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HannahNicole

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I'm a total newbie and have joined to gather up all the information. I have no parrots and can't get one(s) until I'm 18 because my mom is allergic to birds. Ill be 14 in 2 months so it will be about 4 years lol. I want to get a umbrella cockatoo. I absolutely love how they look, that they can learn to talk, and have heard there quite sassy. I also like cockatiels, I've Sean them sing different song tunes, I especially think its adorable when they sing the Adams family song lol. In 4 years I will get them from a rescue in the twin cities or something. But I don't know anything about birds, I will be reading forums to gather up information lol. I have already decided to build a tiny house as I don't want to pay rent, so I will be able to custom make my house to sute the birds.:white1::grey::whiteblue::yellow1::yellow2::rolleyes:
 

saxguy64

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Welcome to the forums! Glad you found us. Good on you for doing your research way in advance. The cute YouTube videos are only a small part of the whole picture of life with parrots. You'll soon learn much more of the story as you continue your quest for knowledge. Likely you'll get information you don't want to hear about the level of commitment of time, patience, and finances, among other things, but the brutal truth is a good thing, and necessary.

Enjoy, look around, and don't be afraid to ask questions. That's what we're here for! :)
 

Scott

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Welcome Hannah, deep respect for admirable goals and vision. Now is the time to begin researching and learning all you can about feathered companions.

Though you cannot yet have a bird, are local rescues or sanctuaries available to begin working with parrots?
 
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HannahNicole

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I'm in bemidji Minnesota. I think the only rescue in bemidji is great river rescue and I think they only do cats and dogs but I will check into it.
 
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HannahNicole

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There is also a humane society. I assume they don't do birds though. My mom isn't exited about the idea of volunteering if they do have birds because I'm really allergic to cats and dogs. I've been around quail, turkeys, chickens, ducks, maskovies, geese as i live on a farm so I'm definitely should be good with these. I've also been at my friends house. She and her sister have canaries.
 

Laurasea

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Welcome to the forum! I have loved animals and birds since I was tiny, and dedicated my life to working with them. I read everything I could. That was pretty internet times...

Cockatoos require more attention than most, and dont do well left alone all day when you start working. But I will defer to the Cockatoos owners we have. And this is not to sway your dream, just something to plan on.
 

noodles123

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Hello and welcome!
This forum is a super helpful and awesome place!

I would STRONGLY advise that you wait to get any parrot at all until you are out of college and settled with a steady career (and not in an apartment-- especially with an Umbrella). Some people make smaller parrots work in apartments, but there are so many other factors to consider. They can be amazing and hilarious companions, but when I say they are more work than a human toddler and more high-strung/crazy, that would be an understatement. Take time to research and also read all about U2s -- they are the most re-homed parrot species of all, so as much as I love them, I would say that for many people, they make poor pets...Plus, they are very expensive long-term and they place severe restrictions on your cook-ware, home products/ cleaners, candles, perfumes etc. Not to mention the complications of traveling with one or never really sleeping in again lol. They need way more conscious time/effort and patience than any other pet I can think of (dogs/cats= nothing at all like birds). "Quite sassy" is to a U2, as a rainstorm is to a tsunami lol (and probably like 50% of the time, not in a fun way, bc they are STUBBORN and motivated)....A U2, which is often somewhat like a "tsunami" can easily send you to the ER and break fingers if conditions are favorable...but you can't run from this "tsunami" (my bird has never broken a finger, but they have a brutal, brutal bite). There is nothing like a parrot bite to make someone nervous for a long, long time..and U2s are not an easy read until you have spent a lot of time with them (because they use the same types of posturing for opposite emotions in many cases, and can appear very "hot and cold/ yes then no" to many people. Again, this is also why volunteer experience etc etc is suuuuper important.

If, at 18, you wouldn't be able to handle a child with extreme energy and special needs (without parental support), wait until you can because U2s are very very needy and sensitive, and it will all fall on your shoulders. There are lots of tic-toc and youtube videos of them that are super cute (and they are) but its important to remember that they don't go through puberty and reach adult personality until they are between 6 and 8, and a lot of the birds in videos are not that old (hence, baby personalities). They can still be cute and sweet but there is a lot to learn about their hormones and how "cuddles" make things complicated in an adult..Their personalities change at adulthood (just like you aren't the same as when you were 1 or 2, and never will be again).

Volunteer at as many shelters as you can (long-term) so that you gain that experience and get accustomed to the mess/routine requirements/bed times/screaming etc.

Just read, read, read for as many years as you can, and get as much experience as you can. Even parakeets are as smart as larger parrots, but having a bird for the first time is super tricky, let alone one with a larger beak, and a U2 at that.. U2's are also the most allergy inducing bird out there (other than m2s) and they can scream as loud as a jet engine up close (that is not hyperbole), so do think about holidays and visits with an allergic mother with the extreme level of dust and attention/noise. When I tell you they produce A TON of fine, oily, powder that gets into everything, it's a fact..and they can live over 80 years.
 
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HannahNicole

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So, are cockatoos not great for smaller houses? I am trying to learn as much as possible before getting one and am aware they are "sassy" or "monstrous" at times. I am not going to collage and am lerning a trade instead. My parents own a business so I will probably be a secretary there. I am getting a job this year at my local green house. I am OK with expenses of owning a bird. I have spent like probably around $2000 on my pets since I was 9. I have a 40 gallon live planted freshwater community aquarium, a 10 gallon betta aquarium, a leopard gecko, and a 3 gallon betta aquarium. I am very dedicated to my animals. Could my possible future cockatoo go to work with me if my employer allowed? I have heard they need TONS of attention. I want to have a " tiny home" around 9' wide 25' long and 14'-15' high. I could custom make it for the bird. Is it not ok to be in that space? I wouldn't want to get a bird if it would stress it out in anyway or not right conditions or anything like that. Just planning in advance here lol! Oh, and I am very sensitive to smells as well as my leopard gecko so no candles, oils, perfume, smoke, scented detergent etc.
 
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HannahNicole

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When I'm 18 I will go up and stay in the twin city's and volunteer for the summer. My aunt and uncle would be happy to have me.
 

noodles123

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Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
When I'm 18 I will go up and stay in the twin city's and volunteer for the summer. My aunt and uncle would be happy to have me.


I want you to stay on this forum, because, everyone (whether old or new to parrots) 500% needs this resource as a forum, that goes for all of use (old or new). I'm going to be real with you, despite your age----please know that you cannot know what you do not know until it is too late for you to admit that you didn't know what you needed. I am not bluffing when I tell you how tragic the pet trade has been for U2s--- no one who gets one initially wants to contribute more to these birds as statistics, yet people do so daily.,,over and over. While they cost about $2000-$3000 a pop, excluding cage, vets, toys etc, they are overflowing rescues...and they are so much more work than you know, having never "owned" a large parrot, let alone a U2.

You may think that this stuff above doesn't apply because you will try harder etc, but I want you to REALLY think about if you could be the mother to an unpredictable toddler who is louder than a jet engine, can fly, self-mutilates when upset and can send people to the hospital for 80+ years. It is very very serious, because they NEVER grow up, and so they need a high level of toddler level attention and supervision forever. Believe me, just because you are old, doesn't mean you won't want to go out to a movie or for drinks after work, or stay over at a friends', but with a parrot like a U2, that ALL is going to depend upon their schedule.

I love your enthusiasm, but you REALLY need to pour your soul into this if you want it, and do not think of it as a pet. It is like having a mind-numbingly loud child, with serious environmental allergies, who is also on the autism spectrum...The re-homing rates are devastating and most are in their 4th home by their 3rd-5th year, which is insane, as that is before they even hit puberty and have real behavioral problems. You are talking about choosing between your mom and a parrot that needs the same commitment- this is serious for them, as they will self-mutilate, scream, bite etc if their needs are not met or if they feel stressed.

I think you are completely underestimating the sensitivity and life expectancy of a U2. 1 Summer is also not enough to just adopt a u2 without experience (even with lifetime parrot experience, that is not the same/comparable to U2 experience)-- they live for so long that they take their sweet time-- at 3 months in, if you are dealing with a young one, you will be in love. If they are 6-8+ you won't even have hit the tip of the iceberg in terms of their personality....It can take well over a year to know an adult. 1. a new setting can really upset them. 2. new people can excite or upset or cause aggression/hormones...3. A summer is not the rest of your life. This parrot (U2) should live with your forever. Imagine that. I think you need to research parrots a lot more because comparing a parrot to a summer is like comparing a serious marriage to a weekend.

I have a U2 who is "the best" my avian vet has ever met...and she took 3 months to step up (already knew how) and drew blood many times within the first 3 years off and on--- no joke...I literally have my degree in what I used for training-- and you can't keep them caged if you are scared you can't get them back in, but toweling is also not an option unless medically necessary.

Don't get your heart set on a U2 (or any long-lived parrot) unless you are 500% certain (which you cannot be at this point, nor can any settled 1st-time parrot owner--- let alone for a U2) This can't just run on hopes and dreams, but solid money and resources. They are too amazing to keep getting shuffled around, which is what happens to over 75%...it harms them when things aren't stable and when they get bounced around. You need knowledge, first-hand experience, money , and the routine/work-schedule to devote all of your free-time to a u2...I mean scheduling your life around this bird more than you would a kid in many cases.
 
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noodles123

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Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
They need a lot of attention but you cant give them all they want of they will be overly dependent and sexually attached and destroy themselves..It's about setting boundaries and meeting ALL of their needs (which are still extreme by human standards).

Please don't get a cockatoo in a tiny house. 1...that is unhealthy for both or you....It's not about just appeasing them and keeping them quiet-- it's about striking balance in a world that is so very artificial to their way of life (and again, giving them all that they want is not how you do that).
2. It will make your bird more obsessed with you to the point where if you are out of sight, it loses it's mind (over-dependence on proximity etc). 3. It is so bad for the air. 4. Not enough stimulation....I could go on....

Go stand by a legitimate jet engine and put your ear by it as it takes off..there have been decibel comparisons and they are as loud.


I would have been much like you, in terms of thinking I had a plan etc (only I grew up around parrots, volunteered, worked for a rescue and was still unprepared in many ways for my U2)., Until you have worked 40 hours a week consistently at an adult/preferably salaried job and cared for yourself/bills/rent/vet bills/a very needy creature...who can seriously hurt you and others and itself, just slow down..Your plan would not work for a U2--if anything, he/she might get obsessed with your aunt and uncle and then freak out when you have to leave etc.

U2s must have 12-14 hours of sleep nightly. When they need at least 4 hours out each day on a schedule, that does not mesh with most human schedules...because you don't get a break... 12 hours on a schedule, like a baby..with lots of play time daily-- hungover, sick? too bad...Your mom won't be able to help either, because even if she weren't allergic, the bird could still hate her (or even you, for that matter, as they pick who they pick but also often shift preferences at adulthood).
 
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HannahNicole

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Laurasea that was a great article. I read the hole thing and saved it. Just wanted to thank everyone for there advice so far.
 
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HannahNicole

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Yes. I will admit they are more of a "handful" then I thought. I think I will lay of a cockatoo because it appears I will not be able to give it the full life it needs. I will still stay on the forum anyhow. Thanks! Is there a smaller less challenging bird that would fit my situation? If not I don't want to put a bird in a bad position and environment just because I want one and think its cute. That would be terribly selfish.
 
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noodles123

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Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
Yes. I will admit they are more of a "handful" then I thought. I think I will lay of a cockatoo because it appears I will not be able to give it the full life it needs. I will still stay on the forum anyhow. Thanks! Is there a smaller less challenging bird that would fit my situation? If not I don't want to put a bird in a bad position and involvement just because I want one and think its cute. That would be terribly selfish.


Sorry if I come off strong- I am soo glad that you want to stick around etc-- WE ALL have learned so much here collectively. I would say, first: start by researching the basics as far as safety-- chemicals etc-- that is huge for all...make sure you have a stable income and routine (sounds silly, but that is the foundation for all).



Given the fact that your mom is allergic, I'd look at more hypoallergenic species, volunteer as much as you can, adopt, and just keep reading.



Again- you can eventually get a U2- they are a hilarious, crazy, mess-- BUT, just do not think of him/her as a pet at all..or even a human, for that matter.




I am also not saying you can never get a U2- BUT, if you do (remembering the stats), I'd still strongly recommend working with them specifically and making sure that you have experience with adult u2s (hormones etc)




Your maturity in even coming here is huge!!!
 
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Scott

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RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
So, are cockatoos not great for smaller houses? I am trying to learn as much as possible before getting one and am aware they are "sassy" or "monstrous" at times. I am not going to collage and am lerning a trade instead. My parents own a business so I will probably be a secretary there. I am getting a job this year at my local green house. I am OK with expenses of owning a bird. I have spent like probably around $2000 on my pets since I was 9. I have a 40 gallon live planted freshwater community aquarium, a 10 gallon betta aquarium, a leopard gecko, and a 3 gallon betta aquarium. I am very dedicated to my animals. Could my possible future cockatoo go to work with me if my employer allowed? I have heard they need TONS of attention. I want to have a " tiny home" around 9' wide 25' long and 14'-15' high. I could custom make it for the bird. Is it not ok to be in that space? I wouldn't want to get a bird if it would stress it out in anyway or not right conditions or anything like that. Just planning in advance here lol! Oh, and I am very sensitive to smells as well as my leopard gecko so no candles, oils, perfume, smoke, scented detergent etc.

Small houses are awesome and for many an ideal solution to costly housing! I really like the fact they are highly "vertical" and have far more living space than imagined. No reason you could not have a good sized bird in one provided you modify to ensure enough sleep and safety in the kitchen. Today's tech allows you to watch TV or music via headphones and not disturb your feathered companion. In may ways small houses are ideal for cockatoos - assuming you incorporate the bird into your lifestyle. Quite a few businesses have parrots in back offices or lobby areas. If your employer allowed, that'd be awesome.
 

Jen5200

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Welcome to you! This is a great place to learn, and it’s great that you are starting early. You’ll hear the things you want to know, and some things you probably didn’t want to know about living with birds - but knowing will help you make the best decisions for you and your future bird companion. I think a tiny home, particularly one designed with birds in mind, would be just fine for you and a companion. It will allow you a lot of freedom to personalize your design to fit your lifestyle. I have chickens and turkeys myself, and love having them - it’s what made me look into finding an indoor avian pet :).

I’ll share my experience with learning about birds and will say up front that I started out thinking that I wanted a large parrot. I have since realized that I am actually much more compatible with small and medium size parrots and am glad that I realized it before I got my first bird. My first birds were conures and we suit each other quite well (well enough that several more have followed me home in the last few years). I have volunteered at a parrot rescue weekly (or more) for a few years now, and will tell you that we normally have up to around 100 cockatoos all the time. Our oldest too passed away this year at the age of 76, his girlfriend who is 74 is still with us. We have several that have outlived their people, and many with medical and behavioural issues. They are not a companion that fits into many peoples’ lifestyle and it can be very hard on them to be handed around to various people. If you know what to expect, and are committed to it - it can work out beautifully though. They are truly lovable companions, sweet and funny - but they are also sometimes like a two year old on a sugar high that can bite like a shark. Don’t get me wrong - all bird species require a commitment, specialized care and can bite and have behavioural issues. But from what i see in the rescue I’m at - ‘toos are given up at a much higher rate and come in with more severe issues.

I love that you are looking into it so far in advance of getting a bird, and I hope that you stick around and learn lots. A rescue/sanctuary is a great way to learn about parrots (there are both differences and similarities to other avians like chickens/ducks) and see how you connect with different species. Lots of people here to answer questions if you ask, and we’re a pretty friendly bunch :)
 

noodles123

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Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
For a large parrot, I'd prep for around $3000-$6000 upfront (cage, bird, food-assuming you adopt and don't buy from a breeder) and then make sure you have roughly $1000 a year for toys, vet, food . air purifiers etc. A veterinary visit with blood work etc can easily hit $500 in one pop. They need to go to the vet yearly and generally, they will have something odd go wrong w/in the course of a year (even if its just something silly). Blood-work should be done at least every 3.
It's not definite, but if a large parrot lives 80 years, I'd plan on 80k over time. Even if you don't spend it all, they hide illness and can get very sick very fast, so it's really important to stay on top of illness with them. If something goes wrong, you will be so attached that having savings makes sense- you don't want to be in a position where you have to skimp on the cage, toy replacements, food, emergency care etc. If you have any freedom in terms of were you live, find a place with an avian certified vet (if possible). Exotics vets will see birds and they are usually better than nothing, but they do not have the same credentials/training as true avian vets. I wish mine were closer to me, because 45 minutes is a lot in an emergency.


The reason I said no tiny house with a u2-- 1. I was thinking of a tiny house like-- a true tiny house....and if they (u2s) see you constantly, they will really struggle if they cannot all of the sudden at someone else's house etc. They love being near you/around all the time (and they should have a lot of time with you), but they are super needy and finding the balance between over-attending, while meeting their extensive needs can be tricky. They need to be alone from time-to-time because of the possibility that their life may not always be with you in a tiny house (so you have to make sure they have the ability to make it in another environment without losing it because they feel alone). Without a bird room for sleeping etc, it's also very hard to get a u2 to sleep properly at night. Against logic and my own advice, there was a time when Noodles and I lived in an apartment (suckaz!!! lol- landlord would have def said no had he known anything about parrots ha) Anyway-- it was super hard to keep the air clean in such a small space (given the amount of dust) and it made transitioning to larger spaces more difficult because for over a year, she could pretty much always see me. PS- Do not live in an apartment with a U2. Also, it's hard for a bird that size to sly safely in a small space, and that is important for their development etc. A small house will make it easier to placate your bird, but it makes it harder to establish boundaries and sleep routines (plus, the dust is hard to control). Living in a small house with a U2 is easier in some respects, but it doesn't translate well to life in most other homes.


I live in a smaller house, but if I were getting a large parrot, I'd plan to get a house with a spare room that he/she can sleep in. Having a room for sleep is helpful and birds' cages are kind of massive and ugly. Like I said, Noodles didn't always have her own room, but if I could do it all over, I would start off this way. She doesn't stay in there when I am home and she is awake, but she has serious FOMO and a sleep room helps her tune out a bit (don't get me wrong, she still thinks she needs to be part of every zoom call)


I live in an old home and having so many doors also makes life with a parrot easier (in terms of noise, safety etc). You know how a lot of old houses have doors between rooms? Huge perk for sleeping etc.



Play perches/play-stands are another really important investment for any parrot person.
 
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