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Pet Information: Blue and Gold Macaw
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"Advice for those considering becoming the parent of a parrot: Our blue and gold macaw, Sebastian will have his 12th birthday this coming August. I am writing this because I think it's important for everyone who is considering becoming parent to a parrot to know exactly what they're getting into. Sebastian - or Sabby, as we call him - is the love of our lives, but my husband and I really didn't realize when we first got him 12 years ago at 8 weeks old that bringing him into our lives was actually a decision to be a parent to a two year old for the REST OF OUR LIVES. I said a "two year old" because most studies show that many parrots are at about the same intelligence level and reasoning capacity as a two year old. If a parrot decides to talk, and not all of them do - they usually use the words they learn with cognition & context. In other words, they don't just "parrot" human speech, they also have a good general understanding of what the words mean and they use them at the right times. I said for the "REST OF OUR LIVES" because with good health, Sabby will likely live to be around 80 - essentially the same as human life expectency. So that's a major consideration as well. Not only are you making the decision to take on a two year old, you also need to consider who will be willing to take of the two year old after you die. Sabby's a smart, cute, active, funny, and totally beautiful two year old, but just as every human two year old that I've ever known, he can also be very DEMANDING. He just doesn't understand why he can't have what he wants when he wants it! My husband and I react to his temper tantrums just as we did with our daughter's when she was two. We take him back to his "room" (his cage in our bedroom) and we tell him that we'll get him again when he decides to be nice. And just as my daughter used to do, he plays in his room for awhile & forgets why he was mad. Maybe he even thinks about it what he did a little bit, lol. ;) Sabby loves us all, but I think the nature of parrots usually bonding with one mate for life makes them prone to also have one person in their life at a time who they favor over the others. I know that some parrots are more loving to everyone than others, but I do think that most have a favorite. I'm SO glad that we have that little boy. He is a center of our world, but we were also lucky that my husband and I were in the perfect position to spend all of the time and attention with him that he needs. Our daughter was 18 when we got him. She was another caretaker and buddy for him until she went off to college and recently, my husband and I retired. I wrote this because I think it's very important for people making this decision to do so with their eyes wide open. Parrots are amazing companions and their intellect is incredible, but they require much more attention than your average dog or cat or even ferret, IMHO, and & for the larger parrots, an added consideration is that they may outlive you. Also, if you are absolutely sure you want one, it really is an excellent idea to check into adoption before you consider buying. I've seen many who need a good home and I think that unless they have just gone crazy with grief from lack of attention (unfortunately extreme feather picking is a symptom), you can usually make them very happy again very quickly with just telling them how great they are, encouraging them & just loving them wholeheartedly - just as we do with our kids. :) "

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