In the wild, macaws sustain themselves by eating nuts and seeds.
However, veterinarians maintain that domesticated birds must be fed special bird formulas and pellet mixes. Nuts are high in fat content and wild birds are instinctively able to eat enough to meet their nutritional requirements. Pets, however, depend on their owners for their dietary needs. Humans may not be able to accurately determine the specific requirements of a bird diet.
Therefore bird formulas and pellet mixes are scientifically prepared in order to provide balanced and healthy meals to domesticated birds. These formulas provide all the necessary vitamins and minerals. Pellets can be accompanied with fresh vegetables and fruits. The quantity of servings will depend upon the type of macaw and also the amount of exercise the bird gets every day.
Some macaws need half a cup each of pellets and fruits, while other macaws may require more.
A macaw diet can comprise of apples, cherries, bananas, pears, plums, blueberries, strawberries, oranges and papayas. Apples should be de-seeded before feeding to the bird as the seeds are known to make parrots ill. Avocados should not be fed to birds as it can be toxic for them. It is a good idea to opt for organic food as they do not contain traces of chemical fertilizers and pesticides which can cause harm to birds. A limited serving of nuts such as macadamias, walnuts and almonds may be offered to macaws daily. These are best used as treats, given as reward for successful performance of a trick. Macaw food in the wild does not consist of pellet mixes and hence birds may refuse them initially. These pellet mixes must be introduced gradually. In the beginning, the pellets can be mixed with seeds so that the bird can get accustomed to the appearance and smell of the pellets. Then the amount of seeds can be reduced and the access to vegetables and pellets can be increased.
Pellets, vegetables, fruits and water should be places in separate dishes. Fruits and vegetables are moist and this could cause the pellets to get spoilt. The feeding dishes for vegetables and fruits should be cleaned daily, while the pellet dishes may be washed after every 3 days and re-filled. For proper bird nutrition, a mineral block and cuttle bone may also be provided. You can also discuss with your veterinarian about giving the bird liquid vitamins, which can be mixed with the pellets.