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New/ Inherited Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo

perkdd

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Hello All!

I am about to be a first-time Cockatoo owner. I am inheriting a very lively, loud, 18-year-old male sulphur-crested cockatoo from my grandfather who is getting to a point where he can no longer take care of his 'too. However, I do have a few questions and I have tried to navigate and find the answers on this forum already, but I cannot find any posts that fit my situation (I apologize if these are common questions. I am still getting the hang of this forum). So, a quick breakdown:
  • My grandfathers 'too is named Cesar. I have not seen Cesar in over 7 years because I left my hometown for the military and no longer live in the same state.
  • My grandfather is in the hospital and about to undergo a very intense heart surgery.
  • He has left Cesar with a friend in apparently a very small cage which has led to Cesar plucking out a lot of his feathers. I have since told my mother that I will take Cesar because he does not deserve to be in such a stressful situation.
  • I really would like for Cesar to remain in the family so my grandfather can come visit him whenever he would like.
  • I am aware that Cockatoos are loud, require a LOT of attention, and will probably outlive me.
Now, my situation:
  • I have 2 children (4 and 2), 2 large dogs, and 2 cats. I am not sure if that will be overwhelming for Cesar, or if this is dependent on the personality of each 'too.
  • There is always at least one person at home during the day for Cesar to have constant attention/ companionship.
  • We have plenty of space in our living room for a large cage (6 ft or more) and our budget allows for us to bring Cesar into our family.
So, my question I guess is would it be ideal to take in Cesar with all of the people and animals in our house? Or do Cockatoos not get along with others? My grandfather has had dogs and two cats the entire time he has had Cesar, and there have never been issues, but I am more so concerned about such a radical change in Cesar's life that it will negatively affect him. I hope my question makes sense and if you have gotten this far, I greatly appreciate your time and any advice you have for me. Thank you!
 

MnGuy

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That's a very compassionate thing you're thinking of doing for your grandfather and Cesar.

I don't have a cockatoo, but I do have an African grey, which is generally considered to be a more sensitive species than cockatoos. (Of course, all birds are individuals and it's important to assess their needs individually.) Parrots can be very adaptable to new situations. I've adopted all three of my parrots, who were 17, 6 and 7 when I got them, and they all adjusted fine to my house. I don't have children, so I can't account for that, but it was still a huge change for them to come live with me.

I live alone with my two parrots (one passed many years ago) and two dogs, but they do just fine when I have family stay over, including children. They also do fine when I take them home for long holiday weekends.

I think the main issues for your situation are issues every parrot owner has to consider regardless of how and when they get a parrot:

- how to keep the parrot safe from other pets
- keeping young children and parrot safe from each other
- making your house safe for the parrot (no incense, candles, scents, non-stick pans, etc.)

My guess is that if Cesar is in a better setting (larger cage, better care/diet, etc.), he'll be happy and these other issues (number of people and pets in the home) won't be much of an issue.

Good luck!
 

Toy

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Ideal? Yes & no.

Parrots can sense high energy & will react. So 2 kids ages 4 & 2 may have this bird going off a lot. Add in when it's breeding season. Many will do breeding calls that can be very loud. Some will become very aggressive during breeding season. Parrots bite, so little fingers will need to be kept out of his cage. His cage is his safe place.

Parrots like silly, so dancing & singing can get them bobbing up/down, twisting, jerking, etc. I'm sure your kids can help in that area.

A scratch from a cat can kill a bird in hours. Cats toenails can spread bacteria that is super harmful to a bird. You'd have to find a way to keep the cats away from the bird at all times.

Birds require 10-12 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Is that possible with the cage being placed in your living room?

Many parrots are re-homed & do quiet well. It all depends on the bird.

Cesar will require time to settle in. That can take days, weeks & possibly months. Again, it all depends on the bird. Moving to a new home with new people can be stressful. All tho some birds adapt quite well.

I would suggest if you really want to take this bird you take his cage, perches, toys, play gym, etc. Place the new cage, set it up with perches, toys, etc. & let him see if for a few days before moving him into it. Talk to him a lot. Set a routine. Once he is settled take him for a slow walk thru your house, explaining every thing as you go. Example: This is the kitchen, frig, chair, etc. If possible ask your grandfather what the birds likes & dislikes are with food, toys, interaction, bathing, etc. Does he step up/down, like/hate towels, favorite treats, does he do tricks, does he have favorite music, etc. What words does your grandfather use to get him to step up/down, come out of his cage, go back to his cage, do tricks, etc. The more you know the better. Caring for a parrot is like having a 2 year old child for life.

I'd suggest you give it a try & see how it goes. He may or may not scream once you get him home, but be prepared for a lot of loud screaming for a bit.
 

Clueless

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I rescued 2 old amazons.

I have grandsons that are around a lot. The oldest used to send his walker into MC's cage a lot. I could see MC watch him and brace himself for the gentle nudge. It was quite comical. MC was more active and I guess that's the reason the boys never interacted with Secret.

While zons are different birds, I think you should give it a try. You may be totally surprised and find yourself in love.

Like others said, adapt your household to no chemicals, no non-stick cookware, and NEVER, EVER, use the self-clean feature on your stove. It will kill birds.
 

Xoetix

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Oh hey, I might be able to help! I apologize forany typos that may occur, I’m doing voice to text

I took in a 15 year old female sulphur crested about a year and a half ago. Her previous owners had had her since she had hatched essentially (she was about 12 weeks old when they got her). They were extremely nice people and I still keep in touch with them, but I’ve since learned that they were not as up-to-date on the education for keeping a large bird as they could’ve been. They ended up giving her to me because they felt that they couldn’t give her what she needed as they were getting older.

I myself have a five-year-old son, and three dogs. I do have to keep her away from my son, as she will aim to actually bite him as opposed to just threading or anything like that. My dogs are for the most part older, two out of three are senior, and the youngest one is very laid-back. She really pays no mind at all to the dogs, she does have a lot of separation anxiety, so when I’m not home, she tends to scream quite a bit. She also has some barbering issues on her feathers, so while she doesn’t pluck she’s definitely got a little bit of destruction going on. I have found that giving her as many toys that she can destroy helps a great deal, so there are a lot of wood toys as that seems to be her favorite. So when it comes to Caesars Toy particulars, you might have to play around and see what works. I’ve tried a few different types of toys, and wood is definitely her favorite because she can chip it away to nothing.

It took Isadora probably a month to completely open up, and once she did, it was fantastic. For the first couple weeks, she was pretty quiet and pretty upset to not be in the home that she had known her entire life, but she has handled it, wonderfully as far as coming into a new home.

Do you know what Caesars current diet is? Sometimes diet can affect feather, plucking and destruction.
 

perkdd

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Do you know what Caesars current diet is? Sometimes diet can affect feather, plucking and destruction.
He will sometimes feed Cesar fruit, but it is mainly bird seed. Although I have heard him say he has given him pizza before.
 

perkdd

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Birds require 10-12 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Is that possible with the cage being placed in your living room?
I did not think about their sleep! I could place Cesar's cage in our guest room or bedroom instead. I just read that they require a lot of attention so it is ideal to place their cages in a more populated area like the living room!
I am completely okay with it taking a few months for him to adjust to our family, all of our animals are adopted and on average they each took three months to fully adjust.
Thank you so very much for your response! It was extremely helpful and I will ask these questions to my grandfather. I greatly appreciate it :)
 

Clueless

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Secret has never gotten 10 to 12 hours of sleep.

Some birds adapt at being with their family/ flock. I try to make sure she has uninterrupted sleep though.

(Never understood that anyway. It's not dark in the wild for 12 hours here)
 

perkdd

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- how to keep the parrot safe from other pets
- keeping young children and parrot safe from each other
- making your house safe for the parrot (no incense, candles, scents, non-stick pans, etc.)
Thank you so much! I actually discovered through this forum that people have rooms specifically for their birds and may do that, but he has never bitten anyone so I figured it would be okay for him to be in our large living room. I am definitely worried about my children being bitten since they will not understand how to act around a bird and may overwhelm him, I do have a large playpen I could place his cage inside so they will keep their fingers out of his cage until they adjust to him as well. (I usually do that with my Christmas tree)

I have grandsons that are around a lot. The oldest used to send his walker into MC's cage a lot. I could see MC watch him and brace himself for the gentle nudge. It was quite comical. MC was more active and I guess that's the reason the boys never interacted with Secret.

Like others said, adapt your household to no chemicals, no non-stick cookware, and NEVER, EVER, use the self-clean feature on your stove. It will kill birds.
Aw, that is so sweet!! I am so glad your boys had that experience. Also, thank you for the information about cookware and cleaning supplies! That is not something I have come across yet. We have a gas stove, will that be a problem?
 

Clueless

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I wouldn't think the gas stove would be a problem but I have electric. Others may chime in.

Avoid anything with PTFE or PFOA in it. Avoid chemicals and if you need something to clean glass, I use vinegar.

Basically remember that anything that goes in a bird's lungs stays in there for a while. They have air sacs, too. Google their breathing system.

In humans, we are breathing in and out.
 

Pixiebeak

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My birds are in my great room , and I don't cover them , tho I do turn down lights and lower TV volume..they have a set time I put them in the cage st night , then I don't interact with them till morning.
Some people have success with a seperate sleep cage in a bedroom, and out in their main cage in the main part of house during day.

I think it's wonderful, and such a gift to your grandpa to take him in . Best wishes for grandpa surgery and recovery.

I'm sure the bird is grieving their human , that can take a few months for them to move past . For intelligent social creatures, change can stressful, depends on the individual bird in how they handle. I think it takes about 3-4 months for them to really start settling in . It helps to have a soft routine and be predictable and use same phrases.

Mornings are important to birds , and even if doesn't interact with others, everyone should go and say good morning. When any family members are coming home or leaving, say hello and goodbye. It's polite ;) , and the bird will like knowing who is home and who isn't, keeping track of their " flock" is important to birds . A morning and bedtime routine I think are very important, birds like rituals.

So many great shares already, and many more to come I'm sure! We are a big bird family here !
 

Blueberry

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I recently adopted a B&G macaw and she seems to like the commotion. She will call my dog over and try to bite her nose. She now has stopped not sure if it was from my correcting or my big dog stopped listening (little never listened to her). My sister came over with her dog and the Abigail (bird) immediately called her over .

Abigail adores my nephew! They will scream together …

I have two cats who ignore all birds except for the outdoor birds (love watching from the window). I had the cats and dogs before the birds so it can be done ( never let birds out unattended.

it’s important to provide lots of mental stimulation for them. I make a lot of my own foraging games and have doggy puzzles I use for the birds. And lots of fresh food and nuts. Macaws need a lot of nuts and variety of them sprouting nuts and seeds make them health for the birds. I limit the processed sugar

it take 3 days 3 weeks and 3 months for animal to get use to a new family and environment so take things slow with your cockatoo.

I hope you grandfather makes a speed recovery! Take things slow and please share photos.

Ps. Having birds will change your way of life I nolonger burn candles, or wear perfume inside or use cleaning products other than vinegar. I make sure my laundry detergent is unscented and make sure that the air is safe outside (noone burning).

new products can be harmful to birds because of off gassing or as new heaters or blow dryers because of a nonstick coating. Non stick pans cans be deadly as well.
 
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FiatLux

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You’ve gotten great advice and the only thing I would add is to be sure to get a high quality air purifier —this is particularly important with a cockatoo and young kids.
 
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