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25 Year Old Male Umbrella Cockatoo Biting

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25 Year Old Male Umbrella Cockatoo Biting

Postby S Hahn » Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:46 pm

I have a 25 year Old Umbrella Cockatoo named Nigel, we got Nigel from a horrible situation. With that said, he has been doing great now, i did about three years worth of homework before getting a U2. We have had Nigel about five months now. The only problem i seem to be having with Nigel, when i put NIgel on the floor he will bite everyone in the house except me. It seems like its unprovoked. In some cases it seems territorial but in other cases he is being petted on the floor and then he will just bite, hands, faces, legs whatever. i am going back to reading a lot of articles again but i am not finding what i need. I am new to this forum, there is a lot of knowledgeable people on the forum that is why i chose this forum. Any questions let me know. It always seems like he bites when the person back is turned. we have a small dog, they get along well under supervised times, the minute "Eve" turns around he bites her back end of the tail and butt. i am a good parrot owner but just need some advice. Yesterday i was giving Nigel some floor time supervised, when my wife came in the room he started to say "Hello" a bunch of times, he walked up to her and just bit her foot and when Steph bent down a little he jumped up and went after her face. I have never seen that behavior out of him.
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Re: 25 Year Old Male Umbrella Cockatoo Biting

Postby liz » Tue Nov 22, 2016 8:02 am

Biting is caused by some kind of discomfort. It could be a belly ake or headack or just plane fear.

Can she fly? If she is clipped she could so fearful that she thinks she has to attack before she is attacked. Letting her grow her feathers back will make a big difference in her personality. Give her a perch at your eye level.
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Re: 25 Year Old Male Umbrella Cockatoo Biting

Postby Wolf » Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:56 pm

Perhaps someone with more experience than I will step up pretty soon to share better and more information about this than I am able to. I certainly hope so, but I will share what little I know and hope that it will help point you in the right direction in addressing this issue.

Cockatoos are one of those species of parrots that bond extremely closely to their human and because of this they have a tendency to need more one on one contact with their chosen human than many of the other, and usually smaller , species of parrots. This also means that they perceive you as their mate and they may well attack any other human or animal that they think is a threat to their relationship with their human mate. This threat or competition for your time and affection is agitated by the bird seeing you spending time playing with or especially making physical contact with the perceived rival. A word of caution that you should also be aware of is that these bites or attacks can easily be turned to you if the bird is unable to reach the rival or if the birds sees that its tactics to keep its human mate away from its rivals is not working.

Well, unfortunately that is about all that I have that I can share with you at this time about this issue.
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Re: 25 Year Old Male Umbrella Cockatoo Biting

Postby Pajarita » Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:30 pm

Welcome to the forum, S Hahn and Nigel! Are you aware that your last name is the same as a parrot species? The Hahn's macaw!

Wolf is correct. Cockatoos need A LOT of out-of-cage and one-on-one time. They are also considered what we call 'hormonal' birds because of their two annual breeding seasons. Usually, unwarranted aggression to everybody but one person is because they are overly hormonal which causes chronic frustration and physical discomfort -if not outright pain. They will always love one person much, much more than any other but this doesn't mean that they will go around attacking all others. So, you need to tell us what kind of light schedule and diet he has as well as what are the daily routines and we will see if there is anything there we can recommend to change so as to make him more comfortable. Now, I know that it sounds strange when I say that we want to make him more comfortable when he is the one biting everybody :lol: but parrots only bite to protect and defend their mate and nest, when they find no other way to get their point across or when they are in pain or scared so, when they do it for no apparent reason, it behooves us, owners, to try to figure out what is it that is making him do this and correct it and, sometimes, another 'pair of eyes' helps a lot (we are the other 'pair of eyes' :D ).
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Re: 25 Year Old Male Umbrella Cockatoo Biting

Postby Bird woman » Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:57 pm

I have several cockatoos and have experiences much of the same as you are describing. I have a Nigel that's new to the sanctuary that does everything as you have described. Do you have any info about the situation that he came from as that would be helpful. As wolf said if your Nigel is bonding with you that anything he precives as a threat is going to get it and if he can't remove the threat you will get it so you move away. This is very typical of a hormonal cockatoos behavior. Too's are very needy birds and require a lot of one on one time , but you will need to set boundaries and be consistent on verbal commands. My Nigel has already been vet checked ( full blood work ) and on a healthy diet so that rules out any medical reasons. My Nigel entered into the pass the bird around , Craig's list system after he started biting his owners feet that had become very ill and wasn't able to pick him up anymore( at least that's what I was told) well long story short at one point in his life he was well taken care of and then passed around a lot until he turned into a very demanding untrusting biting holy terror and then he found his way to me. To date Nigel is learning the word up when he wants up and down when he wants down. He doesn't bite me anymore or chase me but will sometimes chase others or one of the too's. At that point I bend over and tell him no no (very firmly )and if he keeps it up he goes to the cage for a while. This is working thus far but my Nigel is really pron to throwing fits when he doesn't get his way and we're working on that too. I also have a mollucan too that's been here for a few years that had a terrible foot biting and chasing problem but that one wasn't hard to figure out as part of 2 of her toes were missing and she was sent with a video of her and the male half of the owner playing chase around a pole and he had his work boots on. It took me almost 6 months to teach her not to play chase and everyone that comes over has to remove there shoes before they come in. If you don't she will sit right by your feet looking at you sideways until there off! Be patient and consistent and let me know if you have any info on your Nigel's previous situation and I will share what I would do and what steps and progress I'm making with my Nigel . Must be something with the name :lol: Bird woman
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Re: 25 Year Old Male Umbrella Cockatoo Biting

Postby S Hahn » Mon Nov 28, 2016 7:48 pm

Thanks to everyone that gave me advice. All i can find out about Nigels life, the first person that bought Nigel as a pet died when Nigel was 15 years old. From 15 to 25 years old Nigel was passed around to 11 different homes not including my house. From what i can get about Nigel his first 15 years he was well taken care of and the other nine years not so much. When i got NIgel i knew he had issues but i like a challenge. When i got Nigel he lived in an 18x18 inch cage (way to small) for three years. He had literally 1/4 inch of dust on him and he had 62 blood feathers (he has none left now), in the three years that this family had him they never gave him a shower, they said he was scared of water. since i have had Nigel i have gotten him used to water he takes a shower three times a week and sprayed down every day. I spend 3 hours a day with him at-least. I felt so bad for Nigel for being in such a small cage three days after getting him i bought him a 6 foot high by ten foot by ten foot aviary. He has a ton of toys now and he loves the new cage. I have turned his little world upside down in a good way. He has been doing really well, but he has some ways to go. When he does bite he has never drew blood so far. He is scared of everything, so i have been working on that everyday. The one thing that threw me for a loop is when he started to lunge at peoples face, that scared me a lot because i have never seen that out of him. I hope i am doing good by him but wanted a little insight from people that know parrots. i read a ton of stuff on the internet and every single site you read is so very different when it comes to parrots, everyone has their own opinion i guess. when i got Nigel all he would eat is seeds and people food, i have been working on getting his diet better and it has gotten better, he is now on fruits, veggies, some seeds, i make that parrot chop, some parrot safe muffins and i bought organic pellets. The minute i brought Nigel home the next day he went to the vet, he weighed 400 grams that was it, he now weighs 1100 grams... so i feel we are going the correct way, just need some advice. Nigel is very scared of the dark?? i have to leave a night light on so he will stop screaming. One more thing, the reason why Nigel was re homed a bunch is because of him screaming so much, as of right now the only screams he does now seems like happy screams when he is chewing something or playing with one of his toys. One lady said he would scream for 8 to 10 hours a day, he does not do that now. This is the lady who had zero toys and a very small cage and very hungry i would imagine. I hope i answered all the questions.
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Re: 25 Year Old Male Umbrella Cockatoo Biting

Postby liz » Tue Nov 29, 2016 6:52 am

They mourn just as much if not more than a human. He felt that his human left him and hue was not able to tell the other humans how he felt. They must not have known anything about parrots. Moving it from place to place hurt him badly. No wonder he was a screamer.

I would not have survived that much trauma after 15 years of love and security. If I could not express myself I would be a screamer too. Kudos to you for stepping up to help him. His memory of the experience will never go away.

Myrtle was neglected and kept in a small cage that was right up against a Grey who was trapped in a small cage. I have had her for more than 5 years and she is still afraid when she sees a Grey. She is terrified of being caged and will not go in a cage that still has a door.

Wolf's Mimi was so traumatized that he is still working with her to push out the bad memories and replace it with love and respect. It is not easy and I can't tell you how much time it will take. Just like Mimi and Myrtle your bird can be helped even though the process is slow.

Your challenge is to help her feel that it was in the past.
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Re: 25 Year Old Male Umbrella Cockatoo Biting

Postby Bird woman » Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:17 am

Good for you rescuing such a traumatized too! :thumbsup: where do I start, have you taken Nigel to the doc's yet? ( very nessesary ) this is a great first step in accessing his physical needs. Make sure your gram scales are callobrated properly as I'm finding it pretty hard to believe nigel has gone from 400 grams to 1100 in 5 or 6 months. :shock: If this is so then you need to measure his dietary intake because a male umbrella should not weigh anywhere close to the 1100 grams as stated. I'm not a real stickler on average weights but I go by the breast bone and check for muscle mass and fat and the shape. Your little Nigel is very untrusting and weairy I'm sure at this point in his life as can be expected. I would say 3 hours a day is not enough time with him ,but it is important to set the boundaries up according to our lifestyles and what we may give that they can count on. Cockatoos are notorious for bonding with one person and doing just about anything to keep there bonded human to there selves. The way I get around this is to have other , people my husband included give attention and treats when I'm not in the room. This is so very important because too's can get very aggressive when only wanting to be around there chosen one. Your situation may in fact take years to remedy. I know I'm into my 3rd year with Riki my big mollucan hen that was abused by a woman for 15 years. She came to us as a rescue that needed rescuing or should I dare say the rescuers needed rescuing from Riki ! :lol: she would attack any woman and viscously and only wanted my husband. I'm pretty persistent and have a high tolerance for pain ,so I'm not afraid of getting bit. After the honeymoon period and she settled in when she would go after me I would just flip her over like a baby and hold her little head gently and kiss her all over. I did this for about 2 months until she got tired of me slobbering all over her and just quit trying to get me. I don't recommend anyone trying this unless you have maijor bird experience ( you will get hurt) you must know how to properly hold and restrain a bird without causing them injury ! (Very important)!!! Now as for my Nigel (holy terror) different situation and I'm still in the process of figuring him out. I have a hunch his situation has been a lot as you have described about your Nigel. So other than induring the pereodic bites and his nervousness I am trying to keep things pretty consistent with him and have given him his own space to retreat to when he chooses not to interact with the household. I have taught him up up and he knows the command but trying to teach him down has been challenging. He bites for many different reasons and is prone to throwing fits when he doesn't get his way. Head shaking with plume up nose banging on floor and yes biting. This is mostly directed at others as he has learned that I won't move away and will put him in time out when he starts this attitude. Others show fear and if he can make you run then it's ON ! This makes my job harder when others aren't consistent and he gets confused as to what he can get away with. Be patient , consistent and set clear boundaries. Pay attention to body language and especially the eyes as the more time you spend with your too , pretty soon those eyes will tell you just about everything there thinking or about to get into or do. :lol: Really I'm not kidding , I can read several of mine like a book. Keep me posted on progress and get that weight thing under control a obese bird is physically worse that an underweight one. :thumbsup: BW
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Re: 25 Year Old Male Umbrella Cockatoo Biting

Postby Pajarita » Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:54 am

Yes, I agree with Patti (Birdwoman), he is waaay too heavy. The thing with birds is that they are better off been a bit skinny than they are overweight -even if it's just a bit- and, if he really is over a kilo, he is VERY overweight (their average weight is between 450 and 800 grams). If I were you, I would re-evaluate his diet because I feed my birds as much as they want to eat and none of them are overweight -when it comes to birds, it's not only quantity, it's also what you feed them because, for example, pellets, been so dry and concentrated, can make them fat if you free-feed them.

If he is no longer screaming all the time, you are doing good! :thumbsup: One word of caution though, you can't leave the light on at night and I'll tell you why. Mammals only have photoreceptors (cells that perceive light) in the eyes so, when they close them, no more 'reaction' to whatever light there might be, but birds have them in the eyes and inside their brain (their cranial bones are so thin, they allow light to shine through them into the brain) so the photoreceptors there can be activated by it even when they are fast asleep. This is because birds endocrine system is governed by light (to birds, light is more than something that allows them to see, it's an actual nutrient and glandular activity trigger) and long exposure to it means breeding season so, even if you put him 'to bed', if you are leaving a light on at night, his body is registering light all night long. There are myriad studies done with birds and their exposure to light at night and all of them tell us that this will, indeed, screw up their endocrine system - and this can mean an overly hormonal bird (which is pretty easy to get with cockatoos because they are 'hormonal' birds) which translates into aggression (usually, toward anybody who is not their chosen one).
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Re: 25 Year Old Male Umbrella Cockatoo Biting

Postby Bird woman » Tue Nov 29, 2016 4:19 pm

Pajarita is right, are you sure he is not just flock calling at night ? At my house as there in several different areas they call to one another at dusk sometimes it gets quite loud and goes on until it's pretty dark. When he feels comfortable with his sleeping quarters and safe , you shouldn't have a problem. Mine all have windows and I cover there cages 2/3 of the way so the back is exposed to the darkening and light coming up. Now I have triple pane windows so no cold drafts . If your windows blow cold air then you can cover the whole cage after dark falls and pull up cover at dawn. If you run to him everytime he starts his screaming you will be reinforcing that behavior. I have taught mine to call mama :shock: back fired as there are 10 ,( used to be cute.) when you have had Nigel long enough you will get used to the different yells and what they mean. You must have bought him a new cage as you stated he was kept in a very small one , well just like all of us it takes time before it feels like home. Baby steps , that's what I'm doing with my Nigel . BW by the way on that vet visit did they do blood work?
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