Proper Cockatoo Care

Cockatoo Care

To help keep your cockatoo healthy and happy, you need to know how to care for him/her.

HOUSING-The bigger the cage, the better, but there are some general guidelines for cages. For a smaller cockatoo, its cage should be no smaller than 30" wide by 20” deep by 43" deep. For larger cockatoos (such as umbrella cockatoos), the cage should be no smaller than 40” wide by 30” deep by 50” tall, but no matter what size the bird, the cage must be made strong enough for a cockatoo to hang onto when (s)he climbs around, and can withstand a cockatoo’s powerful beak. The bars of the cage shouldn’t be any farther apart than 1”.

Just as important for cockatoo care, would be toys. Toys should be made from very hard plastic or wood and should be brightly colored, zinc/lead free, and sturdy enough to withstand the great force of a cockatoo’s strong beak.

Bells are also a wonderful toys for cockatoos, but make sure that the bell is made of a non-toxic metal. Stainless steel is safe for birds, however, be sure to get a bell for large birds. Bells that are too small can be easily taken apart, and small pieces can be swallowed, resulting in some real problems, even death.

A safe play gym, wether it is freestanding, or mounts on the top of the cage is sure to bring plenty of fun.

Food is one of the most important things for good cockatoo care. A combination of a pelleted food and daily fresh fruits and vegetables will help to ensure a cockatoo’s good health. Cockatoos can even have meats, however, beef and pork should be kept to a minimum, while more chicken and turkey is recommended. Cockatoos are not fussy eaters; however, do not give your cockatoo avocados, chocolate, or alcohol in any form. Deep fried should never be given to a cockatoo, nor should salted treats such as potato chips, pretzels that have salt, and saltines that have been salted. Diary products are safe for a Cockatoo; however, this too must be limited. Too much dairy product can cause diarrhea and dehydration from the diarrhea.

Good Cockatoo care also consists of time - your time. Cockatoos are very loving birds, and they are known for being “cuddly” and they are demanding of their owners’ time. They love to sit and have dinner with the family and at the same time they love their quiet time with their owner(s).

If a Cockatoo doesn’t get the attention and love that it needs, (s)he can become quite loud and develop bad habits.

Many people who get cockatoos do not realize how demanding a cockatoo is, and soon become frustrated with them, leading up to the people either getting rid of the cockatoo or neglecting the cockatoo.

Medical care for a cockatoo should be done by a Certified Avian Veterinarian or an Exotic Animal Veterinarian. Many vets do not work with birds because this is a “specialty field”, and many vets do not know enough about birds.

So if you decide to get a Cockatoo, remember that they do require a lot of time, love, the right cages, toys, vet care, and food for the best cockatoo care that can be provided.

I hope this article was useful to you. I recommend you to check the following site for more cockatoo care tips:

Parrot Care Blog

Also, right now, there are free copies of the 3-day parrot training and taming course being given away at the above site so make sure to check it out.

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randi 9 years ago

my friend has a cocateil and she does not have time for it. He started to pluck feathers. I am home all day and might be interested in taking the bird. I can give it lots of love and attention. But, tell me, will they stop plucking if she gets a lot of attention? do birds ever pluck, then stop is my question. I do not want it if he is going to continue to pluck which can turn into something terrible. have you ever heard of a cocatoo plucking then stopping?

parrotexpert 9 years ago Author

Randi go over to and sign up for the 3-day parrot taming course. One of 3 days is about feather plucking. You should pick up quite a few things from there.

Irene 9 years ago

I have a goffin cockatoo she keeps chewing her back she was plucking her feathers to but she stopped pulling her feathers out but she wont stop chewing her back we keep putting a cut up t-shirt on her to get her to stop chewing her back is there anything else we can do to get her to stop eating her back..we ran out of ideas..

Paula 8 years ago

Curious to know how often you bathe your golfin.... I know from experience with my umbrella that as of May of this year she has never plucked or bitten herself. She receives a bath everyday....

mark 8 years ago

Great lens, i have always loved Cockatoos for there beauty and intelligence.

Chet Womach profile image

Chet Womach 8 years ago

Thanks for all the information on Cockatoo care. I wanted to add if I may that we found that Organic Pellets are even better as some of the generic non organic pellets contain some pretty long named, unpronouncable, additives and preservatives that can't possibly be good for our feathered friends!

tim  8 years ago

i need help with my embrela cockatoo he is throw up

jcook 8 years ago

i was wondering if me being gone, when school starts, from around six thirty a.m. to around three fifty p.m., would be bad for my cockatoo. i haven't gotten one yet but i have researched about them and i can leave the t.v. or radio on when i am gone. i am trying to gather as much information and toys and supplies for a cockatoo as possible. i am also raising money to buy the bird, cheap but good enough cage and supplies. i can use any info about how to care for a cockatoo and a good place to get one etc.

thank you,


Cort 8 years ago

It all depends on what the cockatoo is used to. I have a Medium Sulfer Crested, which falls into the white, velcro, problematic, category! I was told when I got mine not to give him more attention on the first day then I can commit to for the rest of my life (he'll out live me) It was good advice. Our cockatoo gets about an hour total from me and my husband of direct attention. We both work full time jobs and are out of the house for about 11 hours a day. My husband leaves a lot earlier then I do in the morning and gives the bird a little scrach on his head on the way out the door, then he comes out and has breakfast with me for about 15 minutes then he is back in his cage. And you know... He is fine all day by himself. He does not scream but maybe once a week while he is playing. When one of us gets home we get him out of his cage, and spend maybe 10 minutes preining him, then he goes on his play stand or on top of his cage till the other one gets home, then gets another 10-15 minutes attention, then back on his playstand or cage till dinner. We make him dinner and feed him in his cage, and he usually stays in there till we go to bed when he gets another quick head scrach and some kisses. We repeat this M-F and during the weekend we are usually out and about all day, and once or twice a month we go out of town for the weekend, and he is just fine!

sandy 7 years ago

i just got a cockatoo gave to me hes 8 years old how do i start getting him use to me

Billy 7 years ago

I think that this article is a very good source of information and i think that this should seriously be read by who ever wants to get an Umbrella Cockatoo!

maudlin 7 years ago

I received a cockatoo as a gift just three days ago. Any tips on how to get her to accept me? So far she seems scared; almost as scared as I am.

?????? 6 years ago


Hedgie 6 years ago

I want a cockatoo so Badley. I want one but I am scared because I am gone every weekday from 7am to 4:30pm. Is this a good idea to get one?? Thanks to whoever can help

Lucy 6 years ago


There are many reasons your cockatoo can throw up. Maybe a little more information would be helpful like; while the bird was eating, while the bird was playing, after new food was provided and etc. Many extremely devoted parents would be happy to help but you have to give a little insite first

myersgirl05 5 years ago

I have a moluccan cockatoo that we rescued from a bad home. She was almost completely bald when we got her, and our vet said she should regain her feathers as soon as she started receiving proper care and nutrition. It has been almost a year, and she is still just as bad as she was then. She gets at least 12 hours of sleep, is out all the time (we don't put her in her cage anymore, it was too stressful for her) we rotate her toys regularly, she gets tons of wood and natural toys to chew on, and she gets bathed a couple of times a week or more. It seems we've tried everything, but to no end. Help???

mr.sambow 5 years ago

hi guys i want to know how and were to get cockatoo

gerbsx3 4 years ago

I see my moms cocoatoo two weeks a year and spend a ton of time with him. he even lets me stroke him all over. I want to do more for him but I live in michigan and he lives in florida. Two weeks is a very small time window to give him love and attention. What can I do to help him the rest of the year??

minikeebler 4 years ago

jus give him as much time n love as u can n try to hand feed him to help wit attachment to u n dnt forget they do have there own personality i have two of them one loves me to death he chased both my parents out of my room n the other is afraid of everything but to u try buying toys for the bird n have him slowly get use to that toy to

rebecca 4 years ago

Just bought a cockatoo he is 5years old and we got him 4 days ago he will come to me but not my husband cause we found out from previous owner that her boyfriend had neglected him.and how do i get him to go to my husband cause he is more a bird person than me.he also is plucking his feathers a lot before we got him he was doing it too.also he goes to poop and looks like he strains and like a red sack comes out like a balloonthen goes back in after pooping what's wrong with him

Gayla 4 years ago

Rebecca, give your new bird time. Let him see husband isn't a threat. But do NOT push. A fearful "too" can deliver a nasty bite and develop bad habits. These are not dogs. Raised voices and commands can make ur bird highly fearful which can make them either pluck from stress or other self destructive things or aggressive. The pooping is completely normal, including the "sack " no worries there.Gayla

sandra 4 years ago

my cockatoo has had conjuntivitis for 2 weeks now, we have taken him to the vet twice,we are putting a cream in his eye, but nothing is working,

also we were giving him a little warm corn nearly every day and now he will not eat his seed, or drink his water that has his antibiotics in it, his breath smells funny also, we have stoped giving him warm corn on the cob, not sure what to do :( ?

Tracy 4 years ago

Sounds like sour crop. but to be honest it could be -much- worse. if would get him into the vet for the standard four tests if I were you. and start giving him fruit and veg with a lot of water so he doesn't dehydrate. you may be able to sneak his antibiotics on there too. ^_^

Statia 4 years ago

Try looking at this site... It can help a lot of people with their problems.

Buddy 4 years ago

Hey guys how do I know If my cockatoo wants attention?

tina 3 years ago

my cockatoo keeps wretching what wrong with him

Karen 2 years ago

Hi guys i am from South Afrika Freestate my husband bought me 8 coffin

cockatoos. The one have fluffy stafe not feathers and eat his chest. The ather dont want too mate?? After 6 months nothing is it too early? Thanks

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