I recently had to take my macaws to the vet for their annual check-up.
As any pet owner will know, this can be one of the most expensive times of the year.
Vet bills are not cheap.
When it comes to macaws, though, nothing about them seems to be cheap.
Their care, maintenance, buying their toys and food, a macaw is certainly not a cheap pet.
But why are they so expensive, compared with other pets, and indeed other parrots?
We know that macaws are much larger than most parrots, but explaining why they’re so expensive must come down to more than that.
So, I decided to look into it.
Why are macaws so expensive?
The simple answer is that macaws are very exotic tropical birds with complex needs. They’re also, though very popular, less popular than common pets like cats or dogs. This means that all the things you need to care for them are in less demand, and thus more expensive.
Macaws do have especially complex and expensive needs generally speaking, but even as compared with other types of parrots they are still very expensive.
Let’s look at it in a bit more detail and consider a few reasons why this is the case.
How much does it cost to own a macaw?
So, let’s start at the top.
How much does it usually cost to actually buy a macaw?
Estimates vary, and it will still depend on a lot of things.
Certain plumage colors will be more in demand, for instance.
Buying a macaw could cost anywhere from $900 to $5000.
So, the initial cost of buying the bird won’t be low.
If you want a particular color, it will be even more.
Always be sure to buy from reputable and responsible breeders.
Another option is shelters—many have birds that need new homes.
Then, come all the other costs.
Macaws need a lot of stimulation, and will get bored very quickly without enough to do.
If they get bored, they could turn this to destruction of your furniture, and that will certainly get very expensive.
A proper cage is likely to cost in the region of $1000-$2000.
Macaws are much too big to stay in their cages all day, so they will need various perches around the house.
These perches can cost $200-$400 (though they will be very durable if you pay for quality).
They will need toys, too, and the best advice is usually to switch out their toys as much as possible.
Food is the other main expense of keeping a macaw.
A 35-pound bag of food can cost anywhere from $80-$100, and if it is specially formulated for macaws, it can be even more expensive.
Macaws are large birds and eat more than you’d think, so the cost of food is going to be quite high.
Not to mention, macaws are quite messy, and you will have to spend a long time cleaning up after them.
Minus the cleaning products this isn’t as heavy a financial cost, but it still takes up your time.
So, which macaw is the most expensive?
What is the most expensive macaw?
Macaws come in many colors and varieties, and, as with any pet, some are more in demand than others.
The most expensive variety of macaw is actually one of the most expensive pets on the planet.
That is the hyacinth macaw.
Hyacinth macaws are jet blue parrots from Central and South America, which according to some sources can cost as much as $40,000 to purchase.
These parrots are vanishingly rare compared to other varieties, and while they are especially beautiful, this rarity is really what has driven the price.
So, if you want a rare macaw, be ready to shell out a small fortune!
Are macaws worth it?
So, all that said, are macaws worth it?
Well, that naturally depends on you.
Macaws have been a very popular pet for a long time, not just because they are exotic and comparatively rare, but because they make great companions.
They’re lots of fun to have around, very chatty and will form a deep bond with you.
They are large and sometimes unruly, though, and keeping them is no small job.
Their needs need to be constantly attended to, and if they don’t get enough stimulation, they’ll become bored very quickly.
And, as we’ve established, keeping them isn’t cheap, either.
So you just really need to look at your situation and decide if you have the spare time and money to keep one.
Their welfare ought to be just as important as the reason you want one, son before going ahead and buying a macaw, be sure that you’ve taken a long enough look at your own situation and know that you can handle it.
So, as we’ve said, the simple answer is that macaws are expensive because they’re exotic, in smaller demand than other pets, and have a variety of very complex needs.
If you’re thinking you’d like to own a macaw, you’ll have to carefully consider all of this.
Even if you have everything planned out in terms of feed, care and stimulation, you always need to be ready for expensive, surprise vet bills.
That said, macaws are fantastic pets and well worth the investment if you have the time.