Animal Stories - People Talking About Cockatoos


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Anonymous - 2012-09-09
Do cockatoos require grooming?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-09-09
    Cockatoos pretty much groom themselves.  They will require spritzing or spraying with water or aloe bird bath a few times a week as they have more water in the rain forest than we do here and their feathers will get dry, scratchy and itchy without water.  Some love the shower and some love baths and some just like spritz.  Some can be pretty fussy and not like the spritzing but you should do it anyway. 
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Justin - 2005-12-20
Well i bought my 12 week old galah for $120. it had been hand raised alongside 15 other galahs. I have only had Dags for 2 weeks but he has already become the most lovable creature in the world. he gets a bit testy once he has eaten all of the sunflower seeds out of his parrot mix or when I'm busy typing on the computer, and he comes over and demands that my fingers give him a neck scratch. At night when i go to bed he is so quiet and goes to bed. during the day when i talk to him he responds with some sort of upbeat chirp.

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  • emma - 2012-08-26
    Hi Justin, We have just had 8 painted conures in our aivery but they unfortunatly had to go because of the noise they make. It is a terrible screeching sound and our neighbour has to sleep during the day, it really isn't fair. We was interested in getting a rose-breasted/galah cockatoo but then searched up their noise level and wasn't impressed. How much do they really make is it a horrible squaking or a chirping and tweeting?
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Animal-World info on Mollucan Cockatoo
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ALAN - 2010-01-10
A study of the too in a common household.

I'm not a professional trainer or a breeder. I've just had lots of experience with too's owning one and being involved with them in other families, pet stores, vets, etc. Being in a small town, I get the phone calls to come assist with large birds because their owners are afraid of them or even the vet is a bit afraid. The most important thing is don't let your too rule you - and they will if you think of them as an object or a conversation piece. They are almost human! LOL! Little feathered boogers.

I have a 12 year old too named Ziggy. He is definitely the boss and the joy of the house hold. World's best doorbell and burglar alarm. LOL! He notices things outside even before the dog does.

Too's are wonderful birds and wonderful pets if you have the courage and the patient nature it will take you'll be a good "daddy" or "mommy". They are the most affectionate of all the birds and that's what draws people to them. They can play so coy and sweet. But, be prepared as your mighty too will be a perpetual 2 year old for his/her entire life. They are very curious and get bored easily if not interacted with all the time. Hence the antique furniture and everything else getting chewed up if you are not watching them like a 2 year old.

Extremely intelligent and can have a very large vocabulary if you work with them. Ziggy can carry on a full conversation with you and it makes sense. He can argue, reason and barter with you. Loves people. Laughs like a human. You just really need to know what you are getting yourself into before you decide to get one of these mighty birds. They can be very sneaky and they have great precision with their beaks. They can peel wallpaper right off of the wall and also remove the label off a CD without damaging the plastic. They also act out if they are mad or during a full moon.

They want to be a part of your world and they are almost human. They want to do what you do and go where you go. Indoor or outdoor. Ziggy will follow you right out the back door and into the back yard. They are the world's best snugglers and will just love all over you. They are EXTREMELY LOUD!!! I mean, hear them 5 blocks away loud! Ear piercing shreiking scream! You just can't have a too if you are in an apartment. No way. And there's no way to quiet them either. With work they won't scream as much but that is still part of their nature and a game. If Ziggy gets on a screaming binge I go scream with him. He loves it! It's a game and he'll calm down very quickly if I play with him and scream.

For example, when we first got Ziggy it was in the fall and warm enough to have the windows open. He wasn't secure in his surroundings yet so he did do a lot of screaming. Neighbors showed up and were ready to call the police. They wanted to know what autistic child we were beating! That's not a joke! That really happened! They lived 3 blocks away.

They aren't usually, however they will bite if threatened or scared. A loud sound like a truck backfire may cause the bird to nip you simply because it depends on you to protect it. That's your cue to get rid of the scary thing. If they are mad they will bite. If they are on you and feel like you aren't paying enough attention they will bite. "If bird is displeased - bird will let you know!" Converse with the bird. They love to talk back and its so interesting to watch them shape that tongue and beak trying so hard to form words and talk back. They are so sincere in their response. They want to communicate with you.

They are very social and love people. You usually don't have to worry about them being a one person bird. However, most guests you have are a little leary so you need to be with them while they are interacting with the bird. They don't understand the behaviors like you do and they can misinterpret behaviors and possibly get bit. The bird will show off and jump and down and giggle, and whistle and yell while the bird is on their shoulder. That scares people and they will jerk back and the bird will bite to hang on. Warn your guests of this. Just stay calm and don't jerk around.

Everybody wants to see the pretty birdie! Especially children and too's don't particularly like jerky, small, fast moving children. Not a good idea to let the bird get on children unless the bird is already used to children being in the house. Also have guests remove earrings, glasses and necklaces before handling them because birdie will go straight for them. Not that birdie will pull them out but the guest will jerk away and rip their earrings out that way. Its an automatic reaction to them, whereas to you, you can just say, "Quit it" and the bird will stop. Guests don't realize that and it is a natural reflex to jerk away.

Ziggy has a strict rule, "No hats on in the house." He will take your hat off your head and throw it on the ground and laugh. They can be trained to do tricks. Play dead or even ride a skateboard if you are willing to work with them. His laugh is what gets everybody going. A hearty robust laugh that is appropriate. He knows what's funny. He can watch TV and laugh at the appropriate moments. Loves music and loves to dance and show off. Usually Ziggy is very quiet and calm when it's just us but when company is around he stays animated and won't calm down until everybody has played with him for a minute. Then you are excused. LOL!

Talking? Watch what you say! Of all the wonderful cute little phrases you teach your birdie, you can rest assure that it has learned EVERYTHING else you've said or that they've heard on TV! Just let the preacher come over for a visit and the birdie will shoot off a string of cuss words knowing EXACTLY what he's doing! LOL!

They are very loveable but I tell people up front when they think of getting a too that the name of the bird should be "destruct-a-birdie." They love wood and they can splinter it in a heartbeat. I always keep a supply of 2x4 pieces for Ziggy to chew up. Works better than any $40 colored wooden thing you can buy in the stores and its cheaper too! He doesn't like toys and will ignore them. He only wants wood to chew on.

Highly intellengent and great problem solvers. When I first got Ziggy he was peeling the wallpaper off the wall so I was going to be smart and put plexiglass around the top of the cage so he wouldn't chew. (The walls are painted now. LOL!) I got the plexiglass and drilled holes it in to mount to the cage with "U" bolts. I threaded the nuts down on the U bolts finger tightened. I went to the kitchen to get a pair of plyers to tighten the bolts down good. When I got back to the cage, Ziggy had one of the U bolts in his beak and handed it to me and giggled. THAT'S how fast they are and that's how smart they are. You just shake your head and laugh.

"My bird chewed up all the doors, baseboards and door frames! We had to get rid of him!" Yep! That's why all mine are wrapped in tin and that's why you keep a fresh supply of wood for the bird to chew on.

Food? Ziggy is a bottomless pit. LOL! He loves anything you love. He gets his own plate at the table and climbs the chair himself and hops on the table and eats with me. This causes problems because during dinner parties he expects to be part of the dinner. LOL! Most guests do not want a big bird at the table even on his perch. Yes there is seed for him to eat in the cage but too's love anything. Fruits and starches and even meats. They need other foods besides the seed. You also have to watch house plants. You will find you have your own personal gardener. LOL! Some plants can be deadly to birds so watch the plants you have.

Also they love things with bright colors. Cleaning chemicals, etc. come in brightly colored plastic jugs. Need I say more? Remember - 2 year old child. Just use common sense and you and your too will be very happy together. Not to scare you off but just use good common sense. If a child can get hurt doing it, so can a too.

We didn't know anything when we got him. He was handed over to us and he was very unsocialized. Look at the pretty birdie! In that first few months I don't know how he survived because we didn't know what to watch out for. He ate a battery. He ate a gallon jug of bubble bath. Each time I thought, "Well, that's the end of THAT bird!" Be proactive and remember you have a 2 year old in the house.

Sharp beak? Sharp claws? Use a dremel. You can get battery powered dremels for dog nails. You'll be surprised at what a game you can make to get your too used to it. Ziggy lets me do his nails and his beak without any fluff of the feathers. He feels very pretty after they are all done. They have that much trust in you. I wouldn't use a dremel bit on a drill. Too forceful. The battery operated one is much safer. Even clipping the wings he'll just sit there and let me do it but you have to work with them. He used to grab the scissors with those big pink feet and throw them across the room. If you have ceiling fans then you must keep those wings clipped because birdie is gonna fly at some point. Either scared by a noise or just looking for you.

Messy? Oh yeah! They are mess cats. If you can't handle bird seed flung all around the cage and poop - go no further. "Doo Dissolve" is a wonderful product and smells wintergreenish to get rid of the poop. Putting a towel down on the floor around the cage will help. We have lots of "birdie towels." And they love to start pooping and throwing seeds right after you've cleaned up. LOL! They'll show YOU!

They have to interact and they can't just be locked up in their cage. They'll start plucking from neglect. Ziggy runs free in the house when I'm home and sleeps in his cage while I'm at work. I come home at lunch and play with him every day. And then of course when I get home he's usually on my shoulder, running around the house or on his perch waiting for me to finish cooking dinner.

Vacations are a problem too. You can't leave the bird for a week or two. You must get somebody to come at least take care of the bird or board it. Fortunately, we have a vet in town that boards large birds and Ziggy is allowed to run around the shop and they feed him their lunch. He gets to play all day and the customers love him.

Is all this worth it? YOU BET IT IS! That is my baby! I wouldn't let Ziggy go for a million bucks! And you'll be the same way. At least you will have some insight and be prepared for the little feathered monster. LOL! Just don't be scared of the bird. You have to be in charge and the bird will respect you. If you are timid and cower away from the bird, he will take charge of YOU. And that means doing it with finese. NEVER hit your bird! You may be frustrated but NEVER EVER hit your bird! Both of you take a time out and work on the behavior problem that was unacceptable. They will learn and they will stop certainly behaviors if you do it right and not lose your cool.


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  • Michael Miley - 2011-03-27
    Alan; I stumbled upon your article and just want to say it is the most accurate and exacting truthful explanation of a cockatoo keeper relationship I have witnessed! I have been a keeper for many years and always shied away from Cockatoos mostly due to their loudness. What a mistake on my part! I adopted Mickey a 13 yr old male Too just over a year ago. What a pleasure and challenge, most rewarding experience of my keepers career including Amazons, Greys, Macaws and smaller birds.
  • Kim - 2011-05-26
    Thank you ........smile.
  • Margie Parfrey - 2012-08-19
    That is very detailed info but I want to know does the bird have to go to a vet like a dog or cat and how expensive are they to keep?
  • Charlie Roche - 2012-08-19
    Obviously a vet will tell you to bring your parrot into the vets office every year for a physical.  I would not do that - and i sure would not do that at all unless it is a certified avianb vet.  You just don't take  a well parrot to a vet where there are sick birds.  A true avian vet has conditions which prevent problems but most vets don't.  They shouldn't require any shots but most breeders will give their babies a shot for polyoma - polyoma vaccine.  It would be included in the price of the bird.  Cage - you would need a cage and a cage for a large bird is going to run around $600  possibly you can find a used one.  You will also need a perch that goes on wheels - runs around $250.00.  I can't imagine that seed/nuts/pellets would be more than $50.00 a month and remember they can eat anything nutricious that you eat.  If you have meatloaf and potatoe with string beans for dinner - give them some.  Especially a cockatoor cuz if you don't it will pitch a fit.  You would not eat in front of a 3 year old human - don't do it in front of a cockatoor.  Scrambled eggs, toast, pasta,    whatever you eat.  No not chocolate, avocado and not a lot of salt.  So pirce of a moluccan should be around $1100, cage $600, perch $250 and $50 a month for food - plus toys and for a cockatoo you canmake a lot of toys with a 2 x 4 pine untreated lumber. 
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Animal-World info on Lessor Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
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Brandon - 2012-08-13
I had an african gray for a while, and have a little experience with big birds. I'm getting a LSC that is 2 yrs old. I'm worried that I don't have enough experence. Is there any advise for someone getting a new family member? I could use it. Let me know if there is a good place to go for advice, or if there is a good book to read. Any and all help will greatly be welcome. Thanks

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-08-14
    The Lessor is so smart and just watch their body language as very difinitive.  I am sure she will train you very well.  I have a cockatoo and you know how i can tell when she wants papaya juice versus apple juice.  Well, if i give her the wrong one, she will hit my hand with her beak.  Not bite - just gently hit my hand (holding the cup) with his beak so I spill it.  He is 28 years old now and i often wonder how he got me so trained to bring hoim apple or papaya juice before bed. 
  • Brandon - 2012-08-14
    I appreciate the info. I have plenty of time to learn and plenty of time to dedicate to a bird. I think like anything it is mostly a learing game and unless you have been around birds your whole life its just a matter of common sense. Thank god for the internet. I will be fine, I'm looking forward to my new LSC. I was wrong about the age though, she has been DNA sexed and is 10 not 2. but either way I'm gonna hit it head on. Wish me luck, I will be posting my thought as I go. Thanks, I still welcome any and all advise, or comments, or suggestions.
  • Charlie Roche - 2012-08-14
    If you can handle an African Grey, you will be able to handle any big bird that comes your way.  An African Grey says 'I am in CHARGE, you will do it my way.  You will do what I want, when I want, and possibly I will reward you by letting you pet my head and not bite you.  I will not like anyone else you introduce me to and I will let you know it.  I am independent and you had better love me for it'   A cockatoo says 'I will do anything so you will just hold me.  I will try and be real good all the time, I will like your home and I will always put you first.  I will love to cuddle and never tell your secrets and I will lick your tears if you cry.  I will always be there for you and if you just treat me as the feathered 3 year old that I am - I will always be loyal, loving and friendly.  I do chew wood but a pine two by 4 (untreated) cut into pieces works fine and is cheap.  I will just love you'.
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Animal-World info on Mollucan Cockatoo
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Janet Tuckwell - 2012-07-18
I have a mutant cockatoo that is mixed with Goffin, he is tiny like the Goffin but is 'peachy/pink' in color like the Mollucan. He is naughty! I just rescued him about 2.5 months ago and he had picked his chest and neck totally bare and now he is covered with beautiful feathers. He only ate pellets and now that I feed him fresh fruit and veggies and seeds mixed with pellets his battered looking feathers are now very pretty and have a beautiful peach tint to them. I'm just working on the stepping up and the screaming. He is a very smart little bugger and all he wants/needs is attention

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-07-19
    Hybrid between the goffin and moluccan?  Yes cockatoos are very smart and extremely affectionate and they want atention.  Once your little guy has you trained (and it sounds like it is working) you will have a lifelong friend
  • Rosa - 2012-08-05
    I just rescue mollucan cookatoo what do I do he picking is feathers out and trying to put its food under is wings acts to be like he itching
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marshall - 2012-02-14
I have a goffin, and I can say a real sweetheart, but lately she wants to keep picking at her chest till it start to bleed. what can I do to stop this. Need help

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-02-14
    You or actually your little feathered guy has a feather plucking problem. There are so many - lots - of opinions on why this occcurs. If you have a competent avian vet in the area, then have some blood drawn (there is no way the bird needs to be put to sleep for this) and run a baseline to make sure there are no underlying medical problems. There probably aren't. Things you can do in the interim is really everyday spritz your bird down - really soak him but gently with water or aloe based bird bath. You can put him in the shower and turn the shower on. Just do this as gently as possible as he may not like it at first but they usually learn to love it. That's why there are parrot shower perches. Dry skin itches and we want to soak the skin and cockatoos are difficult to do that to as they have so much powder. Second, most say this happens because the bird is bored or not challenged. So we are down to more out time, more toys, and getting creative. Paper cups with a little peanut butter or honey and a nut in the bottom keep a parrot occupied. Paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls as they like to chew things up. Get a 6 foot 2 x 4 of un treated pine and cut it up in blocks and put a hole in the block and a chain through the hole and there is a chew toy that will keep him busy for awhile. Let him be out on a perch and watch TV - there are good kids shows they like (sounds nuts) but they like the cartoons and music. Just think of things they can chew up and on instead of their feathers. Some have used a collar that goes around the birds neck and that prevents the plucking but doesn't really solve the problem. I am sorry and this is one of those parrot owners nightmares but it does happen and not anybody's fault. Some are just prone to it but usually more activity, things to do and commotion help.
  • becky - 2012-08-04
    Hi, I am having the same problem with my goffin right now. He has had two surgeries to repair the gapping hole in his chest. We still don't know why he does this.This has been going on since Feb. His collar has been off and on for the last six months. In Sept my vet is going to try a medication (can't remember what its called) apparently it worked on another of her patients but she said it may not work on Corky. I am at my wits end because he gets all kinds of attention, he is on my shoulder the minute I come home from work until he goes to bed. I have bought numerous toys and most of them he doesn't play with. I really don't know what to do. Has yours gotten any better, if so what did you do.
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Wanda Kay Briscoe Robinson - 2012-02-14
Are girls better than boys? Are they about the same. I have agirl about 7months old. I do not work. I stay home all day. I let her out about 6pm with me till about 9pm. She is very happy. Her cage is large 4x5x6 she is happy all day but very happy at 6pm. Do I need to change her day some but it is working good now.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-02-14
    You know what they say 'if it isn't broken don't fis it'. Hey sounds like you and your little girl are doing great. She has taught you well and will continue to do so for many years to come. I would say that in some species of birds - girls and boys are different and possibly one can be easier or less demanding than the other. I just don't believe this to be true with Umbrellas. One is just not 'better' than the other. They are both wonderful.
  • Wanda Kay Briscoe Robinson - 2012-02-17
    THANK YOU SHE IS WONDERFUL. I LOVE HER SO MUCH.
  • mary ponson - 2012-07-31
    I have 2 umbrella cockatoos my female is the most loving. Madison is 14 months old and I have had her since she was 3 months. She calls me moma. Eli i have had since he was 5 months old he is now 8 months old he is also very loving but he shows it differantly. Both my babies are great birds they get along with all the other birds I help to take care of...a blue and gold macaw, a goffin cockatoo and a muluccan cockaoo. I love all of them
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denise king - 2012-04-08
Today, I added a 5 year old umbrella male named Angel to my family. Although I have had birds before, this is my first cockatoo. Therefore, I am eager for any and all advice and/or recommendations you may have to offer. He appears to be healthy, but his cage is sorely lacking any toys for his amusement and his nails are in desperate need of clipping. I understand that he will need lots of time and attention, and as a disabled veteran, I have lots of time to spend with him. I really look forward to hearing from you guys on this one.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-04-08
    Well, it is a good thing you have the time because a cockatoo is going to take it, love it and give you lots of love in return. Cockatoos eat wood- they eat wood. I mean they really eat wood. So don't leave your fella too close to a window or a cabinet. I am not exaggerating here and I think it is sorta funny but just wanted to warn you. Cokatoos love toys and the more the better. You can buy them but you can also save quite a bit of money by making them. Get a 2 x 4 (untreated pine) and cut it into pieces and drill a hole through the middle of the pieces. Put a dog collar chain through the hole and you can even color the wood with food coloring - Don't put anything in the cage your little one can get himself tangled up in. These toys that people make and sell from rope are dangerous for a cockatoo. They love to play and can get tangled. I say use a dog collar chain as it is heavy (get the heavy one) and big ring at the bottom so the wood pieces you drill won't fall off. Cokatoos are very smart and can learn to undo most locks and certainly undo any screw bolts you use to hang a toy with. Purchase small u-bolts or small padlocks to hang the toys. Nails - you should get a concrete perch for your cockatoo and place it at the highest point in the cage for him to sit on when he sleeps. They sleep at the highest point and that way his nails will be filed automatically and he can also groom his beak. Make sure that the perch doesn't overlap with another in the cage so when he poops, it doesn't get another perch full of poop. Do not use doll rods for perches - it hurts or cripples their feet. You can use cholla wood or sanded manzanita - manzanita woks best cuz it is hard and they can't eat it - at least it takes them awhile. They love play - fetch, balls, popsicle type sticks and will love chewing up paper into really small pieces. Toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls are fun. They love music and can keep a great beat. You sing and they will dance. You enjoy and give Angle a hug for me..
  • teesha - 2012-06-14
    I agree to what you say - I like birds <3 lol:)
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VIcki - 2010-03-22
I have a 8 year old Greater Sulfur Cockatoo named SugarBear. He is spoiled rotten he believes he should eat with the family 80% of his Parrot food hits the floor because he throws it there. He loves all types of potatoes mashed french frys, augratins &weet Potatoes it doesn't matter to him he loves them all. I also give him fresh veggies ,fruit and rice. But he's driving me crazy throwing his food out I want to make sure he's getting the right amounts of Vitamins

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  • kiah wiseman - 2010-04-12
    I have a sulfur crested cockatoo named jack he's about 6 years old and I got him when I was quite young I was about 10. He's very loyal and he loves my attention. His bond with me is very strong I can take him out side and he won't fly away his wings aren't cut, he can fly. I hand raised him from an egg but I just fond out a month ago I did a DNA test he's a she. I give him fresh fruit and veggies every day so I expect him to live for 70 to 80 more years so I'll be really old when she dies. I also own a red tailed black cockatoo named max. He's about 6 month old I paid about well my dad paidd $7.000 for him and he'll live for 100+ years it's nice to know that there's another cockatoo lover out there.
  • Alvain - 2010-12-13
    This week I just buy a Greater Sulfur, she is very very friendly, but I go way for less then 30 minutes she start screaming a lot,,. Even if I keep her outside the cage, she still screaming.

    So unfortunately, I could not keep her at home, I need your advice since you have a good experience with your bird.. please help out to reduce the screaming.... because I'm going to be crazy.

  • nicola - 2011-02-21
    These birds waste their food all the time. They mainly throw it on the floor to get your attention bc they know it makes you mad. I have decided that they are looking for a special daily treat when they do that. Mine is usually missing his coconut cracker or peanuts in the shell.
  • Roz - 2011-03-29
    I would beg to differ with food being thrown on the floor to gain attention and desirous of getting a treat. In the wild, Cockatoos are the propagators and horticulturalists in the Australian bush or rainforest. The dropping of seed pods and fruits is essential and is how a cockatoo is "wired" to eat. Don't get too discouraged with the amount of food wasted - just give them a choice of 4-5 vegies or fruit and leave it for them to eat and take away after 1-2 hours. They love spinnich, celery, bok choy, beans, peas, sugar peas, paw paw, corn, grapes, carrot, large red chillis and Capsicum.

    I am unsure if you are living overseas or in Australia, but truly, the best food to give your Cockatoo is what they eat in the wild - like wattle, grevillia, gum tree branches, banksia and bottle brushes. No doubt, in doing research you would know that sunflower seed, in particular black in colour is extremely bad for your cockatoo - it will give them a fatty liver and such a diet will drive them to bit and scream. Enough of myrant - good luck with caring for your darling Cockatoo - they are gentle and tender hearted and very forgiving - they will give back to you so much more than you could ever imagine - our Sulphur Crested certainly has - we are all in love with her - she is both gorgeous and exasperating - often at the same time. All the best
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sharon Rock - 2012-02-24
Want to sell three of umbrella cockatoo. Any interested person? Please email via sharon_rock@live.com.
thanks

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  • Leslie - 2012-02-27
    I am very interested in a baby or young umbrella cockatoo. Are they still available and what is the price for one? Do you know their sex? I currently have a 3 yr old female blue and gold macaw.
  • CRAIG - 2012-04-15
    The age of a cockatoo is not really a concern. There average life span is more than 60 years. I have a nine year old that laid three eggs this year. By the way, I live in an apt. . . . . . . . No complaints. Sophia is love by everyone around me. Craig
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