Thank you so much for your response.
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?
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
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.
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
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...
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
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
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..."
<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...]