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Old 06-17-2019, 06:56 PM
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Cockatoo treats

Hello everyone,
I've lived almost all my life around birds and after leaving my parents house I've been missing that.
I'm getting myself a cockatoo (I have experience around cockatoos). I think I know how to handle him, and if not, you'll soon hear me looking for help :P
I've researched all round and I've never seen my parents giving cockatoos treats, what kind of treats should I give a cockatoo as a "reward", are oatmeal a good choice? I know that a regular diet should contain seeds, fruit and vegies but I never understend what people give them, for e.g in youtube videos, as a treat.
What do you give yours?
Any other tips are appreciated
Thank you very much for your help guys!
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:02 PM
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Re: Cockatoo treats

The diet should include very little seed actually.. Pellets are important, as are fruits and veg. Vegetables are more important than fruit, as too much fruit can lead to diabetes and obesity (as well as hyperactivity).
Fruit can be a good treat---bits of grapes (not whole ones), bananas etc.
Plain oatmeal can be fine in moderation---same with bits of boiled egg and certain types of seeds/nuts (but cockatoos are prone to obesity so you have to be careful).

Cockatoos are THE MOST RE-HOMED bird of all time (and they live for a long time)--among those re-homed, Umbrellas and Moluccans are at the top of the list (but all types are re-homed disproportionately to other birds). Rescues are over-flowing and they are extremely challenging birds to care for --hanging out with one is like 1/25th of owning one and being responsible for all of its daily feeding/cleaning/chewing/veterinary/social needs. If you get one, you would be wise to adopt an adult so that you don't have to worry about spoiling it etc (babies are very easy to spoil, but with an adult who has gone through puberty, you will be better able to see his/her true personality). Babies change a lot and there is such a surplus of cockatoos that need homes...Please adopt instead of shopping. There a zillions of these sad birds filling up rescues....but remember....they are surrendered frequently due to the fact that they are a poor fit for 95% of people who select them.

Many people are drawn to the fact that these birds are known for their "cuddles" but cuddles are toxic for a cockatoo. They are purely sexual and lead to all sorts of problem behaviors--- so all of these pictures of people holding them like babies and snuggling them against their chests=very bad news for the bird long-term. A cockatoo should NEVER be touched anywhere other than the head and neck---no under the wings, no back, nowhere but the head and neck....and they should also not have access to any shadowy spaces (e.g., around pillows, blankets, under furniture, in boxes, tents, huts, under clothing etc). Exposure to these types of places triggers nesting behaviors and misdirected sexuality which leads to amplified behavioral problems (and even potential health problems, such as egg-binding) in an already behaviorally-challenging bird.

There is a lot of potential for things to go very wrong with a cockatoo, so I am not sure what the extent of your experience is, but I would highly recommend volunteering at an avian rescue (long term) so that you get a taste of what they can be like in larger doses. The fact that you have never seen your parents giving one treats implies that the time spent was in short stints and that you have never been the sole care-taker... If you have to wait a few years in order to volunteer and get to a more stable place in life, a few years is a drop in the bucket compared to the 70+ years that your bird would be with you. Also, since they live forever, please consider how this may impact your life long-term (housing, noise, babies, other pets, finances etc). They are an absolute no-no for apartments.

They are completely unique from other large parrots...As much as I love mine, there is no one in my life right now (not even my best friend) who could (or would want to try to) successfully live with a cockatoo (due to the sheer amount of work it takes--you pretty much have to be insane to take it on). If you get one, think if it as marrying a perpetual 3 year-old with off-the-charts ADHD, wings, a built-in chainsaw, the volume capacity of a jet engine and a terribly fragile respiratory system...Who may or may not accept the other people in your life...Their tri-point beaks can snap a child's finger off and an aggressive or jealous cockatoo can do hospital-worthy damage to an adult.

They need consistent daily bedtimes and wake-up times; they need meal-times. They also require more sleep and out of cage time than most parrots...We are talking 4+ hours out of the cage daily --minimum (with 12-14 hours of sleep each night--for other parrot varieties, 10-12 hours is generally the necessary range, but not with cockatoos). Sleep is non-negotiable and it has to be on-schedule, as it regulates their hormones, immune health and behavior. Think about how this will work if you have a typical work schedule...Even if you get up at 4AM, that means your bird will have to go to bed at 4PM, which leaves insufficient time for interaction if you have to go to work at 7---and if you don't get off work until 6, your bird is going to be up until 6--which would result in a sleep deficit (and subsequent problems).

It is not all bad obviously, but the re-homing rate speaks volumes about what people think they can handle, compared to reality. Time and time again, people research and adopt these birds, only to find that they cannot manage any longer. I am not saying that is you, but no one ever thinks it will be them, or they wouldn't bring one home to begin with.

There are some people who will speak only about the positives, and while there are positives, the average person's experience is obviously quite the opposite or there wouldn't be a surplus of unwanted cockatoos. SO, again, if you get one, please adopt, but before you do that, please consider everything I mentioned above.

http://mtrushmorebirds.com/cockatoos...before-buying/--as you read this, remember, while cockatoos are "known for their cuddles" (and seek them out) they should not get them. Cuddles are very unhealthy for these cuddle-seekers.

Last edited by noodles123; 06-17-2019 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 06-17-2019, 08:04 PM
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Re: Cockatoo treats

Cockatoos are probably the worst birds for self-occupation. You just can't leave them alone for very long. They get self-destructive (as humans do if deprived of company). They're also very loud. I'm lucky: my yard is situated so that no one's really affected by Rosetta's bellowing except my family. But she does bellow! For half-an-hour in the mornings and another half-an-hour in the evenings we enjoy the deafening sound of ROSETTA announcing her existence. Do you live in an isolated area where that won't matter, because cockatoos simply don't work in an apartment. You might get one that doesn't bellow, but what if it starts bellowing over time? I don't know anyone who's ever stopped a cocky from screeching and it could get you kicked out of your home.

One aspect that few people mention is that cockatoos are energetic fliers in the wild. They have huge, strong wings because the wild flocks fly over massive areas in their search for food. That means a cockatoo is a flying machine: he *needs* to fly every single day to stay mentally and physically well. If I didn't allow 'Setta to fly every day, I shudder to think how crazy she'd be. With the limited distance she can fly indoors, it's not really enough and an large outdoor aviary would be better. But everyday flight is a must for my bird, so I kind of assume it would be pretty necessary for others as well. Clipping a cockatoo is, to my mind, the most needlessly cruel thing *ever* - but many are clipped because they're big and can do damage if not socialised properly. People find it's easier to take their wings off rather than do the necessary work with them.

Since you say you're 'leaving my parents' house' I would also question what your living situation will be for the next few years. Are you likely to change jobs, move house, marry, have children, get a dog/cat/girlfriend? All these things can make huge differences to a large parrot and can cause him to screech, feather-pluck or sink into depression.

LOL! It always sounds as if the cockatoo owners among us try to deter all comers, but it's not that. Everyone who gets a cockatoo is surprised by the amount of work and commitment it takes to care for one. Their needs are ongoing and, unlike the toddler with a chainsaw, they don't grow up and learn to be a bit independent of you. You *must* be available to a cockatoo every single day, just as you would to the toddler. If not, then awful behavioural issues arise and the only solution for people in work/school/love is to move the bird along.

So please think carefully before you take this massive plunge. Once you decide, let us know and we're all here to help no matter which course you take.
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Old 06-18-2019, 05:12 AM
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Re: Cockatoo treats

Please rescue a parrot in need, whether a cockatoo or another kind. You didn’t specify whether you were going to purchase a parrot or adopt one so forgive me if I sound assuming. I find it of the utmost importance to NOT fund the breeding and selling of parrots as most of them end up leading miserable lives away from all that is natural to them. A shocking number of them end up being abused, neglected, re-homed, abandoned, you name it.

I have a 40 year old rescued umbrella cockatoo. She’s not the typical umbrella cockatoo in that she doesn’t scream and is fond of peace and quiet.

We can leave her home alone BUT we also gave her a huge aviary that takes up most of the living room. This way she has a lot of room to move, play, climb and bathe by herself when we’re not home.

What kind of cockatoo do you have in mind? Given the choice, I probably would have rescued a cockatoo with a smaller beak, like a rose breasted cockatoo. My Bianca doesn’t bite either one of us anymore but in the beginning, when she didn’t fully trust us yet, she dug pretty nasty holes in my flesh.


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Old 06-18-2019, 05:23 AM
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Cockatoo treats

Whatever happens, please arm yourself with superhuman patience when dealing with a cockatoo. The first months will be hard and you will (almost undoubtedly) want to a) return your parrot b) sell them c) find a shelter and drop them off on their porch in the middle of the night d) release them and be done with them.

About three months into our new life with Bianca she became the parrot that she is now. Trusting, sweet, well behaved and patient. But through it all, we remained utterly sweet towards her. We never broke her trust. She just learnt that there was no reason to “misbehave” around us.



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Old 06-18-2019, 05:36 AM
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Re: Cockatoo treats

Oh and about treats! We make our parrot the Harrison’s bird bread. She loves it!

https://www.amazon.com/Harrisons-Bir.../dp/B0040Q5JEM


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Old 06-18-2019, 05:39 AM
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Re: Cockatoo treats

Don’t give your parrot too many seeds, they are all fat. Instead try to up their protein intake by offering boiled eggs and/or pieces of chicken or turkey. Your bird will eventually “tell you” what they like the most.


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Old 06-18-2019, 05:45 AM
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Re: Cockatoo treats

Quote: Originally Posted by sunshine.within View Post
Don’t give your parrot too many seeds, they are all fat. Instead try to up their protein intake by offering boiled eggs and/or pieces of chicken or turkey. Your bird will eventually “tell you” what they like the most.


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Do you don't want to overdo sodium either and too much protein can also be hard on them. Many chickens etc come pre-injected with sodium solution and things like lunch-meat are not a good idea.
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Old 06-18-2019, 06:16 AM
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Re: Cockatoo treats

Don’t want to hijack this thread but just wanted to ask a quick question while we’re on the topic, Since being on here (as never owning a bird before) I’ve come to realise pellets are much better than seed. I’d love to have Sunny eating pellets instead of his seed.. which he seems uninterested in lately.. But with him being ‘wild’ I doubt he’d eat it, he’s very fussy! Do you think I should try? I’ve looked in the shops and it’s quite expensive so just don’t want to waste my money. He only gets about 1/3 of a cup of seed a day and he doesn’t eat all of it anyway, so do you think it’s okay for him to stay on seed considering that he does also eat a natural diet of grass seeds and roots and shots? I of course will try pellets if it’s best for him just wondered what you guys think knowing his situation.
Also ..I’ve offered him veggies but he doesn’t seem to like much, he did eat a bit of broccoli the other day which surprised me! What veggies are usually firm favourites for our cockatoos?

Thanks in advance
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Old 06-18-2019, 06:22 AM
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Re: Cockatoo treats

Sometimes if you moisten the pellets they will take to them more readily, but you shouldn't leave them out all day because they can become a bacterial hazard. Also- since they do contain added vitamins and minerals, if you find that Sunny really likes damp pellets, don't give him too many because they can get too much in the way of vitamins if they eat a ton of it (and when wet, the pellets take up less space, so they look like less food).
There are a variety of pellet brands---some are healthier than others, but individual birds often seem to prefer one type over another. I begrudgingly feed mine Zupreem fruitblend flavor because she came to me as a seed addict and that was the only one she showed any interest in, but there are many mixes that are way healthier (Zupreem has some junk in it that I would rather not feed her). Since he may be eating some seed, I would continue to provide him with a mix of pellets and seed---don't switch cold-turkey. Sometimes it is a matter of repeat exposure and time-- since yours is wild, he may be less picky (again, mine came to me after having eaten lots of unhealthy things).

Harrison's is probably the most highly recommended pellet. RowdyBush is another..There are others as well. Zupreem does sell a "natural" variety without all of the added sugar and colors but I don't know much about it.

My cockatoo likes spinach but in moderation (I don't give her a ton of it---a few leaves here and there-It binds with calcium, so you son't want to overdo it)...She isn't a huge veg eater (despite my attempts).

Last edited by noodles123; 06-18-2019 at 06:49 AM.
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