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#63772 - 03/14/04 09:00 AM "Rescuing" a Cockatoo for Cash  
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Rhonda Offline
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ok, I'm new and I need some advice. I'm a stay at home mom with one 11 year old son (daughter has moved on to college.) I have a healthy happy marriage to my best friend. We have a respectable family income. On with the dilema... My husband has always wanted a Cockatoo, but the kids were young, etc. Well, I've been watching the paper and for the last two weeks I've seen an ad in the "Pets for Sale" section (I watch the ads for Mastiff rescue.) There's been a Cockatoo for sale ad these last weeks that states the bird is an "outside bird" and the asking price is 1K. I called the man and he told me that he caught the bird 8 years ago, put it in a 4 foot square cage outside and that's where it's been ever since. The weather here gets below freezing occasionally in the winter and well over 100 in the summer for several months. I asked him how the bird tolerated it and he told me that he threw wet tarps over the cage. After 8 years, this poor bird still has no name, has never been out of that cage. I stood in front of his cage and talked to him and at first he was terrified. His tail was spread as far out as it could go. I spent about a half hour talking to him, then had to leave. He was clucking and making friendly sounds toward me while I was spending time with him... after I left him in the dark and outside he screamed and screamed. It broke my heart.
Now, I'm trying to be rational. I'm actually willing to pay this man for a bird he has abused for 8 years, I have time to give this poor animal and the facilities to give it a good home. I'm even considering building an outdoor aviary for him after he's used to human contact again.
So, go ahead. Talk me out of it. Tell me to go ahead, I can only be a step up for this bird. Warn me away from giving my heart to something tht will ultimately drop feathers over every inch of my house. I appreciate any input you may have.

Thanks,

Rhonda

#63773 - 03/14/04 09:46 AM Re: "Rescuing" a Cockatoo for Cash  
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Ladyhawk Offline
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Hi Rhonda - that's a pretty sad story, and I'm not going to try to talk you out of providing a home for the poor soul. But, keep reading the posts on this site, so you'll know what you're up against. Take your husband to visit the bird the next time and try to spend at least the same amount of time (and probably more) that you did this time because you've added another variable (hubs). A third visit should include all three of you. Also, check out what has been provided for food so you can plan ahead for a diet change if necessary. Locate an avian vet or two near you and take the bird for a complete checkup right away. And of course, be prepared with unlimited love and patience, and make sure no young visitors "tease" the bird by poking fingers in the cage, etc. How does your son do with the dogs, and how does he feel about getting a bird?

A challenging bird like a 'too (what kind of 'too is it?) may be seen as competing for your attention, and your son is approaching some difficult years. He might need your time, attention, and supervision more than your daughter did. I'd love to see the bird live a better life, but you have to think about the needs of all of your family members, too. I think all involved should be aware of both the challenges and the rewards, agree on the family addition, should be willing to devote time to his/her care, and should understand that the gratification may very well be delayed. Sometimes that's the hardest part. Best of luck, keep asking questions, and let us know what you decide!

#63774 - 03/14/04 03:16 PM Re: "Rescuing" a Cockatoo for Cash  

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If this is a wild caught bird, it is going to take ALOT of time and patience to work with him. But I'm confused, was this bird caught in the area he now lives? It's heartbreaking that someone would take him from his environment, stuff him into a cage and then just keep him out there so he can watch his world from behind bars. frown If this is his home town I would be tempted to open the cage and set him free actually.

#63775 - 03/14/04 07:18 PM Re: "Rescuing" a Cockatoo for Cash  
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Rhonda Offline
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Northern California
ok, the Cockatoo is a Greater Sulfur Crested, subspecies C. Galerita Galerita. smile We've been spending some time on the internet looking at photos and descriptions and that's definitely him. I took my husband and son with me when we saw him last night... my husband is good with the idea, my son is an animal lover and wants to be a vet when he grows up. He's wonderful with everything. He has wanted a bird forever too. We are a family of pilots, and we have serious flight issues. We've been feeding birds in our backyard for so many years that we have hundreds of returns every year and 4 pairs of a species of woodpecker that have diminishing numbers that come here. so... when we build the outside aviary for him (during perfect weather) he'll have LOTS of company. We are not - however - social animals. We have a small circle of friends, none with small children.

I don't know how long it will be before I can handle him, but I'm ok with that... we're going to have a great deal of time learning that I'm not going to hurt him... His beak is enormous... that kind of power is something I'm certainly going to respect. I'm not sure how long it will take, but I'm planning on spending several hours a day with him, just talking to him, feeding him treats, etc... until he lets me touch him.

He was flying with a flock of Egrets when he was found by the man I'm getting him from... at least I'm 90% sure I'm getting him at this point
I'll keep you posted. Thanks for the encouragement... I'm going to need you guys like crazy I can tell.

#63776 - 03/14/04 08:00 PM Re: "Rescuing" a Cockatoo for Cash  
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Lei Offline
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If you decide to proceed, do so with the full knowledge that vet bills may run into thousands of dollars in a very short time. We have a wild caught Goffin that we can't handle, but we are making progress at a snail's pace. Don't expect anything from this bird. By simply providing a caring home, a healthy environment, and unconditional love and support, you will improve his quality of life a 1000 times. He may surprise you and adopt you as one of his own. He may select your husband, son, or infrequent visitor as his human of choice and treat you with disdain. Don't dispair. Realize that by expecting absolutely nothing from this bird, you are allowing him to be as much of a free spirit that is safe for him under the circumstances. Provide an ever changing array of toys and other stimuli, mixed with a flexible routine, established boundaries, and mutual respect. Encourage each family memeber to spend time by the cage reading books, singing children's songs, dancing, and doing wing flaps. Interact by mimicking his behaviors and keeping a journal of his responses to your actions. Keep detailed logs of positive and negataive responses to what color and style of clothes you wear, the time of day, food, toys, music, TV Shows, household activites, cage placement, etc. If possible video tape interaction sessions and watch what he is responding to and when you get a positive response, repeat it often. When you get a negative response, elimante it if possible.

Do expect to understand the truama this poor tortured soul has endeared. Just try to proivde a stable and secure future. Good luck.

Lei

#63777 - 03/14/04 09:41 PM Re: "Rescuing" a Cockatoo for Cash  
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Hmm....Do everything mentioned above (except turn it loose!)...and try to talk the SOB down in price. Mention the vet bills, whatever it takes. He got the bird for free. The bird will certainly need to be treated for intestinal parasites if it outside w/ the wild birds.
Greater Sulfer Crests are great birds, but they are really, REALLY loud. Listen to the birds on the mytoos site at full volume. That doesn't even come close to the real thing. Any close neighbors? If it is a female, things may be a bit easier (males tend to be more aggressive). If the birds eyes are a fairly bright brick-red it may be a female.
If you get the bird, be sure to do a search of the lost and found archives on the web. (Has the web been around for 8 years? laugh ) Someone lost that poor fellow. Perhaps you can trace the band. Good luck with your decision. Please keep us informed.

#63778 - 03/14/04 11:28 PM Re: "Rescuing" a Cockatoo for Cash  
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Rhonda Offline
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Northern California
I've talked him down to 600! laugh I'm finding a cage today and picking the big guy up tomorrow. I asked him what he's been being fed... This is it guys... Some peanuts(unsalted) from the 99 cent store and Sunflower/Safflower mix from Walmart. Sometimes left over salad. Only fed every other day. Yikes. So, how should I change that over to a proper diet. I've got to tell you guys... you won't believe this bird, he's been living outside with this kind of care for 8 years and he's beautiful. His feathers are full and long... he looks perfect. I don't want to make him sick now! Just tell me what to do, my husband left me with the AMEX card!... hee hee

#63779 - 03/14/04 11:50 PM Re: "Rescuing" a Cockatoo for Cash  
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brody Offline
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take him to a qualified avian vet on your way home!!

Conrad had been on a similar diet and the first thing I did was cut out the sunflower seeds...actually hand picked them out of his mix and hand fed him 3-5 a day at first....

I also read read read about diet and started baking and experimenting with foods to see what he will eat. Conrad and I have been together 8 months and diet is a daily issue for us! laugh

Have you noticed the search feature?? Use it!!read lots and ask lots- you might want to think about joining up for live chat too

cheers

(and thast good news indeed for birdie!! I hope it turns out to be good news for you too)

brody

#63780 - 03/15/04 12:01 AM Re: "Rescuing" a Cockatoo for Cash  
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Birdfriend2 Offline
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Yee-ha!!
Buy a bag of pellets and offer it w/o any seeds availiable. You might get lucky and he'll eat them right away (it has happened for me). I wouldn't be suprised if the poor birdie eats everything in sight. Of course, don't be surprised if he has no idea that what you are offering is even "food." Eat whatever you are offering in front of him with great enjoyment! Feed it to your husband or child. Lots of tips are in these message board pages.
Three cheers to you for rescueing this guy!!

#63781 - 03/15/04 12:15 AM Re: "Rescuing" a Cockatoo for Cash  
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Buffy Offline
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Rhonda - what a fascinating development! Please keep us posted every step of the way.
What type of cage did you get for him, and where are you going to place it? Do you have your air filters yet?

Do you have an appointment with an avian vet yet? Your first vet visit alone should be a couple hundred dollars at least, but besides being absolutely necessary the peace of mind alone is invaluable.
You're going to get really familiar with the 'search' feature on this site - just type in any key word from any question you have, and keep reading.

Harrison's is generally the most highly recommended by avian vets from what I've read on here. If you can get him started on that right away, it'll be easier than having to convert him later on.

I am absolutely intrigued by this whole scenario - like I said, please keep updating us every chance you get! Best of luck to you in this new adventure, and blessings to you for making this lifelong comitment to rescue this beautiful creature.

#63782 - 03/15/04 12:23 AM Re: "Rescuing" a Cockatoo for Cash  
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Harrison's bird food is available at a vet's office at such short notice...

#63783 - 03/15/04 02:21 AM Re: "Rescuing" a Cockatoo for Cash  
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brody Offline
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I TOTALLY disagree about switching him cold turkey....... I'm delighted it worked for you BF but its not for all birds thast for sure...

by all means only offer him pellets in the am when he's hungriest but if he isn't eating well you will HAVE to offer him something else in the evening

Birds can (and have) starved themselves to death due to not realizing that food was available to them.

Experiment and use common sense ...and keep asking questions

cheers

brody

#63784 - 03/15/04 05:47 AM Re: "Rescuing" a Cockatoo for Cash  
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I am with Brody on this one. Both of our birds immediately switched to harrison's on their own, but if either of them had refused to eat I would certainly provided them with food later in the day. Depriving a bird of food simply reinforces the idea that people will hurt it.
For other assorted foods, try hanging up large chunks of fruit and veggies just to introduce him to food in different forms. (ours esp. like apple or greens or squash or yams) and backing off for a while. (Make sure that the new items don't terrorize your new companion) This may or may not work at first - just remember he didn't learn to eat just peanuts and seed in a day and he won't unlearn it in a day either. Leave fresh foods out only for a max. of 3 hours (bacteria build up, you know) and give them to him daily. After a few weeks he should realize that you're not doing anything scary... and calm down about you fiddling around his cage.
As far as interaction goes... for my 2 cents look here my opinion
Take your time... you've got YEARS ahead of you.

#63785 - 03/15/04 08:54 AM Re: "Rescuing" a Cockatoo for Cash  
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Rhonda Offline
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omg. I just spent an hour typing to you all and made a stupid mistake and it's gone. drat. Here's the skinny. Billie is here, and has eaten some of the food I bought from the Bird Store I purchased his cage from. I bought a 40x32x70 cage. I put a large curly swinging rope and a big bunch of blocks on ropes in the cage. He loves it all. I'm taking him to the vet as soon as I can get an appointment, I'm calling tomorrow morning for one. He's got lots of actions and vocalizations that I don't know if you'd see in an untamed/untrained/wild bird. He bows sometimes when I tell him he's a good bird. Spreads his wings, extends his crest and bobs his head left and right... is that normal? He is very cute. laugh Ok, what forum should I write you all in now... I guess the rescue mission is a success so far. The vet is next. The guy I got him from had the audacity to act as if he was doing me a favor by letting me take the bird out of his backyard and giving him $600 for the honor, because as he said, "this is a real expensive bird you know... breeders may have paid me alot for him... you know you could breed him..." grrr. No way, no thanks, no how. This guys on easy street now. Indoors, real food on a regular basis, health care and all the toys he can destroy. Here's a link to a few pictures of the day... first is the two cages tied together with my son and I sitting and talking to him, then Billie in the old cage and 3 of him in his new home. http://john.roman.home.att.net/GSC2/ Thanks to you all for everything.

#63786 - 03/15/04 10:45 AM Re: "Rescuing" a Cockatoo for Cash  
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Ladyhawk Offline
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You're right - he's a beauty!! Nice cage, too laugh . He must think he's in cockatoo heaven - what a wonderful story! The behavior is normal cockatoo displaying.

It looks like his perches are large dowels, which won't be lasting too long. 'Toos tend to chew through their perches (there are some very funny stories about that on this site), so get him some manzanita perches of appropriate size. The hanging bell that's in the old cage looks like it could be a safety hazard. Definitely read up on toys and safety. And also check the list of what NOT to feed your Billie.

From the temperatures you mentioned, I'm guessing you might live in the Sacramento area or one of "the valleys." If you live in the San Fernando Valley, I can recommend a great toy and perch vendor (he doesn't breed or sell birds) who's a wonderful person that will bend over backwards to help you out. He does have a web page, but it's not updated, and he's got much better toys than the pictures show. He will ship toys.

Enjoy your new friend, but make sure he gets his 12 hours of beauty sleep! Looking forward to more posts from you smile

#63787 - 03/15/04 03:16 PM Re: "Rescuing" a Cockatoo for Cash  
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What a great story, Billie is an absolute beauty. Can't believe he spent that long outside ALL the time stuck in his cage - the poor bird. He is soo lucky that you found him and decided to take him on - he is awesome. Wishing you all bags of good luck with him.

Janice.

#63788 - 03/15/04 05:32 PM Re: "Rescuing" a Cockatoo for Cash  
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Billie sure is a beautiful boy! It's amazing how resilient our birds really are. When you take him to the vet make sure they know about his previous diet! (They may want to do additional blood tests to check for organ failure.)
I'm glad you kept his cage simple for now. It's very stressful to change homes and all the other unfamiliar items just add to it. Once he's settled in I also suggest getting some sort of very hard wood for his perches (sandblasted manzita, dragonwood or others available on the market) just make sure there's lots of other soft wood toys to keep him busy. Here's a suggestion for a very inexpensive idea that our too loves... get an old phone book, drill a 3/4" to 1" hole through it... string it up with sisal rope and voila instant shredder toy. Good luck and keep us updated.
His behavior sounds to me like interest. Keep talking to him. Have you tried bowing back? Our too just loves it. Eventually she gets really worked up (especially if we sing or play music) and she dances for us.
The forums have descriptions... see which category fits best and post there, if it's in an innapropriate forum the moderators will let you know and normally they'll move it. If you're continuing the same thought (ie letting us know what the vet said or other info from previous owner etc...) just continue on this thread.
We got our too from a guy and paid a $500 ransom for her. He just wanted to "recoup his expenses" *gag!* so, I know how you feel. Some people have alot of nerve.
p.s. to save you from the dreaded accidentally erased really long post, type it on word, works, wordpad or notepad at your leisure. Save it and then copy and paste it here. If for some reason your post gets lost in cyber space you have another copy on your computer. I think all of us here have experienced the frustration of typing for extended periods and losing all of it.

#63789 - 03/15/04 05:34 PM Re: "Rescuing" a Cockatoo for Cash  
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LittleStaffie Offline
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Wonder why I can't get them....all I got was the Rescued GSC2, with the pic boxes, but nuthin in 'em. Good on ya for rescuing this guy, he'll be thanking you for that! :p

#63790 - 03/15/04 07:04 PM Re: "Rescuing" a Cockatoo for Cash  
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Lori Conarro Offline
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What a gorgeous bird! You can't tell how he's been living by looking at him. I wish you all lots of luck!

#63791 - 03/15/04 10:24 PM Re: "Rescuing" a Cockatoo for Cash  
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Rhonda Offline
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I made an appointment with an Avian Vet in Rohnert Park, CA... I'm up in Vacaville, so we've got a little over an hour each way, but my only other option is the UC Davis Vetrinary Center... I really don't think he needs students messing with him. So, I'm driving an extra 45 minutes each way in my big truck with gas here in CA at well over $2 a gallon... and I'm happy to do it. laugh Getting Billie out of his new cage and into a carrier is going to be my new challenge. Then it's off for the full treatment. We're having the vet do a full workup on him and clipping nails and beak... nothing has been touched in 8 years. wow. I hope I can do this without him experiencing too much trauma. It's alot of input for his brain considering what he's used to. If anyone has suggestions on how to remove him from his cage without getting maimed or frightening him I need them. Today I'm shopping for fruit... and I'll talk to the Vet about his diet and what he was being fed, get some good food and work on the transfer.

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