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Are cockatoos ALWAYS cuddly?

Short answer..... NO!  As a matter of fact they can
be quite dangerous at times to you, kids, or visitors.

"But I've had mine for almost 2 years and its
such a sweet baby!"

Short answer.... You haven't had your 'Too long enough...
 
 

Here's the long answer:


Phase 1   (The baby phase)

Like many of natures babies,  young cockatoos are the
sweetest most lovable creatures of all the birds.  Cockatoos 
in particular seem to possess a sweetness that no other bird 
or animal can achieve.  They snuggle, want to sit in your 
lap, want to to be preened or scratched,  love to be hand
fed, want to be talked to,  even play games.  (Mine loved to 
chase a small ball and toss it back to me).   These are 
wonderful times and its no wonder that people fall in love 
with them!  Problem is, these times will not last forever....


Phase 2  (The child phase)

As a matter of fact, 2 years is the
first magic number.  Just like children,  cockatoos (and 
I'm talking about Moluccans and Umbrellas here)  go 
through the "terrible 2s".  Its about this time that the 
"baby" you so enjoyed is becoming a "child".   His world 
is different .  He is brave enough now to explore his world 
and all the wonderful things it has to offer without having 
YOU around all the time.  This means that you cant turn
your back on him for a minute!   He's now full speed!
(It also is the start of having problems getting him back in his cage)

Like a 2 year old,  he will be into everything he can find to
either taste or destroy.  If you leave him alone to talk on the
phone for 5 minutes... dont be surprised to find half the
woodwork missing from around your window,  or your
expensive couch missing an arm or pillow shredded.  He is
not doing it to make you mad, he's doing it because nature
programmed him to do this.  More importantly, he will
start to challenge your authority.  THIS is where the rubber
meets the road!  Its during this time that many owners lose
control of their 'Toos.   (see my Behavior Page near the 
bottom for some insight)   Ok, lets say you make it through 
the terrible 2s...


PHASE 3   (The adult phase)

Your 'Too is now about 6 - 7 years old.  So far you have 
managed to keep him out of trouble and you out of the 
emergency room. ( while playing,  my male bit a hole 
completely through the inside of my nose. It was so 
perfect that the emergency room doctor asked me if 
I'd like to keep it for a future nose ring... I declined)

Your "boy" is now a "man" and has reached maturity.
His hormones are making him act and do things that 
you never expected.  He is really pushing for first place 
in the pecking order now!  Question is , are YOU "man" 
enough to handle it?

 He's getting REALLY aggressive now and out of hand!
He's impossible to get back in his cage and seems to not 
be in the least,  afraid of you.  He may even attack other 
people or children.  You start searching for a new owner 
for "cuddles".

Are all cockatoos like this?   No.   Are most like this?  Yes.
Some 'Toos show little signs of this behavior, while others
are complete terrors.  Keep in mind that quite often its the
'Toos owner or handlers that can make the difference in
a frustrated / aggressive 'Too and one thats just a little
more cocky at some times than at others.  Yes, the 
varibles of these creatures can be as different as the
owners themselves.

What can you do?  All situations are different, and the 
answer is much too long to post here, but there IS an 
answer!  Ask around, visit our message board or others 
boards.  Just dont fall for some simplistic "pet shop" 
answer because its much more complicated than that.

Look people,  I'm not saying that you cant have a wonderful
companion... (if you insist on getting one)... I'm saying that
you'd better know up front exactly what to expect from
"cuddles" in the long run.  And if you cant handle all of these
changes, then you'd be much better off without him in the
first place.  The  rescue's are FULL of cockatoos in this age
range.  And I personally think it's a shame!  Another thing:
Just TRY to get HALF your money back if you decide to
sell him!  You'll find that 'Toos (or any large bird) are not
exactly hot commodities everyday!

One more thing, altho I think that females are less aggressive
than males, they still get pretty cranky when the hormones
flow.   (Dont you?..... of course you do)   So be prepared.

I will add more to this saga as my time permits.

Till then,  lets be careful out there :)