After successfully breeding cockatoos for several years in large outdoor flights with unheated shelters, it became obvious that some sort of indoor facility was necessary to eliminate the problem of frozen soft food and water (not to mention people fingers and bird toes)!  But because the relatively primitive outdoor setup had proven so successful with our Greater Sulfur Cresteds, we were reluctant to resort to a typical northern indoor aviary with suspended flight cages. Several years ago we drew up plans for an experimental 7-flight aviary with minimally-heated 5 x 6 x 8 indoor flights connected to 16 x 6 x 8 planted outdoor flights. The design worked so well that the building was recently expanded to 21 flights.

By utilizing surveillance cameras in nestboxes and flights we have developed a hands-off method of managing breeding birds that eliminates stress and encourages pairs to incubate and rear their offspring.  We have allowed several of our wild-caught pairs to raise their chicks to weaning and these youngsters will eventually join the breeding flock at Hornbeam Aviary.

It is becoming increasingly clear that most species of people-imprinted, hand-raised pet cockatoos, particularly Moluccans, rarely prove suitable for breeding. There will come a time in the not too distant future when the wild-caught imports are past breeding age and the future of cockatoos in aviculture will depend upon birds that know they are birds. 



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