Animal Stories - Umbrella Cockatoo
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Animal-World Information about:
The two Umbrella Cockatoos pictured here are still babies under 3 months old, and still needing to be handfed twice per day!
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What is the wingspan length of an umbrella cockatoo?
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Charlie Roche -
An umbrella runs about 18 inches in length with a wingspan of 24 inches. They need a large cage - large enough to spread their wings and stretch. They sure like to play a lot with their toys and are quite active. They love their humans.
I'm excited because I'm getting a 15-year old Umbrella Cockatoo this week. For most of her life, she'd been abused by her female owner, and as a result she doesn't like female Humans. I've been visiting her at the Pet Store a couple times a week over the last month, and she seems to be warming up to me more each week. The noise of the pet store (mostly puppies yipping) seems to wear her down. I want to give her an environment where she can be comfortable. She's a sensitive girl who has seemed depressed; sometimes when I've arrived at the pet shop, she's on the floor of her cage with her head in the corner, and it breaks my heart to see her that way. But the last time I was there, she climbed my onto my hand and was playing; her crest was fully extended as she was gently hitting the palm of my hand. I have two main questions...(1) Many afternoons I'm away from the house, so I hope that my being with her in the mornings and checking in at night will be enough for her. Will it be? (2) Is there a chance someday she'd be comfortable with Women? I don't have anyone special but who knows what will happen in life. But I want my house to be a sanctuary for this bird. I want her to be happy. Her name is "Sweet Pea" and if she can live up to her name even Half the time, I'll be happy.
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I was doing exotic bird rescue before my divorce in 2009. One of the first was Romeo, a 5 year old male Umbrella Cockatoo. Although it took about 3 months because of past abuse, he finally stepped up to me. We have been best buddies ever since. I have discovered that female Umbrellas seem to want male humans as their primary handlers and vice-versa for male Umbrellas. Romeo still loves the women in his life, but he always knows who is best buddy is. I expect the Sweet Pea will chose you as her primary friend and protector. I am sure though that once she warms up to having a female human around, she will eventually accept that female into the family as well. It will take time and patients
Charlie Roche -
Yes, being there in the mornings, sharing your breakfast, playing with her or watching TV with her will be enough. She will get used to your routine and look forward to it and you coming home. Just make sur she has plenty of things to entertain herself with - toys and chewies. Mine have their own TV and movies - sound snuts but they really get into Kung Fu Panda and Surf's Up. She may or may not like another woman around. It doesn't rally make a great deal of difference. Sweet Pea is not going to dive bomb a lady friend or chase her around the house. Sweet Pea is just not going to want the lady friend to pick her up etc. It may change but frequently birds attach themselves to one person anyway. A cockatoo is not a dive bomber so I wouldn't worry about it. My cockatoo does not like my husband and my husbands grey does not like me. It isn't a problem. It would be nice if she accepted your lady friend but may not happen so just don't worry about it.
This is not necessarily a "not-to-worry" deal. My cockatoo Penny was previously owned and abused and does not trust men (with the exception of me for some reason). He knows my work schedule and spends most of the day screaming until I get home and he sees me. Another reason this may be a concern is when cockatoos roost,they call their flock together much like parents telling their children bed time and good night.
Maybe Penny is an exception,maybe Sweet-Pea might be the exception,but a good 70% of behavior is determined by early training and the bird's personality.
My 12 year old Cockatoo, accepted me a few weeks after my husband died. Freddie was his bird. Now, I have remarried after 7 years and Freddie has now accepted my new husband, but he worked at it. He's is the one who cleans his cage and feeds him every morning. She still screams a lot when I am on the phone or if I don't come running into greet her if we've been out of the house, but she's a loving, sweet pet. Of course, my two dashhounds, and cat know enough to stay clear of her beak. She loves to travel we take her in her cage in our camper van when we go on vacation trips.
Thanks for re-homing a 'used' bird!! My first parrot was abused and came out of it really really well, even accepting a man into the household. Your best course of action when you take her home is to keep strictly to a routine. We humans tend to want to lavish tons of attention/affection on our new friend up front and then we slack off as our regular life intrudes which causes confusion for the parrot. A routine is as much for your benefit as hers. They like structure. So, breakfast every day, then shower (my birds bathe with me) then back to her cage with toys for x amount of time. Passive interaction where she's nearby on a stand with something to do as you watch tv or read, etc. is just like flock behavior - together but not always touching. Of course cuddle time is essential, or play time if that's what she wants. My U2 sometimes just wants to be on me a while and she'll preen my hair as I read. Other times she's into everything to see if it's a toy. Anyway, my 4 birds were trained to expect breakfast daily, showers a couple times a week and then my absence at work 8-12 hours every day. They knew when I came back I'd cook dinner and then we'd all sit down to enjoy it together. Play time and snuggle time were generally for the evening as well. Now I work at home and they know that for 8-10 hours I will be unavailable and at the end of that time, it's Bird time. Yes, they'll scream if they think I can be convinced they're in mortal danger - thank goodness for earbuds. Ignoring them really is the only thing I've found to work.
Nikki Van Court
FYI.. it is us Humans that make these birds aquire the behavior issues like screaming and acting infantile in their later years.. TEACH them to be birds and allow them to be birds and DO NOT over bond and the relationship and home will be HAPPY BETTER AND QUIET...
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Charlie Roche -
Many people do not realize a birds typical behaviors and essentailly train the bird to do some peculiar and unwanted things. A young bird uses it's beak to balance until confident it can stay upright and balance. It doesn't want to fall. It isn't a bite and doesn't hurt - just using a hold with the beak. People jump up and down and get scared and the bird thinks this is play. Many times humans will teach the bird this is play and then the play or hold gets too rough. Basically we teach the bird to bite as they think funny. Eating dinner in front of the bird - hey a person is eating in front of a 3 year old. Chewing on our fingers - hey they are playing and humans should have toy in their hands to play. Tug of war is great with a sock but not with fingers or our clothing. Their is sometimes agression but bird postures for that and we need to read the body language. Humans need to understand sometimes we just have a headache too. Humans need to try and understand our language too. Thank you for you rpost and insight,
My 18 yr old male umbrella is becoming more & more addicted to my presence. I am trying to incorporate a "self directed play" time into his afternoons, but the screeching is really getting to me. Any suggestions?
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mamie owens -
Find a channel on your radio that your bird feels comfortable with and leave
it there. This will fill the void when you are away. Then when you are at home
share that same radio station in your quiet time with your bird this should
help and control his fustrations.
I find that a bit contrary. Birds have a very small brain but are still smart enough to associate a particular radio with "parent time" and if parent isn't there,they will spend most of their time trying to get their attention if the owner is home or not.
We have a 15 year cockatoo and she is litteraly mean and turns on anyone who handles her. We are our wits end cuz she screams constantly. We put her out on our screen porch and she hollers out there too. I guess I need some training tips on her or need to find someone that can give her obviously more attention than we can. We have other birds and she gets to hollering and disrupts all the others. Help what can I do.....
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Charlie Roche -
The more you try and isolate the cockatoo, the more she is going to scream. They are extremely social in the wild and when removed from the flock, they panic and scream. If she is in the home and around the other birds, is she content playing and just talking to them? A older couple had a cockatoor and they said bird would scream every night when they ate dinner. I asked if the bird ate with them. They said NO. I said you are eating in front of a 3 year old without feeding the child. Feed the cockatoo and let him be with you when you eat dinner. They called me and said that worked. Your cockatoo is totally dependent on you but this doesn';t mean you have to give her attention 24/7. But you can't just put her away> You can have a perch close to where you have your activities and as long as she can see you, she should be fine. The more you try and keep her in her cage and you are home, the more she is going to holler. She just needs to see you and know that she has not been isolated from the flock. The flock will isolate sick birds in order to protect themselves. Think of a 3 year old child left behind.
Does she play well when outside her cage on a play pen or perch? I need to know more about what you mean when you say "turns"? Does she get mad when you try and put her back in the cage? Does she get mad when you try and pet her? Tell me more. Please? I will try to help.
Other options are possibly someone who knows about Cockatoos or possibly a breeder.
In any case, give me more info on the behaviors and I will try and help.
mamie owens -
Darlene. Have you tried music with your bird? This has helped my Izzy
with that problem. Izzy was extremely mean and would bite anyone that
tried to handle him, he has gotten much better. When all is quiet in the house I talk to him and constantly uses his name in every sentence, this
has made him easier to handle and control. when you bird does well always
I have a Moluccan x Umbrella of about 25 years old. He is a male and I am his primary caregiver. I'm somewhat new to the avian behaviors,but I do know this. The more time you spend with them the more they love you. I feed my bird what I eat (but not nearly as much in proportion) along with his semiseed diet,fresh fruits picked off a pear tree, and try to generally give him at LEAST a few hours per day.
I've also noticed when they feed,they get drowsy if the food is warm-hot. If its steaming it's probably a bit too hot. Warm meals do WONDERS.
If the companion sees a lot of arguing or hitting or hears a lot of screaming,they will also get really hyped and it takes a while for mine to cool off, after a few a-holes and go away etc.
My cockatoo is 12 years old, she surprised us one day we found a small egg in sidney's cage. It happened twice. Anyway that was about 8 month's ago. She now has a red something coming out of her bottom, sometimes it's about the size of a small egg and then other times it's not even noticeable, Can you please tell me what you think it might be?
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Terry Dorland -
My vet says it is related to sexual behavior in that she is trying to attract a male. If the sac extrudes too much and too often he says that it may not retract and have to be surgically put back in place. Don't go wild with this info, see your vet, all birds like people are different and require different remedies. I freaked out when I saw it on my Too but I'm calm about it now.
It's a rupture that your bird has. I found when I bred birds this hapened occasionally. Put 2 t-spoons of cod liver oil to aprx, 4 pint of seed and shake well. It's a good idea to do this all the time as its good for the bird.
Hi, please contact me about your bird. What you are describing can be a very serious problem. I need to ask you a few questions though before I alarm you.
Please contact me. I run a parrot sanctuary and answer questions at no charge.
Hi, my husband brought home a utoo about 3 mos ago, this bird loves him so much, she will let me pet her and feed her, even let me break and fluff her crest feathers, BUT! If I try to get her to step up see if she will get on me, she will bite me so hard it draws blood and leaves a mark for weeks. Anybody know why she would be so sweet and then so nasty?
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If your bird is in the cage when you try to get it to step up, they might see your hand as an invasion of their "space". Perhaps the bird needs to get out of its cage first, on its own, and will be friendlier to any overtures. Another possibility is that your bird, a female, prefers males; she might prefer your husband over you, and perhaps doesn't trust you as much. And, since your husband brought her home, she probably sees him as the object of most of her affections.
She has fallen in love with your husband.
I was given an 8 yr old , male cockatoo...first experience..bless his soul, I can't help but love him but they can be challenging at times.....lol.....They get mad at you & it's like having a spouse mad.....but it sure is quiet...Always a great challenge
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What part of Kansas are you from, I am from there until a year ago, I moved to NC, I have an umbrella cockatoo.
Carl Mote -
I was told that an umbrella cockatoo is like having a chronic two year old child with a bad temper. That is soooo true but if you love your bird and correct him without abuse like a two year old child. I used a little squirt bottle that did both spray a mist or spray a jet stream and used the jet stream and sprayed directly on a foot. That taught him the term no eventually. Remember a chronic two year old child. But the love you get back is unexplainable.
I want to sell my Cockatoo I leave in wisconsin do you know any on interested in it? You can email me I just bought for my daughter who is 6 years old but she want parakeet.
How much are you asking for him?
It is true, these are wonderful birds but you must be prepared for a lifetime commitment and many behavior challenges. These birds can be very sweet but will also bite you HARD if they are scared or upset. Their screeching can be very difficult to live with. They should not be bred for sale because it is not fair to them. They are very loving, especially in the first 3 years of their life - but so often people give them up because they were not prepared for the reality of owning a parrot. Parrots are loud and somewhat dangerous and need LOTS OF ATTENTION. If you are not prepared to take care of a 3 year old child for up to 80 years DO NOT GET A COCKATOO! They are incredibly sensitive and when they are passed from home to home it is like torture to them! Be honest with yourself, if you do not have the patience for the mess, the expense, the noise and the time involved DO NOT GET ONE. I have an 8 year old. By the time I got him at 3 years old he had already had 3 other homes. He is the sweetest creature I've ever known and I love him with all of my heart - and am therefore in it for the long haul but I assure you, had I known how much work, noise and danger I would deal with I wouldn't do it again. He has never hurt me personally - (I'm his "person") but I have to be very careful when other people come in our home - he will fly at their faces and could cause serious damage!
I have a wonderful Umbrella Cockatoo with only one leg. He broke it the day I brought him home. Got caught in the bird cage and out of excitement he broke it. Had to be amputated. He does great without it. Now, pictures of cockatoos always show how smooth their feathers lay all the way to the tip of the tail. My bird, Q-Tip, has unneat feathers around the tips of his wings and tail. Can you tell me what causes that? He can groom himself all over but his feathers just look tattered.
I have a 9 or 10 year old umbrella cockatoo. She has laid 2 eggs. This is normal she does it once or twice a year. However, this time I would like for her to have a baby. I would like to get one fertile cockatoo egg she can lay on. Does anyone have any ideas. I live in Kansas.
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Charlie Roche -
It is not unusual for a cockatoo (or other birds) to lay eggs without a mate. Obviously, the eggs will not be fertile. It is also not unusal to place fertile eggs under another parrot that is known to sit eggs real well. You don't need an umbrella cockatoo egg.
However, there is no assurance that your Umbrella will sit the egg. They lay them but they may not wish to sit them. If they do sit them, they may not wish to feed them. So you could acquire a fertile egg and your Umbrella may not sit it and probably won't feed it so you would have to hand feed it around the clock every two hours for about a week, then 3 - 4 times a day for another 6 or so weeks.
That is quite a commitment.
In any case, if you want to check it out, see if there are any breeders in the area and ask if they will sell you a fertile egg.
I would not recommend this. It is difficult to do. Your umbrella may not accept another egg. It could be a very expensive proposition with no reward for you or your Umbrella.
Why not just invest the money and buy a baby Umbrella cockatoo (or another parrot) that your Cockatoo can be friends with. You would have to hand feed it but there is a better chance of success - by a whole lot.
Help please, yesterday I brought home a 16 year old female umbrella cockatoo. She is the sweetest bird, but because of her past situation she does chew her feathers and screams a little. But the main problem is my 10 month old african gray started freaking out today, I think it is because of the new bird. We have a 10 month old quaker and he is fine and the gray has been fine with him. Not sure if i will be able to keep the cockatoo if it is just going to stress out my gray. I don't want him to start any bad behaviors because he is stressed. I figure I will give it a couple more days and then have to make a decision. I would greatly appreciate any advice. I really love the cockatoo she is so sweet and entertaining.