4 Reasons Why Your Macaw Smells Bad

do macaws smell bad?I have never been aware of the fact that even macaws can have an odor. But when I brought home two macaws and took care of them, I learned that macaws can smell not so good under different circumstances or health conditions.

Initially, I was confused about the foul smell and where it was coming from, but later I realized that it was my macaws. After spending years raising my macaws, now I can tell why macaws smell bad.

So, do macaws smell bad? Yes, macaws can smell bad. And there can be a number of reasons behind their foul smell. While depending on the species, different macaws tend to have a different smell; but there are certain factors such as illness, hygiene issue or hormones depending on which a macaw’s smell turn into a bad one.

It’s not unnatural for macaws to have a particular smell. Rather, every macaw has a smell that is unique to its species which is called natural scent. But when a macaw smells bad, it may have some reasons behind it.

Macaws Smelling Bad and the Probable Reasons behind Their Bad Smell

There are many birds that can put a smell more than others, macaws being one of them. This smell or natural scent is unique to that species of macaw.

Usually, this natural smell doesn’t turn out to be very strong and can only be noticed when the macaw is either on one’s shoulder or right in front of one’s face. However, with too many macaws of same species that particular smell may become more noticeable.

But when macaws smell bad, know that there may be something going on. The smell that macaws put is usually not bad. Depending on the species, while some macaws have a dusty natural scent about them, some have a musty odor.

Usually, no bad scent should be coming from one’s macaw when the macaw is kept in a clean environment with clean surroundings, well taken care of and is healthy.

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    The primary reasons for which macaws may smell bad are:

    • Poor hygiene
    • Health issues
    • Hormones

    Detailed Insight into the Reasons Macaws Can Smell Bad

    If you find that your macaws are giving out a bad smell, know that some of the below-mentioned factors may be responsible for that.

    1. Not Bathing Frequently

    Do you bathe your macaws on a regular basis? If not, then this can be one of the reasons for your macaws to smell bad. Any bird that one keeps as a pet, if not bathed frequently, can, after a while, start to smell dirty. And the same goes for the macaws as well.

    Your macaw’s feathers can collect debris or elements such as droppings, or food particles that may lead to cause a bad smell over time when the macaw is not frequently bathed.

    Keeping your pet macaw un-bathed and dirty for long not only gives out a bad smell from the macaw but also can cause the macaw to suffer from illness. Apart from keeping bad smell away, regular bathing also helps your macaw in keeping its feathers in good condition.

    We show you how often you should bathe your parrot here!

    You can also take a shower with your parrot Especially macaws are known for enjoying that. We show you how to take a shower with your parrot here!

    macaw has a bad smell

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      2. Living in Dirty Environment

      The place where you keep your macaw can be another major reason for your feathery friend to smell bad. Yes, if the general environment or the cage where you keep the macaw is unclean, a bad smell will naturally start to intensify.

      Therefore, when you have a macaw as a pet, it becomes necessary to do regular daily maintenance of the cage and keep the surrounding environments clean.

      Bird’s feather tends to pick up bad smells from the surroundings if there’s a poignant smell around such as of cooking or smoking. Plus, macaws often make a huge mess when they eat or play around. (We show you how messy they truly are here – It’s kinda awful!)

      Hence, keeping the space in and around the cage clean is necessary to keep the bad smell coming from your macaw at bay.

      We show you 10 awesome birdcage cleaning tips that will help you keep the smell at a minimum here!

      3. Suffering from Illness

      There is no such illness that can make a macaw’s body to smell bad. However, there are illnesses that may cause your feathery friend’s droppings to smell bad. If your macaw is healthy, its droppings should never be smelly.

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        But if the droppings give out a really bad odor, it may be the case that there’s some issue with your macaw’s health. And when the macaw’s wings or tail get in touch with the droppings the bird starts to give out a bad smell. Even the droppings carry a foul smell.

        Even if the droppings have no delectable smell as such, leaving them accumulated for days and not cleaning the cage liner again causes your macaw to smell bad.

        And not only the cage but the surrounding area of the cage also smells bad, making one misinterpret that it’s the bird that smells so bad.

        Often when feathers do not grow out of the skin but start to rot under the skin, the ‘miss-grown’ feathers or ‘feather cysts’ give out a sour or putrid smell from macaws. In this case, taking your macaw to the vet is essential.

        Though bad breath is not that common in macaws due to illness; but still, illness, in rare cases, can be responsible for your macaw to have bad breaths.

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          There may be an infection between the lower digestive system and the crop (the pouch-like part in a bard’s gullet where food is stored for digestion) when rancid food items are eaten in any way. This may lead to foul smell.

          4. Hormonal Changes

          Hormonal changes sometimes may be responsible for your macaws to smell bad. Yes, in certain cases, it has been observed that when macaws get excited, they put out a distinct smell when they breathe.

          Depending on the species, sometimes when the male macaws get excited; their breath gives out a distinct smell, however not always bad. But this breath due to hormones is not at all worth worrying over the health of your macaw as this distinct change in the smell is very natural.

          In case you are unable to determine why your macaw is suddenly giving out bad smells, or you notice that a bad smell is coming from your macaw that cannot be explained, then make it a point to consult with a professional avian veterinarian as soon as possible.

          Make sure to seek the assistance of an avian vet always since a standard vet may not be always deeply familiar with macaw disease or physiology.

          Related Questions

          Can macaw bites be dangerous? When disturbed or not feeling friendly, macaws can bite. Though Macaw bites aren’t that strong to break one’s finger, they certainly hurt. Causing damage to the skin, macaw bites can draw blood and may even require stitches. Necessary treatment needs to be done to prevent skin infection of any type.

          Are macaws friendly as a pet? Macaws are social and intelligent birds, but they are also noisy and loud. Those who have no issues with loud noises can opt for macaws as pets. While some macaws easily adapt and adjust to captivity and their cages; some may require regular stimulation, training, and socialization to stay tame.

          Do macaws scream? Yes, macaws do scream and they’re ear-splittingly loud at times. Macaws are social birds who like to talk, therefore vocalize oftentimes. Usually when macaws get stressed or jealous or feel scared of something they start screaming. Also when they get lonely or bored they scream loud for attention.

          Photo of author

          Gaurav Dhir

          Gaurav is an animal enthusiast. He lives in beautiful Ontario with his energetic family. As a part of his work at beautyofbirds.com, he has been working with ace parrot trainer, Cassie Malina to understand bird behavior and learn more about how he can train his feathered companions.

          3 thoughts on “4 Reasons Why Your Macaw Smells Bad”

          1. My greenwing macaw has a very strange very strong poop smell. We are in South Africa and about ten years ago a took her to an avian vet who gave her strong medication including fish oil oral metacam. After a couple of weeks my macaw would not tolerate the medication. I stopped medication and gave her Doxybiotic,vitamins and minerals. The smell has returned after so many years. She is on a varied diet with Harrison’s or the local Aviplus porridge to mix meds in. Then good avian pellets, avian muesli and large chopped fruit. what can I do. She goes through a bad moult every couple of years and this is one of those. Erica Ashman

          2. Me.and.my.partner.lynne.are.new.to.keeping..a.macaw.and.would.like.some.informati.on.how.to.keep.it.happy.and.healthy.we.have.kept.budgies.for.years.and..still.have.five.but.we.know.nothing..about.macaws.so.any.heip.we.could.get.we.would..be.greatful.for.we.just.want.a.happy.bird


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