Goffin’s cockatoos are delightful, pint-sized bundles of energy. They are probably the best cockatoo for the widest range of people and lifestyles, BUT only if they have been weaned with care and patience. Baby Goffin’s exude confidence and assurance from a very early age. They are extremely intelligent and outgoing and they often learn to eat by themselves so quickly that many breeders mistakenly assume they are ready to be weaned by 8 or 10 weeks. This outward show of confidence usually collapses as soon as the baby finds itself in a new environment, and it may react by whining and crying – which can quickly turn to screaming - if its needs are ignored. A baby Goffin’s that cries is telling you that it is worried and upset about the changes in its life. It needs reassurance that you will take care of it – even though it may be fully weaned and perfectly capable of caring for itself. A young Goffin’s, regardless of age, should always be offered hand feeding once or twice a day when it first goes to a new home. This is to reassure it that it is loved and wanted and should continue for a week or so until it is settled in and eating well. Unlike many parrots, cockatoos are not particularly motivated by food. A stressed, unhappy baby may become depressed and uninterested in food if allowed to remain hungry for any length of time.

Because of their high energy and activity level, Goffin’s need the biggest cage you can manage. The very minimum would be 24 inches wide by 36 inches long, but they will utilize every inch of even the largest Macaw-sized cage. Just be certain that you order one with ¾ or one-inch bar spacing so the bird can’t get its head through. Another reason for a large cage is that they cannot be permitted out and about without constant supervision. There is no parrot capable of causing more damage or getting into trouble more quickly than a fun-loving Goffin’s cockatoo!

Goffin’s cockatoos can be amazingly tenacious and single-minded. My breeding pairs need their rope swings, wood perches and nest boxes replaced more often than many of the larger cockatoos. Instead of chewing randomly – a bit here and a bit there – Goffin’s tend to pick a spot and work for hours until they have severed or demolished it.  Pet Goffin’s playfully dismantle their toys in much the same manner and will do the same to lampshades, picture frames and your favorite furniture if not constantly supervised. Punishment is not an option here! This is an innate part of this fun-loving little bird’s character and attempting to squelch it can lead to serious problems. If you can’t keep an eye on the bird, it should be in its cage.  I like to keep a heavy plastic storage bin or cardboard box full of shredded paper, small “foot” toys, twigs, popsicle sticks, etc. on the cage floor to provide another area for play.


Goffin’s are excellent choices for families with children because they love excitement and activity. It is important to remember however, that NO parrot is a suitable pet for a child and they should never be handled without adult supervision. Teasing or rough handling will quickly bring out fear related aggressive or phobic behaviors. A cockatoo has no place in a family where there are children or adults who cannot be trusted to treat it with respect.

Stories     

 A friend shared this story about his young Goffin’s cockatoo.  Casey was playing happily on a large playstand in the kitchen where there was plenty of food and toys to keep him busy. His owner went down to the basement for a few minutes to get something. When he returned, the bird was still on the playstand but a lampshade in the next room (which Casey knew was off limits) was shredded.

Another owner of one of my baby Goffin’s commented on her bird’s astonishing memory. One evening she and her husband were on the couch watching television and playing with Digby. They were eating Pistachios which the bird loved, but they knew he shouldn’t have many of the salted nuts, so after awhile they hid the bag under the couch. The next afternoon when they came home from work and let him out of his cage, he made a beeline for the living room, dived under the couch and hauled out the bag of nuts.

Houdini is a breeding male Goffin’s owned by a friend of mine. Normally his cage is padlocked because he can undo most any latch made. This particular afternoon, however, the phone rang while she was cleaning his cage and she neglected to fasten the padlock. When she returned a little while later, every cage in the room was open and all the birds were out flying around! She said she’ll never make THAT mistake again.