Owning a cockatoo

Molcan2

New member
Jul 19, 2011
783
0
Lake Co., Florida
Parrots
Princess Rome- Moluccan Cockatoo (18yrs old), Rosie - Galah/Rose Breasted Cockatoo (2yr old)
I've actually been thinking about doing that. I'm not sure if birds can get coccidia but the dogs keep breaking out with it (I think from the stray cats). So I've been apprehensive about putting her on the ground outside. I have been taking her out in our front yard more and sitting out with her (the little house sparrows like to get super close to us when I have her out, its really cute). I've been trying to get her to explore more, she is so timid. Her previous home kind of smothered her, so shes just learning what its like to have some freedom and be a bird. I thought about maybe letting her climb some of the trees, what do you think about doing that?
 

Molcan2

New member
Jul 19, 2011
783
0
Lake Co., Florida
Parrots
Princess Rome- Moluccan Cockatoo (18yrs old), Rosie - Galah/Rose Breasted Cockatoo (2yr old)
Roxynoodle, yes they can fly with a wing clip. When she came to me she had the first six feathers clipped on each side and could still fly. Her right wing isn't clipped - there are no feathers on the right side at all, none. Except for three that are coming in but their only in by about 2inches and their so spaced out. Her balance is completely off and she forgets that she took all her feathers off her right wing and tried to fly and hit the ground. I'm terrified of her hurting herself right now.
 

Mare Miller

Banned
May 14, 2011
1,260
Media
2
2
sierra foothills of central California
Parrots
13yr. old male umbrella cockatoo,
we call him Amigo!

7yr. old Goffin cockatoo, she IS Sassy!!
I've actually been thinking about doing that. I'm not sure if birds can get coccidia but the dogs keep breaking out with it (I think from the stray cats). So I've been apprehensive about putting her on the ground outside. I have been taking her out in our front yard more and sitting out with her (the little house sparrows like to get super close to us when I have her out, its really cute). I've been trying to get her to explore more, she is so timid. Her previous home kind of smothered her, so shes just learning what its like to have some freedom and be a bird. I thought about maybe letting her climb some of the trees, what do you think about doing that?

You would not believe what joy that would give her!! Just make sure it's a tree not too tall so you can get to her if she decides she's having too much fun and won't come down! Amigo's first time in a tree was a large oak and it took hours for him to come back down, scary but worth it.
 

Molcan2

New member
Jul 19, 2011
783
0
Lake Co., Florida
Parrots
Princess Rome- Moluccan Cockatoo (18yrs old), Rosie - Galah/Rose Breasted Cockatoo (2yr old)
I'll try it. I just hope that she wont try to fly down, I'm not sure I'd be able to catch her. With only one wing having feathers its a fear of mine.
 

Mare Miller

Banned
May 14, 2011
1,260
Media
2
2
sierra foothills of central California
Parrots
13yr. old male umbrella cockatoo,
we call him Amigo!

7yr. old Goffin cockatoo, she IS Sassy!!
We have lots of dogs and cats but no fenced yard so as far as coccidia, hmmm...don't know about that. When on walks with Amigo or just trying to get things done outside, he will land close and start plucking around in the grasses and roots. So far, no ill side effects. I swear, these cockatoos are a lot stronger than we think, in my opinion.
 

Mare Miller

Banned
May 14, 2011
1,260
Media
2
2
sierra foothills of central California
Parrots
13yr. old male umbrella cockatoo,
we call him Amigo!

7yr. old Goffin cockatoo, she IS Sassy!!
I'll try it. I just hope that she wont try to fly down, I'm not sure I'd be able to catch her. With only one wing having feathers its a fear of mine.

Yeah, that's kind of a touchy situation. I would hate to see her get hurt from a fall. When Amigo's flight feathers were growing out he could still semi-sorta-fly but hit the ground pretty hard sometimes, never on a hard surface and learned how to land. If you have Rome up on a tree that she might try to fly off of, just make sure there is grass underneath to land on. You might want to start her in a low bush.
 
Jun 6, 2012
7
Media
1
0
Newcastle Australia
Parrots
Imperial Empress Esmerelda Le Crankypants, 5yo female galah
I let Esme play around outside in the grass when I'm out there with her - she loves it. We get wild galahs in the back yard sometimes, so I figured it would be safe for her. She is very clingy, so when I head back inside she follows me. I have 2 dogs, and she taught them to stop sniffing near her by biting them - every time they come within a couple of feet now, she clicks her beak at them and they back off.

She whistles when she wants attention, very quietly, so I whistle back. This is not what ShreddedOaks meant about ignoring any noise, right? That was in reference to screeching? Just double checking. I'm one of those "impulsive parrot buyers" that were being mocked earlier in the thread, and I am doing my best to learn about Esme as fast as I can. I just learned not to pat her on the back lol - she seems to really like it, but if she thinks we're having sexytime its probably best I stop before I confuse her too much.

I have to say I disagree with the comments about never letting them on the ground - Esme is happiest wandering around. If I don't pick her up when she wants to get up she will stand on my foot and go for a ride while I am walking around doing other things.

The only time she gets really aggressive is when she is sitting on my lap/the arm of my chair/in front of me on the table/anywhere else that she feels is a good place to get a scratch and I stop scratching, for example to send a text message or do something else that needs my hands. Then she chomps on my arm :/

Any advice for that? At the moment I tell her to step up as soon as it happens (she usually bites me a few more times before she will step up, while head butting my fingers to let me know i'm supposed to be scratching - the backs of my hands are a mess) and then take her over to her stand and put her back up on it.

She was on a seed mix when I bought her that included a lot of grey striped sunflower seeds - she's majorly addicted to them, she doesn't eat much of the other stuff thats in the mix- but I'm weaning her off of them by hiding them in apple sauce and warm mushed up pellets, so she has to taste the fruit and the pellet mush before she can get the seeds out. At the moment it seems to be working, so the plan is to gradually put less and less seeds in the fruit and mush, until she is eating it by itself.

Thoughts?

B xx
 

RescueMe

New member
Mar 28, 2012
373
0
King George, VA
Parrots
"Sparky" the Blue and gold macaw, "Jax" Red fronted macaw, and "Little Bird" peach faced lovebird
I would be really careful about feeding warm mashed foods to a too as that replicates regurgitating for a bird and will encourage breeding behavior in toos especially. I think that this list is great for a new owner for sure, and I'm glad that it is still garnering interest.
 
Jun 6, 2012
7
Media
1
0
Newcastle Australia
Parrots
Imperial Empress Esmerelda Le Crankypants, 5yo female galah
well, its hard going when you get conflicting advice and you know that her favourite food is going to kill her liver eventually. If I'm not supposed to feed her mushed up pellets, and I'm not supposed to feed her sunflower seeds, and she won't eat anything else i give her, then what do I do? She is a stubborn little wench, and she won't eat fresh food or dried fruit or nuts at all, with the exception of grass and baby spinach leaves, which isn't going to meet her nutritional requirements.

I'd really like a couple of "try this" options if people are going to tell me what I'm already doing is wrong please, its incredibly discouraging coming back here and finding that the only comment is the one above, which tells me that the advice I got from the bird breeder I contacted was apparently incorrect.

Also, I just made her breakfast, and she isn't interested in it. Mushed up pellets with sunflower seeds hidden in it. Guess I'll just go scrape it into the garbage and try with the organic baby food again. Cold, of course.
 

PortaPerch

New member
Apr 28, 2012
380
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SurfCity, SoCalif
Parrots
Chewbaca, F. Galah, h10/10;
Greybeard, M. Congo AG h03/09
I give Greybeard the stem end of a banana every morning, and he cleans it out. Chewy is eating banana, too, after a year of refusing it.

Wifey and I eat similar mix of good and unhealthy foods. A neighbor drags me out early every morning for vigorous exercise, and I have zero health problems, while wifey doesn't exercise regularly, and has the whole gamut.

Parallel: keep a bird in a cage, and it will develop health problems.

Diet and exercise: Without one, the other better be perfect.
 
Jun 6, 2012
7
Media
1
0
Newcastle Australia
Parrots
Imperial Empress Esmerelda Le Crankypants, 5yo female galah
I'm working on both at the moment - I think her former owners didn't really do any research into how to look after her - she's affectionate, I know she was hand raised, but the sunflower seed obsession and the fact that she is very needy and bites if you stop patting her (not as much as she used to now though, she hasn't drawn blood in the last couple of weeks actually) indicates to me that she was pretty much the boss with her old owner - it looks like she got her own way a lot of the time about things that aren't good for her. I could be wrong, I know i'm a total noob here. On the other hand, she whistles for attention instead of screaming, and lifts one leg when she wants to step up, so she has been taught a few manners.

She has free range when I am at home, her perch has a ladder and one of those ropes (stiff, coiled, doubles as a toy and a perch) that she can use to get down, (she's clipped, and I think she has been clipped her whole life - she very rarely jumps off her perch, it only happens when something startles her, or in one case when one of my daughters friends tried to pat her when I was out of the room after being told not to go near her - she attacked him, so I think he believes me now about her being a tad vicious lol - he's 8, she nipped him on the hand and launched at him for coming too close).

I bought her a cage for when I am not home/ for unsupervised playtime outside that is pretty big. Her balance isn't great, so when she is in the outside cage she has swinging toys, and her food is put on one of those hanging bamboo toys that have little circular bits cut out, so that it moves when she is trying to eat - its stage one of an obstacle course i intend to build between her perch and her food so that she gets more exercise. She was a total perch potato when I first got her, but she is getting used to being able to wander around now. She still spends way too much time sitting around watching tv though lol.
 

RescueMe

New member
Mar 28, 2012
373
0
King George, VA
Parrots
"Sparky" the Blue and gold macaw, "Jax" Red fronted macaw, and "Little Bird" peach faced lovebird
I think that at some point you have to compromise, feeding mashed pellets may be your only choice at this point, though I wouldn't recommend it long term, I wasn't trying to make a hard and fast rule, simply stating an opinion. At this point you have to do whatever you must to improve her diet. Puzzle toys are great for encouraging foraging and helping to pique her interest. It sounds like you are working hard to improve her life and have had a lot of success. BABY STEPS !! :)
 
Last edited:
Jun 6, 2012
7
Media
1
0
Newcastle Australia
Parrots
Imperial Empress Esmerelda Le Crankypants, 5yo female galah
Ok, that actually makes me feel a lot better RescueMe. I'm doing my best to learn fast - parrots are so different to dogs!! My mum is a dog breeder, so I can train my dogs no problem at all, but Esme is an entirely different kettle of fish.

I have to ask - what happens if she thinks I am her mate? I've seen a few warnings re behaviour that encourages that kind of thinking, but I'm not sure exactly what would happen. I get the very strong impression that attacking me might be one of the outcomes?

She already attacks my daughter (she did a stealth attack on her foot this morning while we were eating breakfast) but I have a theory that its because my daughter is frightened of her and runs away nearly every time she gets close - she also jerks her hand away really quickly when she is brave enough to give her a scratch and Esme moves her head at all - Esme usually follows that up with a bite, but I'm pretty sure thats because she gets a fright herself from the sudden movement.

I'm trying to teach her that that sort of behaviour makes Esme think she needs to be worried, and that she should stop reacting and just make sure she is wearing shoes so that if Esme gets a bit chompy it doesn't hurt, but its not sunk in as of yet. I'm thinking of buying her a pair of sturdy gloves to protect her hands so that she can get used to scratching Esme without needing to worry about being bitten. Esme is not a one person bird - she is quite happy for my cleaner to take her outside, and neither of the pet sitters have had an issue with her being overly aggressive (I have to go away for work some weekends, but the pet sitters stay in my house and keep her company - I have a ragdoll cat and a Koolie dog, as well as my rotty, and the first 2 get lonely as well if there is no one home, so a live in pet sitter when I am not here is a must) so I put the aggressive attitude to my daughter down to her interactions with it.

Am I on the right track with that?
 
OP
ShreddedOakAviary

ShreddedOakAviary

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Jul 13, 2011
591
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M2's, U2's, G2's, RB2's, VOS, RLA's, BFA's, DYHA's, Dusky Pionus, Blue and Green Quakers, Meyers Parrots, VOS, GW Macaw's, Harlequin Macaws, Tiels, YNA, TAG's, CAG's, Blue Crown Conures, Red sided Ecl
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People often think 'toosI bite certain people because they're startled. Unfortunately in my experience cockatoos quickly figure out who they can bully, and they thoroughly enjoy doing it. Sometimes it's jealousy. Additionally I've never known a parrot to respond well to gloves. More often it will make the bird less trusting and more aggressive toward whoever uses gloves. (FYI)
 

PortaPerch

New member
Apr 28, 2012
380
0
SurfCity, SoCalif
Parrots
Chewbaca, F. Galah, h10/10;
Greybeard, M. Congo AG h03/09
The first time I met 19 year old J-bird the U2, she jumped from the ground onto my shoulder and gave my ear a bite that bled and was sore for 3 weeks. She soon bonded to wifey.

portaperch-albums-perch-picture4350-coffeeholic.jpg

At least, she liked coffee... :)
 
Last edited:
Jun 6, 2012
7
Media
1
0
Newcastle Australia
Parrots
Imperial Empress Esmerelda Le Crankypants, 5yo female galah
People often think 'toosI bite certain people because they're startled. Unfortunately in my experience cockatoos quickly figure out who they can bully, and they thoroughly enjoy doing it. Sometimes it's jealousy. Additionally I've never known a parrot to respond well to gloves. More often it will make the bird less trusting and more aggressive toward whoever uses gloves. (FYI)

Hmmm. I will have to teach Miss7 to harden up and stop being such an easy target, in that case. Is U2 shorthand for sulphur crested cockatoo? the yellow and white ones?
 
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ShreddedOakAviary

ShreddedOakAviary

New member
Jul 13, 2011
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M2's, U2's, G2's, RB2's, VOS, RLA's, BFA's, DYHA's, Dusky Pionus, Blue and Green Quakers, Meyers Parrots, VOS, GW Macaw's, Harlequin Macaws, Tiels, YNA, TAG's, CAG's, Blue Crown Conures, Red sided Ecl
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Most cockatoos LOVE cheese. Have your daughter be the only one that gives her a tiny bit a couple times a week. Cockatoos usually learn to LOVE the source of their cheese.
 
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ShreddedOakAviary

ShreddedOakAviary

New member
Jul 13, 2011
591
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M2's, U2's, G2's, RB2's, VOS, RLA's, BFA's, DYHA's, Dusky Pionus, Blue and Green Quakers, Meyers Parrots, VOS, GW Macaw's, Harlequin Macaws, Tiels, YNA, TAG's, CAG's, Blue Crown Conures, Red sided Ecl
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  • #39
Keep it to just calmly handing out the cheese, and never after a bite.
 

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