Purchasing a baby cockatoo from Hornbeam Aviary
A lot of time, hard work and care go into the baby Cockatoos raised at Hornbeam Aviary, and it’s important to us that each one finds a permanent home with a loving family. We reserve the right to refuse to sell a bird if we feel that the prospective buyer hasn’t done enough research to fully understand what he or she is getting into. We also require proof that you have a cage that meets our size requirements. This is a small aviary and we produce only as many baby cockatoos as we feel we can find good homes for. It may be necessary to put your name on our waiting list if the bird you’re looking for isn’t immediately available. Once we have your name, address and phone number we ask that you phone (leave a message), email, write, or somehow get in touch with us once a month to let us know that you are still interested. When a chick hatches, this keeps us from having to contact dozens of people who may no longer be interested in purchasing a bird and also reassures us that this baby is high on your priority list. Most babies are left with their parents for 3 to 6 weeks. When we bring it inside to begin hand feeding, we will contact you. A deposit is due at that time which will hold the baby until it is ready to go home. We encourage you to visit your baby while it is growing up and we welcome questions at any time. Our baby cockatoos come with lifetime technical support! We make a point of keeping in touch with new owners for a while to be sure everything is going smoothly, but if you have questions at any time, please call and we will do our best to help. And, of course, we love getting progress reports months or years down the road!
When you bring him home
Beware of breeders and pet shops that boast how quickly they can get their baby parrots weaned! Prior to sending him home, your cockatoo will have been eating very well on his own. The stress and worry of being suddenly sent off to live in a new home with new people will likely cause him to revert to old baby behavior. He may ‘forget’ how to eat by himself and will sway back and forth crying hoarsely, begging for food and attention. At this age hand-feeding has less to do with nutrition than with letting the baby know you are there for him. Begin by offering parrot pellets soaked in hot fruit juice, warm cooked oatmeal or mashed baked sweet potato with a spoon twice a day for the first few days – until he settles in and is eating well. Babies love WARM, moist foods and these can also be offered from your fingers. Warm canned or defrosted corn and peas are favorites as are cooked pasta, rice, and dried beans (navy, pinto, black eyed peas, etc.,); chunks of baked or micro waved carrots, squash or sweet potatoes in their skins. Commercial avian products like Crazy Corn are also good. Replace the dish of soft food often. Keep a dish of avian pellets and crunchy unsweetened dry cereal (Cheerios, Wheat, Corn & Rice Chex) in the cage too. Other good foods that don’t spoil quickly are whole wheat peanut butter sandwiches (cut into small squares); raisins; grated hard cheese (like colby or cheddar); cracked whole almonds or walnuts in the shell; fresh shredded broccoli, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens and spinach. If you pack greens tightly into a plastic carousel-type treat holder, a baby cockatoo will spend hours happily shredding and nibbling them. It’s probably best to go lightly on fruit. It’s mostly sugar and water and doesn’t pack near the nutritional wallop of fresh vegetables. Dried fruit and nut mixes are the equivalent of bird candy and shouldn’t be fed on a daily basis.
Don’t ever let a baby go hungry in an effort to force it to eat by itself. A youngster that has just been hand-fed is much more likely to nibble at a bowl of soft food than one that is too hungry to think about anything but getting its parents’ attention. Weaning should be a natural, gradual process. For many months after leaving the nest, a young parrot in the wild relies on its parents to help it find food. I have a baby Moluccan who was still being fed by his parents at 11 months old. Phoebe Linden, a well known parrot behavior expert, feels that it is quite likely that a baby bird solicits food from its parents long after it has learned to eat by itself as a way of forcing the parent birds to remain with it until it has learned the skills needed to survive on its own. So when you refuse to hand-feed a baby bird, you are telling it that you are also done with teaching and protecting it. How traumatic that must be for a youngster who knows instinctively that it isn’t yet ready to fend for itself! A healthy, happy baby that isn’t rushed into growing up too soon is much more likely to become a well-adjusted adult.
It may sound silly, but it’s a good idea to feed your bird from a perch or cage where it can see you eating. Parrots in the wild do everything together as a family group, and foraging for food is the most important. If at mealtimes you offer your Cockatoo a small dish of whatever you are eating, it will feel like a member of the flock and will quickly learn to enjoy a wide variety of foods.
if you STILL want a cockatoo. .
. . .
Companion Parrot Quarterly, (formerly The Pet Bird Report). “The Thinking Parrot Owner’s Information Source” is a magazine devoted to keeping pet birds emotionally and physically healthy and is an excellent source of information on understanding and guiding your Cockatoo’s behavior. The address is The Pet Bird Information Council, 2236 Mariner Square Drive #35, Almeda, CA 94501. Phone (510) 523-5303, Fax (510) 521-6475. A one-year subscription is $24.
The Companion Parrot Handbook by Sally Blanchard contains all of the tools needed to deal with your parrots in such a way that they live the fullest lives possible and you derive the greatest enjoyment from them. 244 pages, 300 illustrations, $39.95+$5 S&H. Order from Companion Parrot Quarterly/Companion Parrot Handbook/R, 2236 Mariner Square Dr. #35, Alameda, CA 94501.
My Parrot, My Friend: An Owner’s Guide to Parrot Behavior, by Bonnie Munro Doane. Hard cover, 256 pages, 100 photos and illustrations, $25.00 plus shipping.
Guide To A Well-Behaved Parrot (second edition) by Mattie Sue Athan, published by Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppauge, New York 11788. This is an inexpensive paperback that is widely available from pet stores and supply outlets.
or Call @ 419-588-2279
Copyright Hornbeam Aviary 2001