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Old 04-09-2012, 09:23 PM
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Owning a cockatoo

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I get a lot of questions on some techniques to keeping cockatoos happy while preventing a lot of common behavioral problems. I find that it varies just a bit between types of cockatoos, but the same principles apply. So I'll sum up some of what we tell new owners starting with a handled baby...

1. Pet a cockatoo only around the head and neck, and very occasionally under the wings. Avoid petting down the back or around the tail... why? Because pressure on the back and pulling or moving the tail will sexually stimulate a 'too. This will over time teach the bird that you and humans are to be thought of as potential mates.... imagine the level of frustration that can cause ina bird with such an obsessive nature.

2. As with a dog you should not encourage food begging behavior. It is ideal to make sure your bird is fed a healthy diet of veggies and legumes in the morning within an hour of wake up time. Feeding treats can be at any time of day. I also recommend that abuts should not be able to see when its owners are eating... why? Because it is not fair foe the bird ti watch you eat, but you certainly don't want to train it to expect food whenever it sees you with food. This can and will often lead to screaming during meal times over the years... Imagine you or someone who owns that bird having a baby and trying to geed an infant with a screaming cockatoo in the background.

3. Lots of toys changed out daily. Get a large group of toys and never leave more than (maybe their favorite) and switch them out with others after feeding (never before bedtime, always earlier in the day).

4. No peanuts... period. I've done enough studies on 'toosthe here to know that both peanuts and sunflower seeds seem to cause a marked increase in aggression among not only male cockatoos, but male cockatiels as well.

5. NEVER yell at a cockatoo.

6. NEVER notice bad behaviors... if your bird is plucking or making noise don't even look at them... cockatoos are very observant... ever had one study how exactly you open their cage?

7. No matter how cute you think it is, bouncing with their crest up almost always means an impending bite... overstimulated 'toos should not be trusted, and your goal should be to be very careful and let them display, but be cautious.

8. NO COCKATOO SHOULD EVER BE TRUSTED WITH SMALL CHILDREN.

9. Teach them physical tricks and give them physical puzzles to solve. Cockatoos have an amazing talent for mechanics. I teach all our 'toosproperty) a few simple tricks... like "big bounce" which is useful to help an overly excited bird to burn some energy. I also teach "little bounce", "high five", "bang/play dead", and they like those puzzle baby toys.

10. Allow for morning and evening display screaming, and just live with it.

11. Never leave a cockatoo out of a cage unsupervised...

12. Don't clip their wings unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. I've noticed most cockatoos will shred the remaining wing feathers once they have been trimmed.

13. Make sure your cockatoo will happily entertain itself for at least 8 hours without attention.

There is so much more, but those are the basics off of the top of my head.
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:40 PM
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Re: Owning a cockatoo

First, I wish I could have a full sized too. Secondly, and more importantly how much of what you said translates to tiels?
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:07 PM
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Re: Owning a cockatoo

shreddedoak, I think you are amazing, which I've vocalized in the past, and admire you greatly... but do you really think that eight hours a day, being alone in a cage, even with toys, good food, tv, music on, is a healthy life? And if so, how?
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:13 PM
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Re: Owning a cockatoo

Truth is no. My birds don't spend that much time alone and in a standard sized cage ever (or our breeder cages are large so I don't include that as a cage). BUT... just in case, a parrot should be capable of entertaining itself for that long. In case of... life. Sick parents, house fires, babies born, etc... A parrot MUST be capable of entertaining itself; because at some point it will most likely have to.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:21 PM
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Re: Owning a cockatoo

Thank you, I appreciate your come back. I'm not sure what I was after there except maybe, for people to think twice before they take in a parrot that needs more than sub-standard.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:33 PM
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Re: Owning a cockatoo

What a informative list, thanks !
I'd like to add never let a Too on the floor. I've taken my worst bites from my U2 when he's at ground level.

Be Big,
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:34 PM
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Re: Owning a cockatoo

Thanks for the pointed question to force me to clarify
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Old 04-09-2012, 11:01 PM
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Re: Owning a cockatoo

As far as cockatiels go, the diet recommendations are the same (our cockatiels are fed the same thing as our cockatoos... the only difference is I use a food processor to make the cockatiels bites smaller. I also add a small amount of pellet and occasionally millet for the cockatiels. Petting rules pretty much apply to everyone. Cockatiels are a lot like less neurotic versions of their bigger cousins, so they enjoy small toys and small puzzles. While they are not as prone to the icky behaviors their cousins are, the great thing about cockatiels is they can be readily included in most things and are less likely to obsess over it as a cockatoo would... meaning that while the above rules apply, cockatiels are a lot more forgiving of errors. Cockatiels are very bright and love to be included just like cockatoos, and are less likely to develop the self destructive behaviors. Making it tougher to ruin a cockatiel.
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Old 04-09-2012, 11:38 PM
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Re: Owning a cockatoo

Quote: Originally Posted by Tarkus View Post
What a informative list, thanks !
I'd like to add never let a Too on the floor. I've taken my worst bites from my U2 when he's at ground level.

Be Big,
Alan
I've seen mine at his most thankful, by wanting to be picked up! I'm guessing you need to be reading your bird more closely...
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Old 04-10-2012, 01:46 AM
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Re: Owning a cockatoo

Thanks Shredded for posting all that information!!!! There's been way too many people coming on here and refuse to listen about how dangerous a Cockatoo really can be. As there's jealousy issue as well. Mine bit my arm through the cage bars today as I was too close to his cage and I was picking up my ekkies. He got mad and chomp down on my arm. Blood rushing out instantly....He don't usually do that, he has to be locked up when I have other birds out, he would try to kill them....My partner was angry at him looking at my bleeding arm and wasn't about to give him his Almond treat. I just said it's fine give it to him and then we just walked away and let him be. I have high tolerance towards animals, but not with people and children. I hope the new owners would read this and understand. Also to learn from this for future reference.
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