Extremely intelligent, and curious, he has a strong character. Very affectionate, and exclusive, he loves to be the center of attention and likes to take control over those around him. Therefore, it is preferable to have a lot of availability when raising cockatoos, especially given that these birds have a tendency to become more possessive and demanding as they become older. It is in any case essential to offer them the best living conditions in captivity but also to have thought carefully before welcoming one at home because it is not a pet that is suitable for beginners.
Which cage or aviary for a cockatoo?
It is necessary to buy an aviary or a large solid stainless steel cage capable of withstanding the onslaught of this small companion with a powerful beak. On the other hand, toxic materials for the cockatoo, namely lead and zinc, are banned.
We choose a sufficiently spacious model, the dimensions of which must be adapted to the size of the parrot, knowing that this varies according to the species. For information, the Galah Cockatoo is the smallest of all with a length of 35 cm and a maximum weight of 400 g in adulthood. The crested cockatoo is the largest. It is 50 cm long and 850 g in weight. We recommend, for example, a cage or an aviary 2 m high, 3.50 to 4 m long, and about 1.60 m wide for a large cockatoo so that it can evolve at ease without hurting itself.
It’s crucial to buy a type that is simple to clean. It is necessary to ensure that this environment is always very clean so that the bird does not get sick. It is therefore daily that we remove the droppings and that we clean the bowls and drinking troughs.
The cage should be installed in a place sheltered from drafts and away from bay windows so that it does not get too hot. Ideally, the living room is an area of the house that allows the parrot to live with the family because solitude does not suit him.
The cockatoo needs a perfectly equipped environment. It needs of course solid perches, which one takes care to choose in varying diameters. This precaution is essential to limit the risk of osteoarthritis in his fingers which, with identical perches, would always be contracted in the same way. The branches to glean in the wild are perfect perches for this bird. They are installed at different heights, far enough from the manager and drinkers to prevent food and water from being soiled by droppings. It is important to leave large free areas so that the animal can fly freely.
Toys… again and again
About the toys to be placed in the aviary, it is necessary to devote a small budget to them because they must be numerous, and varied, and they should be replaced very frequently by others to satisfy the great curiosity of their little companion. This bird may tire quickly and become mortally bored if it always has the same toy.
He likes to screw, unscrew, remove buttons, open carabiners or doors, untie knots, and play with very large acrylic beads (on this subject, we take great care to choose only beads that he cannot swallow ).
But he also ravages a lot of what passes under his beak or between his fingers. The cockatoo is a devastating bird. It is therefore better that he has his toys but also a space that is dedicated to him because, otherwise, he will not take long to attack the furniture!
The cockatoo’s food must be balanced to meet the needs of its organism. Contrary to what one might think, this bird should eat seeds only occasionally in order not to become obese.
Two-thirds of its diet may consist of specific foods presented in the form of balls that can be purchased in pet stores. He also needs extremely fresh vegetables and fruits such as beans, provided they are sufficiently cooked, spinach, cabbage, pear, and apple. It is necessary to be vigilant in the choice of fruits and vegetables because many of them can prove to be toxic for the cockatoo. This is for example the case of avocado, tomato, onion, mushrooms, and raw beans.
To avoid any problem due to the colonization of bacteria, food residues must not be left in the aviary. What the parrot has not consumed within 3 or 4 hours should be removed.
Diseases specific to the cockatoo
Insofar as this bird benefits from a diet of very good quality, perfectly balanced, and excellent living conditions in captivity, it can live several decades in good health. But it is particularly vulnerable to certain diseases, one of which is transmissible to humans. This is the case with chlamydiosis, also known as psittacosis. If left untreated, the cockatoo is at risk of meningitis or pneumonia.
The other frequent pathologies in these parrots are herpes or Pacheco which degenerates into hepatitis and can be life-threatening as well as nervous disorders due to a virus (the paramyxovirus). Finally, the disease most frequently encountered on farms is the French molt (polyomavirus) which can cause internal bleeding in the most fragile subjects.
Pterotillomania, often known as pecking, is an obsessive disorder that is quite common among these parrots and has a psychogenic etiology. It is as difficult to treat as it is easy to diagnose. The bird stings. It can therefore very quickly damage its feathers but also its skin by self- mutilation. But the cockatoo that presents this syndrome can just as easily indulge in pecking on its congeners.
This parrot is an animal on edge, which does not support the annoyance. The master is him. He is quite accustomed to sulks, and boredom is his worst scourge. To balance his mental health, he must always be busy and he must spend a lot of time in society, otherwise, manias and Obsessive Compulsive Disorders await him. The socialization of a cockatoo, therefore, requires great availability on the part of its master. This is essential for his adaptation to life in captivity to go as smoothly as possible.
This beautiful bird is demanding and excessive at all levels, especially if it’s a male, and his libido is no exception to the rule. It is therefore better to raise a couple rather than a single male, and on the condition that you buy the cockatoos from a serious breeder who holds all the authorizations.