Caring for your cockatoos emotional needs

Cockatoos are known for their entertaining quirks and vibrant personalities. Keeping a cockatoo as a pet can be a truly rewarding experience as they often form strong bonds with their owner.

However with an affectionate temperament and sociable nature comes a demand for time, attention and love. Cockatoos are known to exhibit neurotic behaviours if neglected or deprived of attention so looking after their emotional well-being is of utmost importance. If you notice signs of distress such as feather picking or self-mutilation your bird needs some extra TLC!

Here are some tips for caring for your feathered friend to keep them happy and free of neuroses:

Entertainment is Key

Cockatoos are highly intelligent and curious creatures and can easily get bored if not provided with enough stimuli. If you are leaving your cockatoo alone for long stretches of time, make sure you give them a decent supply of toys and things to chew on. Cockatoos also like listening to music and watching films. Leave the radio on and place it next to their cage or enjoy some bonding time with your bird and pop on a DVD that you will both enjoy.

Establish a Routine

Structure and predictability is necessary for raising psychologically healthy cockatoos as these are smart birds with an acute sense of time. Schedule regular play time so they know when to expect interaction and don’t feel neglected. Cockatoos also need between 10-12 hours of shut eye a night and can be a stroppy nightmare if they don’t get their beauty sleep! Establish a consistent sleep schedule, make sure your bird’s sleeping quarters are in a quiet place and drape a cover over the cage to keep it dark. Following these steps will ensure your cockatoo gets a good night’s rest and develops healthy sleeping habits.

Encourage Independence

While cockatoos may need more social interaction than a cat or goldfish that is not to say you should smother them. Like a spoilt toddler, a cockatoo can be a noisy, destructive and overly-dependant house mate if their every need is pandered to. Establish boundaries and rules by ensuring your birdie has time alone in their cage to amuse themselves. This way, the quality time you spend together will be appreciated on both sides!

While some may consider the Cockatoo to be a high maintenance bird, being aware of and addressing their emotional needs will help you raise a contented bird, free of behavioural problems (which also makes for a peaceful household!). Entertainment, routine and independence are all important factors to consider if you want an emotionally healthy bird.

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