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#260018 - 10/06/16 11:37 PM Seeking Suggestions & Ideas  
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Dex Offline
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(Although I have been a lurker on this site for quite some time, this is my first post. I apologize for the lack of an introductory post - I just never know what to say...)

After many months of research my husband and I have decided to become adoptive cockatoo parents because of the desperate need there is for qualified cockatoo homes. We have never had a desire to 'own' birds (especially exotic ones) because we believe having wings is an incredible gift - and for humans to clip them, then stuff the bird into a cage for the sole purpose of human delight and amusement is just cruel. People who truly love birds would never do such a horrible thing - and so, we have always chosen to adore birds from 'afar'.

Anyway, our decision to adopt came out of awareness of the crisis cockatoos are in because of a human created problem. As I implied above, people who truly love animals - especially birds, would never make a pet out of a creature that has a nature fundamentally different than ours - such as forcing a bird to live out its life - flightless and stuffed in a cage. The fact that so many parrots are pluckers and self-mutilators is evidence enough that it is emotionally stressful and downright cruel to make them pets.

When we became aware of the fact that cockatoos are especially difficult to place - so much so that even rescues and sanctuaries are starting to turn them away, we could not sit idly by without opening our home and hearts to one or two.

In fact, our resolve and commitment is so strong, we are renovating our home with the idea of adopting an M2 (maybe two). We specifically decided on the M2 not only because we absolutely love them, but because they and the U2 are the most surrendered to rescues - and so few homes are qualified to give them the patience, care, and attention they so desperately need.

Sooooooo.....

Here we are. Planning renovations to our home!

We are seeking suggestions & ideas of what types of things we can do to make it not only cockatoo safe - but also the most enriched cockatoo environment we can create smile

------
Specific Questions:


1. Cockatoos love to seek out and destroy pretty much anything they can get their beaks around - including wood trim. Does anyone know of creative alternatives to wood trim?

My husband's solution is just to put up some nice wide untreated 'planks' and let the bird chew and destroy them as it wishes - then replace them as necessary. Although I think this is certainly a viable solution, I would rather not encourage our future cockatoo(s) into thinking our home is an edible gingerbread house smile I would rather find an alternative for the cockatoo 'play' areas so that they have somewhat of an idea that trim isn't really all that interesting and toys are much more fun...


2. Bird Rooms & Indoor/Outdoor Aviaries

Definitely interested in any and all creative ideas here. We want nearly every room in our house to have a cockatoo safe space or outright play area so that no matter where we are, our 2(s) can be with us if they want.

Although our deck and upstairs balcony will probably not be a project we take on until next year, we are definitely looking to transform both into somewhat of an aviary so our 2(s) can get as much fresh air and outdoor viewing as they want.

We live in GA, so most of the year the weather is warm enough to be outside. We want the deck and balcony to be screened because you get eaten alive by mosquitoes here ... any ideas on materials/design that is more cockatoo friendly? Of course cockatoos always need supervision, but like toddlers - you only have to turn away for a second and disaster happens laugh

It WOULD be nice to have a completely cockatoo safe balcony (enclosed) so that when it does have to be alone for a few hours, it does not necessarily mean it must be confined to its cage.

Speaking of cages ... We would love to create an alternative to cages altogether ... Other than the typical safety issues such as electrical outlets and whatnot, are there any other reasons a bird should be confined to its cage rather than a bird/play room while you are away? I know birds should only be allowed to play with some toys while under supervision, but I simply cannot think of any reason other than safety why a bird should ever be forced to be in its cage...

I understand that a cage can be like a 'bedroom' / 'nest' / personal space ... so a cage does not necessarily mean a bird does not like its cage (certainly any responsible guardian should go to great efforts to make a cage a safe, enjoyable place to be) ... I am just thinking that because pet birds have been forced into a human environment, it is our responsibility to make that environment as 'free' as possible for them. I mean good grief ... they are meant to fly with territories extending for miles (thousands in the case of migratory birds) ... and humans think how nice and big a 6' x 4' cage is for them...

I am sorry, but even if your bird had full access to your entire house all the time, it is essentially a prison/cage in comparison to their natural habitat - but I digress.

Anyway, any thoughts/ideas on how to give your bird more space/freedom while you are away for a few hours?



3. Other Creative Ideas/Suggestions

We are looking for any and all creative ideas for 2s as it pertains to home construction etc. We are certainly not rich and are not looking to build a giant stadium where our 2s have daily access to free-flight, but we are making a significant financial investment in home renovations so that we can provide the best possible environment we can for an adoptive 2 (or two) smile

If we had unlimited resources we would build a zoo sized 'natural' habitat for them ... but we don't, so we shall do the best we can - even if it is only a safe home filled with a lot of love, patience, and tolerance for insatiable chewing, little quirks, and their penchant for a lot of noise making!


Thanks in advance to those who take the time to respond smile


[By the way, we live in the country on 10 acres, so space and noise concerns aren't an issue.]

Last edited by Dex; 10/06/16 11:51 PM. Reason: clarity

You may think you understand what you thought I said, but what you heard is not what I meant.
#260019 - 10/08/16 01:38 AM Re: Seeking Suggestions & Ideas [Re: Dex]  
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BE2Cassie Offline
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You are doing an admirable thing for sure. Please don't limit yourself to a specific breed of cockatoo. There are so many out there, find the bird or birds that connect with you. Have you visited a local rescue? Keep in mind that admiring from a distance is not like standing in front of a big M2 when they get excited. They hurt your ears when they let loose. Don't get me wrong the others can be very loud as well just not quite as loud.
As far as accommodating them in your home that doesn't have to be difficult. I've seen designs of some enclosures/rooms for their birds at home. The big thing to remember is they chew. It doesn't have to be a corner or ridge of anything that they can get a hold of. The point in the top beak is like a giant can opener, poke it in and they're good to go. The hole can be put into the wall, chair, window sill, table, stairs, you get the idea. Then again you could end up with a girl like mine who wouldn't touch a piece of wood if her life depended on it. She prefers to shred paper, cardboard, curtains, drapes, shades etc..
Before you begin you home renovations decide on the bird/s you will be bringing into your home. Find out what the birds enjoy doing. You may take in one that loves to swing and twirl around toys and stands. You may take in a couch potato. You may take in a flying diva or dare devil. Again you get my drift. They are all so different.
If you should decide that you will do over a room with an added aviary there are some great plans out there. Some suggestions on walls, ceiling and floors make them all washable!! The big box stores sell some really great paneling that is washable. A drain in the floor is a dream for all of us here! And if we're going for washable and drains then a spigot for a hose would be the bomb!!
I'm not being sarcastic with the room design. This to me would be incredible and would make life so much easier.
They also make panels of sound proofing. This is wonderful even if you have no neighbors. Sometimes you just want to get away for a quiet moment or two when at home.
Thank you for doing your research now and please don't take my post as being sarcasm. It's not and is only meant for you to see the real lives we live.


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#260023 - 10/09/16 08:34 AM Re: Seeking Suggestions & Ideas [Re: BE2Cassie]  
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Dex Offline
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Thank you so much for your response. smile


Originally Posted By BE2Cassie
You are doing an admirable thing for sure. Please don't limit yourself to a specific breed of cockatoo. There are so many out there, find the bird or birds that connect with you. Have you visited a local rescue? Keep in mind that admiring from a distance is not like standing in front of a big M2 when they get excited. They hurt your ears when they let loose. Don't get me wrong the others can be very loud as well just not quite as loud.


When I mentioned admiring from 'afar', I was referring to us always admiring other people's birds because we would not buy one for ourselves. I did not mean to imply that we have zero experience or interaction with them. And yes, large parrots can certainly be intimidating!

As far as visiting a rescue, of course that will happen as we would like to foster as well. I realize I have not posted a lengthy bio about all of my years of animal behavior/training experience and education, so I do not expect you to understand that I am no 'newbie' as far as knowing what we need to do to prepare for taking in a challenging critter. We specifically chose the M2 (perhaps a U2) because they are so difficult to place.

In fact, we are most interested in the ones that are the challenges among those! Again, I have many, many years of experience in animal behavior/training, so this is not just a situation where a couple of nice well-meaning people decided to help a cockatoo -- completely unaware and unprepared for what that really means.

Our questions are more of an advanced nature in that we are investing time and finances in our home and just want to hear of all the really great ideas BEFOREHAND so that afterwards we don't go, "AWWW, darn! Wish we would have thought of that!" Know what I mean?


Originally Posted By BE2Cassie

As far as accommodating them in your home that doesn't have to be difficult. I've seen designs of some enclosures/rooms for their birds at home. The big thing to remember is they chew. It doesn't have to be a corner or ridge of anything that they can get a hold of. The point in the top beak is like a giant can opener, poke it in and they're good to go. The hole can be put into the wall, chair, window sill, table, stairs, you get the idea. Then again you could end up with a girl like mine who wouldn't touch a piece of wood if her life depended on it. She prefers to shred paper, cardboard, curtains, drapes, shades etc..


We understand that it doesn't have to be that difficult. But we have the ability and it is time to update our home anyway, so we are doing everything with the mindset of making it the best 2 haven we can smile

As for the pointy can-opener beak... EXACTLY! That is why we are asking these questions. I saw some wall panels at Home Depot - pointed to the design and said to my husband,

"See that? It is smooth, no grooves or texture, but even the pretty little spot in the design would be interesting enough to a cockatoo for them pick at it with their sharp beak until they dug a nice big hole in that panel trying to get it out!"

LOL. So yeah, I am fully aware the possibility of destruction goes well beyond wood trim and furniture. laugh



Originally Posted By BE2Cassie

Before you begin you home renovations decide on the bird/s you will be bringing into your home. Find out what the birds enjoy doing. You may take in one that loves to swing and twirl around toys and stands. You may take in a couch potato. You may take in a flying diva or dare devil. Again you get my drift. They are all so different.


Waiting until we decide on what birds we will bring home is not really an option. We are not just talking about building a nice bird-room. We are removing carpet and putting in easy care hard floors (not wood -quality vinyl planks). We are updating doors, windows, etc. Additionally, I would rather not have the birds around while such renovations are happening due to dust and everything else. It will already be a challenge keeping the birds we have (rescues) and our other critters away from the mess as it is wink

As far as catering to the individual birdy personality - we will certainly do that. Adding things that an individual bird would enjoy are less 'structural' and would be more like a furniture or household item purchase that can be added later. We are more concerned with construction/structural information at this point.

Of course any suggestions/creative ideas are welcome and that includes those types of things - and waiting to build some big birdy play thing until after we bring a bird home and know its personality first certainly makes sense. Anyway, I am sure you know what I am trying to say...


Originally Posted By BE2Cassie

If you should decide that you will do over a room with an added aviary there are some great plans out there. Some suggestions on walls, ceiling and floors make them all washable!! The big box stores sell some really great paneling that is washable. A drain in the floor is a dream for all of us here! And if we're going for washable and drains then a spigot for a hose would be the bomb!!

I'm not being sarcastic with the room design. This to me would be incredible and would make life so much easier.
They also make panels of sound proofing. This is wonderful even if you have no neighbors. Sometimes you just want to get away for a quiet moment or two when at home.


^ ^ THIS IS EXACTLY WHY WE ARE ASKING THESE QUESTIONS ^ ^

I DEFINITELY thought about easy care, washable, quality floors and walls (found flooring ... still deciding on walls) ... But ceilings? I had not thought of needing washable ceilings. We have awful popcorn ceilings right now and I told my husband they have got to go! We were planning on wood planks (obviously not for any room where a bird would be unsupervised) ... but I had not thought about what materials to use for ceilings in a birdy room ... Any suggestions?


Floor drains: I can definitely see how those would be awesome... I will have to ask my husband about it. Not sure how much of a bugger they would be to put in - our bird room will be upstairs and I am not sure how we would run the piping. However ... we should keep this in mind for out deck & balcony enclosure! If not an actual 'drain' at least plan for easy hose down smile


Soundproofing: Not something we had really seriously considered before, but now that you mention it, it might be a good thing to do.

I have noise canceling headphones I use when I am working around the farm on the bobcat; I just planned to wear those (husband too), but soundproofing the bird room would be more convenient than us wearing headphones around the house :P


Originally Posted By BE2Cassie

Thank you for doing your research now and please don't take my post as being sarcasm. It's not and is only meant for you to see the real lives we live.


Oh - no ... when I read floor drains ... I laughed because I KNEW you were being serious!



This morning I caught my husband gazing out our back door with this 'dreamy' look in his eyes. I stood next to him and then filled him in on a conversation I had with my dad about how parrots (and so many other exotic animals) should not be pets - and Dad went on a little rant himself about how miserable, bored, and horrible a life these creatures end up living because humans do not consider the nature of the critter in their care.

We discussed how cockatoos live in large flocks, are loud, social, mate for life etc. Then humans clip their wings so they can't fly anymore, force them to live in a cage indoors with no mate - or flock - so that essentially everything 'bird' about them is removed...

Is it any wonder parrots in captivity so often begin plucking their feathers out and exhibit other neurotic behavior?

Then Dad proceeded to go on about how it is too bad more sanctuaries and rescues do not have the funding to build large aviaries with 15' ceilings to keep a large group of cockatoos together so they could congregate together and enjoy living together as a flock.

"We (humans) cannot set them free - and even a large aviary is certainly too small - but at least it would give them a life as close as possible to the one they should be living ... "

After I finished telling my husband about my conversation with Dad, he looked at me, pointed to a spot on our property and said, "I was just thinking about what it would take to put a nice big aviary right there and how many birds we can afford to feed..."

LOL.

<3 my man!


[Note: My Dad is not a bird guy. He just has enough common sense to understand that it is our responsibility to consider the creatures in our care and make sure that their environment is in harmony with their nature. It does not take a genius to see birds have wings, live in flocks, and probably wouldn't appreciate being stuffed in a cage all day...]




Last edited by Dex; 10/09/16 09:34 AM.

You may think you understand what you thought I said, but what you heard is not what I meant.
#260024 - 10/09/16 02:45 PM Re: Seeking Suggestions & Ideas [Re: Dex]  
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When you do the ceilings think about placement of hanging boings, swings and playstands. There are decorative plates made for hanging lights that are sold in the big box stores that do a wonderful job of protecting the ceiling around hook placement for swings and others. There are also some very interesting art deco sheeting made that are sold in the stores too for ceiling and wall use. Some of the materials are very practical for bird use.
Drain in the floor on the second floor can be done if the room is fairly close to a bathroom. The drain could be run to the grey water drain in there. A sink in there would be awesome.
Sound proofing is good for the birds as well as humans. When you have an important phone call or have quest over a screaming cockatoo that thinks that all phone calls and quest are of course for them.
Safety feature especially for a porch is a double door entry. This would be two doors at least three feet apart so that each door is closed before the other is opened.
Some things to think about when designing is what you want to have in the bird room aside from the birds'belongings. Will you be putting in a television, music system, storage closets, lighting? How will you protect these from damage! There are a ton of things out there that are being sold that can withstand a cockatoo beak. Avoid plexiglass but Lexan is great.
Just to add, you sound like I did when I first got my birds. I had worked with animals for years, even more years working with people and behavioral training. I had even worked with cockatoos, macaws and a huge variety of exotic birds. I thought I knew what I was getting in to. Working and being around cockatoos is one thing but when you live with them it's a totally different and sometimes overwhelming experience. Going into it with the right mindset is what will help you over the hurdles to come. It sounds like you have that mindset!
I've been searching but can't seem to find the threads. A few years back we had two different members do special construction for their birds. Both were amazing. One was in the house with the bird room designed with it's own air purifying and temperature control. It also had a small window that would open to allow the birds to go out in to an outdoor aviary. The other design was a small house built outside with an attached aviary. It was a really nice setup for the birds and really cute.

Last edited by BE2Cassie; 10/09/16 03:05 PM.

Nancy & Cassie BE2
#260025 - 10/11/16 05:17 PM Re: Seeking Suggestions & Ideas [Re: Dex]  
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"TiKa's Dad" has posted extensively on Mytoos about his two Umbrella Cockatoos Tika and Amanda and about the living space he has made for them.

The current setup that TiKa's Dad (AKA Jlcribber) uses consists of two separate "cages" build against the wall of a room. One side of the cage is built out of dog crest pannles with a door. When Jlcribber is not around, Tika and Amanda are inside their separate cages. There are lots of toy in each of the cages. They can hear and see each other but they can not interact physically. This is important because they are never alone, so that, they always have the company of each other. One time they did get into a fight and and one was seriously injured, but has sense recovered. Jlcribber also has a secure network camera in the bird room that he can use to view them when in his home office or when he is working at a job site.

When Jlcribber is present, he opens the cages and lets both birds out allowing them to climb and playing the rest of the room. The birds can also physically interact under supervision. Of course, Jlcribber plays with them too, he also takes the birds around the rest of his house, but the bird room is Tika and Amanda's safe space.

Here is a photo gallery of the space that TiKa's Dad has created.

Now that you are a member of Mytoos you can search all post by one user. From a post such as THIS ONE You can click on the user's name and you will get a drop-down menu then click on "view posts" to get a complete list of all post by that user.

TiKa's Dad also has a YouTube channel where you can watch his flock play in there environment and all over.

#260026 - 10/12/16 02:58 AM Re: Seeking Suggestions & Ideas [Re: Dex]  
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While Tika's dad does have a good set up for Tika and Amanda in the basement the ones I was thinking of are built just for birds. John's set up is great and shows that a good design doesn't have to cost thousands.


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#260027 - 10/12/16 12:34 PM Re: Seeking Suggestions & Ideas [Re: Dex]  
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Thank you for the suggestions!

(Things have been busy the past several days - and will be for the next couple of weeks. Please forgive me for the short response.)


You may think you understand what you thought I said, but what you heard is not what I meant.

Moderated by  BE2Cassie, Beeps, EchosMom, Janny 

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