Large White Cockatoo's are popular pets because they are so cuddly. But this large pet bird is a handful. They have no worry about voicing their needs. We've got the experience and supplies to make their care easier.
Social flock animals that are incredibly busy, Cockatoo parrots need a lot of training and interaction to make them fun pets to be around. They call loudly back and forth to their flock all hours of the day. And their Jekle and Hyde personality of a cuddle bird one moment and a rambuncous, unpredictable bird the next is challenging. A bored Cockatoo is likely to get out of the cage and tear up the furniture and woodwork in your home while you're at work. With one of the strongest beaks in pet parrots and the smartest minds too, these birds need a patient, experienced owner.
Despite these characteristics, people flock to cockatoo's as pets due to their reputation for being the most cuddly of birds. To make long term care of these beautiful birds successful, you'll need to know a few things, especially how to handle these rambunctious birds.
The more bird safe wood that you can provide your cockatoo, the better. No need to spend $100's on toys, although a toy or two a month will get their use. Any safe items that encourge foraging, chewing, exploration and simply keep the bird busy are welcome. Check out Parrot Enrichment for tips on making your own bird toys.
Cockatoo's need heavy duty toys that promote chewing, foraging, digging with their feet and problem solving. Plan on offering your bird several reusable foraging toys that require time and problem solving to obtain nutritious food. In nature, these birds feed both on the ground and in trees. They can be seen digging out nutritious roots with their feet and beak or up in trees opening hard-shelled seed pods and nuts. Cockatoos are like hyper-active kids on steriods.
Foraging Toys for Large Parrots
Wood toys with holes drilled to hide nuts and dried fruits and vegetables provide a great outlet for the foraging needs of these birds. Get a Birdy Brackestset to turn an untreated 2x4 into a perch or affordable foraging toy. Drill holes in the 2x4 to hide nuts, toy parts or dried fruits. Highly dexterious, hide cut fresh vegetables for your parrot to find and use as a foot toy.
Cockatoo's need socialization and exercise. Plan on allowing your cockatoo out of its cage for supervised play at least once a day. Be aware that a cockatoo is a wood chewing buzz-saw. A great way to socialize and bond with your cockatoo is to create feeding rituals allowing the bird to eat during your meal time. Another great outlet for yoru intelligent bird is to teach it bird tricks. Due to their intelligent nature, Cockatoo's need mental stimulation in the form of bird training toys and fun interactive games.
Bathing Your Cockatoo
All Cockatoo's are very dusty birds and the dust is a sign of good health. Plan on offering your bird daily baths to prevent thick, white dust from settling all over your home. An unbathed cockatoo will feel itchy and uncomfortable and its feathers may appear scraggly.
The easiest way to bathe your bird is with a shower perch. There is rarely need for traditional parrot shampoo's unless your bird has become soiled. If you do bathe your bird with shampoo, choose a Cockatoo Formula that has proper ph to avoid drying out the skin. Bath sprays, like Natra Pet Bird Bath Spray, on the other hand, contain moisturizers and feather conditioners that bring out feather luster and color. Always bath your cockatoo early in the morning to avoid your bird getting chilled.
Common Issues With Cockatoo's
Cockatoo's are the most cuddly of birds which makes them very easy to love. However, they need an experienced hand when it comes to mitigating common parrot behavior problems such as feather picking and screaming. Since cockatoo's crave cuddly and petting, it is very easy to mistakenly pet them in a manner that brings out hormonal behavior. Female cockatoo's in particular are prone to becoming egg-bound due to improper petting. In the wild, Cockatoo's only become hormonal once a year when certain conditions are right such as how much sleep, diet, availability of a nesting cavity and sexualized touching. Learn how and where to pet a cockatoo to reduce the affects of hormonal behavior by insuring that your pet gets a good, healthy diet, plenty of sleep, proper petting and plenty of toys.
Cockatoo's are also known for being quite loud. It's very easy to accidently train your bird to scream. It will be important to develop an understanding of behavior modification techniques when living with one of these parrots. Learn which behaviors you wish to reinforce with your bird and provide outlets for the abundance of energy that these birds have. Trainign your bird to do tricks is a great way to socialize your pet while offering mental stimulation and improving self-esteem.