In my conversation with local cockatoo owner and grass roots exotic bird care expert, Marlene Butkiewicz, she offered so much insight beyond basic care.
Because the Goffins Cockatoo, and other birds are so social, they really need to not only interact with you, but to bond and establish trust. This doesn't just make for a happy, psychologically sound bird, but it helps you to better care for them.
Marlene could not stress enough the importance of interacting regularly with them - but also physically handling them. This does a few things: it gets them comfortable with you - touch is such a crucial stimulus that boosts physical and mental wellness. Handling the birds, especially from a young age allows you to trim the beak and nails in with better ease. You can examine the bird visually, better in this way, too. Being close to your bird allows you to look for feathers that appear to have less than optimal integrity and a white powdery residue. Getting a look at their skin as they stretch their wings is a good idea.
Proper humidity is required for cockatoos to be healthy. Since in captivity they are in an artificial environment, they need a good humidfier to balance the moisture level in the area they they are in. With indoor heating and dryness in Michigan being an issue, Marlene uses a top grade one with a filter so that any residual minerals don't disperse in the air.
Birds of this type need other consideration, too. Do you have other pets? Sometimes the birds display jealousy issues.
Since her bird, Buddy was rehomed for a second time when she came into the Butkiewicz household, Marlene knew there might be challenges, but was ready, as she and her husband were already experienced bird owners. Marlene recalls how the now 15 year old Buddy (estimated age) came to be:
I met a lady while walking in the woods nearby with my dog; she was trying to get her cat down from the tree that it had climbed up in. I offered to climb up the tree to retrieve her cat. We got to talking and she said the girls she lived with had a cockatoo they would like to rehome. Turned out after meeting Buddy and passing their approval we adopted her 11 years ago. They had gotten the bird from a couple whom had just had a baby and needed to give up the bird. The girls knew they didn't have the time to give Buddy what she needed for a happy healthy life because they were involved in Pomeranian rescues. Therefore, I was the lucky new owner after they came over to check out our bird area, as we had our other bird at that time too.
It's obvious that Buddy is a very happy creature and will easily live out her expected lifespan due to her owners' diligence. Do you think you're up for sharing your life with an exotic bird? Read more here.
Lorrie Shaw is a pet blogger, a regular contributor to AnnArbor.com and owner of Professional Pet Sitting, and has extensive experience with animals including dogs, cats, amphibians and of course, birds. Contact her at 734-904-7279.