Cages need to be secure and big. The cage should be big enough for a bird to be able to stretch his entire wingspan plus some. You can buy a cage with a playpen on the top of the cage so the bird can have freedom while being supervised. Unless the bird is below your shoulder area you may want to purchase the playpen separate from the cage. The bird at a higher level than you can create behavioral problems. I am an Exotic Bird Behavioral Consultant and that little tactic has cured more problems. Make certain, the cage is strong and it has a good lock. Cockatoos are natural born escape artists! It does not take them long to figure out a new lock. Rectangular and square cages are much better than a round cage. The cockatoo needs perches of various thicknesses for healthy foot development.
The cage should be carefully placed. Make sure the cage is out of drafts and out of direct sunlight. A cockatoo need lots of attention and does not want to be located in a place where he rarely sees anyone.
Cockatoos need plenty of safe toys to keep him physically active and mentally alert. They also need plenty of safe wood from branches, and toys to chew. Rotate the toys frequently so they appear to be new and exciting. The need for toys is immense. Boredom is unhealthy for a parrot and can be fatal.
When a cockatoo is ignored, they will exhibit mental problems such as squawking, biting, and feather plucking. Without proper social interaction they will become stressed which lowers their immune systems and they will become ill.
Health and Nutrition (diet)
I prefer to keep my birdís wings clipped. Far too often, they fly out a window or door, or into windows and mirrors. If they have free flight, they can accidentally fall into open toilets or open pots of boiling liquid. Many pet birds have fallen into glasses of liquid only to have their owners find them dead. There are many dangers in your home. There are toxic fumes in your home. Never smoke cigarettes around your bird. Never use Teflon around your birds. When Teflon is over heated it emits deadly fumes. Scented candles and perfumes can be toxic. Air fresheners are bad for birds. Birdís respiratory systems very different from mammals and many things can be deadly to them. Also, keep all poisonous plants out of your home. Do not cut tree branches for your birds that have pesticides, toxins or that are poisonous.
Use caution when clipping the birdís wings. Carefully watch for new growth, or blood feathers. If you do cut one, the remaining part of the feather will act as a straw and siphon out the blood. This can cause the bird to bleed to death. Birds have very little blood and can bleed out quickly. Grab a pair of pliers and pull the entire feather out quickly. If you are unconformable, clipping wings or toenails for the first time have your avian veterinarian clip the wings. Ask to watch the procedure.
Birds will hide their illnesses. Birds that are ill in the wild become easy prey to predators. It is difficult without watching your bird very carefully, everyday for any signs that something could be wrong, and to not catch an illness before it is too late. If something seems amiss or off never delay taking the bird to an avian veterinarian. Cockatoos should have a yearly examination to insure they are healthy.
The cockatoo needs a varied healthy diet. Do not feed all seeds or all pellets. Many seed mixtures have primarily sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds are very fattening. I pick the sunflower seeds out and only give them as an occasional treat. Feed fresh vegetables (green and yellow), fruits, sprouted seeds, and grains, cooked brown rice and cooked legumes. They need protein. A varied diet from all these groups insures they have a healthy diet. I feed our parrots anything healthy that we eat. I have also found having parrots in the house, we have been eating a far healthier diet! Cockatoos also enjoy large sprays of millet. Always provide your bird with plenty of fresh water every day!
Never feed your cockatoo chocolate, avocado, alcohol, or caffeine. Cockatoos do not need grit. Grit will cause serious problems.
The cockatoo is a very affectionate bird and will form a very strong bond with you. You must spend plenty of quality time with this bird otherwise he will display unwanted behaviors and even get very ill. They need lots of physical and mental stimulation with play, toys, and attention. Be sure to provide a good size cage and place the cage in an area that the cockatoo gets plenty of attention. Be sure to feed a healthy varied diet with plenty of fresh water.
Cockatoos have a very long lifespan and you should make arrangements with someone that is familiar with the bird to take care of him should something happen to you.
Cockatoos can be loud, mischievous, and destructive but they are also intelligent, sensitive, love, and trust very deeply! Above all else spend lots of time with your bird and enjoy him!
You will find the introduction to this article here Cockatoos - Pet Cockatoo Between the two articles you will have lots of information on the pet cockatoo!
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Diana Geiger Birds Editoron
Cockatoos Complete Owner's Manual