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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Cockatoo

Cockatoo

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Traits & behavior

Social
Cockatoos require a large amount of physical attention. They require two hours or more of daily interaction.

Intelligent
Smart and easily trained, these birds should be taught basic commands such as "step up" onto your hand and "step down" when putting them back into their cage. This will ensure easier handling.

Noisy
They can be loud, especially at dawn and dusk.

White powder
These birds produce white powder from their feathers, which will make their cage and surrounding areas white with feather dust.

Speaking ability
With practice, you can teach your cockatoo to say a variety of different words.

Messy eaters
Your cockatoo will drop a lot of food when eating.
 

Things to remember

Supervision
Don't forget that children, pets and unfamiliar guests should be supervised when interacting with your cockatoo.

Long-term companions
Before purchasing, be aware that a cockatoo requires a long-term commitment of approximately 40-50 years.

Bonding
Cockatoos require consistent attention from all members of the household to keep them from bonding with only one person.

Safety & cleanliness
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit disease to humans. Keep your pet's home clean and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home. Infants, young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and the infirm or elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat. Consult your doctor for more information.
 

Nutrition

Staple diet
Feed her 3-4 tablespoons per day of a pellet or seed-based, fortified parrot diet.

Fruits & vegetables*
About 5-10% of a cockatoo's diet should be bite-sized fruits and veggies like oranges, melon, apples, broccoli, sweet potatoes, spinach, mustard greens and shredded carrots. Offer daily.

Water
Cockatoos should always have access to clean, fresh water in a bowl.

*Remember that fresh food requires its own dish and should be removed from the habitat within four hours to avoid spoilage.

Health

Signs of a healthy cockatoo:

  • Clear, bright eyes
  • Clean, smooth feathers
  • Eats throughout the day
  • Normal droppings that are not runny for more than a couple of days
  • A curious and active disposition

Things to watch for:

  • Decreased appetite; weight loss
  • Decreased activity and grooming behavior
  • Change in droppings in excess of two days
  • Sitting at the bottom of cage
  • Discharge from nose or mouth; frequent sneezing
  • Feathers fluffed for prolonged periods of time

If you notice any of the signs described above, consult an Avian Veterinarian.
 

Habitat

Housing
Your cockatoo's cage must be large enough for her to comfortably stretch her wings, climb and play with her toys. The bigger the cage, the better. Minimum cage size is 36"W x 36"L x 48"H.

Perches
Place two perches at different heights, so your cockatoo will be unable to soil her food bowls. Provide perches of differing widths, diameters and textures to help keep her feet healthy.

Cage placement
Place your bird's cage at or below eye level, away from drafts, open windows and the kitchen. Be aware that cockatoos are sensitive to smoke and strong odors. Cover the cage at night to prevent drafts.

Toys
Give her at least 2-3 appropriate sized toys to keep her busy. But, not too many--she should be able to move about freely without bumping into any in the cage. Rotate toys often to keep her interested.

Baths
Provide a birdbath 2-3 times per week. Offer a warm water bath or gently mist her with warm water from a clean spray bottle.

Food & water containers
It is important to clean your bird's containers every day, even if the bowl looks full.

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