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Old 08-06-2017, 03:16 AM
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Charlie a re-home with a few annoying quirks...

Hi everyone!

This isn't our first rodeo, but this will be my first cockatoo. My mum and grandparents used to have a different galah & corella, but I don't really consider them, or our other old birds, real cockatoo experience on my behalf.


Meet Charlie.



Everyone was calling Charlie "him" because it doesn't really matter, but ~she?~ does have red irises. Its not blatantly obvious though... (I mean I've seen some that have full-on demon eyes lol) She's at least ten years old, possibly older. That's how long her previous owners had her, and we don't really know what happened before that.

She's also very defensive of the cage which makes me more sure shes a girl; even the new unfamiliar one that she's in when shes inside (she came with a small outside aviary).


Charlie has been eating pellets plus whatever fruit/veggie extras (and I want to add sprouts to that. -Even though by my understanding she can take more seed than my previous bird, an eclectus, if i plan on clipping her I don't want to make her fat (?)-. She was previously kept clipped most of the time, but is currently fully flighted. I know this is a -thing- but I am seriously considering clipping her at least until shes more used to our house and us. Because while she is completely content on your shoulder and you can actually carry her out the door and between cages, I don't trust her. Since she has been previously clipped I don't expect she will overreact to it.


Charlie is very vocal, and while a lot of it is goopy unintelligible baby talk she says hello charlie, dances, waves, taps with you on beat, calls for a dog, imitates a squeaky toy, kisses and asks for scratches etc. There are longer sentences that I cant make out, and some things shes only said once to others but I wasn't there to hear it.

I'm not sure if she properly knows how to step up, but since shes so eager for cuddles this isn't a problem. Getting her back in the cage afterwards, without exposing one of your hands from within your sleeves is the problem haha


Charlie is very loving. So loving it is kind of scary (Cockatoo I guess ). She always wants to be on you right up in your face. I have had to lose all my piercings XD.

What makes this mostly scary is that she has some kind of vendetta against hands (and apparently this extends to bare feet too). Unless you approach her just-so and get in for head scratches which are apparently allowed, she goes in for the kill when it comes to fingers and hands. -Even when they were nowhere near her, and you didn't threaten her, she will move towards them and THEN decide they are too close :P

After shes gotten you good once or twice noone really wants her near their face. (even though we have always said that big birds have no place there anyway, shes already set on her cuddles).



Basically it seems to me that she was/is a very tame loving bird who really wants her humans, but who also has been outside in an aviary with social contact, but not much physical training for so long that shes only halfway there at the moment. She definitely has so much potential though <3


Does anyone have any suggestions about how to deal with the hand thing? I mean we can target train her and give treats in a bowl on a stick, but I feel like that's just dealing with/avoiding the issue, not addressing it.

Last edited by Oedipussrex; 08-06-2017 at 03:23 AM.
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Old 08-06-2017, 03:46 AM
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Re: Charlie a re-home with a few annoying quirks...

Hi! Welcome! What a cool wee Galah - I so hear you on the snuggles thing - I'm used to a rather independent birds and then boarded mums for six months or so...by golly he was stuck to the knee the minute I sat down.

Interesting with the hands...will he currently take treats from them? When he's stepping up for loves, is it on the hand, or on the arm?
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Old 08-06-2017, 04:08 AM
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Re: Charlie a re-home with a few annoying quirks...

Haha, she arrived at our house while I was out, and while I was stopped at the door with a "TAKE ALL YOUR PIERCINGS OUT" they forgot to warn me about the hand thing.

She immediately latched on and hung off of my thumb when i tried to give a "hello I swear I'm a cool person" walnut (like a whole piece that extended way past my fingers, not just a small bit). Unless its a rather large seed-cracker (some weirdo healthy thing my mum eats, I'm sure its safe) passed through the bars so she cant reach your hands, she doesn't take things without lunging at you.

...changing her bowls is a funny dance depending on where she is in the cage. I'm pretty sure they were previously just funneling fresh stuff through the bars to avoid it.

She steps up onto your forearm and immediately tries to climb higher. If you have made a fist you can usually avoid getting attacked like that. But now that it is obvious it's a hand thing, and her claws are sharp anyway, I just wear long sleeves and pull them down.
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Old 08-06-2017, 05:24 AM
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Re: Charlie a re-home with a few annoying quirks...

Hi, my AV calls Plum her LOL.

Use time outs to deter her bad behaviour. RB2's love to be in control btw, let that happen at your peril. Have a go with stick/perch training and then if that goes OK progress to stick to hand and back. Plum is straight up my arm to my shoulder but he is good on the whole. He will react to a sharp toned 'behave' from me also. Charlie needs to earn her shoulder privileges. A Towel or similar draped around you shoulders can be an extra deterrent, that takes up the space she wants to occupy. If she is really biting bad then use it to remove her as you do not need cosmetic surgery to be a part of your future. If Plum misbehaves he is put back in his cage, he has got that he doesnt really like being in the bad books as will tell me he has "been a good boy" at bed time on a naughty day, doesnt like it if I say no and will ask again LOL.

Try when they are most mellow, evening, especially after some exercise. Take her to a sofa/chair and place her on the arm and then head scritch, retrieve her from shoulder and place back in this position. On shoulder, near your face = no head scritches and/or return to cage. Don't forget to take treats also for reinforcing good behaviour. Remember to not reward her bad behaviour.

An outside perch on her cage and a playstand can be a godsend to allow her to come out under her own steam. Take that chance to do little jobs in her cage, she will watch like a hawk but hope will get used to it. Please don't clip her, trying to keep a RB2 trim and healthy is difficult, allow her some fly time. Use a carrier to be safe.

I am a holiday mum to another younger RB2 who was a little devil re the bowls in his cage, it was a good game to nail your hand. So, I used a pair of folded oven gloves as a barrier between his beak and my hand. He got bored of it and doesnt bother with me now. He is cage territorial with his Mum but not me, go figure that one.

I had flying head attacks in the early days from Plum which was really upsetting and I needed to give myself a good talking to before getting on top of it. As soon as they get comfortable they then want to 'rule', never a good idea. Be firm and fair and it will get better and remember to not show any fear. These are very clever little boogers btw.

Diet, if she is eating pellets then seeds for treats only IMO. Veggies, pellets, fruit, treats. Yes to sprouts, they love them.

Oh you'll love this, it is a good idea to weigh them at least weekly at the same time, good luck LOL.
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Old 08-06-2017, 11:03 AM
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Re: Charlie a re-home with a few annoying quirks...

Love Charlie's mischievous face!

Not familiar with Galahs, so will let others ably share stories and specific advice. Shoulder and kissy-face privileges are earned, but so rewarding. Just be careful with the piercings; it may be all but impossible to cure Charlie's curiosity and "need" to check them out!!
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:49 AM
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Talking Re: Charlie a re-home with a few annoying quirks...

Hi Everyone

I wanted to post an update here because it struck me the other day when Charlie stepped onto my *uncovered* hand and then back into the cage with no fuss how amazing it really is.

Charlie a re-home with a few annoying quirks...-49686361_332199444298627_5688143369860022272_n.jpg
Also this picture is super cute <3 Look at him ON MY HAND

It has been so gradual I hardly noticed, but He's actually come so far since we got him (Her? lol we haven't gotten a test done yet).

We still wear hats or hoodies when hes out (just in case), But he doesn't attack (for no reason) anymore.

I am able to have him out and on my shoulder with my piercings in again now. He doesn't even preen them. they get completely left alone.

He obviously still does the contact call when we go out, but its not non-stop anymore (according to our neighbour anyway), and he doesn't do it when we simply go into a different room which was the worst. He has learned the difference between "one minute", "goodbye", and "goodnight" which I think helped a lot with this.

Instead he knows his talking voice will get him the most attention so if anyone starts eating anywhere near him he starts performing in the hopes of getting some of whatever it is, and hes more likely to say "hello" or "peekaboo" to get attention rather than screaming.

He loves "cuddles" in the polyester blanket that we use to cover part of his cage so that became a good way of sitting with him, or having to grab him and put him back in the cage or travel cage. It also allowed us to handle him without having to worry about the ~hand thing~ because they were always hidden in the blanket.
It also let us control where he sat while he was out, and since we had an easy way of getting him back we could go straight back to the cage if he got nasty to make a point. Now (he still prefers the shoulder) but I can sit with him in my lap where I don't have to watch out for my face as much.

Since he basically comes out as soon as you open the door I didn't really push the cage boundary, but he lets us clean it and change his toys easily enough now - apart from trying to get out every time XD.

I'm pretty sure his last owners had small children and dogs so he still thinks surprise finger attacks if you linger at the bars too long is hilarious, (idk how to describe it but it doesn't feel aggressive anymore, I think he just liked making them squeal haha) but since his food bowls are accessible from the outside and there are areas to hold the cage without putting your fingers within range its not an issue.

He learned "get off" partly from needing him to step off the food bowls before we could take them out, and partly from us face-planting into the couch to tip him off our heads when he was flying at us , and now he can use it in almost any context, including going back into the cage.

I taught him to wave through the cage bars because it was something we could do without losing our fingers lol.

He learned "come on" from us talking to the dog, but he actually does know the context for it as well which is awesome.

We also taught him "woo hoo" which you say excitedly and then put your wings/arms up suddenly, like a star jump. This was actually one of the best accidents! Because it is a sudden and startling movement. If something frightened him or made him jump and we wanted to make it not-scary, we would pretend that we interpreted his move as a woohoo, and do it back at him, and then he would do it too, and then the scary thing was okay.

Where has the last 17 months gone?!
Honestly I nearly forgot we initially couldn't give him food with our bare hands.
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Old 01-09-2019, 12:17 AM
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Re: Charlie a re-home with a few annoying quirks...

Welcome back, and congratulations! Whatever you've done seems very successful!

Wanted to bring forth an issue from your earlier post about seeds. While a galah is more tolerant of seeds than eclectus, they are susceptible to fatty-liver disease aka FLD. Please carefully check the polyester cage cover for potential chewing. Parrots can ingest thin fibers leading to severe illness or worse!
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Old 01-09-2019, 01:09 AM
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Re: Charlie a re-home with a few annoying quirks...

Yes, I agree with what Scott said about fatty liver disease. We lost our thirty-five-year-old galah this year to cancer which evolved from lipomas (fatty tumours) on his belly and vent. Our local vet had always told us the tumours were 'insignificant' and not to worry about them. Only recently, we found a vet who has a particular interest in birds and *he* told us he could have removed the lipomas earlier and probably prevented Dommie's death.

I'd love to know how you calmed your bird down enough to be able to actually speak to him! My corella is like the arrow that flieth in the dark! We've made some small progress since she arrived, so she no longer flies in my face or races to my shoulder, but beyond that, she's so fast, it's hard to even catch her attention. Target training has helped a LOT, but I'd like to move onto other skills. I guess she'll let me know when she's ready to do that.

It's lovely to hear you're enjoying your Charlie and able to play with him now. You might want to check out our trick-training section for tips on teaching various tricks. I used to think trick-training was silly, but I have to say it's clear my birds get enormous enjoyment from the need to concentrate and the pleasure of earning treats. I especially think cockatoos benefit a lot from trick-training: it gives their brilliant minds something to think about.

I taught Dominic to 'wave' and to 'play ball' in his thirtieth year. It was one thing I could do with him without being bitten mercilessly and I treasured those moments. Galahs are truly a beautiful companion bird as you know from sharing your heart with Charlie.
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Old 01-09-2019, 05:33 AM
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Re: Charlie a re-home with a few annoying quirks...

Cute picture! Make sure you are sticking to petting on the head. Cuddles mean sex in most cases..even though they are adorable.
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Old 01-11-2019, 04:18 PM
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Re: Charlie a re-home with a few annoying quirks...

First thing to curb the bites is to keep her off your shoulder for now as she has to learn that a privilege and your the one in control. The only time she sure be allow on your shoulder is when she get to the point when you still her to step down and she listen, plus you have to learn her behavior issues and temperament. If she aggressive she may one day bite your ear, or eye, be very careful, if she try to run up you arm raise you arm above you. Then since you stated she has cage aggression. Get her away from cage while training her and get a training stand, they become way less aggressive when away from what they consider safe spot. You could also if space is limited use a outside perch on her cage and a playstand. I would also use stick/perch training till you can get her to step up regular without her biting your hand. Make sure you reward her when she step up on stick and eventually hand, or arm. Put treat in hand and let her grab it from you hand slowly, so she see hand as a positive thing. Never raise hand quick above her and go slowly. When she bites don't panic and put her down and walk away for a couple minutes to a few minutes. If she biting because she want you to go away and don't and keep trying. The bird will learn biting is not effective in getting what they want and usually gets it a few times. Time outs is a very effective tool to curb biting behavior. It will take time don't get discourage keep trying, she come around. Head scratches are fine, just don't pet under wings, or towards bottom as consider foreplay for them, usually sign of that is they will lift wing up.

I done this with 100's of rescues and some it quick, some take months to work out behaviors issues and fully bond to you. Trick-training is a good way for a Cockatoo to bond to you and they love learning new tricks. I would even flight train her, but you have to get her to step up reliably first as part of training till you can have her jump to you on command, but you have to find her favorite treat, or what she can't resist.

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