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The Good the Bad and the Ugly about Large Cockatoos

Greycloud

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The attributes listed in this thread are the experiences of each individual and your experiences may differ with your individual bird.

I have owned two Umbrella cockatoos in my life. Sammy U2 is a rescue I have now. He is in his 30s.
THE GOOD:
He is silly, loves to snuggle and sing. He is very playful and loves to be destructive with his toys. He is very loving.

THE BAD:
He can be very aggressive towards other people, especially my husband. He produces enough dust to cover the entire house. His desire to chew toys can be an expensive hobby to keep him happy. He can be very hormonal, masturbating on my, rolling spit balls, etc.

THE UGLY:
He can be extremely destructive and must me supervised at all times. His scream can cause neighbors to look at the house when walking by. He has stripped wall paper, chewed door frames and torn holes in my hubs shirts. Most will chase you aggressively if allowed floor time. The need very large cages and toys are extremely expensive to keep them occupied. They are known to be terrible pluckers and mutilators.

INHO, I do not recommend Umbrella Cockatoos as pets. I think they do better with their own kind in sanctuary and aviary situations.
 
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Macawnutz

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Re: The Good, The Great and The Amazing about Cockatoos

I also have two umbrella cockatoos. One rescue male who is about 9 years old and a female rehome that is about 20.

The Good:

They love to snuggle anytime day and night. They can be very cute about cuddling up on you and snuggling in a towel, jacket or even your shirt. Anytime you need a birdie to talk to and share feelings with, they are there and they seem to understand everything you tell them. :heart: They are very smart and love to please people they are bonded to.

The Bad: The dust is like clapping erasers together, the screaming is louder than my macs and more often. They change their minds often about everything. They are crazy on toys. They hold grudges.

The Ugly: The snuggling can only last about 10 seconds before they are absolutely orgasmic on you. Then, when you try to put them down you may get a very angry too not wanting to be removed from the heated moment. My male is a mutilator, he chews a hole through his skin into his chest and has to wear a collar when not being watched. They really dislike certain people and don't give alot of warning for that until it's to late. If there is someone they don't like near, at all costs they will attempt to go after that person until they are caged or the person leaves.

I really love my toos but :D they are a handful. I do not believe they are a good "first" bird and I think they require more patience and understanding than the rest of my flock.
 

Saemma

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Re: The Good, The Great and The Amazing about Cockatoos

Thank you Sarah for your description about the dust is like Clapping Erasers.:) It gives me a VERY clear visual and helps me to understand what you guys deal with. Certainly would not describe my very dusty African grey this way.. so this really gives me some perspective.
 

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Re: The Good, The Great and The Amazing about Cockatoos

I think Judy and Sarah have it right here. Milton is head and shoulders THE most challenging bird I've ever shared my life with. Loud,yes,dusty,yes,too smart for his own good sometimes,definitely. I can't imagine having more than one 'too in my house....I simply don't know how I could do it. People who do have more than one 'too in their household have my greatest respect and admiration.
 

Mare

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Re: The Good, The Great and The Amazing about Cockatoos

It took me a long time to find a comfortable place, in my heart, with my U2. Once found, I wouldn't trade him for the world!
He's highly destructive, chews on EVERYTHING! My guess would be at least $1000 worth of wood damage in the house, a few phones, the trees in the vicinity look like they belong in the outbacks of Australia!
Amigo is super jealous of any men in my life. He's also fickle, will drop me like a hot potato when a pretty girl comes around!
His voice is VERY loud but only for a reason. He doesn't scream incessantly or without a reason to do so.
His bite can send you to the hospital. His devotion can bring you to your knees, humbling, truly.

Sassy Goffin's girl is attitude PLUS! Moody, cuddly, lovable but only when she wants to be. Got to respect that. Not much negative to say about Goffin's. I think they probably have the usual messy parrot syndrome that most parrots have but after being indoctrinated by Amigo, she is a piece of cake!
 

KatherineI

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My M2 is definitely challenging, but I think one of the two Grey's I had almost a decade ago, was more challenging. To this day, I am very leery of Grey's because of that particular bird. That Grey was enough for me to swear off birds for so long that I never thought I'd own another one. My Sam is hilarious. He seriously warms my heart every day. He has a song he sings and he sings it only for me (I'm either in the room, or have recently interacted with him, he won't do it if he sees my husband). He listens very well to me and understand what I mean when I say "no", often actually abiding by the command. He isn't destructive like I hear most M2's are, but he's certainly aggressive. He will go after my husband in a scary fashion; the last time he climbed off the playstand while Hubs was sitting at the table, eating a sandwich, and went after him. He was out for blood! Poor hubs had to use a chair like you'd see the old "lion tamers" do, just to keep Sam at a safe distance :( Not one of my favorite moments.

However, I'd not trade him for the world. I adore him. And my Goffins, Sugar, is the darling of our lives. She gives us so much love that sometimes I feel like I can't give her enough back. Where she is concerned, there honestly is only one bad thing to say about her and that's her affinity for toes :rolleyes:
 

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Good posts everyone:) I wish I could share but I see no faults in my cockatoos. :)
It's not about faults. I don't think it's a fault that Jingo is cage aggressive. But, I do think some people wouldn't care to deal with that. It's not about you, it's about other people. What do your birds do that other people may not be able to handle our would view negatively?

I love my husband, I think he's awesome. But there are some things that he does that others may not like, and he certainly isn't for everyone! :lol:
 

JLcribber

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1 adult cockatoo = 1 three year old very hyperactive, athletic child with severe A.D.D. who walks around with pliers, never grows up and never moves out. If your a great owner this handicapped child will be with you for the rest of your natural life and will probably outlast you.


Owning a cockatoo is very much a double edged sword. I don't really see things as the good, the bad (and the ugly) "anymore" as they all go together and are just part of what makes up a cockatoo. Let's face it they are truly majestic creatures that worm their way deep into our hearts. But a majesty needs a lot of space, upkeep and servitude from their slaves. They are incredibly smart and emotional. This makes them very loving birds but also magnifies the problems they can develop when not given what they need or if something is taken away. It takes very little time or effort to create a real problem with a cockatoo. It takes a "lot" of time, effort and patience to turn that problem around and quite often it does not turn around. They are creatures of habit and "change" is often a big culprit to problems.

Something that a new parrot owner (or even owners of smaller birds) has no idea about is the "depth" of the commitment and dedication it takes to look after a cockatoo. This can't be explained or learned from a book. Those that have been there know what I'm talking about. It "is" truly a life altering decision no different than getting married or having a child except "You" are the one that is going to be doing all the learning and more importantly "adapting" yourself and your home to accommodate them. In a nutshell you basically have to revolve your life around their needs......... for the rest of your life. Not a decision to take lightly "especially" if you are a young person. This is an unbreakable lifetime contract with no outs.


They need a lot more space than people realize and most often more than most people are willing or able to provide. Cages are the source of many/most of their problems. Providing something much larger goes a long ways to avoiding those problems. I also feel they should have others of their own kind and if all possible a large aviary environment.


Cockatoos do not make good pets and even less so for the average pet owner. It takes a certain personality of person to gel with them to have a long term successful relationship. That being, a calm demeanour at all times, especially during the rough times. Stability to provide a consistent way of life. Extreme tolerance and patience because they are going to push both of them to the limit at times. Finally dedication and commitment because they are going to push those to the limit at times also. No quitters.


If this is you then you'll probably do alright with time and educating yourself. If not your in for a very rude awakening and more than likely regret.

To anyone considering taking the plunge, please consider adoption. There are so many in need and so few with the right stuff to make it work.
 

Greycloud

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Excellent John!:laughing12:
 

Saemma

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1 adult cockatoo = 1 three year old very hyperactive, athletic child with severe A.D.D. who walks around with pliers, never grows up and never moves out. If your a great owner this handicapped child will be with you for the rest of your natural life and will probably outlast you.


Owning a cockatoo is very much a double edged sword. I don't really see things as the good, the bad (and the ugly) "anymore" as they all go together and are just part of what makes up a cockatoo. Let's face it they are truly majestic creatures that worm their way deep into our hearts. But a majesty needs a lot of space, upkeep and servitude from their slaves. They are incredibly smart and emotional. This makes them very loving birds but also magnifies the problems they can develop when not given what they need or if something is taken away. It takes very little time or effort to create a real problem with a cockatoo. It takes a "lot" of time, effort and patience to turn that problem around and quite often it does not turn around. They are creatures of habit and "change" is often a big culprit to problems.

Something that a new parrot owner (or even owners of smaller birds) has no idea about is the "depth" of the commitment and dedication it takes to look after a cockatoo. This can't be explained or learned from a book. Those that have been there know what I'm talking about. It "is" truly a life altering decision no different than getting married or having a child except "You" are the one that is going to be doing all the learning and more importantly "adapting" yourself and your home to accommodate them. In a nutshell you basically have to revolve your life around their needs......... for the rest of your life. Not a decision to take lightly "especially" if you are a young person. This is an unbreakable lifetime contract with no outs.


They need a lot more space than people realize and most often more than most people are willing or able to provide. Cages are the source of many/most of their problems. Providing something much larger goes a long ways to avoiding those problems. I also feel they should have others of their own kind and if all possible a large aviary environment.


Cockatoos do not make good pets and even less so for the average pet owner. It takes a certain personality of person to gel with them to have a long term successful relationship. That being, a calm demeanour at all times, especially during the rough times. Stability to provide a consistent way of life. Extreme tolerance and patience because they are going to push both of them to the limit at times. Finally dedication and commitment because they are going to push those to the limit at times also. No quitters.


If this is you then you'll probably do alright with time and educating yourself. If not your in for a very rude awakening and more than likely regret.

To anyone considering taking the plunge, please consider adoption. There are so many in need and so few with the right stuff to make it work.
Thank you John. Thank you for being able to describe living with Cockatoos without injecting your personal feelings and opinions on what's good and bad. Thank you for allowing the readers to decide for themselves. :)
 

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It's not about faults. I don't think it's a fault that Jingo is cage aggressive. But, I do think some people wouldn't care to deal with that. It's not about you, it's about other people. What do your birds do that other people may not be able to handle our would view negatively?

I love my husband, I think he's awesome. But there are some things that he does that others may not like, and he certainly isn't for everyone! :lol:
I think I've said it it all in another thread. :)
 

Shyra

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I love Gizmo, he is fun, has a wicked sense of humor, is not picky about what toys he likes - destroying them all with no prejudice, says I love you unlike my other birds, all while driving me absolutely insane. He never shuts up, whether it's screaming to get his way, to get attention, to make sure you know and fully understand his opinions concerning the on going conversation being had by someone via in person or by phone, finds my husbands annoyance with him amusing - that is when he's not trying to find a way to attack hubs. Loves to sing loudly, especially if someone is trying to listen to something important, never stays put in one place for more than two seconds, has mood swings that change so fast forget trying to keep up with his body language is impossible not to mention made my own menopausal mood swings seem like a day in the park.
I also love the way every small slight he perceives whether it is real or imagined must be paid back in blood for only blood letting can right the wrong in his mind. I'm convinced he should have been named Hannabal. There are definitely reasons they call toos psycho birds.

Since my only experience with toos has only been with a triton for the last two years and not the more common U2's or M2's (which I'm told are cuddlier and quieter as a whole), maybe my judgement on toos is somewhat skewed. I can tell you I will take a bite from my greenwing or even my grey any day of the week over one from Giz. Thankfully they hardly ever bite but still they hurt less and do a lot less damage. (Notice I did not include Syd the conure in that.) Don't get me wrong, I love Giz with all of my heart but caring for him on a daily basis is very emotionally draining. Partly because it's hard not to ride that emotional roller coaster ride with him through each mood change and partly because it's not just Giz I'm dealing with but a family that has no desire to have to deal with Giz's "quirks". If I had to give one piece of advice to anyone who was thinking of getting a too it would be to not only figure out if they are a too person but to make sure their family members are as well.
 

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Thanks Too owners for sharing your experiences.:heart:
 

tozie12

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oh my, cockatoos. I've only had one, an M2. my caleb is 11 years old. he comes from a questionable past. he is a plucker, he barbers, he self mutilates. He is a stereotypical adult male moluccan Cockatoo. Everything above pegs it perfectly. Dust? wow! the eraser analogy is perfect. Cuddly? oh ya,,, but then his MALE URGES hit.

My caleb hates and distrusts men. He hasnt the first flight feather, he snips them all off, but to go after my son he has LEAPED off the top of his cage and fell like a stone more than six feet! He will do anything he can to get to someone he feels is dangerous. He can leap. like the best NBA star! He was on the floor and leaped straight up to get my son's finger. He had a good 2 foot ground clearance from a straight leap up! Their leg muscles are just amazing.

Now my caleb may be ... um... 'concentrated' in his neurosis. But neurosis and cockatoo seems to go hand in hand most of the time. He has nervous habits, namely snipping his feathers off and chewing a hole in his chest. He considers his feathers just another toy. he will put down a fun shreddable wicker toy to snip off part of a feather to play with. To him its much like putting down a block to play with a ball.

a word about cages = HUGE. That's the best word i can come up with. my caleb cant tolerate a cage. i have a 48 x36 cage. It stands at least 5 feet tall. But its still too small for him. He now lives cage-free... well a hybrid version of cage free. He has his own bedroom. the cage is in there, but the only time the doors are closed is at nite while we all sleep. i think he takes comfort in that protection. he knows, no one can sneak up on him as he's sleeping. But he MUST have control of his life to be happy. By living cage free he has that control. He can choose to sit on the cage, play in the cage, hide under the cage, play in the corner, play in the middle of the room. He has CHOICES. if you've ever been truly helpless, with NO control of your life. it is the most frustrating feeling. and that's what he seems to feel when he's forced into a cage. He then turns his frustration on himself. So when shopping for a cage for a cockatoo, as soon as you find one big enough, go the next size up! And if you can manage it, a cage free option is so much better for them.

damage? wow! he's chewed holes in rubbermaid tubs, a drill case, numerous wall moldings, and even MY OLD TAX RETURNS! :eek: He is a one bird wood chipper. A lumber mill with feathers. he goes thru 5 times the wood that any of my other birds do, including a scarlet macaw.

They are truly amazing creatures, but not for the faint of heart. you must have patience, easy going nature, and above all a sense of humor. :heart:
 

JLcribber

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merlinsmom13

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Just to start out, I'm not a cockatoo owner. I did spend a hour w/a female umbrella at the pet shop. I actually get why they are so many in shelters, she was the sweetest, most cuddley bird I've ever been in contact with. Even knowing what everyone says about cockatoos, I was almost sucked in :eek:
 
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