Rescue Goffin Cockatoo

Rosebud1997

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Hi Everyone,

I am rescuing a 12-year-old female Goffin Cockatoo. From what I know she is friendly and prefers woman, her previous owner was an elderly woman. She does not know how to step up and likes to just hang out on the shoulder. The challenge that I am going to have is she does not like other birds or dogs and I have both. I have a green cheek conure a small dog (pug) and a lab. I am totally willing to put in the work on bonding and training but I was hoping for some direction. I want to start off on the right foot with her as this will be the last home she has. Can I quarantine her in my bedroom and then move her to the living room next to where I sit or do I put it in a different room altogether? Can he cage be in the same room as my Green Cheek? Any suggestions would be great, I don't want to mess anything up. Thanks so much!!!!
 

Scott

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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.
Welcome, thanks for rescuing a Goffin and joining in search of knowledge!

Quarantining for 30-45 days to protect her and your GCC is advisable. Waiver of isolation if she has not been in proximity with other birds is reasonable once you assess the risks. A well-check with avian vet always advisable if possible.

Goffins are the most amazing clowns with outsized personalities. They love shoulders, but first ensure she is trustworthy! Privilege of perching close to your face must be earned to minimize chances of serious injury. Several of mine love the position and never abused their "human perch."

Re-homing often shuffles the deck of personality. If you choose to introduce her to your GCC, do so in a neutral location. Never a guarantee any two birds will like each other but a slight risk they will bond closely, leaving you "odd person out." I highly doubt this will occur as Goffins seem to prefer either other cockatoos or their people. Some of my Goffins have lived uncaged with other species including an Amazon and Grey. Tendency is to coexist peacefully and ignore. Caging them separately in same room should not be a problem.

Parrots and dogs problematic but can co-exist if strict precautions taken. A quick search suggests labs have high prey drive, pubs more average. Varies by individual and can be someone mitigated with training. However, any dog can easily maim or kill a bird, instincts rule! How have you managed with your GCC?

Goffins can readily learn to step up using target or clicker training. My wild-caught female never did though I can gently grab her feet and place on my shoulder. If yours was at least hand-fed, should not be a problem.

Good luck, please continue to ask questions as they surface. We love pics!!
 
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Rosebud1997

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This is good to know. The dogs are always supervised when my green cheek is out, I never ever leave them alone. both dogs are older, pug is 7 and lab is 10. This is going to be her forever home and I want her to be happy, but I also want my current pets to be happy. Oh, and I will post some pics soon:).
 

Laurasea

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Congratulations! How exciting @ so glad you are giving her a chance!!"

Neutral location, space tge birds about 4 feet aoart and deed lots of treats. Repeat abd repeat. Never place them close together, let them decide when to move close.. but dont every allow a squabble. Its best to feed treat apart. For a couple of weeks. Until they just don't focus on each other. Then slowly feed closer.

Definitely pay extra attention to GCC so no jealousy.
 

noodles123

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Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
You sure she doesn't know how to step up?
How is she getting on your shoulder? From the cage top?
I have a feeling this has more to do with her not wanting to step up (maybe not enough trust or your technique)--Mine will not easily step onto my fingers-- prefers the wrist and arm...Mine used to be super bratty about leaving my shoulder and would try to bite when I removed her. She is very good about it now, but there was a period when she was biting to resist it or scaling my back to avoid being removed. I solved the biting thing by trying to have her step off my shoulder onto cage initially...if I was bitten during the process, I made sure she still went where I wanted her to---ignored the bite and followed through (although you want to give them as little practice biting as possible). I also found that backing near a wall prevented her from running down my back etc. She just does what she is supposed to now though.


Definitely agree with the quarantine--- I have heard 45 minimum but 3 months ideally. They should be in totally separate rooms (as far apart as you possibly can) until that time is up. If one steps on your clothes or climbs all over you, you really shouldn't even wear that same shirt with the other bird. There are some fairly common and very dangerous diseases like pdd, abv/pdd etc and they can spread via dander etc and linger on surfaces for ages. Birds can carry them and spread them without showing any symptoms...so for some carriers, it never compromises their health, but those carriers can spread it to others fatally. They also have super variable incubation periods (from a few weeks to 10+ years in some cases, if symptoms ever show).


Any chance you could put your green cheek in your bedroom instead?


Cockatoos are terribly social and you want her to get used to routine etc...How do you plan on dealing with the sleep issue? They need more sleep than other parrots and 12 hours on a schedule (like a toddler) is super super important for cockatoos. With other birds, 10 is the recommendation, but 12 for cockatoos. You may need a sleep cage because she probably won't actually sleep if you guys are still up and making lots of noise (even if you do cover the cage)
 
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Scott

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RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
I also found that backing near a wall prevented her from running down my back etc. She just does what she is supposed to now though.

Oh yeah, the running down the back to escape being removed trick! :D They know it is more difficult but not impossible to reach around the back with hand and pry them off.
 
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Rosebud1997

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The rescue told me she is free-flighted so she will fly to the shoulder and then back to her cage. I am not going to be comfortable with her on my shoulder until we can trust each other. I have not gotten her yet, I go tomorrow to meet her. She will also bite if you put your hand in her cage. I have a family room, so I could put my green cheek in the family room and put the goffins in the living room next to me. The rescue also told me there is also an African Gray that could be a good match and we will meet her as well. She is 4 years old and is plucking due to neglect from her previous owner. There are pros and cons to both of them. The Goffin is very friendly and prefers women but has a history of not liking other birds and dogs which I have. The gray is very nervous and has been neglected but could be ok with my other animals. Both will need a ton of attention and training. I am going in with an open mind as we could be a great match for one or it may not be a match for either of them. I am just trying to figure out how I know. I want to give one of these babies a forever home but I cant give them both a forever home.
 

Scott

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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.
Goffins are amazing fliers, extremely nimble and not likely to clumsily hit windows or mirrors. She's apparently cage-aggressive but that is not an inherent trait of the species and can be solved over time. Quite correct to avoid shoulder privileges until comfortable.

Greys are amazingly intelligent with different challenges compared with Goffins. Check out two helpful threads, the second offers good insights into plucking:
http://www.parrotforums.com/congo-timneh-greys/59366-cag-101-a.html
http://www.parrotforums.com/behavioral/52217-plucking-search-answers.html

Love your stance of approaching the choices with open mind! Please consider some of the best advice ever given... let the bird choose you! Might find one of the candidates is strongly drawn to you, and if agreeable, bodes well for development of relationship. Good luck, let us know the outcome!! :)
 
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Rosebud1997

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Hi everyone. Meet Mya. As soon as I got in the rescue she flew to me and that is where she stayed. She is super sweet. We had her out last night and it went well. Vet gave her a clean bill of health. She will not leave my shoulder though and will not step up on my hand. Any thoughts on getting her off my shoulder? We just love her to pieces!!

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noodles123

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Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
Hi everyone. Meet Mya. As soon as I got in the rescue she flew to me and that is where she stayed. She is super sweet. We had her out last night and it went well. Vet gave her a clean bill of health. She will not leave my shoulder though and will not step up on my hand. Any thoughts on getting her off my shoulder? We just love her to pieces!!


Walk over to the the cage and see if you squat level with the cage top if she will go there.

Does she seem fearful of her new cage at all? If she is, that might be more of a challenge. She might be willing to get off if she sees you put a favorite treat there, but again, depends on if he is fearful of the cage top. If she isn't scared of sticks, she might step onto a perch held in your hand, but that could also scare her depending on her experiences. Does she let you touch her feet without biting? If so, you could sort of scoot her. Start using a phrase as you do this so that she associates the desired action with words.


You want to build trust but also, you want to make sure that she doesn't think she calls the shots on the shoulder thing. Do your best to find a way to get her off without upsetting her, but also know that if she thinks she is the one who determines when she gets off, that can quickly become an issue.



Long term, I'd look at station training, recall training and target training.


Will she step onto your arm? How did she get onto your shoulder? I know she flew, but where did she land initially?


I'd also make a really solid effort to expose her to other family members in low-stress situations. Maybe just having them sit in the room and read from a distance so she gets used to seeing them and hearing their voices in a low-stress, non-invasive situation. She needs to know they are not a threat and my concern is that since she already likes you so much, she may treat the rest of them like chopped liver unless you associate them with low-stress, positive situations early on. Low stress means low stress for her, so anything that causes fear or hesitation (even if well-intentioned) can actually backfire--- i.e., trying to get a bird to take food from your hand by sitting there for a long time--- that's stressful because of they wanted it, they would take it right away. Sitting there and hoping they change their mind is disregarding the clear signal of disinterest.


Use key phrases when doing things (for instance, "be right back" if leaving for a second)---Try to use key words when doing common things because this is a major way to combat anxiety and screaming in the long run. Don't be afraid to talk room to room, but don't respond to or attend to screaming either (if your bird is screaming for attention, do not come back into the room until she has been quiet for a solid 10 s). If screaming starts within the 10 s window, restart the count. After the 10 s of quiet, come back in and in a quiet voice, say, "thanks for getting quiet" and then give attention/treats/whatever. The whole family needs to be on the same page here--- also, talking about an attention-screaming bird should be avoided, as should eye contact.
 
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Rosebud1997

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She does not seem fearful of her cage, she will go in it if I tell her to. I try leaning down to get her to the top but she just climbs to the middle of my back.
 

noodles123

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Ah the back trick.....That's a favorite of cockatoos lol. Remember when I said mine used to do that?


I found that backing against a wall while pushing against her feet gave her little choice but to step up. But, then we are back to the issue of whether your bird actually knows how to step up. You could try pushing the cage against a wall and then backing up so that your back is against that same wall. You may have to gently nudge her feet...This sounds like a case of not wanting to leave. *note: moving the cage with her on you may frighten her, so you might consider having someone else do it while you guys are out of the room*

You could tell her to go in her cage and then just leave the door open so that she gets off but isn't locked up. If she bites you when you are trying this, you should definitely make sure you follow through though-- It's like the one time when I would say it's okay to be a little pushy---if she bites, you need to make sure that biting doesn't show her that she can stay on longer. You always want to avoid practice with biting an/or triggers for biting, but if you guys are to have a functional relationship, she's got to learn that a bite to your hand when you try to get her off will not be rewarded with you giving up and allowing her to stay on your shoulder. If she bites and you stop trying to get her off of you in that moment, then you reward the bite and make it more likely to occur each time.


Early on, most of my bites came from this situation you are describing, as well as when putting her back in her cage. It took me 3 months before mine would willingly step up. I didn't push her those first 3, except 1 time (and that was dumb). However, once she started stepping up, if she got on my shoulder (which I normally tried to block) I did often struggle to get her down. I just want to emphasize the importance of follow-through in a situation where you know your bird is simply trying to get his/her way (and not actually fearful). Make sure that you practice often and that her getting off of you is not associated with getting locked up or you leaving (as this will make her avoid is more). You shouldn't force a bird to step up from the cage etc, but she is on your body and for safety, you have to be able to get her off as needed.

Make sure that she still gets your attention and treats etc after stepping off, or she will associate stepping off with getting locked up etc and be less likely to want it. They get the name "velcro" bird for a reason, so establishing boundaries is super important because once you allow something, it sets an expectation and so if you let her on your shoulder all day for a week but then stop, you will be dealing with a very unhappy bird who doesn't understand why things have changed..when I bird's expectations are not met, it can lead to aggression, anxiety, plucking etc (if those expectations are based upon a precedent you set).

Also- even though she is being super sweet, keep in mind that cockatoos sometimes have a "honeymoon" phase, in which they act different. Don't assume she fully trusts you just because she is being sweet. She still may be fearful in some respects etc.



What treats does she love? It sounds like your attention is a motivator right now, but treats could also help if you find something she loves.
 
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Scott

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RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Congratulations, Maya is a beauty and appears in excellent feather!

Teaching step-up is a virtually non-negotiable aspect of living with a flighted bird having shoulder privileges. Early indications are she will be respectful of her "human perch" but you must feel completely comfortable. You mention a tendency for cage aggression, notice this yet in your home?

Excellent techniques shared by "noodles." Find a treat Maya craves and use sparingly as it will likely be high-fat. Mine absolutely love bits of almond, walnut, pecan, and plain Cheerios.
 
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noodles123

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Mine LOVES cooked pasta (again, in moderation, as it is often enriched/fortified). I didn't name her Noodles, but I have a guess as to why she was called that! LOL- When it comes to training, a TEEY TINY bit of less healthy food is okay in my book, but watch out, because if they see the container or hear it, you will never be able to eat that food in peace again haha. I will sometimes give Noodles a tiny (smaller than a cm) piece of a hot cheeto etc. but it isn't daily. I know it's unhealthy due to all of the salt and cheese etc, but I figure it is small and she is highly motivated by it.
 
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Scott

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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.
Oh yes, pasta! Mine love whole grain vegetable-infused cooked spiral noodles. They don't like tubular pasta nor strands of spaghetti.... reminds them of snakes or worms?

A few items of chop they almost universally love. Bear in mind fruits ought be given sparingly, far lower proportion to veggies: Cooked sweet potato and yams, garbanzo beans, green peas, edamame in shell, lima beans, blackeye peas, apple, pear, pomegranate and melon seeds, watermelon, banana. Other items offered but some nibble and toss overboard. They can be stubborn so keep offering and one day Maya might surprise. My oldest female Goffin dissed pear for decades, finally took a bite and loved.

Might try the "chop" challenge. Prepare three bowls of chop and give one each to Maya and your GCC. Begin eating from yours, making "mmmm"sounds, bob your head in delight. Parrots are flock eaters and you are part of the flock!
 

noodles123

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Oh yes, pasta! Mine love whole grain vegetable-infused cooked spiral noodles. They don't like tubular pasta nor strands of spaghetti.... reminds them of snakes or worms?

A few items of chop they almost universally love. Bear in mind fruits ought be given sparingly, far lower proportion to veggies: Cooked sweet potato and yams, garbanzo beans, green peas, edamame in shell, lima beans, blackeye peas, apple, pear, pomegranate and melon seeds, watermelon, banana. Other items offered but some nibble and toss overboard. They can be stubborn so keep offering and one day Maya might surprise. My oldest female Goffin dissed pear for decades, finally took a bite and loved.

Might try the "chop" challenge. Prepare three bowls of chop and give one each to Maya and your GCC. Begin eating from yours, making "mmmm"sounds, bob your head in delight. Parrots are flock eaters and you are part of the flock!


Noodles will eat any and all pasta, but spirals are def her favorite (and better at holding medicine if you ever have to trick yours ha). Sweet potato and bananas are also big hits here, as are pears, TANGERINES (in moderation, as citrus can cause iron storage disease)
 

TheArk

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Congratulations!! If it is the same rescue, I adopted Rio from.
They are really amazing at what they do. I cant wait to hear more about your journey together.
I hope you guys have many healthy and happy years together💙
 
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Rosebud1997

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We worked with her a little today. Every time she flew to the top of her cage we would give her a treat and praise her. She loves almonds and plain cheerios. I noticed if I sit down she will climb to the front of me. She was on my hands today when I was sitting down but she kept putting one foot on one hand and the other foot on the other hand and then kept touching her beak to my hand. She wasn't biting or nibbling just touching my hand but I couldn't get her to put both feet on one hand. When she is in her cage and I open the door she will climb out to the top of the door, that is when she Flys to my shoulder. She will also fly to my husband's shoulder and my sons shoulder as well and hang out there like she does mine. She also makes this clicking sound when she is with me. I am going to look into target and station training. I don't want to move to fast but I also need to get her to my hand so I can work on training with her. We had a really hard time getting her in her cage tonight. I walked over to it with her on my shoulder and she would jump to the door but wouldn't go in. She would dance and then jump back to my shoulder or fly to my shoulder if I backed up. My husband came over to help and then it was just jump on cage, dance, jump on mom, jump on dad, jump on cage and dance some more then do it all over again. When I finally got her in there I gave her a treat and praised her. It was really hard not to laugh at her because the whole thing was comical but I kept my composure lol. I am still trying to figure out her body language, she clicks a lot and when I put my hand to her and tell her to step up she tucks her head down with her beak tucked against my hand.
 
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Rosebud1997

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Congratulations, Maya is a beauty and appears in excellent feather!

Teaching step-up is a virtually non-negotiable aspect of living with a flighted bird having shoulder privileges. Early indications are she will be respectful of her "human perch" but you must feel completely comfortable. You mention a tendency for cage aggression, notice this yet in your home?

Excellent techniques shared by "noodles." Find a treat Maya craves and use sparingly as it will likely be high-fat. Mine absolutely love bits of almond, walnut, pecan, and plain Cheerios.

Thank you!! I am not too sure about the cage aggression in my home yet. I have not tried to take her out of the cage as she doesn't give me the chance. When I finally got her in her cage tonight I gave her an almond in her cage and she just threw it at me lol but did not try to bite.
 

Scott

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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.
We worked with her a little today. Every time she flew to the top of her cage we would give her a treat and praise her. She loves almonds and plain cheerios. I noticed if I sit down she will climb to the front of me. She was on my hands today when I was sitting down but she kept putting one foot on one hand and the other foot on the other hand and then kept touching her beak to my hand. She wasn't biting or nibbling just touching my hand but I couldn't get her to put both feet on one hand. When she is in her cage and I open the door she will climb out to the top of the door, that is when she Flys to my shoulder. She will also fly to my husband's shoulder and my sons shoulder as well and hang out there like she does mine. She also makes this clicking sound when she is with me. I am going to look into target and station training. I don't want to move to fast but I also need to get her to my hand so I can work on training with her. We had a really hard time getting her in her cage tonight. I walked over to it with her on my shoulder and she would jump to the door but wouldn't go in. She would dance and then jump back to my shoulder or fly to my shoulder if I backed up. My husband came over to help and then it was just jump on cage, dance, jump on mom, jump on dad, jump on cage and dance some more then do it all over again. When I finally got her in there I gave her a treat and praised her. It was really hard not to laugh at her because the whole thing was comical but I kept my composure lol. I am still trying to figure out her body language, she clicks a lot and when I put my hand to her and tell her to step up she tucks her head down with her beak tucked against my hand.

Bits of almond and plain Cheerios excellent treats. You are making fast progress, stepping on one hand bodes very well for success. Seems very well socialized flying to you, husband, and son at this point.

Dancing common, especially twirling around in place and hopping. Rapid beak clicking? Seems common with females and I don't read it as very sexual.
 

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