7 Answers to Questions About Cockatoos As Pets

By Debbie Davis

Cockatoos are strikingly beautiful Parrots with regal crests that set them apart from all others. They are affectionate, playful, and make charming companions. Here are answers to 7 frequently asked questions that will give you more general information, knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the Cockatoo.

How well do they speak? They are not known as one of the best talking birds, but they can learn some words, but differences in ability will vary greatly between species and in individual birds.

What should normal maintenance include? Too’s need to have their cage cleared of droppings daily, water freshened as often as needed, and a daily supply of fresh fruits, vegetables, high quality pellet mix, and sprouted seeds. Keep an extra set or 2 of dishes for food and water to make daily cleaning of food and water dishes easier. Be sure to remove fresh food after several hours to prevent mold growth, and avoid having your bird ingest spoiled food. Keep an eye on toys and remove those that are worn and present a safety issue. Clean perches and cage bars weekly, and clear away debris on the walls and floors.

Are Cockatoos available only in white? Even though white is the color seen most often, there are an amazing variety of colors available. Pink, glossy black/dark brown, black with yellow, red or white tails, gray with rose-colored breast, black with yellow ears, and white are just some of the fantastic color combinations. Be prepared to pay handsomely as the Red-tail Black Cockatoo can cost as much as $20,000 USD.

How noisy are they? To answer this question in one word-very. In the wild, their screams are so loud they can be heard for miles. Training, and proper daily attention will eliminate a lot of this, but nothing eliminates it completely. And the noise your individual bird makes may differ from what is considered normal-either more or less. Your ability and your family’s ability to tolerate it will also be a huge determining factor. They may not make the best bird for apartment, townhouse, or condo living, but again, a lot of this will depend on the individual bird.

How are they with children and other pets? Cockatoos can become excited very easily when exposed to quick movements, and loud unexpected sounds. A home with small children may not be the best place, but older children can be well tolerated. Proceed with caution with other pets, particularly smaller ones like hamsters and guinea pigs. Keep other animals separate until you are sure that they all get along. Never leave your bird alone or unsupervised with a child or pet.

How often do they need to be bathed? They need a shower or bath weekly to get rid of the feather dust and keep plumage healthy. Some will handle this bit of grooming if a bowl of lukewarm water is made available as a bird bath. Otherwise, use a spray of lukewarm water, or equip your shower with a shower perch for your bird and let it shower with you once a week making sure to keep the water temperature warm and on the mist setting.

What can be done about the feather dust they create? Feather dust is a natural part of their growth and development. They are exposed to this dust in far greater amounts in your home than they would be in the wild. It is important to keep this dust level down for you and your bird because it can clog their air passages and your lungs which can lead to respiratory infections and disease. And while weekly baths will help, one of the best ways to virtually eliminate this dust is to use a high efficiency particle arresting (HEPA) air purifier that will remove all airborne pollutants, especially this dust down to .3 microns.

An excellent HEPA air purifier for Cockatoos that will remove feather dust and other airborne pollutants from the air is offered by PurerAir – the Bird Dander Purifier See it now at

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