Choosing a Cockatoo Parrot as a Pet
Cockatoos are loving and social parrots, that are very intelligent and playful. Most Cockatoos are white in colour, but others come in grey, pink and black. This parrot is a native of Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia and there are over 40 species of this bird in the world. With a lifespan of up to 70 years for some cockatoo species, these birds make wonderful lifelong friends. Each cockatoo is different in nature from the other, however, most of them are quite docile.
Well known pet Cockatoos:
The Goffin Cockatoo is a fun loving parrot who is a born entertainer, they are good talkers but some of them can talk a little too much.
The White or White-Crested Cockatoo is better known as the Umbrella Cockatoo. Most importantly, the Umbrella Cockatoos are intelligent; social, have a good nature, active, acrobatic and very affectionate.
The Moluccan Cockatoo is the largest of the “white” cockatoos. A Moluccan Cockatoo is a very intelligent and sensitive bird.
Rose Breasted Cockatoo or Galah
A captive bred Rose Breasted Cockatoo is the most affectionate and healthier pet in comparison to its relatives. The Rose Breasted Cockatoo is relatively quiet and has an engaging, sprightly personality and a good ability to mimic human speech.
Why do Cockatoos scream?
Cockatoos are known for being noisy. This is the way they demonstrate joy, fear, anger, excitement and a mix of other emotions. They often shriek two or three times a day and scream out of sheer energy, mainly because they are happy to be alive. A cockatoo will nearly burst with excitement when you come home from work; or during mealtimes if your conversation is animated or even if there is an action movie on the TV. The noisier your household is, the noisier your cockatoo is likely to be. Overall, this is perfectly normal and should be considered before committing to owning a Cockatoo as a pet.
Company for Cockatoos
If you’re not able to give your Cockatoos that much time and attention, it might be a good idea to get two of them. When there’s two they can devote their love and attention to each other. However, be careful when choosing the sexes as male cockatoos can be very aggressive with female Cockatoos; so before you choose to pair up your Cockatoos please check with a member of the Petmania team.
Where Cockatoos Like to Live
The size and shape of the cage is very important for the bird; square or rectangular cages are more appropriate for parrots. As always the larger the cage the better for housing parrots. Please make sure that there are enough ledges, ropes and toys within the cage for your Cockatoo to amuse itself.
Exercise & Play
A cockatoo should be allowed plenty of opportunity for exercise. Giving it 3 to 4 hours a day outside of the cage is ideal. As mentioned before, like all parrots, Cockatoos are very social animals and must spend time each day out of their cage and with their owners. They are naturally curious and do crave attention from their owners.
Toys are very important for a Cockatoo too. Pick toys they can chew; toys to shred; puzzle toys; simple toys; complicated toys; wooden toys; rope toys; raffia toys or even leaving the TV on when you are away.
Cockatoos love to learn and perform activities like singing, playing, laughing and dancing. They are also good at performing various tricks and love taking baths. In addition, they have impressive vocal abilities and are dedicated chewers, which must be considered before deciding on cockatoos as pets as they often chew the furniture.
Diet & Nutrition
Cockatoos need a balanced diet of high quality parrot food and vegetables. In addition to this, give them a small quantity of fruits; nuts; proteins; cooked rice; bean mixture and table food, such as cheese, corn, cereal, pasta, meat etc.
Vegetables: The vegetables should be colourful; with light and dark greens, oranges, yellows or red vegetables being provided – for maximum nutrition. Vegetables typically fed are: carrots, beetroot, broccoli, green peppers, asparagus, ripe tomatoes and spinach.
Fruits: apples, pears, peaches, bananas, berries, plums, oranges, kiwi, citrus fruits, grapes, raisins etc.
Nuts: Nuts make great treats, as cockatoos really like them. If given whole nuts, they love to crack open the shell to extract the seed. This is good exercise for their beak and also provided entertainment.
Proteins: Food items high in proteins are cooked eggs, grated cheese, sprouts, ripe tomatoes, cooked beans and spinach. They can also be fed with freshly cooked lean beef, chicken or fish in small quantities. Occasionally, you can give them cooked meat bones.
Water: Cockatoos should always have access to clean and fresh water. However, don’t use tap water, as that is likely to be contaminated with heavy metals and chloride; or may even contain a bacteria and parasites. We recommend distilled or purified/filtered water.
Vitamins and Minerals: In conclusion, if the bird’s diet has a variety of all the nutrients from the lists above, then supplementation is not required.
Health & Hygiene
Most diseases in caged birds are either directly or indirectly related to three important factors; poor hygiene, malnutrition and/or stress. Birds usually hide their health problems, this is a self-defense ability they use to keep their predators from attacking them. It is part of their survival instinct. Because of this it could be a couple of weeks before you will even know that your bird is sick.
A few things to look for if you think your Cockatoo is sick:
- A Reduced appetite
- A discharge from its nose & eyes
- Swelling around its eyes & sneezing
- Trouble eating & weight loss
- Problems with balance
- Swollen feet or joints
If your bird has theses symptoms it is best to get them to a vet as soon as possible.
Hygiene for Cockatoo Parrots
Cockatoos are extremely clean by nature and preen themselves regularly. They naturally produce a great deal of dust which aids in keeping their wings and skin healthy. However, a Cockatoos personal hygiene may include a weekly shower or bath to get rid of accumulated feather dust.
If cockatoos are not partnered with another bird, they will need assistance from their owners to preen. Simply, scratch lightly in the direction of the feathers on the top of the heads; the neck area; and other areas they can’t reach. This will help remove the clear feather sheaths from new feathers, as these can get itchy and uncomfortable.
Their wings should be kept trim if you want to discourage them from flying; and to prevent the possibility of losing them through an open window or door.
The beak and claws need to be trimmed if they are not worn down from climbing and chewing. A variety of concrete type perches are available to help the keep nails trim, but they should still be trimmed if they become overgrown.
Make sure you wash their bill after every meal to protect them against infection around the mount. Always provide your bird with clean water and clean their food bowl every day. Their cage should be cleaned and washed weekly as a dirty cage can cause infection for the Cockatoo.
Take Me Home Checklist
When you take your Cockatoo Parrot home, you will need to make sure you have some things in order to help keep it healthy and happy. We’ve put together a simple ‘Take Me Home’ checklist for new Parrot keepers. If you have any questions, or need any further advise, please drop in to your local Petmania and talk to our Petcare Advisors.
- Extra large cage with a top opening (as big as possible-most cages will come with food and water bowls)
- Good quality Parrot food
- Toys made from wood. Toys keep them occupied and their beaks trim. Toys will need to be changed often and moved around the cage to provide entertainment for the bird.
- Suitable substrate like sand or sand sheets
- Mister bottle, this helps to reduce dust in their plumage
- A book on Cockatoo’s- should probably be purchased beforehand as this bird is a lot of work and high maintenance.
- Heavy duty gloves, these are optional for training
- All Parrots should get a variety of fresh fruit and veg and also some egg once in a while. It is not enough to just give them seeds as they need a balanced diet.