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Anyone have Cockatoos ??

Discussion in 'Caged Birds - Finches, Canaries, Cockatiels, Parro' started by monathequeen, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. monathequeen

    monathequeen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 13, 2009
    Burlington KS
    Hi, I wrote in a few months back about cockatoos and I have a question if anyone out there can help.
    I have a 18 yr old female "too" who has been chewing her feathers again and I don't know what to do.
    She does bathe once a week in the shower but won't get herself completely submerged. I spray her w/ a warm spray bottle and she seems to enjoy that but her feathers look terrible.
    They are sticking together and she has been chewing the ends off the tail feathers..I know she has been stressed out w/ her regular routine lately and I have been trying to accomadate her the best I can. Her diet hasn't changed and I wonder if there is anything I can feed her to get her feathers back to normal. She also screams anytime I leave her sight which is typical but is there anything I should do to stop her from wanting so much attention ??
    Would a mirror in her cage help ???

    Help !!!!! Thanks in advance...
     
  2. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    Buster has lived with us for over 10 years, so I have a bit of firsthand experience. Buster is a wild caught Goffins, brought to the US in the early 80’s – bounced around to many, many homes before finding ours. We have worked thru many, many issues.

    How long have you had your girl? What is her main diet? What type of too is she?

    Our main diet (always in the cage) is Harrisons Bird food. I like the complete pellets cause I have less to worry about. We also feed frozen veggies (run under hot water till thawed), Safflower parrot seed mix and whatever we happen to be eating ourselves.

    Toys are very important – the ones she can DESTROY – Buster also likes cardboard boxes to reconstruct. So lots of toys – rotate the older out for a couple months. I like toys that I can add on to – purchasing unfinished, kiln dried pine wood from lowes or homedepot and cutting up into chunks.

    Is she flighted? It has helped us lots, letting Buster and our Greys be flighted. They have landing stations in different parts of the house. Yes, they only go bathroom in their landing areas – no free flying pooping around the house.

    She will never stop wanting attention – YOU are her flock. When she calls for you, answer her and let her know you are still around. If you are leaving the house for an period of time – make sure she has toys to occupy her – food dispensing toys are good.

    Well I could go on and on.
     
  3. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

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    May 18, 2009
    Brooksville
    Hi -

    Absolutely no mirror - you don't want her to bond to the "bird in the mirror." She could be just stressed out and will stop when things go back to normal. Also, sometimes they chew their feathers to get extra nutrients, so maybe a good vitamin would work. My birds get Calciboost and Potent Brew (google it) on alternating days which stopped my macaw's feather chewing problem.

    Cockatoos are the champion screamers of the exotic birds. They also crave a lot of attention. Do you have plenty of toys for her? We make and sell exotic bird toys and specialize in toys for the bigger birds. Look up our website - www.fancyfeathers.biz. We are a little low on toys right now but we make new ones every day and list them on the site every couple of weeks. Foraging toys would be good to keep her busy. Wood toys are also important. A bird in the wild works very hard for her food, shredding branches and wood in search for treats. We serve them all their needs on a silver platter, so to speak, and so they have nothing to satisfy that need to chew and destroy, thus sometimes turning their destructiveness to themselves.

    Also, if your cage is old, it could have lead or zinc in it. Some toys are made with chain and/or quick links made with zinc, which is very toxic for them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
  4. Woods_Woman

    Woods_Woman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 21, 2009
    Oregon Rain Forest
    I dont have a too, but I DO have 2 greys. I think the info you have already been given is excellent, have you had your too looked at by the vet? Also what about just ignoring the behavior? Both my birds were 2nd hand birds, and Ruby my 2 y/o came to me with plucking under her wings, and excessive about making annoying noise like cockitiel calls, and conure screams. Once she was here several months I noticed she started plucking her chest and legs. I acted Like I didn't even notice, increased the foraging toys, and today she is pluck free. As far as the excessive noise I totally ignored it, didn't even look at her when she made the noise, gave her no attention as to reinforce it, and it too is no longer a problem. Good Luck, it could be a long road, but dont give up.
     
  5. monathequeen

    monathequeen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 13, 2009
    Burlington KS
    Hi again.
    She is a Umbrella Cockatoo. We have had her for 4 years now and are her second owners. She was bald in the chest when we got her and since she adjusted to her new environment, she stopped chewing her chest. It's almost completely full now but only with the down.
    Her diet consist of Large-bird colored bisquets that we buy from the pet store w/ sunflower seeds that we add. She loves to crack open the sunflower seeds.
    She eats up the bisquets constantly but most of them wind up on the carpet...I have to get her a feeder which will only release what she wants.

    She also gets a variety of food from the kitchen. I feed her cooked oatmeal, bananas, apple slices, orange slices, seedless grapes which she LOVES.
    At night she gets cooked pasta w/ cooked lima beans, peas, corn, and broccoli.
    She eats well and thats why I can't figure out why she chews her feathers.
    She is very picky and will usually eat everything in her bowl.

    She gets fresh water daily and we put cardboard, pine wood blocks which she shreds to tooth picks. She loves to chew stuff up and has remodeled our bathroom one day when she figured out how to undo the lock on her cage....we had to experiment w/ different locking methods and have found one that she dosn't bother with but could absolutely figure it out if she really wanted to...Glad to know about the mirror and will not add that to her cage.
    She is a GREAT bird and a excellent companion.
    I absolutely adore her and have suffered many bites and scares from her but She hasn't bit me in months now....She loves me I know and I have figured out her behavior and when she needs to be put back in her cage. I take her out a couple of times daily and she gets PLENTY of play time w/ us.

    I just want her to stop biting her feathers....she is starting to look scruffy.
    Do Cockatoos molt ?
    I also raise chickens and ducks and they molt 2-3 times a year.

    I have been contemplating getting another bird for her but don't want to spend two to three thousand dollars if it's not going to calm her down.
    She is the love of my life and if I get another bird, will she feel like we have abandoned her and will she be jelouse of her new companion ?
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
  6. CityChicker

    CityChicker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would avoid getting another bird to be her companion. Others have already posted some great advice. I definitely concur with tibanks, whatever you do- do NOT inadvertently reinforce the behavior. Birds feed off of the emotions of their owners and can also be quite manipulative. When she is screaming, remain calm and IGNORE her. When she is being quiet and well behaved, that is the time to go over and give her attention and talk to her. Seriously, when she screams, do not even yell to her to quiet down. It will only make matters worse.

    I grew up with Cockatoos of several species and my family bred them for years. In most cases and in my opinion (others may disagree), they do not make good pets for the average person. They are far too demanding and neurotic. You sound though like you are going to be a great 'too parent. Just recognize that it can be difficult, especially with "second-hand" birds. I, personally, do not like Sunflower seeds for Cockatoos. They can be very useful for birds like Macaws and Conures, but Cockatoos are too prone to obesity. Everything else you are feeding sounds great. Give her a good pelleted food (numerous brands are good and you don't have to always give the same brand either, we like to give ours variety). You can also add sprouted grains. We buy our sprout kits from China Prairie and the birds love it and look great on it.

    As others have said, feather chewing is almost always an emotional issue rather than physical. If you can afford to do so and have access to an Avian vet, you might go in and at least get a well-bird exam with blood work. Yes, Cockatoos do molt, but what you are describing doesn't sound like molting. You can also do a pretty simple home check for mites since that can sometimes cause feather chewing. Cover her cage with a white sheet. In the morning, look over the sheet very closely (the spots will be very, very small) for red or black dots. Anyway, it does sound more like a behavioral issue, but look at all possible causes. Good luck!
     
  7. CityChicker

    CityChicker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also- since you are not terribly far from the Denver area. Dr. Jerry LaBonde in Denver is one of the better known Avian veterinarians in the United States. There are a couple of other Avian vets in Colorado as well, but Dr. LaBonde is very well known as an exotic bird expert.
     
  8. amyparrotflock

    amyparrotflock Out Of The Brooder

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    May 17, 2009
    Columbus, OH
    Toys. Load the cage with toys, I deal with parrots who are completely neurotic (I work rescue all the time) Filling the cage until "she" litterally needs to move the toys out of the way to move in the cage is a great way to get them stop being interest in themselves and focus that attention outwards. Loud bells help as well, they can ringing them instead of screaming and it helps with some frustrations.

    Secondly have you addressed the humidity level in the house? During winter months birds suffer greatly with low humidity. I have a warm mist humidifer that goes almost non stop in the bird room. Skin dries out, new feathers coming in itch like mad.

    There is also a theory that wet birds don't pick. I've known several vets with 'toos that will soak them repeatedly, to the skin. It seems to help a little.

    Even with a "recovered" picker, once the bird is a behvaioural picker they almost always will retain some of it, my sis' grey went from naked from the neck down to a feather shredder on his chest.

    Since they haven't ruled anything out, I'd be headed to the vet. If it's only located on the chest it may be due to something irritating her that you can't see. When I go with new birds I take this: http://featherpicking.com/Behavior_Consult_Form.htm and fill it out. It helps the vet to get a better back story, and helps me understand some of the why and how.

    I'll echo what others have said: I hate sunflower seeds for parrots period. Macaws can get extra fat from nuts (which have other nutrition in them) they don't need sunflowers in their diet. It's trash food, and in this house regulated as a treat only.

    I totally agree with City Chicker as well. These birds aren't for your average bird owner. They are loud, demanding, neurotic, soiciopaths who have been raised wrong at the hands of usually incompetent indiviuals who force them to wean too soon (in the wild it's been noted that 'toos will still go to mom and dad for a "feeding" up to two years of age) clip their flight feathers before they learn the proper skills of flight and landing, and mess them up something fierce. As an owner of two U2's I wouldn't and won't be having another one. Both of mine have been second hand, and both have had severe issues learning they are parrots and not meant to constantly be cuddly velcro birds.
     
  9. amyparrotflock

    amyparrotflock Out Of The Brooder

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    one last thing, while excellent that she eats a varied diet, please keep in mind that fruits are a sugar source. I would try to get her to eat more veggies and whole grains (brown rice is excellent for them!) for nutrition over a lot of fruits.
     
  10. CityChicker

    CityChicker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with everything you said, Amy, except for the Sunflower seed bit. Yes, they are bad for most species. I still think for Macaws and Conures, the extra fat from the seeds is good for them. Not all birds have the same nutritional needs and I don't see that fat from nuts is necessarily much better. Do you know what the number one ingredient is in Harrison's? Sunflower seeds. All of the local Avian vets that I have gone to tout Harrison's like it is the best thing since sliced bread for parrots (and it is one of the more expensive pellets). Well, that is what it is- Sunflower seeds.

    Of course, our breeder Macaws that we used to give the seeds to were always kept in 8-12 foot flight cages and also got TONS of fresh foods. They were given as an addition to their diet, not as the basis for their diet. I would *never* recommend sunflower seeds for Cockatoos.
     

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