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Exotic pets tend to be expensive, and some species are more easily trained, making them more desirable than others. Hybrid macaws, which are a cross between two common species, often command a high price, as these are difficult to breed. Blue and gold macaws are commonly bred in captivity and will typically cost less than a rare Hyacinth macaw, which commands a very high price. A macaw that is purchased from a reputable bird breeder may cost more than one acquired from a private owner. The price of a macaw may also be influenced by several other factors, including whether the bird was hand-fed or parent-raised.
The price of a macaw sold on consignment will typically be lower due to a few factors. Typically, a consignment bird is one that was previously owned. In some cases, a previously owned macaw may have been neglected or lacked human interaction. Previously owned birds are lower in price due to the difficulty a new owner may have bonding with them. Taming an older parrot can also be more of a challenge.
Most prospective macaw owners prefer to buy a domestic hand-fed bird from a reputable breeder. A hand-fed baby bird is removed from its parents at an early age and fed a hand-rearing formula through a syringe. Hand-feeding will continue until the baby bird is old enough to be weaned onto solid food. Breeders who hand-feed baby birds will handle them often, thus enabling the birds to become tame and bonded to humans. Parrots who have been hand-fed are desirable pets, which is why they typically cost more.
In most cases, the price of a macaw that has been parent-raised will be considerably lower. Parent-raised birds do not have the opportunity to bond with humans, as they receive their nourishment from a parent bird in an aviary. Without human contact, the macaw may become fearful of being handled and difficult to train.
A health guarantee from the seller may also drive up the price of a macaw. This means the macaw was examined by an avian veterinarian, who has issued a certificate stating the bird is free from illness or disease. The price of a macaw that comes with a health certificate may be higher than average, but most buyers consider this a necessity.