Good afternoon,

I find myself in an unusual situation, and I would like your help/advise.

Last week, my daughter (who is 22, and lives with me) noticed a cockatoo at the preschool where she teaches was being mistreated. If not outright abused, it was certainly being neglected. We discussed it, and I told her to go to the preschool director and point out this poor animal. It was being housed outdoors in a large cage, with many other birds, including several cockatiels, a few conures, even a pigeon!! It was the only large bird, had been plucking her feathers, and the most alarming thing was a broken blood feather that was still bleeding! My daughter wasn't two lines into her speech, when the guy said "just take it".

So we did! And we went straight to an avian vet (our local pet store has been very helpful.) He said our new friend is AT LEAST 25 years old. She has a plain round band like I have seen described on your site, meaning that she was imported in the early 90s. But we have no additional information. The vet said he thought she was less than 50 years old (something to do with how her feet looked). Her feather was removed, and the vet clipped her VERY overgrown nails. The local pet store (independently owned) hooked us up with someone who donated a HUGE beautiful cage to us...

Now my question... I didn't plan to own a cockatoo, because I am very aware of how much care they require. But here she is, and we have certainly improved her situation. Before I commit to her for life (unless I have already, and I'm just not ready to admit it, lol) I want to be sure I can give her all the mental stimulation she will need.

I have 4 kids, two away in college, and an 11 year old. He will not have much to do with bird care, at least not without supervision. We have a new quaker parrot (who we love and whose trust we are still earning. He was also a rescue, but is still a baby at about 6 months old.) We have 2 dogs, a boxer and a terrier, which will mean I can't let the Too out of the cage all the time. I will have to limit her outside time to a few hours a day, when the dogs are away, or there is someone watching everyone. And finally, I work during the day from about 9-4 Mon- Thurs. Can we give a cockatoo the attention it will need even if we are out of the house for about 6-7 hours/four days a week?

Again, please go easy with me, I agree with you on the plight of many new birds, and the uneducated buyers who purchase them. I did not set out to get a Cockatoo, because I DO read and I know how much work/love they need. But we could not let her languish like that either. The vet said she'd have bled out within a few weeks without care. She's a lovely thing, will sit on my arm, and has let us pet her. We are taking it slowly, I just want to make sure she has a good life, and that we can give it to her.

Any words of wisdom will be appreciated.

Alison