Maryland Pet

The Cockatoo

You took one look at that big, fluffy cockatoo and knew you had to have one of your own. Those chocolate brown eyes sparkling with intelligence and the way the bird cuddled up to its owner have convinced you that cockatoos are the only bird for you. Nothing anyone can say will stop you from bringing one of these playful birds home.

Well, although cockatoos are usually affectionate and smart, there are some drawbacks to owning one of these birds. Before you pick out your cuddly new baby, you should think carefully about whether a cockatoo is really right for you and your lifestyle.

If you live in an apartment or town house, a cockatoo can be a bad idea. After all, the loudest sound in nature is made by the flamboyant Moluccan cockatoo. Most other cockatoo species are also on the noisy side. If you live in an apartment and you do decide you still want one of these parrots, you should opt for one of the quieter species.

The rose breasted cockatoo is the quietest of these parrots and has a very sweet disposition. The sulfur crested can be loud, but not intolerably so. Goffin cockatoos are also a bit quieter than many of the other cockatoos. However, you should be aware that a quiet cockatoo is not the same as a quiet bird. Rose breasted and goffin cockatoos are simply not as loud as other cockatoos. Overall, this is not a quiet species and can really cause problems if you live in an apartment or town house.

If you have allergies, you may also find that a cockatoo is a poor choice for you. These birds shed quite a bit of dander, covering the surrounding area with dust. If you do decide to go ahead with your decision to buy a cockatoo, you should be prepared to invest in an acrylic cage and a good air filter. Frequent misting will help keep your bird’s dander down, as well. However, if you have allergy induced asthma and are allergic to birds, these precautions may not be enough to protect you.

While cockatoos are very vocal, they do not have the superb talking ability of an African grey. Since most cockatoo owners are not as concerned about their bird’s mimicking ability as they are interested in its affectionate nature, this should not be a major drawback. After all, cockatoos can still learn quite a few words and phrases.

If you want your bird to be happy and healthy, you will need to be prepared to spend time with it. Cockatoos are social birds and enjoy spending time with the family. When you aren’t there, you will need to be sure your bird is able to amuse himself. Provide toys that require interaction, such as maze or puzzle toys. Just remember that your bird has a very powerful beak and will need toys that are designed for large parrots. Toys for small birds can be unsafe for cockatoos because they are easily shattered.

Once you’ve considered all of the drawbacks to owning a cockatoo, it is time to decide if you can handle one of these wonderful parrots. If you want a cuddly bird and aren’t sensitive to noise, the cockatoo may just be the perfect choice for you.

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