1. Educate your self about cockatoos — earlier than you make the choice to purchase one.
Realistically assess your life-style, character and family state of affairs. Find out what it’s worthwhile to learn about caring for a cockatoo, and pay attention to the potential issues you may face.
“If you have an idea of what’s going to happen, you can be prepared for these situations,” mentioned aviculturist and cockatoo specialist Katy McElroy. “People who buy a cockatoo knowing what they’re getting into — even if they don’t believe it could possibly be that bad — usually do a much better job with the bird, and there aren’t any major surprises.”
2. Look for a younger cockatoo that has been raised to be unbiased and taught guidelines for residing with a human “flock.”
Because cockatoos are needy, McElroy believes they usually do higher with people who find themselves much less needy. “People who love the independence of macaws and Amazons usually do beautifully with cockatoos,” she mentioned. “So many people buy them because they want this super cuddly teddy bear, but they don’t teach the cockatoo anything else.”
three. If you’ve determined cockatoo is for you, select the most important cage you’ll be able to afford.
McElroy recommends a minimal 24-inch-deep by 36-inch-wide cage for one of many smaller cockatoo species, reminiscent of Goffin’s, and a minimal 30-inch-deep by 48-inch-wide cage for the bigger cockatoo species like umbrellas and Moluccans.
“If you have them in a very large enclosure with lots of ways to exercise,” mentioned Sam Foster, an avian marketing consultant specializing in cockatoo care and conduct, “they can take out their frustrations by ripping and shredding and bouncing around inside their cage where they have lots of room — rather than you trying to resolve the issue when they get out of their cage, and they’re chasing you around the room.” This is very useful whenever you’re coping with a hormonally charged male cockatoo, she mentioned.
four. Cockatoos must really feel a part of a flock.
So put the cage in your front room or different high-traffic a part of the house, the place the cockatoo will be part of each day exercise. Don’t put your cockatoo in a room by itself the place it’s going to really feel remoted (except it’s in a separate, for-sleeping-only-cage at night time).
5. Supply your cockatoo with all kinds of good-quality parrot toys.
“Cockatoos love to play with their toys if they know how to do so,” mentioned chook conduct marketing consultant Michelle Karras. Show your chook what the toys do. Play with the toys your self, after which see in case your chook will comply with your lead. Your cockatoo should discover ways to amuse itself, in order that it doesn’t at all times want you round to be blissful.
6. Feed your cockatoo a correct weight-reduction plan.
Most veterinarians suggest a fortified pelleted-base weight-reduction plan, supplemented with cooked or uncooked greens, in addition to some fruit, seeds and nuts. Be cautious about feeding meals excessive in sugar or carbohydrates.
“Diet has a huge impact on behavior,” Foster mentioned. “If you’re feeding a cockatoo a diet that’s high in carbohydrates or sugar, even natural sugar, the bird is probably going to be a lot more vocal and hyperactive — especially if it does not have enough outlets for exercise to burn up that energy it’s getting from the food it’s eating.”
7. Plan on at the very least 15 to 20 minutes of rigorous train along with your cockatoo on a regular basis.
Accustom your chook to carrying a harness and leash and take it exterior for walks. Play a recreation of toss, fetch and catch along with your cockatoo utilizing a comfortable, light-weight object reminiscent of a Koosh ball or comfortable, stuffed toy. Teach your cockatoo to play basketball utilizing a birdie-sized Nerf basketball hoop.
“When cockatoos get in enough exercise, they’re easier to live with because they don’t have all this excess energy to use up by screaming and carrying on — and they’re more content to just relax in their cage,” Karras mentioned.
eight.Allow for designated “scream” instances.
Karras additionally believes that cockatoos needs to be taught a delegated time when it’s OK to scream, after which plan to have this “scream session” for a similar time on a regular basis. “Cockatoos have a real need to be raucous,” she mentioned. By having common scream periods, “your cockatoo learns that it’s OK to make noise at a certain time. He’s able to get rid of excess energy, and you have control of the screaming.” A great time to do that is between three PM and seven PM — earlier than you’re able to wind down and loosen up within the night.
To train a scream session to your cockatoo, watch for when the chook begins to vocalize. Make certain it’s throughout the time vary whenever you wish to encourage vocalizing.
“Before the bird is actually in a full-fledged scream and is just being vocal, put on some music that you know the bird likes, and literally blast it and get the bird going. The bird will start dancing and showing off and then start to scream,” Karras defined. “Play a song two or three times in a row, and then switch over to softer music and then lower it and then start talking the bird down and telling it that now it’s going to be quiet time and to settle down.” Offer some recent meals afterward.
9. Finally, set up limits and limits on your cockatoo.
Be constant in imposing these guidelines. “You have to have enough of a spine to be willing to take a cuddly Moluccan cockatoo off your lap and put it on a T-stand, and make it spend some time on its own away from you,” mentioned avian veterinarian Brian Speer DVM, co-author of Birds for Dummies (IDG Books, 1999).