Cockatoos and kids


New member
Dec 6, 2014
I recently adopted a 4 year old cockatoo. Recently meaning yesterday. I have some experience with them as I am a pet sitter but without doubt have a ton to learn. The person that I got her from is a client of mine. Molly (the bird) has always been very sweet to me when I was caring for her. Her owners husband has cancer and they needed to re-home her. According to them she was very abused when she was a baby and they nursed her back to health. It has always been my knowledge that cockatoos don't do very well in homes with children but because she swore to me that her grandchildren are around her all of the time and she has never had any problems I believed her. Well... Within 24 hours Molly has bitten my son 2x and me once (because I was blocking her from biting my daughter). My children are accustomed to being around new animals and know the 'rules'. They are not aggressive or rambunctious at all. As a matter of fact the 2 times she but my son she was sitting on me and flew over to bite him. Same situation with my daughter. My question is: is it possible for me to train her not to bite or avoid it in someway. I don't want to give up on her and I'm definitely committed to giving her a forever home. I just can't have my kids being bitten all of the time. I know overstimulation may be an issue but when she bit my son he was literally sitting on the couch and not saying a word or even moving! I was thinking maybe a 'schedule' of letting her stay out when they are at school from 8-6 (I'm at home) but I'm afraid leaving her in a cage from 6/7 until the next morning will cause her to feel neglected. I'd really appreciate any advice! Please don't 'bash' me. I'm simply trying to provide a safe home for Molly and my family!
My kids are 8 and 4. The 8 year old is who was bitten. Could this just be an adjustment period? Also... She has done great with me alone. Lots of kisses and cuddles. She might give me a warning nip if I'm rubbing her where she doesn't like or something of that sort but not anything out of the ordinary.
Thanks again!


New member
Nov 24, 2010
Nanday, suns, parrotlet, Patagonian
While I've not had any 'toos, a couple of things are going on here...Molly knows you, but not your children.

Though you are there, your house may not be a comfort zone for Molly & any biting of your children may be that Molly is trying to protect you from them and as the assumed flock leader, you are the one who is going to have to show your displeasure with anything she does toward them...and although you have experience with Molly, I might be inclined to treat her as a true re-home.....essentially a new bird and only allowing your children's interaction on that basis.....

Good luck.....


Supporting Member
Aug 21, 2010
San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
What variety of cockatoo is Molly? While they share many behaviors, some species seem to do better with children. It should be possible to modify Molly's behavior and environment to balance her freedom with the safety of your kids.

Some of what you describe is "testing" and she likely views you as the "alpha" if not her "mate" with the kids as interlopers.

No bashing; you are trying to strike the perfect balance of being a good parent and "parront!"
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