Hey everyone, I've long been reading this website for help but I write this post as a bit of a last resort.
In January I "adopted" a Goffin Cockatoo, Dolly, from a "rescue." I use these terms loosely because frankly the person seemed only interested in profit, and didn't seem to be too concerned with making sure the birds under her care went to a good home. I digress.
Dolly has been a typical cockatoo, I've done my research and knew what I was getting in to, but it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. The occasional bite and (often) screaming, but that wasn't much of a problem. It took some time for her to get accustomed to a proper diet (her old owners allegedly had her for 20 years, and fed her primarily seed) but she has taken to it pretty well.
Over the last few months she's been increasingly aggressive, to an absurd degree. This aggression is often unprovoked and unwarranted. We'll be playing or I'll be working with her in training and she'll act as if she wants to get on my arm, when she does she doesn't just bite she CLAMPS down. I've read not to reward the behavior so I try my absolute hardest not to react, but she continues to bite until I do something. She won't release from my arm, she won't move, she just continues to bite harder and harder. I've suffered some pretty severe injuries as a result, my arms are absolutely covered in scars.
She likes to sit on my knee when she's just hanging out outside her cage, so I let her. Lately however I cannot let my guard down at ALL because she will try to attack me, despite me not bothering her. For instance she may be preening herself for a few minutes, then without skipping a beat will immediately lunge towards me and attempt to bite me. She does not do this with my girlfriend, who she can handle upside down, sideways, any way she wants with no aggressive behavior. After doing some more reading I began training her with a pointer, which she has responded to fairly well until the last few weeks, now she refuses to accept any treats, even her favorites. I also tried to get her to perch on a stick instead of my arm, however she aggressively attacks the stick any time I attempt to introduce it to her.
I've become more and more reluctant to take her out, and I'm fully aware this isn't fair to her, but the bites are becoming more and more painful. I am writing this after the worst one yet, I had her on a training perch in a neutral room as I've read and she was eagerly awaiting the step up command, after I gave it to her and offered my arm she clamped down on it and wouldn't let go. I managed to hold myself back from making any noise, then she let go and did it again, and again. All in all she bit me about four times and I'm bleeding from all four of the bites. I do not want to re-home this bird, she didn't ask to come here and I don't think it's fair for me to rehome her and put her through that stress, however I'm running out of hope. She's responding less and less to training every day and biting me more and more, the emotional impact of which is causing me to break down in tears.
I'm well aware that despite my best efforts I could just be an awful bird owner, and I'm willing to accept that. It's been a hard journey with her, as originally she wouldn't even play with toys out of fear, and maybe I'm just too inexperienced to deal with her emotional issues. I did take her to the vet to get a checkup a month ago, she's received a clean bill of health apart from a minor Vitamin A deficiency which I've been working to remedy with her diet.
If anyone can provide some wisdom I'm willing to hear it, at this point I don't know what else to do.