My Red Breasted Cockatoo (RBC)

Rolly

New member
Aug 1, 2021
6
7
Hi Everyone,

I have a RBC that is a little over 1 year old. When I first got him, his wings were clipped and couldn't fly. Now he does and I have to watch him like a hawk! He wants to chew on everything in site and fly everywhere and even on the stove when there is food cooking. So many times we have to put him back in his cage for safety. Not even going to bring up pooping everyone but that is really the least of my concerns. It is all the chewing like furniture, mail, appliances, kitchen cabinets, chairs, blinds, curtain rods, and even dangerous things like electrical cords. I try to redirect and give him toys instead but it only works for a minute or so then he is back to the kitchen cabinets or something else. :-(

Can anyone tell me if this is a phase because he is young? Anything I can do so he doesn't act like a chew-a-holic? I feel so envious when I read posts that people have open cages and let their bird go in and out as they please (even when they are not home)! If I did that, I would find either a destroyed home or a dead bird.

What I currently do is "bird proof" our master bedroom and take him out of his cage after dinner where my wife and I watch TV for a few hours and then put him to bed in his cage. So he is out from 6/7pm to 10/11pm. Even bird proofed, I still have to watch him to make sure he doesn't get into any trouble.

Any suggestions on what I can do to help him not chew everything in site? I don't want to clip his wings because I feel bad about that (like I am taking something away from him). I wish I could just let him free fly the house without me having to worry about stuff being destroyed or him hurting himself (like eating electrical wires, flying into windows or getting too close to pot of boiling water!)

The whole family adores this tiny terrorist but we would like to make the situation better and safer. We actually call him the little F'er but it an endearing way.

Any advice out there?

Rolly,
 

Scott

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Aug 21, 2010
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RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
I suspect your RBC's behavior is less age related, a function of freedom, personality, and natural behaviors. Deeply respect your desire for fully flighted bird, perhaps the best you can do is restrict access to bird-proof primary bedroom when out of cage. Unless very closely supervised!
 
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Rolly

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Aug 1, 2021
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I suspect your RBC's behavior is less age related, a function of freedom, personality, and natural behaviors. Deeply respect your desire for fully flighted bird, perhaps the best you can do is restrict access to bird-proof primary bedroom when out of cage. Unless very closely supervised!
Thank you for your feedback. I was hoping that maybe as he grows older, some of these impulses he has may slow down a little.
 

Scott

Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
Aug 21, 2010
31,666
4,513
San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Parrots
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.
Thank you for your feedback. I was hoping that maybe as he grows older, some of these impulses he has may slow down a little.
Age, particularly onset of puberty brings many changes. A few years to go for that saga! Impulse can moderate over time and with positive conditioning.
 

Skarila

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Apr 19, 2021
544
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āœ»Csillam the rescued budgie
āœ»Pascal the Emma's (Venezuelan) Conure

Previous owned:
āœ»Archibald the cockatiel (fostered 6 months)
āœ»RIP - 28 YO Zeleni the mischievous IRN
āœ»RIP -Sunny the budgie
I guess there's no cure for their impulse for chewing things that they really shouldn't chew.

My partner has a senegal who just loooooves to chew on everything. Everything is chewed up - the cabinets, the pillows, the drawers... She even has couple of "chewing" stations around the house. If she's caught chewing something she shouldn't, she's moved to the chewing station where she has some wooden spoons or whatever she claimed that she may destroy. We try to kind of shift her focus "don't chew this, chew that, that's good", It does work for a short while, but after a few hours she does seem to find her self on the cabinest chewing her way through. Can't beat the bird, so I can imagine your pain. And despite sennies being small birds, they are really avid chewers, like one third of the bird is just their beak.

Tiny related story, our little budgie also likes destroying our furniture (I still cannot believe how can 45 gramms of fluff be so destructive), few days ago I gave her some wooden blocks in her cage, but instead of hanging the toy, I attached it firmly to the cage wall, so it doesn't move. Kind of to imitate the wardrobes and the picture frames, nice and firm, doesn't move when she chews on. The same day she magically stopped chewing on the frame, instead is destroying her blocks instead. (These blocks had letters on them, pet safe colours. I spelled out "DUCIKA" which could roughly be translated into "little fatty" as she's overweight)

Perhaps try attaching some wooden items or blocks on the cage, firm enough so when the bird chews it doesn't move? I will have to try this out for the sennie as well on my next visit! But first I might have to buy some wood :D

Speaking of wood, Never met a bird who don't like Balsa wood. It's a super soft wood and parrots really enjoy destroying it. There are 2 downsides of it though - because it is soft, birds can run through it in no time, and it is rather expensive wood. Another softer type of wood is pine wood - it is bird safe and bigger chance the parrot might enjoy chewing it.
 
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Rolly

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Aug 1, 2021
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7
  • Thread Starter
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  • #6
I guess there's no cure for their impulse for chewing things that they really shouldn't chew.

My partner has a senegal who just loooooves to chew on everything. Everything is chewed up - the cabinets, the pillows, the drawers... She even has couple of "chewing" stations around the house. If she's caught chewing something she shouldn't, she's moved to the chewing station where she has some wooden spoons or whatever she claimed that she may destroy. We try to kind of shift her focus "don't chew this, chew that, that's good", It does work for a short while, but after a few hours she does seem to find her self on the cabinest chewing her way through. Can't beat the bird, so I can imagine your pain. And despite sennies being small birds, they are really avid chewers, like one third of the bird is just their beak.

Tiny related story, our little budgie also likes destroying our furniture (I still cannot believe how can 45 gramms of fluff be so destructive), few days ago I gave her some wooden blocks in her cage, but instead of hanging the toy, I attached it firmly to the cage wall, so it doesn't move. Kind of to imitate the wardrobes and the picture frames, nice and firm, doesn't move when she chews on. The same day she magically stopped chewing on the frame, instead is destroying her blocks instead. (These blocks had letters on them, pet safe colours. I spelled out "DUCIKA" which could roughly be translated into "little fatty" as she's overweight)

Perhaps try attaching some wooden items or blocks on the cage, firm enough so when the bird chews it doesn't move? I will have to try this out for the sennie as well on my next visit! But first I might have to buy some wood :D

Speaking of wood, Never met a bird who don't like Balsa wood. It's a super soft wood and parrots really enjoy destroying it. There are 2 downsides of it though - because it is soft, birds can run through it in no time, and it is rather expensive wood. Another softer type of wood is pine wood - it is bird safe and bigger chance the parrot might enjoy chewing it.
Thanks. I like the idea of tying down wood so that it doesn't move. Louie (my RBC) loves to chew on Cork so I give them that too. He seems to like instant gratification and would rather chew on a magazine & tear it apart in seconds rather then chew on a block of wood which could take an hour. My vet also suggested to drill holes in the wood and put seeds all the way inside so he has to work to get to it. Let's see how that goes.
 

Skarila

Supporting Member
Apr 19, 2021
544
Media
75
Albums
5
1,162
Hungary
Parrots
āœ»Csillam the rescued budgie
āœ»Pascal the Emma's (Venezuelan) Conure

Previous owned:
āœ»Archibald the cockatiel (fostered 6 months)
āœ»RIP - 28 YO Zeleni the mischievous IRN
āœ»RIP -Sunny the budgie
Thanks. I like the idea of tying down wood so that it doesn't move. Louie (my RBC) loves to chew on Cork so I give them that too. He seems to like instant gratification and would rather chew on a magazine & tear it apart in seconds rather then chew on a block of wood which could take an hour. My vet also suggested to drill holes in the wood and put seeds all the way inside so he has to work to get to it. Let's see how that goes.
Your vet gave a really good idea, give some foraging fun. Just make sure to show that the seeds are in there!
 

Betrisher

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Jun 3, 2013
4,246
62
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Parrots
Dominic: Galah(RIP: 1981-2018); The Lovies: Four Blue Masked Lovebirds; Barney and Madge (The Beaks): Alexandrines; Miss Rosetta Stone: Little Corella
Coming in late on this one, but all the things you describe are perfectly natural for a healthy, red-blooded galah to be doing. Wild galahs will descend on a tree and strip it bare in no time. They strip the leaves, biting off twigs and fruit, searching them for seeds and insects, then they strip the bark off in long strings, looking for grubs in the timber. They make a lot of noise while doing all this and then, totally without warning, they rise as one and move on somewhere else.

Most cockatoos (at least, the Australian ones with which I'm familiar) are evolved to chew. They chew native grass seeds, native fruits, native flowers and trees. A captive bird will *always* be on the lookout for something to chew. The best things are quick-satisfaction items like stout cardboard boxes or fibrous timber (eg. stringybark, melaleuca, callistemon, banksia: all Oz natives). Pine cones work, too, I s'pose, but my galah never really seemed to enjoy them.

If you have an Australian parrot, it's *really* worth planting a few of the abovementioned Australian trees in your yard for the timber and fruits. I have an arrangement with our local funeral director. He has an avenue of red-flowering ironbark, which produces enormous urn-shaped wooden capsules just chock-filled with seeds. I have permission to harvest these on weekends and it suits him because the seed capsules attract the wild parrots into his trees, causing no end of racket during funerals. Win-win!

In the absence of Oz wood, you need to find some form of safe timber (check out our forums for species lists). I use untreated pine pallets. I simply slide a slat of the timber into each cage and leave the birds to work on it. Takes about a week to shred into matchwood and then we get another one. Sometimes, I'll cut out 'biscuits' with a hole saw, then drill a hole in the centre of each. I string these on wire or stainless steel kebab sticks and the birds will have a chew at them. The much prefer the left-over 'holey' piece of timber, though, because they can get their heads into the holes and really go to town.

Other chewy things could include a coconut, pine cones, bamboo utensils (eg. chopsticks, spoons, spatulas), seagrass matting, heavy cardboard cylinders (the sort fabric comes on), a millet broom (has to be real millet), egg cartons, cardboard packaging (take care to remove plastic tape). If you use a coconut, you might want to remove its contents and, perhaps, drill a few starter holes in the shell. Leave the hair on. Birdie will shave it for you.

In the meantime, you need to train this bird not to chew your abode. It's like training dogs or children. You have to be vigilant and you have to act every single time birdie does the wrong thing. As soon as you see him chew something he shouldn't, remove him from the item and do some form of training to distract him. If he persists, put him in his cage for a while. You need to have the drive to outlast the bird in this. If you're patient and keep at it, he will stop chomping your house and goods eventually. But it all depends on how motivated you are to correct him every single time.

Good luck! Galahs are excellent companion birds and can be very, very affectionate. :)

PS. Sorry for the long post.
 

Sharona

New member
Apr 17, 2021
8
2
Hi Everyone,

I have a RBC that is a little over 1 year old. When I first got him, his wings were clipped and couldn't fly. Now he does and I have to watch him like a hawk! He wants to chew on everything in site and fly everywhere and even on the stove when there is food cooking. So many times we have to put him back in his cage for safety. Not even going to bring up pooping everyone but that is really the least of my concerns. It is all the chewing like furniture, mail, appliances, kitchen cabinets, chairs, blinds, curtain rods, and even dangerous things like electrical cords. I try to redirect and give him toys instead but it only works for a minute or so then he is back to the kitchen cabinets or something else. :-(

Can anyone tell me if this is a phase because he is young? Anything I can do so he doesn't act like a chew-a-holic? I feel so envious when I read posts that people have open cages and let their bird go in and out as they please (even when they are not home)! If I did that, I would find either a destroyed home or a dead bird.

What I currently do is "bird proof" our master bedroom and take him out of his cage after dinner where my wife and I watch TV for a few hours and then put him to bed in his cage. So he is out from 6/7pm to 10/11pm. Even bird proofed, I still have to watch him to make sure he doesn't get into any trouble.

Any suggestions on what I can do to help him not chew everything in site? I don't want to clip his wings because I feel bad about that (like I am taking something away from him). I wish I could just let him free fly the house without me having to worry about stuff being destroyed or him hurting himself (like eating electrical wires, flying into windows or getting too close to pot of boiling water!)

The whole family adores this tiny terrorist but we would like to make the situation better and safer. We actually call him the little F'er but it an endearing way.

Any advice out there?

Rolly,
Load his cage with lots and lots of things to chew, safe wood, boxes, paper ect and if you can get a stand with loads of toys on it, they chew because they are bored, good luck x
 

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