Are Cockatoos Good Pets? (We Find Out Here)

  • Time to read: 9 min.

There’s one thing about cockatoos that you may have found fascinating, and this is their caring and friendly demeanors. Cockatoos’ intelligence and social behavior make your day entertaining and worthwhile.

Who wouldn’t!? These creatures have a knack for entertaining their owners as much as they can. Since you witnessed their antics, you’re now thinking of maybe purchasing yourself one. It’s not like it’s challenging to take care of a Cockatoo. They are cuddly and very friendly with their environment. However, despite their exciting and humorous behavior, there hides a naughty personality that can sometimes loosen some of your screws. 

What may seem easy may not be when the days pass by! So, it’s best to consider some of the few things before taking care of a cockatoo.  

Are Cockatoos Friendly?

Yes, cockatoos are friendly and affectionate birds, most especially to their owners. Cockatoos love to cuddle. You call clingy birds, for they demand attention whenever possible. They make good pets when you are an experienced caretaker. It is because of their high-maintenance personality. So, if you’re up to a challenge, a cockatoo makes an excellent pet for you! (source)

Making Sense Of Cockatoos

About Cockatoos

In all sense, the cockatoos are the most preferred birds in the parrot species. It’s because of their charming and eye-catching skills and personality. Aside from that, they have unique features that give them the impression of loving and social creatures. Well, they are indeed these types of things mentioned! The good thing is that these cockatoos make up for all of it. 

They were labeled as love sponges—absorbing their owner’s love whenever they could ahold of it. That’s why if you ask other cockatoo caretakers, they will say that these parrots will ensure they’re the only ones in your life. Whoa! Talk about being obsessed with you! It’s not a bad thing unless you’re up for it. (source)

What Do They Love

Aside from cockatoos love to be given attention 24/7, they create many memories with you. They love physical contact and will primarily demand several cuddles from you. However, they’ll probably throw a fit at you when you try to decline their cuddle demands. It is why it’s crucial to meet your bird’s needs because if not, they’ll shriek and pluck their feathers. 

More so, when you notice that your cockatoos are plucking their plumages, it’s best to redirect their behaviors by giving amounts of attention. You don’t want your cockatoos to suffer from self-mutilation. Apart from offering significant attention, it’s best to provide healthy and fresh food, a safe and comfy environment, and love and attention to your birds. If all else fails, seek experts’ advice on this one to aid your bird from physical or emotional issues. 

Other Characteristics 

You’ll soon realize that cockatoos are loud creatures. They like to shriek and scream and can be vocal for 135 decibels. Cockatoos scream to get your attention, but the question here is what attention they want? Sometimes they can be aggressive without any reason. In this case, train your bird to refrain from landing on you. 

There’s much to say about cockatoos, but to put everything simply–owning a cockatoo is undoubtedly a commitment and a test of your patience. Regardless of their occasional naughty behaviors, their intelligence, curiosity, and affectionate demeanor are icing on top! 

In terms of physical appearances, cockatoos usually have plain or non-vibrant colors, unlike parrot species. A cockatoo’s colors range from white, grey, and black, and blotches or patches of yellow, red, and pink on their crests. Some cockatoo species have pink hues on their feathers. In contrast, others have vivid colors around their eyes, like palm cockatoos. 

Quick Facts About Cockatoos

Other names: Red-tailed cockatoos, black-and-red cockatoos, black and white cockatoos, and black and yellow cockatoos

Scientific names: Calyptohynchus, Cacatua, Callocepahon

Size: 12 to 24 inches, depending on the species of cockatoos

Life Span: 30 to 70 years depending on species 

Types Of Cockatoos

Types Of Cockatoos

There are at least four popular types of cockatoos as pets, and these are: 

  1. Rose-Breasted Cockatoo

These are primarily quiet among other species of cockatoos. The Rose-Breasted Cockatoos have skills to mimic human speeches. This vibrant bird can provide affection towards you. 

  1. Umbrella Cockatoo

They are also popular as white-crested cockatoos that stunningly display a broad crest when something influences their emotions. Just like other cockatoos, they are intelligent, social, and active. Don’t forget that they are affectionate as well! 

  1. Moluccan Cockatoo

The Moluccans are among the largest species of cockatoos. On the other hand, this cockatoo may be the largest but is still a big baby that needs affection and cuddles. Their intelligent and engaging behavior are also their charms! 

  1. Goffin Cockatoo

Goffin, described as a fun-loving parrot, is born to be an entertainer. This Goffin is a talker. Its playful and affectionate demeanor is what makes up for its size. It is the smallest of the cockatoos, which is a benefit for beginner caretakers. 

Although cockatoos have different types of species and each of its personality varies, it’s still a treasure to cherish for their doting, and chummy traits are always prominent in every cockatoo species. 

Understanding Cockatoos’ Diet

And just like any other classifications of parrots, cockatoos’ diet consists of nuts and seeds, especially when they are thriving in the wild. On the other hand, you can serve captive cockatoos with various fresh plates and sustenance. But from time to time, you can serve them high-quality pellets, seeds, and nuts. 

Feasibly speaking, the cockatoos’ plate should contain at least 70% pellet and 25% organic fruits and vegetables. In comparison, you should occasionally give seeds and seed mixes to prevent obesity in your birds. It is because seeds and mixes are high in fat quality. Therefore, you can only use these mixes and seeds as treats either for training or leisure snacks. You can also provide nuts as a healthy alternative for seeds and mixes. 

Things You Need To Remember

Before availing of a cockatoo, be sure you’re ready with its proper diet and nutrition, as some cockatoos have different portions and food. In other conditions, you forgot about your cockatoos’ diet; look at how they respond to your serving. If they play with or discard the food bowls, it’s safe to assume that they don’t like your food. 

Some cockatoos will eat assortments of seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, leafy greens, and roots. Others prefer to take a bite of insects and larvae. Diet and nutrition are necessary to optimize your cockatoos’ health, and with good moderation, the only impact your cockatoos receive is a positive result. A happy tummy, a happy cockatoo! 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How Many Times Do Cockatoos Eat? 

Species of cockatoos vary in feeding frequency. In some cases, cockatoos eat about one-fourth or one-half of their body weight, whereas the smaller cockatoos eat bigger portions than their average body size. Therefore, keep a weighing scale to measure their food. 

  1. What Foods Are Harmful To Cockatoos? 

Parrots are sensitive to their food portions. As far as possible, avoid products high in pesticides and insecticides like the vegetables and fruits you usually buy in the market. Ensure that peanuts are out of your 

cockatoos’ diet, for these nuts are toxic to them. Next on the list are caffeine, chocolate, tea, alcohol, avocados, onions, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, salty foods, and dairy products. 

Exposure to these food lists yields negative results to your cockatoos’ overall health. If, in any case, this happens, take your feather friend to the avian vet immediately. 

  1. What Food Should I Feed To My Cockatoos? 

Food that includes carbohydrates, fats, proteins, spices, and essential minerals and vitamins is suitable for your cockatoos. It would be best if you also considered Avian-based seeds and mixes. Organic fruits and vegetables are good as well. For fruits, you might want to consider the following: bananas, oranges, apples without the seeds, pears, strawberries, kiwi, peaches, and melons. Remember to remove the fruit seeds in apples, apricots, pears, peaches, and cherries. As for veggies, you can give them: broccoli, kale, spinach, lettuce, and carrots. 

  1. Are There Other Considerations I Should Remember? 

Make sure fresh water is always available—not changing the water makes your cockatoos prone to harmful bacteria that grow in water bowls. Prevent from giving your food to your cockatoos. Human foods are not suitable for cockatoos. Finally, pick up left-out fruits and veggies after an hour, and moderation is the key! 

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Activities For Cockatoos

Free Flying

Cockatoos are active and friendly birds. It means that they should be encouraged and allowed to fly and be active in their lifestyle. In this context, you should allow an opportunity for your cockatoos to get some of those exercises. At least 3 to 4 hours a day of free-flying is enough. You can limit the time by 3 hours if that is too ideal for your cockatoo. 

When selecting free-flying exercises outside their cages, examine the surroundings or areas before letting your birds out. We never know when threats and dangers will pop out of nowhere. Ensure that no predators or cable lines may endanger your cockatoos’ life. Last of all, before enabling your cockatoos to free-fly, train them for recalls. 

Teaching your cockatoos recalls beforehand limits potential and avoidable dangers and risks. You can always choose simple recalls such as: go off, stay, here, etc. Free flying is a risky and undeniably worrying experience, most specifically on your end. If your cockatoos are not trained yet with recalls, purchasing free-flying cables from your local avian store will do the trick in the meantime. 

Toys 

Supposedly, your cockatoos are just birdlings, perhaps not yet trained with free-flying or still need to get a little time to free flight. Another best alternative is toys. Provide safe and clean toys to your cockatoos to entertain them throughout the day. Like children, cockatoos tend to get bored and throw tantrums when not in the mood. 

In this case, giving puzzle toys, wood, and rope toys are the best option. Make sure to stay away from plastic toys whenever you can. It is to avoid harmful toxins in plastic toys. Also, cockatoos can chew on plastic toys and may ingest some of the plastics. While you’re at it with toys, you can turn up their favorite music too! 

Setting Up Cockatoos Place

If you can’t build a vast aviary for your cockatoos, it is best to find cages with these dimensions: 24 x 36″ x 48″ in size. The bar’s spacing should be ¾ to 1 inch. If you have a larger cockatoo, you need a cage with these dimensions: 24″ x 48″ x 48″ and bar spacing of 1″ to 1.5″. The cages must be durable and strong. You should at least choose wrought iron and stainless steel cages since cockatoos can break free due to their strong beaks. 

Of course, you should provide comfortable perches and nests for your cockatoos. Don’t forget the toys since they are aggressive and need an outlet. So, chewing toys, softwood, vegetable-tanned leather, ropes, cardboards, and bells are your best options to let your cockatoo active while in cages. Hanging toys are also pleasing to your cockatoos. 

Final Thoughts About Cockatoos

To summarize, cockatoos are good pets. These birds can be your best pets once you earn their trust. After that, they’ll be the cuddliest and the most affectionate cockatoos to land in your sight. There’s no doubt that cockatoos will display their wayward behavior, for this is already part of them. The best way is to be patient and never be scared to redirect their behaviors—you are their caretaker, after all. 

If you plan to take care of a cockatoo, ensure that the breeders are reputable and sustainable. You can opt for adoption for a cheaper and more sustainable approach. Usually, cockatoos pricing ranges from $500 to $4000, depending on the species. Finally, when buying a bird, examine if the bird is active, clean, and has a good appetite. If so, you’re good to go!

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