Young man wearing glasses with a blue and gold macaw parrot on his right shoulder

Is There a Good Way to Handle A Broody Older Macaw?

Last Updated on by Catherine Tobsing

Kim M. requests advice,

 

I have been reading your emails for quite some time.  I finally need some advice. 

 

I have a 28-year-old Blue and Gold McCaw.  She has been fairly happy over the years.  She was my son’s bird until he got married and didn’t take her with him.  Now she has to deal with me and misses my son very much but now has resigned to the fact I have to be her person.

 

She has been laying one to two eggs over the last four years every winter. 

 

This year she has laid four eggs and has been laying on them now for two months. 

 

It has been this long because she laid the first two and I let her sit on them for 21 days then took them away. 

 

About two weeks later she laid another two eggs. 

 

She has been laying on these two for about two weeks. 

 

I worry about her health because I can’t bathe her or exercise her. 

 

She is very aggressive with the eggs being there. 

 

 

I am hoping when I take the other two eggs away she doesn’t lay anymore.

 

I just wanted to see if this is normal for her age and if I should be doing anything different.

 

Thanks so much,

Kim M.

 

Here’s my Monday morning elevator explanation Kim,

 

Parrots can get broody at any age – no way to predict when and what triggers will take effect. Remove all eggs – when you see an egg – remove it – it makes her want to be a mommy. No brooding areas – under couches – boxes – cage tents – kitchen/bath cabinets no dark places to encourage having babies.

 

Keep normal supplies of food in the main food dish daily but at night just barely line the bottom of the dish – without abundant food a hen is less motivated to breed.

 

No petting below the neck – body and beak petting are sexual stimulants.

 

Lastly – the bird should get locked in the cage consistently for a 72 hour Light Treatment without being let out.

 

A bright light must be placed over the cage and when the cage is covered – the cover is over the light (see attached image) for the entire 72 hours.

 

Remove the cover during the day but not the bird.

 

Freshen food and water daily per standard protocols.

 

More details about Dr. Gregory Harrisons’ (yes the creator of Harrison’s food) use of light therapy can be found at this link

 

Best – MitchR

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