My first Cockatoo is a Rescue

Posted By: Erick123

My first Cockatoo is a Rescue - 06/01/17 12:13 AM

How it started:
Hello my name is Erick, and I just recently bought a Cockatoo from a local pet store very recently. The reason I bought him was because when I went to the gym very late at night (anywhere from 1AM- 4AM) I would past a pet store and see him all alone in a cage and I have to say, it broke my heart. Over a month went by as I kept walking past the pet store, stopping to look at him until recently, I decided to visit him. The pet store owners allowed me to see him and pet him through a small opening on the cage. He stuck his head out, craving for a petting. The pet store owner informed me that he was 3 years old and his previous owner kept locked up in his cage at all times. This is caused the Cockatoo (Peanut) to pluck his feathers from is chest and under his wings. Currently, he is bald on his chest, but feathers are starting to grow back because the pet store owners at least interacted with him. I felt that I had to save him. So, I bought him, on impulse, without doing my research...

First day Home:
I brought him home and the first thing I wanted to do was let him out of the cage. He got out and climbed on top of his very large cage I bought for him. I put him and the cage in room where I played my instruments. He would say "Hello" and Peek-a-Boo" to me and my Grandmother. We would laugh and Peanut would mimic our laugh which brought us a moment of joy. He allowed me to pet him and hand feed him, but he was hesitant on getting on my arm or shoulder. My Grandmother tried petting him and he instantly got onto her shoulder. His nails were hurting my Grandmother so she became tense and scared, which did not go well with Peanut. It only made him hold on harder. As she attempted to get him off, he bit her very hard which caused her to bleed a lot. As I tried to remove him, he bit me as well, but not as hard. We put him into the cage and went to take care of her small wound. I then returned to let him out because I knew it had to be something we did wrong. I continued to interact with him as he climbed around the cage. He eventually climbed back inside. I locked the cage and put a blanket over because it was getting late. We closed the door and he started to scream, but for less than 10 minutes. After, he was quiet for the rest of the night.

***I must note that what probably lead to him biting was me petting him the wrong way. I would go from the head down to his back, which I learned can be sexual and lead to aggression.***

Second day Home:

I spent all night doing research and learning what I did wrong on the first day. I went the room early (around 7AM) to let him out. I had a few toys for him and some nice relaxing music playing in the background as I continued to interact with him. I watched a few taming videos, so my goal that day was to earn a little of his trust. He would stand on top of the cage as I invited him onto my arm (which I know was a mistake because he should be below shoulder level) and after a few hours, he stepped onto my arm. I was shocked. He wanted to get on, seemed unsure if he should do so. I spend quite some time standing, allowing him on my arm. Eventually I sat down with him. He eventually sat on my lap, cuddling with my legs and hands. He bit me a few times, but it was nothing serious. When he bit me, I would place him on our empty dresser with his toys. I stood with him from the morning to about 1PM. He started to get excited and display happiness as his crest was up and wings were spread. He would make noises, but nothing near screaming. I would play "Peek-a-Boo" with him which he enjoyed. I had arrangements that day, so I left with my Grandmother there. According to her, he was screaming at first, but later calmed down. My mother came by to visit him and he also allowed her and my Grandmother to pet him. She described him as "gentle." I came home and he was asleep. My Grandmother said he remained quiet and he went into his cage by himself.

:Third day Home:

I had the day off so I spent my entire day with Peanut, 7AM till 8PM. I continued to do I was doing on the previous day and decided to take him to my room. I placed him on my bed and he seemed happy and excited, running around the bed saying "Peek-a-Boo!" I put on the T.V and continue to talk and pet him. I would lay on the bed and Peanut would come to me to cuddle while seeking me to pet him. He was click his beak together which I learned it's a positive thing. I gave him toys and played with him. He then took my belt and started to wave it back and forth in his mouth. He looked like he was having so much fun! He came to me with the belt and due to excitement, accidentally bit me trying to get the belt. He quickly dropped the belt and started to cuddle. As he continued he got overly excite, he came to me and started to hit me with the belt as he waved it back and forth. I tried to get him off my chest as I was laying down and get up from the bed and he instantly bit me hard. Perhaps he was just overly excited. Later I took a blanket and started to pet him while I placed it around him to put him back into his cage since it was bed time.

Fourth Day Home:
This happened on 5/30/17, so it is very recently. I worked from 7AM - 3PM. When I got home around 3:40PM, he was excited to see me. My Grandmother told me that he didn't talk and he was in his cage (opened) with music playing all day. He played with some toys, but for the most part he was quiet and calm in his cage. When he saw me, he started to talk, his crest went up and seemed happy. For 2 hours, I took him into my room and we played and it was fun! We played tug of war, peek-a-boo, and had some cuddle time, but I kept it to a minimum. I made games a priority. I would also take my pillows and lightly surround him with them as he would let out a muffled "Peek-a-Boo" which I thought was cute.

Here is where I had an issue.

First off I forgot to mention that I attempted to tame him with sticks, but it was a no-go. He is absolutely scared of the sticks. He runs away the first chance he gets. I tried help him overcome, but he was just too frightened. I assume that the previous owner took a similar object and banged it in attempt to quiet him down due to the owner keeping him in the cage all the time. I also forgot to mention that it took a long time for him to get out of the cage. It seems he's inexperienced when it comes to flying. It seem to be one of those rare times where he actually was given the chance to explore outside of his cage. During the fourth day of fun games and quality time, he got onto my shoulder and because aggressive. I attempted to adjust my hoodie, which gave him the wrong message which cause him to bite me. I slowly and calmly tried to place him on my bed. He started to hiss at me and when I would try to pet, he attempted to bite me. I have never yelled at him and I try to make the bite pains less obvious for his sake. I placed him into the cage and took a 15min break. When I went in, I let him out of his cage and as he climbed to the top, he started to shake ( he as been doing that since day 1) he would take his toy and put pieces of it into his feathers, but at the same time, he started to pluck. I felt helpless. I felt like I was failing him. I didn't understand how he went from being so happy and playful, to being very aggressive towards me. I felt like we were moving backwards. I got a little emotional because I started to have regret. I asked myself why didn't I research first and also asked, what if I can't help him. I had recently lost a beloved Beagle so I started to cry and my Pandora playing for Peanut in the background started playing a sad song which didn't help. He watched me on top of the cage and started to hiss at me. He did not allow me to grab him to place him in the cage for bed time. I had to leave him and wait on his own freewill.

I know it's only been a few days and I need to give him a lot more time to adjust to me, my Grandmother, and his environment, but I can't help but feel that I made a mistake buying him. I have no experience with birds, especially birds with a troubled past. I look at his bald chest and it breaks my heart. I tell myself, I can't give up on him. I have to keep trying, but I feel so discouraged. I've purchase more toys and books to further educate myself with him, but I am having doubt. It is causing me stress. Any word of advice with be greatly appreciated and I thank you to those who took the time to read. I will probably continue updating on this thread.

All the best to you and your fellow bird friends,
Posted By: Erick123

Re: My first Cockatoo is a Rescue - 06/01/17 12:15 AM

So, for the fifth day home:

Yesterday made me feel doubtful because we were playing so much. He looked like he was having so much fun too. I made up a few games off the top of my head and he seem to enjoy them, but then suddenly he became very aggressive. Today my mother came to seem him and I guess there were too many people for him to deal with so he started to shake again and act tense.

I have this idea and please let me know what you think
Maybe I was moving too fast by letting him out of the cage and into my room. According the the pet store owner, he practically never left his cage. He was always locked in. This must have been a new and crazy experience for him. I was think of just keeping him in the cage for now. I will read to him and interact with him by petting and so on. When I try to hold him, he instantly wants to get on my shoulder. I want to stop that behavior by keeping him in the cage and taking it slow. Maybe after a week or so, I will start to teach him how to step up. Any advice on how to make him stop going on my shoulder? Also when he is in the cage, he goes to the side of the cage sideways and starts to spread his wings slight and starts screaming. Anyone know what that meas?

Thank you again, everyone!
Posted By: BE2Cassie

Re: My first Cockatoo is a Rescue - 06/01/17 11:44 AM

Yes you are going far too fast with him. Each time he has bitten you have gotten him too overly excited for an extended period of time. Don't take offense to what I'm about to say. This bird is not a puppy to cuddle and play games with for hours on end. Stop treating him like one. Many people fall into getting their first cockatoo because they think they are cute, they feel bad for them, they look pretty and an assortment of other reasons. We are opposed to the breeding and selling of these birds. They are not a good pet and should never have been made into one. Cockatoos are different than any other parrot you will come across. They are intelligent and emotional. Think of a two year old human, now give them a pair of plyers and let them run wild.
What you are doing that's good is to give him the out of cage time. Be careful and watch him closely as he becomes settled into his new space he may begin to explore. Very few of us here have not had to replace wood trim in our homes, refinish furniture, replace remote controlls, cell phones, books, computer key boards, keys, jewelry, clothing or an assortment of other home goods.
Some things that you need to do now. Get him to an avian veterinarian for a well visit. Be sure he's on a proper diet with pellets, greens, vegetables and fruit. Seeds and nuts are not a proper diet. Start reading every thing in the cockatoo forums section.
Near the top of the page look for the search feature. Enter the information that you are looking for. There is over 15 years of threads here with people discussing issues and concerns with their cockatoos.
Research training and behavior, diet, hormones, and everything you can think of or have questions about. Keeping him off your shoulder is all in how you hold your arm for him. Keep your arm down near your side and keep him on your wrist. This allows you to use your other hand to block if needed.
The screaming is normal. Cockatoos call to their flock in the mornings and again at night. You're up at dawn so I'm sure you've heard the wild birds calling to each other in the morning. Same thing only a cockatoo is louder.
Welcome to Mytoos and please come on and ask for help if you can find the information you are looking for. There are always people in and out of here all day.
Posted By: EchosMom

Re: My first Cockatoo is a Rescue - 06/01/17 11:58 AM

Slow and steady with these guys is always the way to go and produces the best, end results. If you think you are moving too fast, you probably are.

The best technique for shoulder breaking is to use your other arm as a block. When he starts heading that way take your opposite arm, bend it up and place the free arm elbow in the bend of the arm he's on. You can bend your free arm as needed to prevent him from climbing it or climbing around it. If he stops, great. Reward him. If he persist don't give in. Continue the block and quickly station him somewhere. Then try again. It won't take too many times for him to learn that trying to get on your shoulder doesn't produce the results he wants. Always, always give him the opportunity to do it right. Next time he will try again. It takes time to learn new behaviors. He consistent. The first time you cave and let him on your shoulder you are back at square one. He will see that if he persists long and often enough he gets his way.

I have a no shoulder rule here too and while I trust my 3 girls and there are times that I need 2 hands and offer my shoulder briefly they are so well conditioned that they refuse. They want to be put them down, not on my shoulder. Good luck! And finally patience, you will need every ounce you can find, reach deep!!
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