Cockatoos 101

Martha Stewart Living Television

Although cockatoos have a rare beauty, they are difficult birds to keep and prone to behavioral problems if not properly socialized. But by carefully introducing a cockatoo to your home and socializing it just as cautiously, you will be adopting a pet that can offer up to 50 years of companionship.

Cockatoos can be adopted as babies or adults, but regardless of its age, do not allow the bird to think your world revolves around its own. If ever you are suddenly unable to spend as much time with it as you used to, the bird will literally go insane and hurt itself in various ways, including feather chewing.

It's also important that a cockatoo's cage be big enough for it to flap its wings and swing around. Equip the cage with toys, bird puzzles, and a concrete perch on which your bird can file its nails; the more it is able to entertain itself, the less lonely or upset your bird will be. Marc recommends a diet of one-third assorted fruits and vegetables, one-third good-quality parrot pellets, and one-third seed mix, without sunflower seeds.

Clean your bird's food and water dishes often, and mist your bird daily with warm water. If it isn't misted, the bird's plumage, physical health, and mental well-being will decline.

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