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Postby kittysoman2013 » Sun May 24, 2020 7:05 am

Hi! My sister just brought me a big surprise 3 days ago. A 12 year old Sulphur Crested Cockatoo! I live alone with my Maine Coon cat and have recently become crippled from back issues, and my sister thought I would enjoy the stimulation and company of this lovely bird. I owned a Double Yellow Head for many years, so am not brand new to parrots, but I see many differences already and am trying to learn as much as I can about her and her needs as fast as possible. So far, I've read an awful lot of negative info on Toos and would appreciate advice from any of you. She seems extremely sweet and loves to be scratched all over. I talk to her often and regularly. Apparently, she was pretty isolated out on a porch until now, where she is with me in my room. I haven't let her out yet, but hope to soon. She has the screech, but only does it a couple of times at night. The only annoying behavior she has exhibited so far is a kind of "plucking" she does....way too often, on the bars of her cage. Sounds like she's banging on it. Otherwise, this situation looks very promising. I'm curious about food. My yellowhead lived for years solely on sunflower seeds with occasional people food (he loved fried chicken!). I have a mix of seeds and raw peanuts right now and have given her some grapes and a piece of potato from my dinner...and a noodle from my lasagna. I'm wondering why people spend so much on fruity parrot food rather than just giving them fruit? :cockatoo:
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 1
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: 1. Turquoise-Browed Motmot
2. Ribbon-Tailed Astrapia
3. Long-Tailed Widowbird
Flight: Yes

Re: Hi everybody

Postby Pajarita » Sun May 24, 2020 8:25 am

Hi, Somar and too (you did not tell us what her name was), welcome to the forum and congrats on your new baby!

First of all, PLEASE do not feed the bird any raw peanuts! They are very dangerous as they grow aflatoxin very quickly. Peanuts are not good food for parrots but an occasional one (roasted, unsalted and human grade always) used as a special treat (maybe one a day) is OK as long as the bird is eating a good diet - and seeds ain't it. Not that seeds are bad per se because they are not. It's the free-feeding them (when you fill up a bowl in the morning and leave it there all day long) that is bad. And, PLEASE, do not feed it any animal protein as you did your amazon. All parrots, with the exception of two species and possibly a third, are herbivore so no meat, no cheese, no eggs, no butter, no nothing that contains any time of animal protein - their digestive system did not evolve to digest it and it's too high in protein but the worst thing about it is the bad cholesterol which parrots don't have a mechanism to get rid of (because, as they did not evolve to eat it, natured did not give them something they would not need) so it accumulates in their liver (hepatic lipidosis), in their tissues (obesity, fatty tumors, xanthomas) and their circulatory system (heart conditions, strokes, etc).

Now, as to the negative side of cockatoos... I am afraid it's true. They are VERY needy, VERY loud and VERY VERY destructive. But, if you devote yourself to it and always keep it company, allow for flight, keep at a strict solar schedule (this is VERY important), feed it right (more on this below) and provide it with enough chewing material all the time, they are great companions.

First thing you need to do is stop 'scratching her all over'. The bird is in her honeymoon period when they are at their best behavior because of insecurity (she does not know you from Adam but knows you are a predator and the entire home is unfamiliar territory as far as she is concerned) so what you need to do right now is show her that you can be trusted and that you want to be her friend. You do this by keeping a strict routine that never changes (this will help her not only feel secure but also become familiar with you and her new home) and that is as close as possible to the same routine she would have in the wild - this means breakfast at dawn and dusk, rest at noon, and interaction in between but the interaction needs to be very respectful so she doesn't feel that you are imposing. You would not like a stranger taking liberties with your person and neither do parrots so only touch her head, cheeks and nape if she asks you for it by bowing her head to you (those are the ONLY places where a bird should be touched because touching any other part of the body is improper as her chest, belly, back and under her wings are erogenous zones).

Change her diet ASAP. She needs lots and lots of raw produce in a large range, cooked whole grains and some nuts for dinner. I feed my Lesser Sulfur gloop and raw produce at dawn and nuts and a bit of seeds for dinner in the evening (the portion should be of a size that would fill her crop and have a teeny tiny leftover). You need to find out if the bird has seen an avian vet in the last six months or a year and what kind of diet she had before in case she has been eating animal protein or being free-fed protein because, at 12, if she has been eating a bad diet all along, she would already have liver and/or kidney problems which you will need to address asap. This is also needed to figure out how often you will need to give her a multivitamin/mineral supplement because if she has not been eating pellets, you will need to give her vitamins every day for a while to build up her depleted reserves again. A good diet can provide almost everything a bird needs but unless the bird is exposed 20 minutes a day, every single day, to direct sunlight (almost impossible to do in captivity for a companion parrot), it will have a vit D3 deficiency UNLESS she has been eating animal protein all along, in which case she will not have a D3 avitaminosis but will have liver disease.

Keep her at a strict solar schedule (this is important for toos because they are considered 'hormonal' birds) with two hours of exposure to dawn and dusk and no artificial light whatsoever from the time the sun is halfway down to the horizon until the following morning when the sun is already out and rays are coming into the room.

Give her a super large cage (cockatoos require HUGE cages - the same size as a macaw because they move a lot) with good perches - no dowels EVER! Use natural tree branches with the bark on them in different diameters and placed at different angles (toos love to climb so, if you put a nice large branch with little ones coming off it tied to the side of her cage and going up and sideways, she will entertain herself climbing up and down, peeling the bark off, clipping the little branches off the big one, etc - and it's great for their feet and leg muscles). And put lots of chewing material in it - toys are good but you can use large cardboard boxes, rolled up catalogs, pieces of untreated pine 2X4s, and even old things like drawers from a piece of furniture you no longer use or anything made out of wood that is clean (I just gave mine an old wood step ladder that we no longer use). Make sure she always have plenty of chewing material and that is changed periodically or she will demolish your room. And, if I were you, I would put some sort of protection all around the baseboards, moldings, etc because she will, eventually, chew them, too.

Also, do not start training her until she has bonded to you - if you do everything right, you should be able to start in 3 or 4 months. Now, this does not mean she will not be learning - she will. Only she will learn the same way they learn in the wild and the same way that babies learn from their parents - as they go along and through deduction and observation. So, do open her cage door and allow her to come out of her cage because no matter how large the cage is, it's still a cage and no animal was created to live in one. Talk/sing/whistle to her and every now and then, offer her a treat (but don't make it a peanut every time, use nuts -peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes) but, if she doesn't take it from your fingers, just leave it where she can reach it and walk away because this is not a reward, it's gift from you to her to show her that you want to be her friend.

Let me know if there is anything you need me to elaborate or explain.
Norwegian Blue
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 17440
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

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