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.
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.
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.