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Developmental Milestones of Macaws

By: PetPlace Staff

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Your prized macaw has been incubating her eggs and the new babies have just hatched. They seem so helpless – naked and blind. Soon you will see many changes as they begin to grow. Here is a quick overview of the developmental milestones in your macaw's life.

Senses

Macaws are born blind with their eyelids sealed shut. By the time they are 14 to 28 days old, the eyelids are open and the bird begins developing his vision.

Macaws are also hatched with their ear canals sealed. By the age of 10 to 35 days, the ear canals are open and the bird begins to hear.

Feathering

Macaws are born with a sparse covering of soft down. This down slowly comes off the bird in the first week of life. Feathering then begins and develops symmetrically. Pin feathers develop after about 1 week of life. Initially, feathers develop on the head, wings and tail. Slowly, the pin feathers are replaced by adult feathers. By 4 to 5 months of age, most birds will be fully feathered. This will vary a great deal from species to species and even from bird to bird.

Banding

Many psittacines are banded for identification. This leg band can be placed on the leg at around 3 weeks of age.

Independence

By the time the bird is 14 weeks of age, he will start leaving the nest box. At this point, weaning begins.

Body Changes

When baby birds are born, they aren't the most beautiful creatures. Weighing around 15 to 20 grams, it is sometimes difficult to believe that the baby will grow into a stunning macaw. Baby birds are born with thin chest muscles and a protruding gizzard. The baby also sits on his hocks. This gives the baby a tripod appearance, which is the only way they can stand upright. In the first couple of weeks of life, the macaw can barely hold his head up. He will often be found sprawled on his side.

Over time, this unattractive and weak baby will gain strength. He will slowly be able to support his own body weight. His legs will develop beneath him, giving him the ability to stand. Within about a month, you will begin to see the early signs of how gorgeous your baby will be.

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