Comical, loving, and mischievous, blue and gold macaws are popular pets in the United States. These parrots are among the most affectionate and intelligent birds in the world, but keeping them healthy as pets takes an understanding of what they need to eat.
Blue and gold macaws are native to swampy areas of the South American rainforest. In the wild, their diets consists of various seeds, nuts and fruits. They are particularly fond of the fruits of palms, but they also enjoy the occasional vegetable. Nevertheless, some underripe seeds contain toxins that blue and gold macaws can’t digest. They treat this problem by eating clay found on riverbanks.
Since most macaw owners do not have access to the variety of foods found in nature, veterinarians generally recommend specially formulated pellets for the bulk of your macaw’s nutritional needs. It is typically recommended that pellets make up about 65 percent of a blue and gold macaw’s diet, though care must be taken to get high-quality pellets. Some mixes are lower in nutrition or contain fillers or additives that may harm a macaw’s delicate system.
Fruits and Vegetables
If 65 percent of a macaw’s diet should be high-quality pellets, another 30 percent should be comprised of fruits and vegetables. Dried or fresh does not matter, but fruits and vegetables given to macaws should be free from pesticides and the preservative sulfur dioxide. Macaws tend to like their fruits and vegetables warm and some are known to dunk dried pieces in their water to soften them. Jarred baby food can be a good alternative as well.
Foods to Watch Out For
Though wild macaws feast on seeds and nuts, they contain too much fat to be given in large amounts. Seeds should comprise no more than 5 percent of a macaw’s diet. And though macaws like many human foods, never feed them coffee, sweets, alcoholic beverages, chocolate or avocado. Other no-nos include the pits of most fruits, raw beans, eggplant, potato, tomato leaves, green potatoes, nutmeg and rhubarb. It also is best to not expose macaws to tobacco.