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Letters & Posts Of The Week
I wish I had seen you site 5 1/2 years ago before getting our Moluccan.These
are BEAUTIFULL birds and LOVE SPONGES as you all refer to.BUT they are
like Jeckel/Hyde. I am extremely upset. I had to give up my M2 last week
to a rescue place after being bit 3 times on the face.One which sent me
to the E.R. I have been bitten countless times on the hands also
on the toes and back.He also struck at the corner of my eye twice [ thank
God I had my glasses on or I would be missing an eye] I have been chased
and chased around the house.Now, it's not like the bird hates me. He actually
thinks I am his mate.I'd hate to be someone he hated! And when it's " that
time of the month"for me I had to keep him caged.These birds have
a strong big beak and can/will slice through human skin[or lips] like a
knife to melty butter.I love him but for my own safety gave him up.Did
I mention the plucking and screaming? I could tolerate that but not the
attacks.Also I have been hoarse ever since I got him and can hardly breath
out my nose.I know when you see one you just adore them but people need
to read this site before getting one.
More Pet Shop Propaganda
I am so sad as I am writing this. Four days ago we decided
to purchase a beautiful 6 year old male u2 from the neighborhood
pet store. They were thrilled to have us purchase "Zoey" for our
When I came home and began to research how to care for cockatoos,
I found your web site and was absolutely terrified by what we had done.
I spoke with my husband and he told me to relax, we are a good family for
a cockatoo...and in many respects he is right. I am a stay at home
mom, and I have
time to spend each day with a cockatoo. I love to cuddle with
Zoey, and he took to my family immediately. I don't mind the mess,and
taking daily care is not an issue. I even have someone to
sit when we go on vacation. The vet proclaimed him in perfect
Unfortunately, the evening of day three brought a change in Zoey's
otherwise quiet, cuddly, and
loving personality. I guess he was "settled in". When
I went to put him back in his (very large and centrally located) cage,
he didn't want to go in and his method of letting me know this was to bite
my finger hard enough to require four stitches. If it was not for
my children, I could wait and see if this is
a one time incident, or an idicator of future behavioral problems.
With a house full of youngsters constantly running in and out, I cannot
have an animal I do not trust completely. And, I don't want
him to become bonded to me and then decide we have to give him up.
It is hard enough, already.
We are fortunate because we insisted on a ten day trial period to
make sure Zoey would be happy in
our home of children and dogs, so Zoey will be going back to the
pet store where we found him. They
are caring there, although completely irresponsible for not requiring
us to be informed before making our purchase.
Maybe one day when my children are grown I will be able to rescue
one of these incredible creatures who should never have been brought into
the home environment. Until then, I would like to make a donation
to a rescue society...can you recommend one?
Thank you for your efforts in this matter.
A very rare letter.. why? Because she has
had this cockatoo for 16 years!
All of this time she has loved and cared for her baby....
guess what? :
I wish I had seen your site years ago. I have had parrots for years
-- even breeding specialty lovebirds. I wanted a cockatoo since I fell
in love with one at the Pittsburgh Aviary when I was a kid.
Well, I got one. Almost sixteen years ago. Boo (she is a lovely girl)
was never weaned properly, pulled from her parents waaaay too early and
consequently had no idea how to properly groom herself. She's been a feather
chewer since I brought her home. She'd rather chew feathers (I equate it
with thumb-sucking) than play with her expensive big old parrot knots with
the wood and nuts! And she has always had lots of attention and the right
I have become a reformed bird Mom. These large, intelligent birds
should never be pets, ever. I intend to build her a room of her own (I
live in WI and she must have a large place indoors) when I move into my
new house. And indoor aviary with the walls, woodwork and flooring covered
or inaccessible. I have also accepted the fact that she will never be a
pretty bird -- I am lucky she doesn't do damage to anything other than
the outer feathers -- I cannot bear to put an E-collar on her.
Keep up the good work. I love my girl, but know now that I should
NEVER have been egotistical enough to think I could make her happy. I wish
I had seen your site years ago. I like to think I would have listened.
Sybil (Boo's Mom)
Hi and thanks for such a wonderful site. I visited your site
a year ago before I rescued my U2. I went ahead with my eyes wide
open. You were right on every count. I am very glad I took
my U2 home.
He was a feather chewer and was filthy. It took a wire brush
to get all the dried dropping off the bars and floor of the cage.
He is now a beautiful and content bird who is out of his cage all day.
I recently adopted a "naked" cockatoo. He was kept in a bathroom
for years. Again, I visited your
site. reminded myself of the noise, now times 2 and I went
ahead. He is a doll and is learning to trust me and my husband.
People, please if you do purchase a Cockatoo, make the lifetime commitment.
They can produce ear piercing screams and destroy furniture and your priceless
antiques. They only do what comes naturally.
THANK YOU so much for your site. I recommend it to all my friends
and aquaintences who think my birds are so "cute....where can I get one?"
God Bless Your Work
I just wanted to thank you for publishing a reality site about Cockatoos.
I have a 13 yr old Goffins that was rescued at age 1 from an abusive situation,
and a 5 yr old U2 that spent his first few years locked in a cellar, and
then was given to someone who plaved him in a parakeet cage and got frustrated
when he ripped the bars off and screamed constantly. Fortunately,
neither is a plucker....yet....and if I do my job right, never will be.
My Goffins, upon arrival, was dangerously unsocialized and aggressive.
He had been locked in a cockatiel cage for the entire time his first home
had him. He had had beer bottles thrown at his cage, and the cage
had been hit and rattled repeatedly, leaving weakened bars and large dents.
It took me a little more than a year, using one of his own feathers, to
be able to scratch him behind his little crest. Another year later
I could semi safely use my finger to do the same thing. 10 years
later, I can now allow him on my shoulder for short periods without worrying
(too much) about having my ear re-pierced. For those who think that
love is all that is needed, think again...12 years of time and patience....endless
patience, a good natural diet, regular vet visits, proper housing, lots
of expensive toys that get destroyed in 10 minutes, my woodwork (chewed
a hole straight through the wall).....and the list goes on.....and on.
The U2 is our lateset addition. He hates men, more specifically,
not all men, mostly just my husband. If I though my Goffins was a
loud screamer.....heh, heh, heh.....boy was I in for a surprise.
Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can possibly prepare the average person for
the screaming from a larger 'too. Your ears will pop, just like at
high altitudes. I tell people to turn their TV to an untuned station,
turn the volume all the way up, and imagine it 50 times louder. And
that's the "quiet" scream. My U2 has this scream that souds like
a thousand seagulls squawking in unison over a rock band's amplified concert
speaker system. And I'm not positive that would be loud or shrill
enough. The screaming at the beginning of this site is nothing....that's
a quiet day at play! He's friendly enough with me, but has a long
way to go. But whatever time he needs, I'm willing to give.
I wasn't prepared for the work and time and committment involved
with my first 'too, the Goffins. I made a lot of mistakes, but was
willing to do what I had to to make my bird happy, and fortunately (?)
his life was so bad before me, that my mistakes didn't make anything worse.
Now that I have the proper set-up....indoor and outdoor aviarys, work from
home, birdy trust and care fund, etc.....I decided I could give time to
another bird, hence the rescue of the U2. Having these birds in my
family has meant giving up a lot of material things, stress between my
husband and myself, hearing loss, higher utility bills, higher grocery
bills, and little free time. I don't regret one thing that I have
given up, but how many people are honestly willing to completely change
their lives and homes for "just a bird"? Unfortunately, most people
don't believe me when I relate what it takes to keep a happy, healthy bird.
They just think I'm nuts. Maybe I am....but my birds are healthy,
whole, and on the way to being happy.
Thanks again for the great site....Keep up the good work!
Thank you for your no-B.S. site. Right on the money! I don't believe
that large birds should be outside
of their wild habitats except for the modern, professionally run
My wife and I have a lifetime committment to our 8 year old Umbrella
'too, Popeye. After we are dead and buried, he lives with my son, who Popeye
adores (mutual). I cannot call him a pet, he is simply a foster child who
we rescued from neglect at age 2 1/2. After being kept on a display T-bar
along with a macaw (who bullied him) by his first owner, he spent months
in a pet shop where he demonstrated his total hatred for the males of the
human species. The owner maintained that Popeye inflicted the most severe
bites that he'd ever received from a parrot.
The second owner bought him when his wife requested a white bird
for her birthday present. Desirous
of keeping the budget low, he bought him a large cockatiel cage,
which effectively inhibited movement. Even his 'umbrella' popped out of
the top bars. His only company were the two small dogs that the never-present
owners also kept. He still loves dogs today.
Our first cockatoo, Calvin, died of beak and feather disease. We'd
purchased him from a shop where
he was referred to as a boomerang bird, ie kept being returned.
The little bugger had already had eight owners when we took him in (for
a price, of course!). We had NO idea what the hell we were doing.
Being cockatiel owners, we simply thought that it was a larger package.
Didn't realise the astounding realities of avian intelligence. We
learned everything the hard way, not to mention the complete heartbreak
of having to kill him at the vet's when it became apparent via blood tests
and visible conditions just what was happening. Calvin, to his credit,
kept a jovial personality despite the horrors that were happening to his
little body. However, in no way were we going to 'take him back'.
our responsibility and we took it, including the guilt of realised
Courtesy of Popeye and the passage of almost five years, I have two
scars on my upper lip, one two stitches, the other five. I also have in
excess of twenty deep puncture wounds and areas of permanent surface nerve
damage on two of my fingers. In the correct light, the scars on my
hand are numerous. Fortunately, the ones on my arms healed up well and
I can't see the one where he tried to fit me for an earring. Like
I said - he had truly learned to hate men. My wife, who took her share
of abuse, fortunately didn't have to deal with the same level of severity.
He liked women.
I've swatted at him more than once to divert his dreaded on foot,
floor level attacks. Having done my homework after Calvin, the swats weren't
reprisals or threats, just close enough to try to distract the overwrought
commando. We could see it in his eyes...they would literally glaze just
a fraction before he would go banzai on me. Too late to warn.....just to
cringe at the inevitable. I'm sure our friends thought we were insane to
put up with this level of abuse. If Popeye had been a dog, I would have
had him put down. However, he was never a pet. He is welcomed as
part of the family. Its a good thing, since he quite literally demands
Our avian vet, Dr. MacDonald predicted that within five years of
our rescuing Popeye, that he would
be an ideal companion. During those years, I've often wondered,
but never gave up. He has cost a fortune for his home (I refuse to call
that mansion a cage), vet bills, toys and the food formula that I've concocted
for him over the years. He is a permanent comittment and responsibility.
Finally, about a year ago, he made his last attack on me. I didn't
know it at the time, just chalked it up
to one of many. Since then, the psychotic eye changes have disappeared.
He has accepted me as a member of his flock and is FINALLY comfortable
with both my wife and I. I've always loved him,
though at times with a jaundiced eye! It was amazing to have
My relationship with Popeye is one of the highlights of my life.
To have come to a mutual respect,
love and understanding with an avian is just wonderful. You
have to be nuts....or at least it helps.
If we lost Popeye due to disease or accident, I wouldn't think twice
about rescuing another. I will NEVER buy one from a breeder/pet store.
I even wonder if the concept of recue isn't just a form of enabling, but
I can't stand by and do nothing.
Excuse the ramble...just had to give your site two thumbs up and
share some of the delights and
Some species of parrots should not be bred and raised
by Lynn Alembik
Can you imagine what it would be like if we were the pets and parrots
were the owners?
Picture it - parrots living in the rainforest decide that humans
would make nice pets. They undertake to breed and raise us in their
version of captivity. We have to eat what they determine to be proper
food for us - some variant of their normal diet - bugs, leaves, nuts we
can't crack. But we love our bird family and try to adapt.
We live in the trees way up high over the ground. And we gingerly
learn to climb and hop around the branches. All the while, something
in our instinct keeps telling us it would be safer for us on the ground.
But we love our bird family and try to adapt.. It rains - we get soaked.
The sun burns our skin because we don't have feathers to protect us like
our bird family. We are just not physically evolved to live in their
natural environment and we get injured because of it. We want to be with
other humans. We get frustrated that our bird owners want to be with
us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We want privacy sometimes; our
bird family doesn't understand that.
We go through puberty, longing for humans of the opposite sex.
We love our bird family but can't quell the yearning we have deep in our
subconscious for another existence.
What kind of life would that be?
I've kept parrots for over 14 years. But having seen feather
picking and mutilation problems in friends' birds, and having had some
behavioral feather picking problems in my own flock, I am beginning to
think we are doing a grave injustice to the birds we purport to love.
When I first got into parrots, I read about captive breeding.
It was presented as a solution to the threatened parrot populations in
the wild. It seemed to make sense.
Now I am beginning to think that some species of parrots should not
be bred and kept in captivity - it makes about as much sense as captive
breeding lions to be kept as pets. The lions may imprint on humans,
but when they mature sexually, they cannot be kept as pets - their instincts
make it dangerous for humans.
I think that some birds - Moluccan cockatoos come to mind - bred
and raised as pets, become dangerous to themselves when they mature.
More and more parrot sanctuaries are cropping up throughout the country
as people are discovering that these animals do not make good long-term
pets. They are neither a domesticated animal nor a wild animal.
They are in a category all by themselves that humans have unwittingly created.
They are in limbo. What have we done?
In memory of Buddy. 1996 - 2002.
Someone please help! I recently purchased a 20 year old female moluccan.
I knew by her age I was taking a chance on behavior problems. She has had
several owners, so many so that no-one seems to know anything about her.
The first couple of days she was sweet to everyone. Then when my husband
would get home from work (I stay home all day) she would start screaming
so we thought she wanted his attention. Then he was playing with her on
the floor and she bit him HARD. We thought she just got to excited and
we wouldn't make that mistake again. Then again last night she took a chunk
out of his wrist. He was upset, but didn't give up on her. Then as he was
setting her back on her perch she latched onto his knuckle, we heard it
crack. She had broken his finger and split the skin to the bone. Now he
hates her and is scared of her. She has never been aggressive with me,
but I to am leery of picking her up. This morning my daughter was walking
by her cage as she was getting ready for school and she reached out and
bit her too. My daughter is only 6, but knows better than to put her fingers
in the cage,
I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.
She has also started screaming all night and all day...WHAT'S GOING ON?????
I am scared to death my husband is going to make me try and find her a
home. I think she just needs a mate and more room?? But why is she biting
to MAIM? Please HELP ME!!!! (Posted on our messageboard at
BECAUSE OF THE NATURE OF THESE BIRDS, EVEN WHEN
DO EVERYTHING RIGHT... IT CAN STILL END IN TRAGEDY....
Buddy came into my life six years ago at the age of six months. Being
retired I had the time, desire,
and dedication for this lifelong commitment. Buddy was on the Alicia
McWaters mash diet supplemented with pellets, fresh fruits and veges,
pasta, and brazil nuts (no seeds) all healthy human foods. He was
only in his six foot cage to sleep. All of his meals were with his
human flock. He had several play stations throughout the house
so he was never in a room alone.He had a thirty foot screened and roofed
patio with a custom built play station so he could be outdoors for fresh
air and sunlight. He bathed daily in our roman tub and would stay for hours
if we let him.
He loved the water. He learned to play catch with my husband.He would
play monkey in the middle.
He ran around the house singing and dancing. He would laugh his
head off with hide and seek and yell peek a boo when he found you. He was
so intelligent and eager to learn. My husband and I took separate vacations
for fear that it would be too devastating for Buddy if we were both absent
As he got older we had to continually think of stimulating activities
to keep him from getting bored. He learned how to lace and unlace shoes.
I would make him handheld toys and he would take them apart and reconstruct
them. He would take stainless steel bolts ,nuts and wing nuts and
put them together
and take them apart. He was not yet the typical moluccan squawk
screamer. He had an extensive vocabulary and also spoke in sentences.
So when he screamed it was mama, mama , MAMA!!!!!!!!
Buddy was fully flighted but never flew. At two years old there
was an episode where he mutilated
some primary flight feathers. The so called experts told me his
feathers were trimmed too short causing discomfort and therefore he chewed
them.I pulled them and when the new feathers came in I never trimmed them
again. He was put in a collar and on chemicals when they were pulled
after two weeks I decided that I couldn't bear to see him so miserable.
Over the years he would chew a flight feather here and there, I would
pull it and a new one would grow. A couple of weeks ago I noticed a change
in his behavior. He was chewing his toys and destroying
wood. It appeared to me to be excessive even for a moluccan.
He was becoming a little aggressive toward me when I would go to put him
in his cage to go to sleep after being out for ten hours. Then he mutilated
about seven flight feathers. I pulled them as I have in the past.
When the new blood feathers started to come in he mutilated them, causing
bleeding of course.
In the three days to follow everything escalated so fast. He mutilated
all the extremities. At this point I knew he was desperately in trouble.
He was self destructing. I rushed him to his vet , who knew him and the
care he had and she said it probably was not medical. She said to put him
in a collar and start him on chemicals and he might very well have to live
like that for the rest of his life. It would prevent him from physically
doing more harm to himself, but mentally he would still be going crazy.
So, on that day August 13,2002 two days shy of his sixth birthday
I asked the vet to put my boy down.
As I held Buddy and watched as he took his last breaths and
closed his eyes I did not feel guilty and I did not feel as though I failed
him. I know my husband and I gave Buddy 100% for six years and he
gave us 100% in return. He is at peace, We are at peace and he will always
be in our hearts.
Sincerely, Rita H.