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Choosing a Suitable Cage for Your Cockatoo
Cockatoos are popular pets because they are sociable, intelligent, and friendly birds.
However, there are many things to consider before purchasing your own cockatoo.
Before you bring a cockatoo home you’ll need to purchase the necessary supplies. This includes food, toys, and a proper cage.
Choosing the right cage can be daunting because there are so many choices.
A few things to consider when buying a cage for a cockatoo:
Most cockatoos are not small birds and they’ll need a cage that is large enough for them to flap their wings and move around comfortably. The minimum size you need is a rectangular cage that is four feet high. It should be three times the wing span of your bird.
Always purchase the largest cage you can afford and that you have the space to accommodate. Your cockatoo will not be happy if forced to live in a small cage. They are active birds and need room to exercise.
Remember that the size of the cage is determined by the size of your bird. A smaller cockatoo like the Little Corella can be happy in a smaller cage than the Sulfur Crested cockatoo.
The cage should be made of stainless steel. Both zinc and lead are poisonous to cockatoos so never purchase a cage made with those materials. It’s best to get a written certificate saying the cage does not contain zinc or lead.
Bars should not be placed more than half an inch apart. Horizontal, as well as vertical bars, are good so the bird can climb.
Here are a few of the things their cage will require:
Cockatoos are masters of escape so get a cage with a strong lock.
A seed guard will somewhat help when your bird throws his food around. It won’t stop all the seeds and food from hitting the floor but it will catch some.
The bottom of the cage should have a removable tray. This makes cleaning the bottom of the cage much easier. You just pull out the tray and toss the soiled paper or litter. Then replace and slide the tray back into the cage.
Accessories for the Cage
It’s best to have three stainless steel bowls to feed your cockatoo – one for pellets, one for fruit and veggies, and one for water. Do not use plastic bowls because with their strong beaks cockatoos can crack plastic.
Your cockatoo is an active bird and will get bored quickly. You need to provide a variety of toys for him to play with. You’ll also want to give your bird wooden chew toys.
Forage toys are available that entertain the bird by making him figure out how to access the food inside.
You’ll need a variety of perches of different shapes and textures that your bird can sit on. They should be at least ¾ inches in diameter. Do not place perches directly about food or water dishes or droppings will constantly get into bowls.
A cover or cloth can be placed over the cage at night to help the bird sleep; free from distractions.
You’ll be tempted to try and make life easy for your bird by placing food and water bowls close together and toys close to his perch. But the more your bird has to move around the better it is for him. He needs the forced activity so spread things out in his cage.
Food and water bowls should be cleaned daily. Feathers should be wiped off toys and perches.
Trays on the bottom of cage need to be cleaned and paper replaced at least twice a week.
Replace toys or perches when they become broken or frayed.
At least once a year the cage should be completely washed down and sanitized.
Cockatoos are susceptible to respiratory problems so don’t place their cage near a door or window where they will feel a draft. The room they are in should get lots of sunlight but their cage doesn’t need to be in direct sunlight.
Teflon fumes are toxic to birds so it’s best if their cage is not in a kitchen.
Your cockatoo is very social so place the cage in a room where he sees and hears people. However, slamming doors and loud music will make your bird anxious.
Cockatoos and small children are not a good mix. Never leave your cockatoo’s cage in a room where toddlers can reach the cage and agitate your bird. When your bird is out of its cage never leave it in a room with a baby or small child.
You should set the bird’s cage on a tile floor or some other flat, solid surface. A rug will make the cage unbalanced and will be harder to keep clean. Cockatoos are notorious for throwing their food so you’ll want their cage on easy to clean flooring.
REMEMBER – Your cockatoo should not stay in his cage all day. He needs to be released to get some exercise and to spend time with you. Be sure all windows and doors are closed before letting your bird out of his cage. Close doors to rooms you do not want him to enter.
He should be out of his cage for at least an hour a day but preferably longer. When a cockatoo doesn’t get enough attention he will start to have behavior problems; including pulling out his own feathers and shrieking loudly.
If you can’t find a cage that meets your requirements locally, there are many online sources for cages as well as accessories.
A good thing to remember is that cockatoos are somewhat like toddlers. They need a variety of toys, a lot of activity to keep them from being bored, a good diet and lots of water, and plenty of attention. The more you provide these things for your bird the happier and healthier he will be.
Before purchasing a cockatoo be sure you have the resources to furnish them with a large cage and plenty of attention.