Article: Living with a Cockatoo

Posted By: Garnet

Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 12/07/09 09:05 PM

This is an article I wrote about a year ago for my blog about life with cockatoos. It's a beefed up version of an article I wrote for "Parrots" magazine. I thought I'd post it here for people to read.

Living with a Cockatoo

The Big Decision: To adopt or not to adopt.

My husband and I have been fostering or bird-sitting various cockatoos for a few years, and our current foster bird is a stunning, seventeen-year-old male Lesser Sulphur-crested Cockatoo named Mitri. He was surrendered to a local rescue when his owner became unable to care for him. He’s actually the second Lesser Sulphur we’ve fostered, the other being another male named Fergus. Fergus was adopted by a great home after a few months with us.

Anyway, we’ve had Mitri for about seven months and he seems to be doing great here. He adores my husband and gets along great with me as well. I’ve been doing some clicker training with him and he’s now learning fast! He repeats a few words, is target trained, and he goes back onto or in his cage on cue. He also does a wolf whistle if I ask if he thinks Ripley (our Amazon) is pretty. He gets sunflower seeds as reinforcers, but I have to end each training session by giving him a good head scratch. He asks for those by bowing his head towards me.

Of course, the thought of adopting him occurred to us. However, this was a decision we didn’t want to make lightly. A cockatoo like Mitri can live as long as a human can, making it probable that he’d still be around when we retire. Cockatoos are also incredibly high-maintenance pets. Mitri, for instance, needs to be let out of his cage for at least a few hours daily, while he can be supervised. I also have to constantly replenish his supply of chew toys. And he’s very, very messy. However, since we’d had a few cockatoos living with us and since we’d been handling Mitri just fine (and rather enjoy his company), we decided to adopt him.

Cockatoo Quirks

Mitri is a fascinating character. He’s quite affectionate and enjoys having his head scratched, though he is sometimes nervous with strangers. However, if no one’s around to scratch his head for him, he’ll take a Popsicle stick or he’ll bite a piece off of a wooden perch or wicker basket and scratch his head and back with that.

From talking to other cockatoo owners, I’ve learned that a lot of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos will do this. I wonder if this behaviour stems from a part of their courtship display. For instance, male Black Palm Cockatoos will drum sticks on tree trunks to court females, and I have actually seen a male Umbrella Cockatoo hold a stick and drum it on a perch. I’ve also seen Moluccans drum their feet on perches, but not with sticks. Nothing I’ve read on the behaviour of Indonesian white cockatoos indicates that they do any drumming with sticks as a part of their courtship display. On the other hand, wild Indonesian cockatoos really haven’t been well studied at all.

Back to Mitri’s display, I wonder if he has an innate tendency to hold sticks and just figured out on his own that he can use them to scratch his back and wings. He could have, one day, reached behind his head while holding a stick and realized that it felt good to do that. Most cockatoos seem to enjoy receiving a good head or back scratch, so it makes sense that many of them would eventually figure out how to scratch those areas themselves.

Keeping a Cockatoo Busy

I have to provide Mitri with lots of interesting things to chew. He can make a huge mess with his chew toys, but he needs them to keep busy. A cockatoo with nothing to do can become a very noisy, unhappy bird. Many cockatoos with inadequate stimulation become feather pluckers or they start to scream excessively.

I do buy Mitri toys from the pet store, but he really seems to enjoy the stuff I get him at the craft store. These include plain wicker baskets, clothespins (with no metal), Popsicle sticks, and big wooden beads. The clothespins and Popsicle sticks get used as back scratchers, or they get chewed up. I’ve noticed that a lot of cockatoos love to chew on items they can hold in their feet. The wicker baskets hold all of his “foot toys,” but if he chooses, he can chuck out the foot toys and chew on the basket itself. He also gets natural branches from outside.

He does an odd thing with the wooden beads. He’ll either hold them in his feet and “comb” his crest with them, or he will roll them down his back and then catch them in his beak. I’ve also seen him put a bead on the back of his neck, hunch his shoulders to keep it there and preen himself in this odd posture. I’ve seen other cockatoos do that as well, either with wooden beads or nuts.

Mitri loves to shred paper as well, and he has a toy that can hold a roll of adding machine tape. He will also shred the newspaper on the bottom of his cage and kick out the mess. Actually, he displays a “digging” behaviour quite often by chewing at items on the ground (or on the ground itself) and then kicking one foot back vigorously. A lot of African Grey Parrots do this as well, and ones in outdoor aviaries will often dig little holes in the dirt, especially in corners.

Many cockatoos love swings and similar toys. Some will hold on to a swing and flap their wings to make it move. So, I got Mitri a large “boing” (bouncy, coiled rope) for him to bounce and play on, but he’s wary of it for now. That’s the way it goes with parrots: you can buy them a $50 toy and they might ignore it! However, I have hung the boing next to Mitri’s cage so he can learn that it’s not dangerous.

Despite having lots of toys, Mitri will often go on little walkabouts to find other interesting things to destroy. He’s chewed on a few shoes, has torn up part of the cover on the couch (luckily, it’s replaceable) and has bitten apart the zippers on a few jackets. He leaves lots of white dust everywhere as well. Cockatoos have special feathers called “power down” feathers. These are fine down feathers that gradually break apart to produce a fine white power that coats the bird’s feathers. The dust also winds up on areas around the cockatoo and it’s very noticeable on black furniture in particular. The down feathers themselves get shed during molts and can stick to rugs and curtains.

If I hadn’t made it clear by now, cockatoos really aren’t the best pets for very neat people who aren’t willing to put in extra time cleaning up after their pets. Cockatoos are great at spreading around wood splinters, dust, seed shells, crumbs, bits of fruit, bits of paper, and poop all around their living area. To deal, I place a big rubber mat under Mitri’s area, which makes it easier to clean, but his mess often spreads beyond that. Shop vacuums are ultra-useful items for cockatoo owners.

While Mitri makes a big mess, he likes to keep his own self quite clean. To help him out, I give him a shower about twice weekly. Some cockatoos like to go right in the shower in the bathroom, but that’s too scary for Mitri. So, I spray him with a bottle of water. He loves it! He spreads his wings, flaps, and even hangs upside down in his cage. Cockatoos that do not get showers can wind up with very dry skin and are often somewhat grimy looking. When giving a cockatoo a shower, it’s important not to spray the bird right in the face. Rather, aim the spray just above his head, so it falls over him in a fine mist.

Cockatoo Voices and Talking Ability

A couple of my parrots are outgoing enough that they can be taken to classrooms and out shopping (as long as the shops do not sell food). The most common question I get about them is, “Do they talk?” Most people lose interest when I answer with a “no.” None of my parrots are talented talkers. Now Mitri (who I have not taken out in public) can say a few words, but he’s not a prolific talker. Some individual cockatoos can talk quite well, some can say only a few words, some spout lots of incomprehensible gibberish, and some cannot talk at all. In general, cockatoos should not be purchased by those looking for a talking parrot. Actually, I generally advise anyone wanting a parrot only because they talk to not get one. Believe me, the novelty of having an animal that can talk will wear off. One must love parrots for what they are to be able to keep one as a companion for the long run. Most people who get parrots “only” for their talking ability eventually find they are not willing to provide optimal care for the parrot for the next fifty (or more!) years once they are used to the fact that the parrot talks.

At any rate, few cockatoos speak as well as the average African Grey, but they have very powerful voices and most use them frequently. How often will depend on a lot of factors, but cockatoos are the loudest of all parrots, with macaws, Aratinga and Patagonian conures, and Amazons coming next. Their ultra-powerful voices are among the many reasons that cockatoos often get rehomed. They are generally not suitable pets for apartments.

Well-adjusted cockatoos can be quite screechy at times – often at the worst times, such as when one is on the telephone or trying to concentrate on something. Many vocalize while excited, while trying to “call” to their people, or while alarmed. Wild cockatoos have a loud, shrill “contact call” they use to communicate with their mate or young, and they also shriek when danger is spotted. Wild cockatoos are noisiest during their morning foraging expedition, as I noticed while watching free-living cockatoos in Sydney, Australia, at the botanical gardens. The Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoos were simple to find there in the morning because they were so noisy calling to each other! They do not shriek all day though, and neither should a pet cockatoo. Most are quiet during the late morning and afternoon, while they rest.

However, cockatoos kept permanently apart from their human family can become extremely noisy, as can ones that have few toys. Other times, the reasons for excessive screaming may be a bit more complicated. Dealing with a cockatoo that has become excessively noisy requires plenty of patience and even a bit of detective work to figure out just what is causing the screaming. Most books implore parrot owners to always ignore a birds’ screaming, but this can be difficult with a persistently noisy bird. Teaching the bird to get attention using a quieter call can help, but this, again, requires some patience.

Mitri has a few different calls, all of which are very loud. There’s his usual contact call, a drawn out, raspy AAAaaaaakkkk!! He can let out a very sharp, high pitched Eeek! He’s loud too – he can be heard from outside on the sidewalk if he really gets going. His calls become more frequent if he’s alone but knows there are people in the house, so he has play areas upstairs and downstairs so he can be where the people are. Most hand-fed cockatoos are like this and it makes sense. Cockatoos are very social flock animals, and just don’t tolerate being caged alone too much.

Mitri is happy as long as my husband or I are in view and he’ll happily chew or preen while in the same room as us. Sometimes he’ll crawl up my husband’s leg and insist on sitting with him while he works on the computer. Needless to say, cockatoos are not suitable companions for people who aren’t home much. I’d say that a cockatoo needs around three-four hours out daily, with more on weekends. Even that is not enough for some cockatoos. Moluccan and Umbrella Cockatoos are generally the most demanding of the cockatoo species. Lesser Sulphurs like Mitri are usually a bit less “clingy” than the Moluccans and Umbrellas. However, all cockatoos, regardless of size, are demanding animals to keep.

Aggression and Biting

Making a generalization about cockatoo personalities is very difficult because so much of a parrot’s behaviour is shaped by its life experiences and how it has been trained. There is a huge amount of variation in cockatoo personalities. The most docile and the most aggressive parrots I have ever met have been cockatoos. Generally, female Umbrella Cockatoos tend to be the most tame and trustworthy of the cockatoos, with male Lesser Sulphurs, Umbrellas, and Moluccans tending to be the most likely to bite “unpredictably.” I put that last word in quotes, because birds do not bite for no reason, but it may not seem that way to the person who was bitten! But, as usual, there are exceptions. A lovely, sweet female Umbrella Cockatoo I fostered for a time was very affectionate to most people, but if she formed a strong bond with a person, she would guard that person and bite all others. On the flip side, I’ve met some very friendly male cockatoos.

Overall, though, most cockatoo owners get bitten badly at some point and cockatoo bites can be very deep and painful. Occasionally, they require stitches to close. No one who’s going to get upset over being bitten should consider a parrot as a pet, and especially not a cockatoo. Because even very affectionate cockatoos may bite, I’ve heard more than one person describe a cockatoo as having a “Jekyll/Hyde” personality. This is because some cockatoos can be very cuddly and affectionate one minute and may bite the next. Other cockatoos adore one or a few people and attempt to bite all others. However, it’s important to understand that they don’t do this just to be mean or difficult. The reasons cockatoos may bite are many and complicated.

Sometimes, bites can simply be accidents, as was the case when Mitri bit onto my husband’s thumb after slipping off of his arm. This particular bite probably severed a few nerves, as Quentin could not feel his thumb for quite some time afterwards. I was badly bitten by Mitri when I messed up trying to wrap him in a towel, something he normally likes.

Cockatoos may also bite out of fear, particularly if they’ve been mistreated by people. Sadly, a lot of cockatoos wind up being neglected. I’d say they are the large parrot type most likely to be mistreated, although large parrots in general are difficult pets and rarely get the care they need. Too many people who buy cockatoos later find that the bird is noisy and difficult to handle and may yell at, strike at, or throw things at the unfortunate, confused bird. Other people will bang on the bird’s cage and yell at him out of frustration, or will banish the bird to a garage or back room, a sad fate for such beautiful, social creatures. Frankly, I’d say that confining a cockatoo to a small cage for its life is a form of cruelty. Additionally, cockatoo chicks that were under-socialized as youngsters may also be fearful of people and may bite if they feel there’s no other way to get a scary person to leave them alone. And, some well-treated, normally friendly cockatoos may become nervous and a bit bitey in new situations due to fear.

Then there’s the phenomenon of the cockatoo who starts off as a sweet, cuddly fledgling and becomes a great deal more difficult to handle as he ages. This is because as cockatoos hit sexual maturity, their bodies start pumping out higher levels of sex hormones. This makes them want to guard a nest hole, and seek out and guard a mate. Cockatoos don’t hit maturity for a few years, but since a one-year-old cockatoo looks almost the same as a seven-year-old cockatoo to most people, few cockatoo owners expect such changes as their bird ages.

So, upon hitting maturity, some cockatoos display the behaviour wherein they bond to one person and attempt to drive off all others. This can be a huge problem, but the cockatoos don’t do this to be a pain: it’s simply a product of their instincts. It’s in their nature to form an exclusive bond with another bird, or in the case of a human-imprinted bird, a human. A lot of captive-bred cockatoos are imprinted on people, since most cockatoo breeders take chicks away from their parents at ten days old (some even incubate the eggs) and hand raise them. This works well to get the babies used to humans and it generally produces extremely tame, affectionate chicks. However, the baby parrot may completely imprint on people. Baby birds learn what species they are and what species they should seek as a mate from interacting with their parents. This is why hand-fed parrots often court humans by regurgitating to them or performing courtship displays to them. Once a person is chosen as a mate, the cockatoo may attempt to drive away other people, just as a wild cockatoo would drive other suitors away from its mate during breeding season. However, birds left with their parents for several weeks (as opposed to 0-10 days) or those raised with other cockatoo siblings around are less likely to do this. Such birds are less likely to see people as potential mates.

It’s hard to predict if a cockatoo will become such a “one-person bird” because not all end up this way. Having all family members interact with the bird regularly can help prevent this behaviour. “One-person” birds can also be trained to interact with other people using operant conditioning. I’ve trained a cockatoo that initially attacked me quite brutally to go in and out of his cage on cue and become easier to handle. This requires lots of patience, and it helped that I had taken a few courses on training exotic animals.

The very aggressive cockatoo I retrained was the previously mentioned Fergus. He was hand-raised and had been passed through at least seven homes due to his very serious aggression problem. I agreed to foster him for a parrot rescue he was surrendered to. One of the first things he did was chase and attack me and give me several deep, painful bites to my hands and arms. The only reason he didn’t get my face was because I blocked it with my hands. He did, however, become quite smitten with my husband and tried to preen his arm on initial contact. So, I started doing lots of clicker training exercises with Fergus while he was in his cage and couldn’t attack me. This worked very well and he became calmer and I decided to let him out again. He quit attacking me but I still had to be careful while working with him. So, while cockatoos may have tendencies to behave in particular ways, they can be quite behaviorally flexible and can learn new things quite quickly.

I feel I should note that Fergus showed no signs of being mistreated – he was just a frustrated, mature male cockatoo. His hormones “told” him to find a mate and breed but he couldn’t in the situation he was in. As he taught me, such birds can be worked with and trained, but, as I’d like to emphasize again, it’s not easy and it requires patience. But, there is hope for people who have very aggressive cockatoos!

Perhaps some are wondering why such a bird could not just be sent to a breeder. Personally, I would not send such a bird to a breeder, even if I wasn’t fostering him for a rescue (which won’t send birds to breeders). First, I don’t think there’s a need to breed more cockatoos, since they’re the most common large parrot surrendered to rescues. At the present time, I think there are more cockatoos out there than there are good homes for them. Secondly, human-imprinted male cockatoos often end up killing any female cockatoos they may be paired with. Lesser Sulphur-crested and Philippine Red-vented Cockatoos in particular are notorious for that[1]. I think Fergus would be very likely to kill any female he would be put with.

Why do some male cockatoos kill their mates? Some parrot species can “re-imprint” on their own species after being housed with them for some time, but that is hard for some cockatoos. Human-imprinted cockatoos may not initially recognize a conspecific as a mate. Additionally, a male who is ready to breed that is paired with a female who isn’t may become frustrated and kill her. And, to be honest, the way some commercial parrot breeders house their birds leaves something to be desired. Sometimes, breeder birds are kept in bare, wire cages with a perch or two, a nest box, a water dish (or bottle) and a food bowl. Is it hard to see how an active, intelligent animal could behave abnormally in that situation?

What about the cockatoos who suddenly bite, seemingly without warning, while they are being stroked or petted? This, again, is more likely to happen with human-imprinted cockatoos. This is because stroking the bird in places other than the head and neck – and particularly under the wing and tail – can trigger sexual behaviours in cockatoos. Females may start to crouch and “shudder,” which are sexual behaviours, and males may even try to hump the person’s hand. At this point, a male cockatoo may bite out of frustration. His instincts “tell” him to mate but of course he cannot.

This does not mean that one can never pet their cockatoo. I always give Mitri head scratches, and some cockatoos can be petted all over and present no problems. However, if the bird seems to perceive the touch as sexual (and starts clucking, or shuddering), them petting him or her on areas beyond the head and neck are best avoided. Fergus had this problem, because when he would be petted under his wings, he would go into the typical cockatoo mating position over the person’s hand. So, I would only scratch him on the head to avoid giving mixed signals and provoking bites.

This may seem at odds with the common advice that cockatoos should receive a great deal of attention. How can one pay attention to a cockatoo without cuddling or stroking him? In the case of cockatoos that appear to be in breeding mode, I recommend doing fun training exercises with the animal as a means of giving him attention. A lot of cockatoos love learning new tricks just so long as the trainer uses lots of positive reinforcement and keeps the sessions light and upbeat. Mitri loves his training sessions and is a very enthusiastic learner. I also reward him with head scratches after a session, and of course, I talk to him a lot, and give him plenty of chew toys to keep him occupied.

The Most Difficult Problem

In a way, I’ve been lucky with Mitri – he’s a fully feathered, beautiful bird. However, many cockatoo owners eventually hit a rather difficult problem with their birds: feather plucking. Among all parrots, cockatoos are the most likely to barber, over preen or pull out their feathers. Some individuals even self-mutilate, tearing gaping holes in their chests. There are few bird-related sights more heart breaking to a bird lover than a Moluccan Cockatoo who has, literally, torn itself apart.

Many people assume that a cockatoo who plucks must be unloved or badly neglected. The truth is that while neglect makes it far more likely that a cockatoo will feather pluck, some birds that are loved by their owners do it as well. So, when deciding whether or not to adopt a cockatoo, consider if you could love a bird that has destroyed its plumage.

Just how common is feather plucking? I have found no formal, published reports on this, but one internet-based survey that had a few hundred replies found that 53% of cockatoos over the age of five have plucked their feathers at some point[2]. No other population of captive animals displays such a high incidence of what is a sign of stress. Laboratory monkeys who are housed alone and used in invasive experiments come close. Ultimately, captivity is very hard on many cockatoos, and it takes a great deal of work just to keep them content.

What causes feather plucking? There are a whole host of physical problems that can cause it: infections, injuries, tumors, nutritional deficiencies, heavy metal poisoning, and so on. Most parrot-care books advise owners to take their birds to a veterinarian once it starts plucking. This is sensible advice.

However, most feather plucking in parrots has no obvious physical cause. Here’s where things can get frustrating. A few studies have linked feather plucking in parrots to a dull environment and a lack of environmental enrichment.[3] Providing a parrot with a stimulating environment that contains many items to chew on, foraging opportunities, and room to exercise can often help feather pluckers. An enriched environment also decreases the chance of stereotypies showing up. Stereotypical behaviour includes behaviours that are repeated numerous times and have no obvious function. A zoo animal that paces along the same route repeatedly in its enclosure is displaying a stereotypy.

The other little-known fact about self-injurious and stereotypical behaviour is that it is far more common in birds and mammals that have been taken from their mothers and reared in isolation[4]. This trend has been found in everything from primates (including humans) to chickens. Now, there is little a parrot owner can do about his parrot’s “chickhood,” but being placed in an enriched environment does sometimes reverse abnormal behaviours in animals that have experienced maternal deprivation.

Finally, despite their best efforts to prevent it, some cockatoo owners still end up with a bird who plucks. This can be very hard to deal with because plucking is not caused by one specific factor, and conditions that make one bird pluck may not bother another bird. Even if the conditions that triggered the plucking behavior in a certain bird are reversed, the bird may still pluck (or barber) its feathers out of habit. All I can say to owners of such birds is to keep on providing the bird with the best environment possible, take steps to ensure that its health is good and make sure that nothing in the environment is causing it stress and anxiety.

The Conclusions

By now, I hope my main point has come across: cockatoos are complex creatures and are challenging to keep in captivity for the long term. So why do I do it? I actually never intended to get a cockatoo until I moved to an acreage, and I simply wanted to stick with the South American species while fostering or birdy-sitting cockatoos. But, Mitri found his way to me, he needed a home, and he’s a fascinating animal. I consider the privilege of living with him worth the expense and effort. I enjoy the challenge of keeping him busy and teaching him new things.

I researched parrots for a few years before even fostering a cockatoo, and I recommend all people considering such an animal do the same. Because there are so many unwanted cockatoos out there, I also encourage anyone who wants one (and has the time and resources to care for one properly) to adopt an unwanted cockatoo. It’s also a good idea to contact people who’ve owned cockatoos for several years to learn from them. Joining a parrot club can be a good way to do this.


[1] “Mate Trauma.” In: Manual of Parrot Behavior, Luescher, Andrew (ed). Wiley-Blackwell


[3] Lumeij J. T., and Hommers, C. J. 2008. Foraging Enrichment as a treatment for pterotillomania. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 111: 85-94.

Meehan, C. C., Garner, J. P., and Mench, J. A. 2004. Environmental enrichment and development of cage stereotypy in Orange-winged Amazon parrots (Amazona amazonica) Developmental Psychology 44: 209-218.

Meehan, C. L., Millam, J. R., and Mench, J. A. 2003. Foraging opportunity and increased physical complexity both prevent and reduce psychogenic feather picking by young Amazon parrots. Applied Animal Behavior Science 80: 71-85.

[4] Latham, N. R., and Mason, G. J. 2008. Maternal Deprivation and the development of stereotypic behaviour. Applied Animal Behavior Science, 110, 84-108.
Posted By: Janny

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 12/07/09 09:25 PM

Very Good Garnet!!!!!!!! Loved it!!!!!!!
Posted By: Charlie

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 12/07/09 09:42 PM

Excellent body of work, Garnet! A really helpful read for a potential or real caretaker. Thank you for the contribution. I will place it at the top of the forum as a "sticky" topic so it will be readily found and referred to.
Posted By: FeatheredAngels

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 12/07/09 09:53 PM

Amazing and so truthful! TYSM for sharing this article with us, you did an excellent job in writing it.
Posted By: EchosMom

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 12/08/09 01:18 AM

Excellent article! Thank you.
Posted By: Bird Mom

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 12/08/09 02:33 AM

Great! Thanks for sharing!
Posted By: MissYumYum

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 12/08/09 05:39 AM

Hi Garnet! This was a really well-written and spot-on article, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! Thank you for posting this - an excellent read for newcomers and old-timers like myself :))

Posted By: Pete789

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 12/09/09 12:19 AM

Thank you Garnet - now that is a good article.

Pete, Penny and Izzy
Posted By: RK1

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 12/11/09 01:46 AM

GREAT article. enjoyed the read.
Posted By: Lucy's Mom

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 02/07/10 04:58 PM

Thanks so much Garnet. I'd like to post it on my Parrot Rescue Yahoo group. Would you mind if I did that?
Posted By: Liisa B

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 02/07/10 05:53 PM

Great article - Everyone can learn something from it smile
Posted By: Garnet

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 02/07/10 09:25 PM

Originally Posted By: Lucy's Mom
Thanks so much Garnet. I'd like to post it on my Parrot Rescue Yahoo group. Would you mind if I did that?

I wouldn't mind at all! Thanks!
Posted By: artfull

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 07/31/10 07:39 PM

you are my HERO
i read it all...
i rescued my Angel
and you make me want to provide even more
and better for him...
there is nothing i would not do to make his existence
the best possible life he can have while i care for him
you rock my bird world
Posted By: Chazy and Jes

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 08/02/10 04:37 PM

wonderful, truthful and very informative article.thank you for sharing!!
Posted By: Whisper

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 12/27/10 05:15 PM

wonderful information! Thank you!
Posted By: GlinkaToo

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 02/17/11 04:48 PM

This is a great read! Ok to print out to show everyone I work with to help our bird?
Posted By: FeatheredAngels

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 02/17/11 07:03 PM

I am not an admin here but I do know that it is definitely ok for you to copy and print and share all information at Mytoos!
Posted By: BE2Cassie

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 02/18/11 01:28 AM

Yes print as much as you want and share with all!!
Posted By: Exotic

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 03/05/11 09:19 PM

I found this to be very helpful, thank you for sharing.
Posted By: kdavoren

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 03/05/11 09:55 PM

Great article Garnet!
Kaz and Bleck
Posted By: Lilbiker

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 04/24/11 10:34 PM

That was an awesome article. I have been reading up on toos for along time as we considered getting one for a while, but we did not want to purchase so we kept watching Craigslist which is when we found Zazu. I knew that night that we were going to take this very special friend out of its dull, boring and neglectful environment and give her the best we could give. We have all the love in our hearts that we can give and we enjoy sharing our home with animals. We know that she has baggage but we would not have it any other way. I read all that I can on these beautiful creatures, so that I may provide for her all that is Humanly possible. This article came at a good time and a true delight to read. Our Zazu is doing her chihuahua impersonation as we speak.
Posted By: jm47

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 06/11/11 03:32 AM

Great info. I love learning here; I use most of the stuff to work with Phred and Bill, who are not cockatoos, but they pretend they are, and respond well.
Posted By: Brandy's Zoo

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 07/16/11 05:00 PM

thank you for great info smile
Posted By: chrisnjeffszoo

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 07/27/11 08:24 AM

Very informative for my current situation...Thank you!
Posted By: BassPlyr Randy

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 08/04/11 01:28 PM

Great read. I really liked the way you managed to convey so much great information by relating it to your experiences with Mitri. That made it such an enjoyable read without feeling overwhelmed by all the information. It still scared the poop out of me, making the OMG what did I get my self into feeling worse, but it also reassurd me that Simon and I will get through it, so again ... Great read and thank you.
Posted By: bangbang

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 12/20/11 09:50 PM

fantastic and informative Garnet! Thanks so much for this.

As a very new member I was happy to read that one can print info from Mytoos as I have opened a file for Bangbang which will be passed on to my niece and gr8 nephew(s) who I am leaving him to in my Will as i am a senior with health issues.
Posted By: 1368

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 05/31/12 08:05 AM

Thank you so much for all the info. I have a question . Both of my birds are 6 yrs. One is a U2 , the other is a orange wing amazon. They act like a bonded pair. preening and such, at their age should I expect they will always stay close?
Posted By: jm47

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 06/01/12 05:06 PM

1368, you can't ever tell. Personally, I try to be extemely alert (not easy, at my age, in my condition) whenever either bird is out. Ours do not play nicely together, as yours do, but they used to not be quite so competitive and combative. At very least, they do need separate cages, so each has his own space.
Our guys seem to want to bite each other all the time, but become very agitated if they can't see each other. . .sort of like me and one of my siblings, when we were children.

A bird may be startled by almost anything, and jump, snap, or otherwise behave in a surprising manner, and this will result, almost certainly, in surprising behavior from the other. Some surprises are funny; some are scary; some are tragic. Have you had them both the same amount of time? How long have they been together?
Posted By: 1368

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 06/14/12 09:24 AM

They have been together 5 yrs her [U2} whole life he is 5 yrs He is never caged . She is if I'm not here cause she gets into TROUBLE LOL I call it "Walk About" she is Never satisfied with her stuff [toys and such] for too long LOL My cousin called them the ADD Bird! God bless you jm47 for having the love for your guys "?" and Girls!!!
Posted By: jm47

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 06/15/12 04:10 AM

Boy, you have your hands (and life) full of interesting activities! If they are both 6, the cockatoo ( or is the female called a "henatoo?") may be reaching puberty. Hormonal behavior could change her behavior or personality, but not necessarily. Be watchful!
U2 keepers, any ideas?
ADD bird sounds about right.
Posted By: Calliopebrook

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 10/30/12 05:08 AM

Originally Posted By: FeatheredAngels
I am not an admin here but I do know that it is definitely ok for you to copy and print and share all information at Mytoos!

Hi Garnet! This was a really well-written and spot-on article, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! Thank you for posting this - an excellent read for newcomers and old-timers like myself :))
Posted By: bkparrot

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 11/25/12 09:31 PM

Thank you for a very informative article. I am in a similar position where I ended up with a cockatoo. Hope to find him a suitable home
Posted By: maidy92

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 03/12/13 02:56 AM

Hello, I am new to thw site, I have a babay umbrella cockatoo his name is Sofie, i have him since he was 2 months old bought him from a pet store and is living with me and my husband since las week.

I have been feeding me like they thought me with the his baby food in the morning and at night, and during the day he eats seeds and nuts.

I have been watching him and his done this 3 times, right after he eats he kind of trhows up the food, like if hes very full and just wants to get rid of the extra food. i dont know how to explain but i feed him with a spoon 2 spoons and then i put the food in the cage and he keeps eating it.

I am really worried about this behavior if you please can give me any advise it would be very appreciated.

I'll be checking tomorrow to see if i got any response

yhank you very much for letting me join your site.

Maidy,Jose, and Sofi...
Posted By: Charlie

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 03/12/13 03:44 AM

Get that chick to a vet as soon as possible, better yet, take it back to the breeder and get your money back. There is no way a chick that young is anywhere near weaning. It may die if you do not. Remember, these scumbags that sell unweaned chicks could never make any money if they told you the truth. Good luck and let us know the outcome. We are not qualified to give you weaning help.
Posted By: BE2Cassie

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 03/12/13 05:18 PM

That baby needs to be taken to the vet ASAP as an emergency. The scumbag breeder gave you misinformation on feeding. The baby food may be hardened in the crop from leaving it in the cage. CALL THE VET TODAY! This can be a life threatening situation.
Posted By: CrittersRus

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 03/12/13 06:29 PM

My heart is breaking for this baby. I hope you can take it to a vet right away and save your Sofi. A baby that young should have only been left in the care of its parents, or at the most expert of bird caretakers. Handfeeding is perilous even in the best of hands. I also hope that you can take it back to where you purchased him, and take this as a lesson learned that pet stores and bird brokers are most often an unscrupulous lot. Better to rescue.
Posted By: Luvbirds

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 04/23/13 03:24 PM

What a great article Garnet! Thank you for sharing smile! Can't do enough for my baby and I am going to do even more now smile
Posted By: Coki

Re: Article: Living with a Cockatoo - 11/26/14 04:39 PM

Thank you a lot for such a wonderful article! I'm totally printing it!
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