Here are a few letters from
Cockatoo Owners....

 

Dear Jerry,

Just to let you know...your site is very REAL!!  I came on your site last year and thought "oh my...how negative, I have never had a problem with my umbrella".  WELL... now I do!  My umbrella is now 3 yrs old and has reached sexual shenanigans!  Let me tell your readers...what a nightmare!  My sweet lovable Coco is no longer the same bird.  I am still able to hold him, but only if I want to be used as a "sexual toy" the entire time!  It is very frustrating for both of us. He has also started picking his feathers which is the most upsetting to me.  He is loud, but that is nothing new, he has always been loud!  The example that you have on this site is not even close to how loud they can be!!!   I am also the owner of a macaw, a gray, and a parrolet, and the macaw is definitely louder, but only screams one time, the umbrella on the other hand could go on for more than 15 minutes!!   WARNING TO PEOPLE WITH SMALL CHILDREN: THE LOUDER YOUR KIDS SCREAM...THE LOUDER YOUR COCKATOO WILL SCREAM!!!! And if you don't think so, YOU ARE DEAD WRONG!! I think your site is the REAL DEAL!!  I wish I read this before my purchase, there are other birds out there that are just as lovable and as beautiful, but with less "side effects"!!

Good luck to all Cockatoo owners, because I know....we need it!

Xana


From Cynthia

I was in the presence of a psycho this morning.  I can tell you that Mikey was not right in the head. He was so
mean and so aggressive and for no reason. Nothing has changed in his home and no one has done anything but
be kind to him.

I am so frustrated!!! I am not taking this personal, I have not done anything to deserve this. I am angry and pissed as hell and frustrated beyond words. I have no expectations of Mikey,  I just don't want to be attacked!!!

I am NOT the one who abused him. I am NOT the one who stole him from his home, shipped him to this country and used him as a breeder until he couldn't produce and then dumped him in a rescue. I am NOT the one who made him terrified of hands and people. I am sick of being attacked. I am sick of dealing with a crazy bird. My patience
is waivering and my faith is all but gone. I didn't do these terrible things to Mikey but he hates the very sight of me today.

I'm sure there are some of you who deal with this and think I'm a coward but my hat is off to you. If you can look into the eyes of an attacking Male Moluccan who is hell-bent on getting you and you are not affected by it, then
I'll sing your praises and declare you a better person than me. I am down. I am shaken. I am getting my a$$ kicked.

Why do breeders do this? Why do they care so little? Just use, abuse and throw away.

Then me, how absolutely stupid am I?  I spend hours and hours every single day trying to help this bird and why? What do I get out of it? Not much. Not even the joy of knowing I'm making his life better because he is miserable. He is a wild animal that acts like one and he's living in my home. How crazy am I? All I ask is not to be attacked and even that is too much to expect.  I respect any of you who do this because I am getting my heart handed right back to me.

I am always going to provide a home for Mikey, but it is at a huge cost. I'm afraid that I'll finially give up at some point and just provide for his needs. Some days he does give me hope but those are so few and far between. I wish breeders who just use these birds for profit could know the absolute heart ache they cause. My heart hurts for Mikey and on frustrating days like today, it also makes me angry! Cynthia
 




FROM  GERI

Hi I just happened to stumble on to this site I wished I could have found it back in 99. I had the sales girl of a certain pet store tell me all the wonderful things about cockatoos as do most people,and now experiencing all the lovely things you have mentioned.
After purchasing a cute little umbrella of 3 months old, a year later purchased a mollucan from the same woman at the pet store a private deal though, she came from a divorced couple who sat and looked pretty all day in an office in a very small cage with no toys. I've tried to get her to play with toys but she is uninterested so now she plucks and when she finished plucking all the feathers in the chest area she will start picking her skin until she has a lesion .
Now I just keep making her little jeans vests that I actually have to sew up on her because she knows how to undo Velcro and snaps It works great except she eventually gets a hole in them and it does not make for easy bathing.
And as for my umbrella I read the books and had him around lots of people but he only likes myself and my older son.
He has not shown any signs of plucking but then he's only going to be 4 years old.
Any suggestions? and I'm not giving up my birds for anyone or because they pluck even thoe it is hard to watch and not be able to do anything about it, I bought them for my pets and my friends and I'm not about to abandon them.
Thank You for Writing the Truth      GERI


Another....

Well... my story is similar to many of the posts.I am so depressed, frustrated etc. etc. and it would take quite a while to
write about my birds. I live in Michigan, so I could call you at a certain time so you don't have pay the long distance. I went
to the pet store in 1996 when I was about 23 years old. I have always wanted a bird  as a young child, and was told by my mother "no they were too messy." I was still in college and living at home. She said to go ahead and get a parakeet if I wanted.When I went to get the parakeet I saw this sweet big  bird with button eyes at the pet store. I never saw one quite
like it. He came down from the top of his perch to see me. He looked at me like he didn't want me to leave. I told my mother how cute the bird was and what he did.She never bought extravagant gifts, yet she and my uncle went in on this Moluccan cockatoo as a surprise. I was surprised , happy, yet overwhelmed at the same time. I didn't know a lot about cockatoos .
My boyfriend's sister-in-law had 2 smaller toos (not sure what kind). So I knew they demanded a lot of attention.He
screamed a lot and I dealt with it. After 2 weeks of him hissing and us trying to get him out of his cage we did. He was
originally wild caught and about 12 years old we were told.Then 3 years ago my mother found out about an umbrella
cockatoo that was in a woman's basement. Her son who had roomed in the basement and did not want her anymore. She
was going to be given away for free to a good home. Well, my husband I thought that she would be company for our
Moluccan and we wanted to "save' her from the dark basement..so we took her in. Now the stress levels are even  higher.
I don't know what the hell I was thinking.  I have cried often out of frustration and guilt. These birds belong in the jungle of course...yet we can't put them back. I don't want to give them to someone else as the abuse is so high.Sanctuaries are full,
and who knows which people can! be trusted. I really don't feel confident in trusting anyone with them.Mainly there is
constant screaming by both. The Moluccan now pulls his feathers which he didn't do before. The female umbrella is terrified
of him. Every chance he gets he climbs down and runs over to her cage, will try to bite her feet and scare her. I feel like I am going to go insane listening to the screaming. I feel that they would be happier somewhere else possibly, yet I feel that I must
be committed to them. I also really do love them.I have paid expensive vet bills to find out why he is missing chest feathers.
(I think it is because he used to be the only bird and now there are two) We were told by an Avian specialist that it was the diet, so we put them on HArrison food. The feathers have improved, but he could still look a lot better. It is sproadic. One
day they were almost all in, the next they were torn out again.I don't care how pretty it is...I just know it is a sign of unhealthiness and that hurts me.There is much more..but to give you a good idea..those are some of my concerns.I have
bought books, I have read the web...I have called a sanctuary asking for advice. The woman at the sanctuary said their home
is better than a sanctuary.A sanctuary is equivalent to a foster home.Some days are better then others. There are days I know they are screaming because my husband and I were not able to give them the attention they needed. Some days they get it
and are quiet, some days they get attention and they are still screaming like crazy. If I hold one bird, the other is screaming.
I can't hold them both because the female is terrified. Please, I need help. May I call you?

(From Michigan)

You may call me if you wish, however I'm not sure what I can tell you because I don't know your exact situation as far as interaction etc. It's difficult enough to care for these birds under the best of circumstances.

There are only 2 things as far as I'm concerned that will help, and I doubt you're in a position to provide them:  One... a mate.  I feel this is the main problem after all the others have been laid to rest.  The sexual need of a parrot is just as much as yours and mine.  It's so powerful that over years the frustration builds up and sometimes ends in destruction.   The other is
an outdoor aviary.  The entire point being to make the birds world as natural as possible.  This is impossible for most people to accomplish.

I wish I had a magic wand to make it all better, but the best I can do is to warn future cockatoo owners of what they're up against.
Sincerely
Jerry
 
 



Here are the problems we're facing every day. This letter arrived June 14.

My next door neighbor moved with this bird about six months ago.  Nixon, is her name.  Shortly after of before his move to Gainesville for law school, she began to pluck her feathers severly.  She has had a cone around her neck now for something like four months.  Her plucking would cause huge sores the wouldn't heal properly and cause an infection.  Now with the cone on her neck she has developed sores from the rubbing of the cone and somehow she has found a way to start plucking her chest with her feet.  I feel really bad for her and go visit her several times a week.  We sit outside an talk while i scratch and preen her.  I am babysitting her right now for a week and a half and would really like to do something that can possibly change her habits.  Her owner, I know consciously tries to spend a lot of time with her but for some reason she still isn't happy.

He has never given her any natural foods which I know birds love.  I have never met a bird that is as sweet as Nixon, but I am scared that the cone is not going to stop her for the rest of her life from mutilating herself.  Are there anythings I could try to introduce to her that could possibly help this problem she has.  I am going to go to the pet store and see if there are any toys or things I can find her that she can spend her time chewing on.  But it is hard for her to chew because the cone blocks her feet from reaching her mouth.  Please help me.  There must be something I can do.  Oh... She has been to many vets and even had surgery on her neck to remove the infected area so that it could heal properly.  nelson, her owner has spent thousands and thousands on her and nothing seems to be working.  He has had her for like six years and she used to be fine.  I hope to hear from you soon with some suggestions.  Thank you very much, concerned neighbor.  Dee ....
 
 

Folks, sometimes nature overrides all our efforts to keep these animals. In the long
run we wind-up destroying them as surely as if we mutilated them ourselves...
 
 


SPECIAL  POST

Here is a special post that appeared on my message board. The gentleman was
accused of not caring enough for his bird.  Please read his response.....

I did not give up on my M2, My ex-wife made me get him out of the house the day he bit my eight month
daughters index finger OFF.  I was not home when this happened and I know that it was not my M2's fault,
it was my ex-wifes fault for not watching my  daughter. I have never blamed my M2 and I've always intended
on getting him back, but have you ever tried reasoning with someone who's bipolar. My ex-wife tried to kill me,
so why would I risk my M2's life by bringing it back in the house and leaving it alone with her while I was at work.....I value my M2 and only want what is best for him. He has had a good home with my aunt but she doesn't give him the attention she does her birds and she is late 60's and has numerous health problems.  Like I said before,   I only want what is best for my M2.

Folks, these are the situations I'm talking about.  I feel so sorry for the little girl, the man, and also the bird.
He will have to live with this fact for the rest of his life.  Please don't let this happen to you. Know exactly what's expected of you when you decide to take in a large parrot. Here is a photo of a lady who got her lip bit off.

This picture taken some 10 days later but you can see the bird took off a large chunk and they were
worried that the blood flow to the removed portion would not return..... lucky for her, it did.



 
 
 
A New Mothers Letter...

 

Jerry,
I have to say (as many others have) I wish I would've found your website 5 years ago.  It is so informative and TRUE.  However, I can't say I was an uninformed cockatoo buyer-I went into it with my eyes wide open.  (I thought)  I had wanted a cockatoo for about 12 years prior to purchasing Sydney.  I first saw cockatoos when I purchased my first cockatiel from a breeder.  Yes, the words "cuddly" "lap-bird" "as friendly as a puppy"... I got all of those.  I did know they could scream.  I could handle that.  I bought all the books I could find.  Subscribed to Bird Talk Magazine.  I promised myself I would not be one of those people that purchased an animal like this and then had to give them up.  I was 25 years old and considered myself to be responsible.  I purchased a hand fed Umbrella cockatoo in 1997.  She is very sweet.  She started plucking her chest feathers about twice a year, but never a continual thing.  She demanded attention all the time, but didn't have the screaming fits many people seem to have a problem with.  Well, my research did not prepare me for motherhood.  I had a baby and boy did life change.  I had no idea! (Famous words)  I was prepared to be a cockatoo owner until I had my baby.  I was an only child growing up, so I really had no idea how time consuming a child was.  I thought I could juggle everything.  Guess what...my dear little Sydney is the one who suffers. I am now searching for a new home for her.  I sent an ad to the local bird club which will post it in their newsletter that goes out the end of May.  (They are the ones who suggested your site)  It breaks my heart, but I want to do what is best for Sydney.  I didn't find your website in time-I purchased a cockatoo.  I think for the past five years I have given her a good home.  She has a large cage, a play gym that she comes out on everyday.  She is not abused. She gets a variety of fresh food daily.  She has a huge window to look out.  We even built a "bird room" off of our living area because we know how much birds like to be "involved" in daily life.  The room is just separated from the living area by a pony wall (short wall) and a baby gate.  They are where we spend all of our time except for sleeping.  (We also have an African Grey)  The problem is she gets minimal attention.  I know how hard this is for cockatoos.  I want to do what is best for her...not me.  I am the one who put her in this situation.  However, it seems impossible that I will find a suitable home for her since being hand-fed she can't go back to the wild- the only true suitable home.  So my question is this...what do I do?  I know she is bonded to me, but I can't provide her with the attention she needs.  I CAN keep her safe.  After reading your website I am so scared to follow through with what I feel is the right thing.  I (like the others I'm sure) feel so guilty.  I truly love this bird.  I think of her as part of the family, but can't treat her as such.  My husband works 2 jobs, I work half a day then the other few hours are spent tending to my toddler.  We eat dinner, I bathe the baby and put her to bed and by that time it is late evening.  I am afraid to get Sydney too close to the baby for fear she might bite.  She has never acted like she was, but I don't want to take any chances.  I agree that a bird like this shouldn't have to live 80-90 years in a cage.  But what do you do, when you unfortunately find yourself in the very situation you warn people about?  How do you find a suitable home?  Sydney hasn't developed a lot of the behavioral problems alot of the birds I have read about have.  She sits and plays with her toys during the day while I work then take care of baby and house etc.  The one thing I read consistantly is to keep the birds on the same time clock.  Take them out the same time every day, put them to bed at the same time, feed at about the same time etc.  I have done this.  About 4pm she starts climbing around wanting to come out on her play gym.  While I'm chasing after my toddler trying to prepare dinner she is on her playgym lifting her foot for me to pick her up saying "hi baby, hi baby."  She did not ask for this, but I have to make sure she is not a statistic.  How!?!  I would appreciate any help I can get.  I am sorry to be another one of those letters, but I really thought I would NOT be one of those people.  All I can say is EVERYTHING you said on your website is very very true. Help!
Laura
Okc, Ok


Read Gwen Watsons Letter.. (I get Many Like This)

Hello,
I just stumbled across your Web site. I would like to thank you for all the information you have provided
on your web site in regards to care, housing and owning large cockatoos.

I would like to go on and tell my very guilt ridden story about my beloved Dusty who I did rehome.

I got Dusty in June of 1995. I obtained him from what seemed to be a very caring and responsible breeder. In fact
I do still believe this breeder was caring and did care much about her birds. The problem is she really didn't screen well enough and I believe she assumed that more people were like her. She does do large parrot rescue as well. At any rate I got Dusty at 16 weeks old, he was or is an Umbrella Cockatoo. At that time he was not fully weaned or for the fact near fully weaned!  I had handfed my son conure with just one feeding a day but as you mention in your Web site these are no where near the same kind of birds. Barbara knew I was in the middle of moving and building a new house. She was fully aware. In many ways I feel she should have told me to wait until our house was complete and our lives had settled down some. So I have this baby bird suddenly that eats quite differently than the sun conure. It scared me everytime I went to feed Dusty as I was afraid I may aspirate him or any number of other things. I also contacted Layne Dickers who I knewfrom a pet bird newsgroup. He told me about a women named Phoebe Linden who had written articles about "Abundant Feeding". I contacted her and she sent me many articles including info on Scenic Handfeeding pellets. I did obtain the largest cage available, ie meant for a Macaw as in Blue and Gold etc.  I was told to give Dusty much much attention every day. Cuddling etc.  Nothing was ever said to only give the amount of attention you will be able to feasably provide for a lifetime. That was my second mistake. My first being obtaining an unweaned cockatoo!

So all goes well the first year and half. Then I had to start working overtime as this job I had obtained after we moved. The commute was long and no way to come home at lunch or other times during the day to check on Dusty.
During this time of overtime Dusty started to pluck his feathers and shake. At first I was certain it was an illness like zinc. I took him to three Vets and ran up a bill over $900.00. Of course nothing was found. So then the guilt really set in. I started trying and trying to provide more attention. I changed foods add foods to my cooked foods. Gave him baths several times a week because some had suggested that bathing was totally necessary and that this would stop or prevent the picking. I also bought a humdifier and placed that near the cage. At times it seemed as though these efforts were all helping as wing feathers and tail feathers would start to grow in. I would be so delighted that my efforts were paying off. Only to come home one day and find all his newly grown feathers on the bottom of the cage.

Finally he started on his chest feathers, something he had never done before. That is when I placed an ad to place him in a new home. My ad was experienced cockatoo owners only. Must work at home or work part time only etc.  I found what I hope was the perfect home. The women did have a 10 year old Umbrella that she had raised. She also had a Blue and Gold Macaw and other parrots. She does do Web designs from home. I visited Dusty on several occassions after I placed him in the new home. Everything looked to be wonderful. After that I could no longer go back and face my own guilt for not being up to standards and having to rehome my beloved bird. It still breaks my heart when I think of Dusty Bird!  In fact writing this letter I am now crying with the thought of not only my own failure but the fact of the many other birds out there suffering due to lack of education and so on.  I even had a dream the other night about Dusty.  I had walked into a pet store and suddenly I heard "Hello Dusty Bird"!
I looked and there was my Dusty in a Pet Store. I surely do hope this was just a dream!  I could not stand the thought that he may be in a Pet store.

I will probably never get over the guilt I feel for failing this bird and most importantly NOT doing more research about them before obtaining him in the first place.  Not that I hadn't because I had researched for about a year. I sure wish I had found a Web Sitewith the information you provide on yours at that time. I would have surely obtained a Hahns Macaw instead and I would surely STILL have that little Hahns Macaw. I would not be guilt ridden and haunted the way I am today about my inabilities and letting down a being. I am an avid animal lover and this has been the most heartbreaking thing I hope to ever go through.

Again thank you for a wonderful Web Site! I hope more people read it and reconsider obtaining a large cockatoo.

Kind Regards,
Gwen Watson
 
 
 
 


Greg Ruffs "Letter Of The Year"
( Read It Till It Sinks In)

Jerry,
I'm unprepared to even begin to express my thoughts and concerns after reading your website.

However, the visceral reaction that your site elicited compels me to begin to try. I finally, after 10 years of struggle, had to have my Moluccan euthanized two weeks ago after the vet reported to me that he had "another" life threatening problem that once again could not be clearly diagnosed, but potentially could be solved by
another experimental procedure that might help, and (once again)  would require "constant monitoring" for the rest of his "life". I simply could not support the continued torture of what I had come to know as a companion
with an intellect that not only suffered the indignity of being handled by those who were just beyond blood-letting to cure his ills, but who was supposed to be handicapped (by wing trimming) to insure his "docile behavior".   I
can assure you that if you cut the "normal" human off at the knees, they'll be very docile as well (La Cosa
Nostra discovered this more than a century ago).

I have read and analyzed the information available on Moluccans until I'm almost blind from interpreting the "philosophical, physiological, psychological and behavioral" justifications for the problems of these majestic birds in captivity, and, quite frankly, am amazed by the levels of ignorance that supposed professionals are willing to call "science" or even "insight". The very idea that  we should be breeding "pet" cockatoos appalls me. What next? If you have the time and the swimming pool big enough, a pet whale can be a very rewarding experience? Save the Moluccan, breed them in captivity? Let's try "save the Moluccan, preserve their natural habitat and if you want to relate to one, read and travel.

We have to stop this ridiculous abuse of the rest of the "non-human" species on earth  that seems to
imply that if they can't curse us out in objection to our subjugation, we ought to make  them pets.

Jerry,  I have only one problem with your web site - - you're not harsh enough!! These majestic creatures were never meant to be domesticated.  They, on rare occasions, find a degree of symbiosis with human hosts.  But
only the Human Species, with it's supreme ego, would have the audacity to believe that perhaps it could find a
way to adapt the rest of the animal world to a fulfilling existence as house pets.   And certainly, only Homo Sapiens would be able to justify the needed sacrifice on the part of another species to be a "good companion"
for someone who should be looking somewhere else for companionship!!!
 

Greg Ruff



Letter From Kathy

Jerry,
Thank you for such a realistic and truthful site about Cockatoos and I only wish it could be available to every person thinking about buying one of these great birds.  I've had my Umbrella, Max for 10 years and he is still sweet and loving but has many emotional moments.  Owning a Cockatoo is like having a two year old for the rest of your life.  I'm a Pediatric Nurse and I know.   I don't have other children and Max and I  are best buddies.  But I can see how easily there loving nature can suddenly be seen as just so needy and dependant!  I was visiting a friend for Christmas and Max came with me as he often does, and her 14 year old was just in love with Max who just loves everyone who loves him for the moment.  Since they got along so well she told her daughter that she would get her a Cockatoo when she went away to college so she would have company.  OH MY!!  I let her know what a bad idea that was.  I was also out with Max at the local pet store and I met a lady who told me Cockatoos were being sold as supstitutes for the great White Owls from the Harry Potter stories (which I think are great) because parents cannot get White Owls because they are wild animals. (Thank God!)  People cannot imagine what they are getting into and the dedication and committment that a Cockatoo deserves and needs.  I just wanted to add my thoughts and feelings that come from 10 years of experience owning this wonderful bird.  I hope people read this and your site before getting into something that they and the bird do not need.  A Cockatoo, needs a very special person and environment for his or her entire life, which is for 50, 60, 70 plus years.  Remember, you'll be living with a two or three year old for the rest of your life!  This can be great and wonderful fun, but this what is.

Thank you for your site and work!

Kathy Q
Alexandria, VA
 
 


FROM KEN....
 

Jerry:  I stumbled on to your site from a link while buying bird toys.  I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate your site.  I sold exotics including cockatoos at one point many years ago.  I would estimate that only about 5-7% of people who buy these animals are capable of truly caring for them.  I have had cockatoos for over 30 years and agree that the Molluccan is one of the most difficult.  I had "Max" who about 15 years ago self mutilated himself to death.   I have never forgiven myself for it.  I had purchased a Hyacinth macaw and turned my attention to him leaving my wife to care for "Max". Big mistake.  When he regurgiatated food and tried to feed her she was repulsed and I am sure confused him.  I agree, also, that he felt he could intimidate her.  The result was less and less interaction and you know the rest.
  I think a cockatiel, budgie, etc are far better for most people.          Ken Adcock
 



From Debbie
( This is what many people run into)

Well, your site certainly hit the nail on the head.  I have a bird room with a bare-eyed cockatoo, a yellow nape amazon , a blue fronted amazon and , yes, a moluccan cockatoo.  My moluccan is approximately 9 years old, which I have had since a baby.  In the last two years, Apria, has been mutilating her chest. She has been back and forth to the vet, she has been on antibiotics, halperodol, tegretol, (small dosages), then a collar (not Elizabethan).  After countless visits and an animal behaviorist, I have come to realize that this is not fair to the well being of the bird.  I have tried everything- separating the bird, blanketing part of the cage, a TV in the room, natural lighting bulbs, etc.  and she goes right back to the mutilation process.

I have a great avian vet, and he advised me this is extremely common with this type of bird.  I am heartsick over this, but there is nothing more that I can do for her. The time, money and energy invested in this bird has made me feel that there is nothing else that I can possibly do besides sitting back and watching her destroy herself.

Through my vet I have contacted someone who takes in distressed birds.  She is willing to take the bird from me and try to rehabilitate it.  I called the store where I purchased her from 9 years ago and inquired about this behavior as well.  They advised me that the moluccans are known to either feather pluck or mutilate.   I was so angry when I heard this, I asked the woman then "Why the hell do you sell them!!!"

I truly feel sorry for the breed, but most of all I feel sorry for Apria.    I am emotional now as I writethis email.  I take very good care of my birds, I will do everything and anything possible for them.... they are part of my family.  However, I cannot go through this behavior any longer.

Even though these are birds are loyal, kind and "love sponges" I strongly feel moluccans should not be sold. I totally agree with you.  It is extremely important to research all birds.  Thank you for sharing your knowledge and comments to all of us.

Debbie


From Donna

Please do MORE to tell people NOT to buy/adopt large parrots or cockatoos, PERIOD. Unless they are knowledgeable, experienced, willing to devote ALOT of their time, patience, love and money, these magnificent birds should not go to people like me/us.

My husband and I were dunces, just like you say in your website.  We went to a  Phoenix bird-store to buy a cockatiel or two and got duped into buying a gorgeous 4 year-old female U2.  Took her to the ultimate bird-vet in town for an avian profile.  Health-wise: PERFECT.

She was from an abusive situation.  The husband bought her for his wife.  The U2 hated the husband, bit him and subsequently, he wouldshove her into a closet for days on end.  So, he put the U2 on consignment, hoping the same bird-store would find jackasses like us. And they did. (If you e-mail me back, I'll tell you how we found this out).

We did EVERYTHING imaginable, (AFTER buying her, unfortunately, from much research/to consulting the best bird-vets and behaviorists) to rehabilitate/train/love this wonderful bird over the past three years. She 'sort of' preferred me, but was always excited for my husband.  She was never a feather picker/self mutilator/screamer with us.  Seemed content.

Then, my husband's job changed, (for which he is now traveling 5 days a week.)  I still devoted all of my time to her.  Our U2 became very sick with an upper respiratory infection.  STAPH.  I could not administer the antibiotic injections/flora-gel to her by myself, so I sent her to the vet.

The first time at the vet's was for two weeks.  BIG vet bill.  She came home and I knew she wasn't better.  I insisted on another culture sensitivity test and I was right.  She was still sick.

The next vet stay was for 4 weeks and she became a monster/screamer. HUGE vet bill.  And, she still was not better after treatment and another culture sensitivity test proved me right.

So, I called back the ultimate bird-vet in town, who said that she may never get better, as parrots can do (due to self imposed stress or for attention).  Stressed out to the max, she constantly kept her immune system vulnerable to infections.   No matter what I did, it would not compensate for my husband's absence.  She needed a full-time family, alot of stimulation and /or someone to always be there. BIRDS ARE FLOCK ANIMALS.

We had failed because we were UNINFORMED IDIOTS.

It was up to me to find the ultimate adoptive home or watch my sweet cockatoo die a slow death. (The meds will eventually kill them.)  Or have her put to sleep.

Fortunately, through one of our veteranians' technicians,  we found a fantanstic family to adopt our cockatoo.  They have a beautiful farm here in Arizona, that is truly a sanctuary for all animals.  Five acres of horses, pigmy goats, prairie dogs, dogs, cats, pigeons, doves, parrots, cockatiels and tons of love.  They also take in sick puppies/etc. from the Humane Society and nurse them back to health, so the puppies/etc. can be adopted out from the H.S.

I miss my bird terribly, but I know she is happy, stimulated and content now.  Finally, at peace.

Feel free to contact me,
Donna C.



From Bill In Canada

You are the first person that understands and tells the truth about cockatoos, I myself have a soft spot for them and have ended up being the proud owner of a pair of moluccans, and 3 lessor sulphur crests as well as over 30 other assorted parrots. My house is no longer a home but a bird sanctuary.
As for moluccans I tell anyone that wants one "it should be illegal to breed them" and "it was a crime against nature the day they were taken from the wild and put in captivity"  Dont get me wrong I love them dearly and have learned to enjoy (?) dusting everyday. Going deaf has its advantages you know.

                                                                        Keep up the good work

                                                                        Bill Higgs



8-31-01

Hi.  I just came across your site through a link....I'm not even sure where. But anyway, I just wanted to let you know that you are doing a GREAT job!!! I hope EVERY wannabe large 'too owner reads your sight before making a purchase.

It makes me sick to see so many ads from people wanting a "FREE" 'too and they'll give it so much love!!!  Well, the sad truth is that love for these wonderful creatures come at a LARGE PRICE!!  I researched my moluccan for months and read everything I could find.  Just so people have an idea how much it costs to maintain and keep these birds happy and healthy here is my story:

I bought my male moluccan for $925 who came with a table perch and no cage. I bought a big dome top California cage for $600...that was CHEAP.  Bought $500 worth of toys, food pellets, perches, ropes, cups, etc. to fill the cage.  Large toys for these birds DON'T COME CHEAP!!!  They range from $20 (cheap end) to $50 a pop!!!  Took him to an AVIAN vet for a routine checkup for $250.  Found he had a staff infection....treatment cost $150.  Had to throw out ALL OF THE STUFF IN HIS CAGE BECAUSE HE WAS SICK!!

That meant about literally throwing $400 in the garbage!!  Also had to throw out hand toys and other stuff not in the cage.  Had to buy him another $400 worth of toys.  And every month he gets at least one new toy to tear to shreds.....$50 - $100/month.  This doesn't include grocery shopping for him.  Bought two pet carriers.....one $25.00 which he literally ate up.  And a new, more sturdy one for $50.  He chipped his upper beak and stopped eating and talking (screaming), so took him to vet again.... thought he was sick....another $250 exam.  Thankfully, he's fine.  I've had him for 7 months now..and it has added up to a little over $3,000 in 7 months.

Don't get me wrong.......I LOVE my moluccan dearly and will spend my every last penny on him.  But for those people looking for a cheap bird.....please spare the bird and yourself......it's cruel to not be able to emotionally AND FINANCIALLY care for our feathered friends.  Think a MILLION TIMES before deciding to purchase or "adopt" these beautiful creatures of God.

Unsigned


FROM MARTY

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! I read a post on a cockatoo forum complaining about your site. The poster thought you were bashing cockatoo's, so I thought I would take a look. I couldn't have said it better myself. Anyone considering a cockatoo should read your site at least five times.

I own a Goffin's cockatoo, I did two years of research before I bought him. I read all of the books and articles I could get my hands on. I studied parrot psychology and thought I was doing everything right. WRONG!!! Although I did follow all of the expert advice, my Goffin's is a mutilator. Does anyone know how horribly depressing it is to watch something you love try to rip his flesh apart? Can you handle the guilt of knowing it is your fault? Can you afford, lets see...somewhere over $5,000 in bills in less than two years?
 

Don't misunderstand me, I am totally and completely in love with my cockatoo, but I have to admit that after researching the mutilating problem for the past two years, It has become my opinion that these beautiful birds should NOT be domesticated. If we were truly capable of giving them everything they need, then why do the majority of them pluck and mutilate? Have you ever seen a mutilated/plucked parrot in the wild?

MARTY



I have written articles and lectured about the pitfalls of parrot ownership for the last 10 years, always reserving the strongest language for large cockatoos. Nothing I have ever written or said comes close to being as effective and honest as your site. Congratulations and keep up the good work.

Layne Dicker



 
 
Donalee's  Letter

I had birds for nearly 20 years when I got my U2, Sonora. I had read about cockatoos. I had heard how demanding they could be. How much noise they could produce. A friend had an M2. I'd heard it for myself. But I decided to do it anyway. I could handle it. Well, I have handled it. My husband hasn't handled it well at all. He loved her so much but just can't stand the noise she makes. And honestly if she spends 5 minutes screaming in a day that's a long time for her! He was obviously not prepared or realistic about what living with a cockatoo meant. I guess when he heard "with proper management cockatoo screaming can be minimized" he understood it to mean eliminated completely! The good news is we seem to have come to a livable compromise for all involved. As I am sure you know this is not usually the case.

Sonora is 5 years old now. Completely delightful. Not as cuddly as most female umbrellas but is always up for a good game! I love this about her and have always encouraged her independent, fun loving nature. It never made sense to me that such an intelligent, athletic, and active creature should be content to be cuddled for hours on end. I know most 'toos will be more than willing to do so but I think this is a personality trait that humans over encourage in them. I believe they need far more attention than other birds but I believe that  attention should be more in the form of interactive play, dancing with them, getting them to flap and jump around interspersed with short cuddle sessions.

Sonora is a happy bird. I am so lucky. I work hard to keep her happy. Most days I am able to keep a step or two ahead of her fast as lightening brain. I am thankful for those days. I don't think saying living with a 'too is like living with a 2 year old for the rest of your life goes far enough. It's like living with a gifted child for the rest of your life. There is no way to explain to someone who has not lived with one how difficult it is to keep these birds happy, engaged, stimulated mentally and physically, and just plain happy.

Well, I better get going. I didn't mean to go for so long. I am so passionate about this. After spending 5 years with Sonora and hearing so many terrible stories I believe cockatoos should never be kept as companion animals. But we have them here. We need to care for those and stop their incredible over production. When I used to be able to go to bird fairs I was always horrified by the number of unweaned baby birds that were for sale and most of them seeming to be cockatoos. I can't think about the fate of these little babies.

donalee


From A Breeder... 

Hello
I found your link through AOL.  It is quite an honest site, and bold. Let me tell you about my history.  In a week I will be 41 years old. I have had birds since I was 7 years old.  I was raised in a family where my parents were animal lovers.  We had horses, cats and dogs and various other things that entered our household.  My mother was someone who would pick up a snake when we walked in the woods and say hello to it. She would then set it down and let it go on it's way.  As a teenager, back in the 70's I began to read about parrots and learned that people could actually breed the large species. I knew that parrots were vanishing in the wild, and about the problems with smuggling and importation, and my goal was to someday breed large parrots.  I thought of it as an exciting, noble challenge.  I thought that I would supply animal lovers with pets, lesson the demand on smuggling, and protect the birds through domestic propagation.  It was a long time before I had the money to set up pairs of the large parrots.  At this time, imports were still legal, but after I read about the import business I decided to spend three times the money to buy domestic stock so that I did not affect birds in the wild.  Well, to make a long story short, I have bred Lesser sulfur crest and a whole lot of moluccan babies, as well as a bunch of smaller species.

The one thing I did not consider is that most people are not like my wife and myself.  In other words:  Most people are not willing to put up with the mess, and the noise, and the other factors that go into large parrot ownership.  Today I have conflicted emotions, I am glad that I am breeding an endangered species, but what are the people  like, that obtain my babies is a constant worry to me.  Most people don't have the patience that I have with my "kids".  When I talk toprospective owners of my babies, the first thing I do is try to talk them out of their purchase.  I tell them all of the downsides of owning a cockatoo.

Recently I have heard of all the problems people have with moluccan cockatoos, and about the great numbers that wind up in rescues.  Personally, I have 3 moluccan pets, I don't really have a lot of problems with them, but I HAD A LOT OF EXPERIENCE WITH PARROTS BEFORE I EVER OWNED A MOLUCCAN.  I have to say, I am depressed with the situation. I waited close to 20 years after I first heard about breeding large parrots before I started to set up pairs for breeding.   I had success, and then the one thing I didn't consider came up.  It was  the inability of the new owners to deal with the birds.  Well, I am venting, I do appreciate your site.   Do you mind if I reproduce it, with credit, in an attempt to educate others?

I would appreciate it.  By the way, I said that I have had birds since I was 7 years old, I  my first cockatoo, one who had gone from home to home for years in 1979.  I still have him, his name is Brisbaine, hence my screen name.  He is a fine Greater sulfur crest.  He was abused through ignorance, not meanness, and it took a long time to make him comfortable (It actually took a lot of effort), but today he is the light of my life (Right along with my wife)  although sometimes my wife thinks I love my cockatoos more.  Thanks for the honest website.  I try to do my best to educate potential parrot owners of the problems, I think your site does a real good job of it. I
will send people to it.  I think one problem is that some people are "animal people" and some are not.

Regards,
Gregory Alan Schultz


From  Diana

Jerry,
I purchased my bird and took him home at 3 months.  Obviously from your e-mail he was not properly weaned. George is an umbrella.  I am now taking him to a certified avian vet.   You will be complimented to know that we took your info from the internet and she agreed to give the bird good bacteria last night just as you recommended.   Also she also agreed with soaking the pellets in pure Apple Juice which he seems to love!    He gained 62 grams and we are still nursing him and he is acting like a baby as if he regressed.   He is getting bigger and stronger and more playful.

Your internet site was so informative and correct!  Next I plan to share your nutrition information with our vet.   I wish more people would read information like you have prior to purchasing any bird or animal.  I tried to get my hands on everything I could to learn about Umbrellas all of which did not contain the information like you had,  that I really needed.
 

Thanks so much!
Diana



 
Look!  Something NEW! 
A POSITIVE LETTER!!!!

You have built a wonderful site.

Friends of ours spent thousands of dollars on a young Moluccan Cockatoo and a large beautiful cage, then told us they were looking for a good home for their bird.  I've met this bird beforeand she (Lucy) loved attention from men but seemed not to prefer women.  Although her cage was in the entry way of their home there was little natural light. These nice people did a good job with Lucy and she is a sweet happy girl but she demanded too much of their time. They knew she needed more than they could give and decided to give her up before they damaged her personality.

A couple of days ago she move into our home and seems to love the women in this house. We have two teenage kids with dozens of friends who visit everyday. Our entry way is the center ofour home, has 15 foot high windows, a bridge with live trees and plants growing between a bridge leading from our front door. I've lengthened the legs of Lucy's cage so she can see around better. I'm considering adding a tight-rope from her cage around the atrium for her play.

My wife and I work out of our home within sight of our new family member and notice she's constantly watching us and occasionally talking, whistling, jabbering and noisy.... it's great. The information on your site gave us very useful information that we've instinctively knew... this bird will need lots of attention and love.  She's found a good home.

Thank you,
Tim Flynn
 

**  I wish I could get letters like this every day, instead of the abuse
and neglect letters that are so heartbreaking at times. Webmaster


Letter from Kim

Thank you so much for your informative site.  I groom birds for a local zoo on a voluntary basis.  I myself own 3 parrots.  One of them being a Lesser Sulfur.  Our Zoo gets at least 10 calls a week on people wanting to "give" us their parrots because they think this is the best environment for them.  Yes, we give them good food and vet care.  But it can never replace the one on one that these great creatures need.  I wisha nationally based law could be placed on the selling and breeding of these great "featheredfiends."  The lack of education and the willing to make a quick buck has lead the parrots to the same fate as the puppy mills.  Keep up your good work, all of us who do rescue thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  Actually from our dusty, pooped-on corner molding chewed-up, yes you can watch cartoon network while I'm gone homes.  The loving homes that take in all these unwanted creatures.

Sincerely,
Kim



 
Letter From Marc Easton

This is an excellent site, although it breaks my heart to find out how many 'too's may be suffering. I am the proud owner of a 'rescued' bird.  I NEVER would have taken on the  responsibility if my mother was not 100% behind me and willing to share the responsibility.

For one year, Dingo sat on her cage and did not move or make a sound (the person who had her before me needs to be shot!).  Then one morning, my mother came down to find her large fichus tree widdled down to a stump! Dingo finally realized she had a loving home.

Dingo and I live in a 2 bedroom apartment on Central park West in Manhattan. She has her OWN room and she lets me have a small corner for my computer.  She has a day bed to play on, ladders and plenty of toys. If I am gone for more than 4 hours in a day, a friend in my building comes up to play with her (I had to arrange for him to get an apartment in this building for this VERY reason).

A few times a year, Dingo goes back Westchester to visit with her grandmother (my mother).  I  like this because Dingo loves to watch people come in and out of the house and she spent many bonding years with my mother while I was on tour.

I am so blessed to have a content, happy playful and NOISY bird and I STILL feel I don't give her enough attention.  I chose not to go away on any type of vacation (unless she can come) and always rush home to give love to my pride and joy.  My bird is my life as all my friends know and they treat her accordingly.  Some come to visit her - NOT me!  This is the type of environment she deserves since she was stolen from her natural environment. As much as I love her, if I could return her to the wild and know she would be safe and happier, I would do it.  I love her that much.

My message:
If you are NOT ready to be a single parent (as I am with Dingo), re-read this web site !  A cockatoo is NOT for you.  Get a fish!

Thanks,

Marc Easton
NYC


Letter From Joy Rosenberg

Jerry,

  I just wanted to thank you, for myself and for my birds.  For some time now I've been struggling to create a website that would advocate for cockatoos by telling the truth about them and their extraordinarily complex needs.  Oh, sure, it's easy to get caught up in bragging abouthow sweet and wonderful they are, without letting on to the challenges and frustration that also come with them. You've made exactly the site I had hoped to make... THANK YOU!!!

 I share my home with a moluccan and a citron, two Senegals, and three cockatiels.  Each bird has his own individual personality which includes gifts and quirks and preferences, just like you and me.   While I hate to make any "breed-specific" generalizations, I have to say that the 'toos are far and away the most human-like.  (Here, let me say that they are the most autistic human like.  Believe me, I've worked with autistic kids, the reference is spot-on.)  They are needy and insecure at times, sometimes mischievous and mean-spirited, but also they are affectionate and generous and creative.   I've watched Doc the moluccan put together and take apart toys (and even offer me pieces in trade) and I am always in amazement at that bird's ingenuity!!  I count it as a blessing to be witness to the passionate mood swings of a moluccan.

I agree with you, though, that in a perfect world there would be no cages, no pet shops, no breeders selling babies like day-old bread.  In a perfect world, rescue organizations would be replaced  with eco-tours so people could watch these beautiful creatures in their native skies.  There would be no need for your website, or for your heartfelt plea to would-be parrot owners.  In a perfect world, we wouldn't have discussion groups on feather picking and self-mutilation. Birds don't do that to themselves in the wild..... We do it to them in captivity.

  Please, keep up the good fight!

Sincerely,
Joy Rosenberg



 Letter From Jo Rios

Dear Jerry,

I just visited your website that was sent to me from a lady that I sold one of my baby Moluccans to.  Yes, I'm a Moluccan breeder (small, I have two pairs) and after reading your website, I have only one thing to say.......... THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's so nice to find someone else that feels the same way I do.  I sell my birds cheap so I can havea number of homes to screen.  It's probably easier to qualify for a bank loan than to qualify to buy one of my birds.   I miss out on a lot of sales.........toooooooo bad.........my birds welfare comes before just selling to anyone with a high limit on their credit card.  I could easily breed more, but I detest what I call the "poultry farm" and "assembly line" mentality of some large breeders.  You know what I mean.  I also tell people all the "bad things" about Cockatoo ownership.......everyone else has told them only the good, and the obvious, their beauty.

I won't ramble on more, but just had to tell you that your website has just said more eloquently what I have been trying to convey to prospective owners, and with your permission I would liketo forward the url to any on-line prospective buyers.

I wrestle every day between the love of raising and being with these birds, and the outright fear that one or some of them will be stuck in a cage somewhere in someones garage or un-used room.  Even though I screen for good homes, I am very well aware that my babies may have many homes in their lifetime, and some of them are not going to be good.  That's the downside of raising Cockatoos, and any bird for that matter.

A final thought......if it were all up to me, I'm not sure I wouldn't pass a law against breeding and ownership.  Think of how few people will see your website, or anything like it, vs. the pet shops, bird marts and bird brokers who will sell to anyone who comes up with the money, and paint only a rosy picture of ownership.

I don't know what's the answer, you tell me?  If they were outlawed, people like you and a few others who provide good homes and  deserve to have this experience would be deprived of it. It isn't terribly unlike people who are capable of producing children but are not necessarily fit to have them.  I guess we just live in an imperfect world, and all we can do is our best...the rest isout of our hands.

Thanks again for taking the time to educate.  Your website is the best I've seen, a real gem.

Jo Rios


  Letter From Lynda 

No one should buy a cockatoo!  They should never be bred and sold!  Pet stores that sell them are cruel and horrible places!   We recently adopted a cockatoo from a dear friend.  Pogo is 11 years old, and was hand raised by Cynthia.  We've know Pogo for almost 5 years, and have been able to observe the cuddly side as well as the loud side.  So we knew what we were getting into: Cynthia was very blunt, left out no details on his good and bad sides, and is living an extremely quiet (I'm free! I'm free!) lifestyle now.  I researched the breed for 2 months prior to making the family decision to adopt.  I found your web site, passed it on to Cynthia and she heartily agreed with everything you (and the letters) said.  We basically looked at this adoption the same as adopting a baby with a medical disorder (ie: mentally challenged).

Our 14 year old son has taken on the challenge of being the next in line for the bird.  We've lined up baby-sitters, educated the family and guests, and the neighbors (who claim they LOVE Cockatoos!).  The bird is LOUD.  If you have had colicky babies that cried for hours and hours, that was nothing compared to these birds.....but we have made the decision, it's our new baby, and we love him and will care for him just like any of our other children for many, many, many years.  I do hope that anyone with the slightest interest in owning a cockatoo goes to your site first, and realizes exactly what they are getting themselves into!!
Thanks for the info!

Lynda Abbot



 
 
 From "Webby"

As so many others have said regarding your site, for once the truth is being told in regards to Cockatoo ownership.  I've owned my imported Male Umbrella now for 8 years, and I would never, ever consider finding him a new home.  I hope he will always be with me.  But like other owners I thought I read everything I could get my hands on regarding cockatoos when I first adopted Twinkie-I was wrong!

What I didn't fully understand is how empathetic and emotional these birds truly are.

 This past year has been a huge challenge for myself and my husband as my Male U2 Twinkie has exhibited the dreaded Male Hormonal Aggression.  Fortunately for us, we were lucky enough to hook up with an extremely caring parrot behavior analyst (Liz Wilson) whose advice has made all the difference in the world.  I've always loved my Too, but just this year have I fully understood just how great their needs are. Sometimes I look into Twinkie's eyes and I truly feel sad for hismissed freedom.  I never would want to lose him as my animal companion, but at the same time realizing the complexities of these beautiful birds' emotions, it's hard to believe he can be truly happy in captivity. I agree that any potential owner ought to read your site in full, so they realize that this is a lifelong commitment and never, ever consider adopting a Too unless they are in it for the long haul!  I know for me it took completely changing my lifestyle to fit his, being patient beyond belief, working through my fears of being bit and lunged at,  and understanding his body language, but above all, this ordeal has truly cemented our relationship. We've learned mutual respect.  I am in agreement with other letter writers regarding keeping these birds in captivity. Once I dreamt of getting into breeding the day I retired....today I never would do them that injustice.  They deserve so much more.
Applause for your honesty!  Thank you.





A Letter Of The Week.    From Donna

I have just been crying my way through your website. I've been trying to tell anyone who would listen for years that these birds are NOT pets. They are like beings from another culture who try very hard to find a way to live in ours. If they are lucky they find someone who tries just as hard to find a way for them to live in the human world. They must be treated with the respect that an intelligent being needs and deserves in order to be psychologically validated. They must be allowed to be birds, while at the same time learning to navigate the human world.

Birds evolved around the ability to fly and to keep their wings clipped is safe and convenient~for you, but cruel and unhealthy for them, both physically and psychologically. Train yourself. Find a way.  Even if they don't speak to you vocally they will learn to understand human language. Talk to them, and show them what the words mean. Cockatoos are great mimes. They tell stories with their actions. They whisper to you. Tinker, my bare-eyed friend, and I talk and gesture our way through nature shows on TV. He knows what is going on. Keep an open mind as to the ability of these birds to understand and you will be continually AMAZED!!

They must have a life that is just as stimulating and satisfying and healthy as what they might have had in the wild in order to be happy.  That is your responsibility if you bring one into your home.  Everyone should visit this site who has anything to do with cockatoos in their life, and especially those who consider bringing one home.

Thank you.
Donna



 
 
 
A Really Great Letter From Another 
Person Who Learned The Hard Way...

What an incredible website!  I only wish my sister had read it before deciding to purchase an Umbrella 'Too named Buffy for her 14 year old daughter.  As you can imagine, after 2 weeks, it didn't work out....and the original owner of this 3 year old Umbrella (whom she found on the internet in the classifieds) was unwilling to take Buffy back.  Unfortunately, my sister did not know what she had gotten herself into.....and rather than see her pass this beautiful creature on to another uneducated person.....I felt I needed to step in and try to save Buffy. Well, the first night my husband and I brought Buffy home... I decided to go online and read all that I could about U2's. When I saw your site, I got sick--

I realized that we were in over our heads..and I only wish that my sister would have done some research  Why couldn't she have seen your site before making such a stupid move?????  But still, I had to step in and save Buffy from being sold to just 'anybody' (as my sister probably would have done) either way.

Well, it's been about 6 weeks now - and I have to say........

YOUR WEBSITE IS RIGHT ON THE MARK!!!!

I don't think it is overly negative....I think you painted the closest picture to the truth.  Buffy is an incredible bird...but I realize now that she is just too much for us to handle. She seems to have chosen me as her favorite.  Unfortunately, she has now become overly aggressive and attacks my poor husband.  This, along with the loud  screaming, has put me in the horrible position of finding a new home for her.  But you can rest assured, the home I find for her will have complete knowledge of what living with a Cockatoo is like (they must have prior or current Cockatoo companions) and will see your website.  I have never been so stressed in all my life, having to make such a decision like this.  I truley care for this bird, but I know that it would be best in the long run for all at stake to find her the perfect home where she will get the love and attention she needs. (I'm thinking she needs a single person....she obviously doesn't like to share)   These birds are so incredible, who's idea was it to make them household pets???

They should be out in the beautiful wild to be able to scream their brains out and be free!!

Anyways, I just wanted to tell you I think your website should be a pre-equisite to any person that may be considering purchasing a Cockatoo. You would be saving a whole lot of Cockatoos from falling into
a predicament such as the one I am finding us in.  Buffy is lucky I care more than her original owner...
I won't let this happen to her again. You weren't 'Too negative....you just tell it like it is.
I only wish my sister saw your site first.......

Cheryl


"Thank you for puting this information up for people to read.  Although it's
a tough, straight-forward point of view, it's also factual, realistic and honest
about the way that real cockatoos are and how they often are not taken care
of properly.  This is very important. Thank you for doing the avian community
a real justice with such tough, straight-forward, honest words of wisdom...
Renee Riley, CEO Cockatoos.Org".
Sincerely,
Renee
 


SPECIAL LETTER FROM A 
GOOD PET STORE OWNER..

As the manager of what I consider to be an honest, ethical, and educational pet store, I would like to say thank you and share a story........

An aquaintance had bought a four month old baby from a breeder and taken it home having been told it was totally weaned. I was horrified to hear that this baby had gone home and spent SEVEN days constantly begging with no proper response from his owners.

The husband finally said to "get rid of that GD bird-he's making me nuts." A friend of mine picked up the baby immediately...   (apparently the breeder  was not interested in taking the bird back), and asked for my help in finding him a new home.....I told her to bring the bird to me ASAP. Within minutes he was at my door and I raced to the store with him (I had no handfeeding equipment at home).

By the time I reached the store, this little guy was screaming with hunger and frustration.  This little guy took nearly 40cc's of formula that first feeding, and that began our process of restoring his faith and confidence. I brought him home every night to give him his final feeding and a "passion ration" before bed time, and eventually the constant begging stopped and we began to see a wonderful, confident and intelligent little cockatoo come to life. He has been loved and handled by all of our employees and some of our best bird customers.

We have never sold large birds for the simple reason that as a full line pet store, we felt it was too much responsibilty to properly screen good homes for them. We only have two employees (myself included) with the knowledge and confidence to do so. Ricochet is now 8 months old, and still takes an occasional syringe and hand weaning pellets in addition to his bean mix-veggie dish , his birdie bread and his pellets. After interviewing and screening five potential homes for him- he rejected two and I rejected three.  Ricky and I came to the conclusion that we want to stay together. He will work at the store with me and come home on the weekends (the store closes late, and by the time I leave, it's his bedtime). I printed off your entire page and took it to the store- we all concur.

We will NEVER sell any type of cockatoo in our store! I will not be responsible for making an error in judgement that will subject one of these magnificent birds to the kind of experience (or worse) that Ricky had.   I am happy to say that today Ricky is delighted and stimulated by the activity and attention he receives at the store. I also know full well that there are challenges to come, and that things change.....but I am commited to seeing that we weather the changes together. With your permission, I would like to share your info with my customers in printed form so that they can make more informed  decisions regarding cockatoos, as Ricky is an engaging little soul, and I'm sure will
inspire some folks to pursue a cockatoo purchase.

Sincerely,
Jeannie Berg
Manager- The Ark Pets and Supplies - Issaquah Washington




Oh my god....
 I just got home today from my second visit from a pet store where I fell in love with a 4 month old baby Moluccan 'too. My words were "cuddly"  "sweet" the same words I just read. I was so prepared I thought. I have wanted a bird for some time and had narrowed it to an African Grey until I met Cloey the 'too. I have read several books and was "ready".  But I know until I'm out of college and working out of my home (which is my goal regardless of bird or not) and have a  child grown I won't consider a bird.    Maybe a Cocatiel for now. So thank you for saving Cloey from me. I hope she finds a good home. It breaks my heart to think about those birds there.You know the funny thing.... I love dogs and I tell people all the time never ever by a dog from a pet store.  Only go to an experienced breeder that has great track record.  And what do I do?  I throw my pet store beliefs out the window when it comes to a different type of animal. So thank you again.

Sincerely,
Charlene
Temecula, Ca

*You're very welcome!  I'm glad you saw my page in time.  Moluccan Cockatoos
take from 7 to 12 months to wean properly. That poor baby you saw will have
many problems in the future.  Its a shame that something like that is even allowed.
The breeder obviously is a horrible operation ( a bird mill ) and I hope they go
out of business!  Thanks for sharing :)   *Jerry  (Webmaster)


I just finished reading the article on facts to be known before buying a Moluccan.  WOW, are you correct.  I sit here with tears running down my face as I too had to pass on my beloved "Brandy" to a rescue lady.  I had him
12 years, but the last 3 were not good for him.  I moved, which he handled well, but then I remarried.  That he
didn't like.  He was afraid of men, his first owner's husband hit him a lot.  My new husband is 6'4" with a deep
voice and must have seemed threatening to Brandy.  He never plucked or mutilated but he did practice his carpentry in the house and screamed constantly.  Even my almost constant attention was not sufficient enough
to keep him satisfied.  He took over the laundry room, near his cage, as his 'nest box' and chased any who
ventured near.  I had to carry a perch to fend him off with when I did laundry.  My husband would have built him
a palace of a full flight aviary outside, but we live at 6500 ft in the Sierras and the winters are extreme.  I found
him a female, and he got married and moved away to a home in the foothills.  The lady has big flights for her cockatoos and gives them excellent care.  Brandy and "Angel" had "Stella".  So now I have a grandbird.

Angel died from a retained egg a number of years ago.  Brandy has still not fully recovered from her loss.  I
got to this web page from a link on Parrot Chronicles.  I was told about P.C. by the lady that has my Brandy.
She was the feature article in issue 11, about the free flying cockatoos at Cockatoo Downs.  Brandy does free
fly and I worry about him all the time.  I miss him more than anyone but a  cockatoo owner can understand.  I
have had people say, it was only a bird!  Those same people would just come apart if they had a dog for 12
years and had to give it up.  When one is considering taking one of these magnificent creatures  into their life
they need to know all the things you say in your article and they also need to understand how very attached you
can become to a cockatoo.  And also how very much it hurts if and when you have to detach from them.  I used to raise amazons and conures,  I kept a lot of my babies because I wouldn't sell a baby to anyone unless I visited
their home and was convinced they knew what they were getting into.  I think much of the fault lies with the sellers of these birds, they don't love the birds, they only love money!!!  Keep up the good information.  Regards, Betsy
 
 


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