be dangerous to macaws, too. Avocados can cause heart failure, especially if your bird eats the skin or pit, so keep these away from your pet. Though not necessarily toxic, excessive amounts of onion can make birds develop anemia, so it is a good idea to keep these items out of your bird's diet. Likewise, excessive citrus fruits can cause birds to absorb too much iron. Always consult with your veterinarian before introducing any new food into your pet's diet.
Some foods are not safe for your parrot to consume unless you cook them properly. Uncooked dry beans are toxic for birds, so it's a good idea to cook them (and meat) before feeding them to your birdie. Though raw meat is technically safe for macaws, it can contain bacteria that are unsafe. Harder raw vegetables, like squash and potatoes, should also be cooked to make it easier for your bird to eat.
You should take out apple seeds, peach pits, cherry pits, apricot pits, and pear seeds before serving them to your pet. This step is important because these seeds contain enough cyanide to cause problems for your bird. The leaves and stems of nightshades like tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, and peppers are also poisonous, so remove any leaves or stems before giving them to your feathered friend.
A final food safety concern to keep in mind? Parrot foods can go bad, just like anything else. Pay attention to expiration dates on nuts and seeds and quit serving them to your bird if the product is expired.
Mold is particularly toxic, so try to store pellets and other food mixes in airtight containers and in a cool, dry place. Never feed your macaw fruits or vegetables that have dark mushy spots or mold growing on them. When feeding birds fresh foods, keep in mind that they can only be left out for so long. Place fresh fruits and vegetables in a separate dish from their nuts and seed. This way, you can more easily clean out older food without risking cross-contamination.
The exact amount of food a bird will need depends on their age, size, and food types. Check the package on your macaw food mix and talk to the bird's vet to figure out how much exactly you should feed them. The back of your commercial pet food should also give you recommendations on how much to feed your pet on a daily basis. This is usually around 1/2 cup a day; this is also roughly the amount of fresh foods many experts believe you should feed your feathered friend.
You can feed your macaw just once a day, but feeding is a valuable time for bonding with your bird. It can also be a source of entertainment for your bird. In nature, macaws forage throughout the day, so they are comfortable with you dividing their food into two or three smaller meals if desired.
If your macaw is not the average healthy adult, it may need a special food. You can find specialized pellets designed for different types of macaws. Younger birds often need more protein and fat, so they can benefit from nut butter or bits of meat occasionally. If the macaw is sick or old, it is important to make sure it gets enough to eat. When a macaw is laying eggs, it will need a calcium supplement to make sure it gets enough nutrition.
If your macaw is eating a balanced diet, you do not need to buy additional supplements usually. However, if you notice your macaw is struggling, it may be helpful to get a supplement. These can be sprinkled over food or blended into water, and they are carefully formulated to make sure your macaw gets the nutrients she needs.
You may have heard that your bird needs grit. Regardless of whether you give your pet birds pet food of either high or low quality, you do not need to feed them grit. Macaws do not require grit for digestion, and it can actually make things harder for them.
When it comes down to it, all pets have their own preferences and nutritional needs. By consulting with your veterinarian and getting to know your parrot's wants and needs, it will become easier to adjust your pet's diet.