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#241113 - 01/09/12 11:13 PM Want a good New Year's resolution?  
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The drive to procreate is the strongest instinctual process in these animals. There is just no denying it. Not all cockatoos in the wild will be able to become parents because nature is often stacked against that happening. In our homes, however, when it's a good home, the reproductive chain can be a very stressful and disorienting time for these birds. It is not just a "sexual event", it is a "reproductive process" that goes from mate selection to chick rearing and anything that interferes, anywhere along that process, can be very traumatic for the bird.

In the wild, conditions that lead to successful breeding may not happen very often. In that case, the bird has other things to worry about and do. There are five conditions that lead to increased hormone production that drives breeding behavior. As care takers, we need to be very aware not to stimulate these birds accidentally or through ignorance. Many times, just by understanding what is required will allow us to change OUR behavior or the bird's environment in such a way as to minimize reproductive hormone production and it's associated behaviors. The five requirements are:

  • A mate or perceived mate - Is that you? If so, you need to move your behavior with your bird to establish a sibling, playmate, or trainer relationship. Be active with the bird but the bird does not have to be on you. Cockatoos love to play and take to training very well.
  • Copulation - Do you put your hands under your birds wings? Do you pet your bird with full body strokes? Do you let your bird sit on you while you watch TV? Do you cover your bird with towels or blankets? These are all behaviors to avoid. Wild cockatoos never make bodily contact with other cockatoos except to mate. You can never mate with a cockatoo so don't lead the cockatoo to believe you can!
  • Nest - Once again, no blankets, towels, dark, small spaces. These are all part of nest building and should be discouraged. Nest boxes should never be allowed with pet birds.
  • Long daylight hours - Do you let your bird stay up late under the lights with you? Wrong. Cockatoos are wired to sleep when the sun goes down and wake up with the sun. In nature, when days start to become long it is a harbinger of spring, a signal that food and water will be more plentiful, a very good time to raise chicks! Put your bird to bed at sunset. In the long days of summer, you can also provide a dark room for sleep and put them down an hour or two before sunset.
  • Abundant food - In nature, cockatoos spend most early morning and evening hours flying to and foraging for food. There are probably more times than not when food is not as abundant as they would like. They have to work for it! In our homes, not only is the food abundant but much of it is fatty and sugary. It has been proven that these rich foods can increase hormone levels by 10 times normal levels. We need to provide a natural and varied diet with an abundance of greens and vegetables to minimize this effect.


I say "in nature" and refer to "wild cockatoos" quite often but, the fact is, most of our hand reared parrots are only a couple of generations removed from the wild. It will take many many more years for that change away from natural instinct to happen. Will it ever change? I doubt it. Nature is delicate and precise, when man tampers with the process the outcome is usually not good.

All cockatoos have an age that they reach "maturity" and this varies from 2-3 years for the small ones and 6-8 years for the big ones. If one disregards the information above and does things all wrong, much younger birds will begin to "feel" hormone production and suffer for it. These birds are confused and not understanding why things are happening or not happening. One will have the best chance by avoiding the five triggers above. You are not in the business of breeding cockatoos, this is your pet and companion, make his or her life all it can be by learning and applying "the facts of life".

#241114 - 01/10/12 12:09 AM Re: Want a good New Year's resolution? [Re: Charlie]  
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Really good write up Charlie, mind if I reprint it?


Deborah
A Too is not a pet, it is a choice for life!


#241119 - 01/10/12 01:33 AM Re: Want a good New Year's resolution? [Re: FeatheredAngels]  
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Not at all, Deborah! Thanks for all you do! cool

#241124 - 01/10/12 02:02 AM Re: Want a good New Year's resolution? [Re: Charlie]  
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I shared as well. Great article!!! Thanks Charlie!


Karen, Lucy (U2), BooBoo (CAG),Pina (BCC),Willie (Cockatiel),
Melody, Sonata, Penny & Dory(dogs)
#241127 - 01/10/12 04:09 PM Re: Want a good New Year's resolution? [Re: Charlie]  
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Originally Posted By: Charlie
Not at all, Deborah! Thanks for all you do! cool


All the credit goes to Mytoos and the excellent Admin here. From all of you I learned the true plight of parrots and this is my small way of paying it forward.

Here is a link to your Article Charlie The Five Conditions that lead to Hormonal Increase by Charles King


Deborah
A Too is not a pet, it is a choice for life!


#241130 - 01/10/12 09:49 PM Re: Want a good New Year's resolution? [Re: Charlie]  
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Knowledge. Is. Power. =D Great article! I saw it here first, and then I saw it on Deborah's website too. Way to get information out there and make it available.

I LUV MyToos

#241131 - 01/11/12 12:58 AM Re: Want a good New Year's resolution? [Re: Charlie]  
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I am curious.. I got this as a response to this article:

" I disagree with bullets 1-4, 5 I do agree with. As keeping a.cockatoo active, such as foraging, is really mind stimulating and very good for them. But my 'toos touch eachother all over, and are not "mates". They're all boys and want to hump me of hump near me. Cockatoos LOVE , ABSOLUTELY LOVE to touch eachother. Mine do and all the 'too socialized U2s I've been around, do too. It's a social behavior. Like a monkey grooming another familiar monkey, its not a mate behavior. They groom eachother butts, wings, tails, between legs, wherever. So back to bullet 1. No matter what we do, or try to do,(most) birds are going to choose a favorite person and see them as a mate. Good luck dissuading this very natural behavior. Bullet 2. As I mentioned above, grooming the entire body is a social behavior, preening under the wings, flight feathers, between wings, tail base, etc, is not inviting for sexual behaviors. It can be, but its not 100%. My 'toos do this and they dont see eachother as mates. Just buddies in the flock. And they all preening eachother. Every piece of their body is preened. Bullet 3. I'm of the believe to "let things cycle through". My birds build nests on the bottom of the cage with all the wood they chew. I destroy the nest every few days, to clean. But blankets, cuddling, towels, are NOT nests to my birds. The cage is. Bullet 4. It assumes ALL birds are light sensitive. But this is not the truth at all. Most macaws, Amazons, greys, come from places near the Ecuador. They don't have "shortened light periods". So changing their light hours, doesn't do anything to cure hormones."


Specifically about the touching all over thing.. WHAT? Can someone help me shed some light on this? According to your article Charlie, 'toos don't touch each other anywhere but on the head except in mating situations. I've asked this person how old her 'toos are and how long she's had them in her care.

Her response was this:
"My 'toos range from 4-11, but my mother's M2 who is 20 loves group preen time too. My 27y.o does not. Bokka I had for almost 6 years before he died at 17. My others I've had 2-4.5 years smile So not too long. But even if you go to a rescue, that has 'toos of same species that get along, you can often see these group/buddy preen times. It's silly to day that 'toos don't naturally touch eachother except to mate. So silly I LOL'd."

I've never seen any of the 'toos at any of the rescues I've visited preen each other anywhere other than the head.

So.. yeah, I'm a bit confused. She's not exactly a reputable source, but I'm curious if there's any truth to what she's saying. It sounds like if they are humping everything they are hormonal and she simply doesn't recognize it.

#241132 - 01/11/12 01:58 AM Re: Want a good New Year's resolution? [Re: Charlie]  
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Excellent article Charlie!! You ROCK!


Birds are angels who lift us up when our own wings forget how to fly.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world - indeed it is the only thing that ever has!" ~~~ Margaret Meade ~~~

Noelle, A Rehabilitation in Progress
#241133 - 01/11/12 02:46 AM Re: Want a good New Year's resolution? [Re: Volk]  
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I am sure Charlie will be along with his own response but I have never seen Toos or any other birds preen each other anywhere other than the neck and head. Admittedly I am not an expert, however I do have about 30 plus years of parrot experience and an avid student of their care.

As for blankets, I have seen this stimulate many birds. I have seen it with my own, other birds, videos etc. I do towel my birds after a shower to dry them off a bit in winter months but I do not sit and hold them for extended periods of time like this. Ozzy will begin to shimmy with hormones if snuggled up for more than just a few moments.

I do a full body exam on my birds weekly, it is done quickly and with a purpose. I do not snuggle them up and therefore there are no hormonal triggers. Touching on the body can be done but it needs to be briefly and without petting and stroking.

Honestly whomever this person is, they are just not educated on the true nature of parrots. However you will find many folks who truly do not want to believe the truth. Charlie's article contains facts that can be easily looked up in many places by experts who have spent years compiling and researching just these points. I have found for the most part those who want to argue these points, many times turn out to be breeders who do not want the truth known. It will hurt their sells if the honest facts of the true care of parrots comes out.

Just my two cents smile

adding something....

Just went and looked up this persons comments and really have to laugh myself. She has had birds for 2 to 4 years and ppl are listening to her opinions lol. Can we say "seriously" .Dont let her comments get to you hun, we here all know the truth!

Last edited by FeatheredAngels; 01/11/12 03:05 AM.

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#241138 - 01/11/12 08:31 AM Re: Want a good New Year's resolution? [Re: FeatheredAngels]  
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I've been on the road. Thanks for the reply, Deborah, I couldn't have said it better. These things are not 100% absolutes but they will surely help you and your bird have a more stress free companionship. Use common sense and as Dr. Doolen says, "think like a bird"! I like to bring this topic up once in a awhile for new members. It has been covered many times in the archives. We have seen, over and over again, members that have come back to rave about the differences they were able to effect using the manipulation of one or more of these "triggers".

#241141 - 01/11/12 12:40 PM Re: Want a good New Year's resolution? [Re: Charlie]  
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Originally Posted By: Volk
They groom eachother butts, wings, tails, between legs, wherever.


I see my girls grooming each other under their wings, tails and vent area also. It made me extremely nervous for awhile, hearing of the wrong readings of DNA.

When I asked about it, I was told it was "common" and not to worry about it. confused So, I quit worrying about it.


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#241142 - 01/11/12 03:37 PM Re: Want a good New Year's resolution? [Re: Brandy's mom]  
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One thing that hasn't been mentioned and I think it's worth mentioning is that you take a human imprinted cockatoo that has had the body stroking for any length of time and they tend to "crave" it.You put two human imprinted cockatoo's together that have had the above mentioned together and they are going to "crave" it together and likely because they are so intelligent please each other.

I remember being so happy that I could pet my Gabby boy everywhere and touch him everywhere until I read on this site what it does to them...well try to stop it after a year or two of doing it on a chick never mind an adult bird who is seriously getting stimulated by it...it's tough.I would walk up to Gabby's cage and he would come running from the other side with his wing in the air just waiting to get his under wing pets!! It took months to correct and he never did forget that those were the best pets ever to him! He would still try his hardest at 7 y/o to get them and we stopped at 1 y/o...so yes I believe you put a few together they will inappropriately preen each other in the forbidden zones.


Jan

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#241143 - 01/11/12 04:23 PM Re: Want a good New Year's resolution? [Re: Janny]  
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Oh Janny that is an excellent reminder and most likely why some are seeing birds who are now touching in forbidden areas. Once again it is another sad thing we have done to these precious Angels.

adding something...

Janny thanks to your post here, it gave me exactly the comment I needed to post to the thread on FB debating this issue. Here is my response.
***************************************************************
What we all need to remember is that each bird is an individual and also the birds in captivity are going to demonstrate different behaviors due to being in captivity and being handled by humans. You will not see the majority of birds in the wild preening anywhere other than the head and neck areas. Birds raised in captivity are more likely to do this because of being handled by humans and touched all over. We have taught them things that are not normal compared to their wild counterparts and ancestors. Overly petting and stroking a birds body can create hormonal issues. Some may not find this true, because each bird is unique but it holds true for the majority. I personally have never seen birds preen anywhere other than the head and neck and this comes from over 30 years of experience with birds. I will not say that it isnt happening, but again I am positive it is learned behavior from humans.
***************************************************************
Hope you dont mind me stealing your opinion Janny, but as always I cannot allow for folks to be mislead into believing something we all know is not true. Your comments were dead on as to why this is most likely happening.

Last edited by FeatheredAngels; 01/11/12 06:30 PM.

Deborah
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#241144 - 01/11/12 07:58 PM Re: Want a good New Year's resolution? [Re: Brandy's mom]  
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Originally Posted By: Brandy's mom
Originally Posted By: Volk
They groom eachother butts, wings, tails, between legs, wherever.


I see my girls grooming each other under their wings, tails and vent area also. It made me extremely nervous for awhile, hearing of the wrong readings of DNA.

When I asked about it, I was told it was "common" and not to worry about it. confused So, I quit worrying about it.


STATEMENT..NOT AN...ARGUMENT


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#241145 - 01/11/12 08:10 PM Re: Want a good New Year's resolution? [Re: FeatheredAngels]  
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Originally Posted By: Brandy'sMom


STATEMENT..NOT AN...ARGUMENT
___


OK?....I don't think anyone was trying to argue this...I was simply lending a hypothesis as to why this was happening....

Your welcome FA...I just thought about it this morning and thought I bet this is why. I try to think like a bird every now and then.lol


Jan

Sometimes damaged goods are the best gifts the world has to offer
#241146 - 01/11/12 08:44 PM Re: Want a good New Year's resolution? [Re: Janny]  
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Originally Posted By: Janny

Your welcome FA...I just thought about it this morning and thought I bet this is why. I try to think like a bird every now and then.lol


Well I believe your thought was dead on! As for thinking like a bird...world would be a better place if we all did that more grin


Deborah
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#241194 - 01/13/12 07:27 PM Re: Want a good New Year's resolution? [Re: Charlie]  
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Thank you all for helping me shed some light on this one. I appreciate all the responses. Makes a lot of sense. I forgot to take into account being wild caught or hand reared can make a huge difference. Thanks again!

#242678 - 02/26/12 07:23 PM Re: Want a good New Year's resolution? [Re: Charlie]  
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its such a reief to belong to a community of people that know what they are saying about Cockatoos! Through experience I know that Charlie is correct on all points. Im grateful to be able to read all of this to my Hubby. He has a tendency to believe what is in print but not his spouse so much. LOL


PJ owns 2 adults, 1 Grandma and everybody else is his playtoys.
#248193 - 09/22/12 02:58 PM Re: Want a good New Year's resolution? [Re: Charlie]  
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Thanks,I have just added a 4year old U2 to my small flock which is a dyh and yellow nape amazon.coco loves attention and full body rubs.iev only had him for 6 weeks and don' t want to make any mistakes that are hurtful or can be avoided.
He is so loving and I'm both playmate and provider.

My question is can you show affection with small amounts of body petting or under wing stroking without hurting relationship of playmate/ trainer ???

#248197 - 09/22/12 07:03 PM Re: Want a good New Year's resolution? [Re: Coco puff]  
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That's like asking if you can crack the door with a toddler playing on the floor. Do so at your own peril. There may be times of the year that it is acceptable if you REALLY know your bird. Why start? It's not something they need if your relationship is good.

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