Nanday Conure Forum

Message #2436. This is a followup to #2431.

Date:Wednesday December 8, 2004 7:25:52 pm MST
Subject:Re: Houdini
Message:There are probably more cockatoos named Houdini than any other species of parrot. <grin>

I would definitely recommend getting her flight feathers trimmed, perhaps even stopping at the vet on your way home for a well-bird visit and to have the flights trimmed. Without the flights trimmed, Houdini is likely to wreak a little havoc in your home if let out of her cage for the minimally suggested two hours every day. Without the flights trimmed, you're liable to have some damage done to window sills, any trim on the walls, floors and around doors in your home, furniture is likely to be chewed as well as picture frames, etc... Some of these materials may be coated with toxic substances. Also, trimming flight feathers can help trim any "attitudes" and that is always a good idea when bringing in a new, adult bird into a home with other birds. You wouldn't want them going at each other and attacking each other out of fear or jealousy. It is also a good idea to restrict the flight of the other birds as well because if they landed on Houdini's cage toes might get bitten off.

Cockatoos are big chewers and really do need something to help them release all their energy. Not only that, they can be quite loud and screaming is to be expected. Not only will Houdini likely scream (call) for his old flock mates that are still at your grandmother's, but there are the usual noisy times of day like mornings, evenings and when you get home. Nothing truly prepares you for the first time you hear this screaming inside your home. You may find yourself saying, "And I thought my Nanday was loud!". I hope you have understanding neighbors because they are likely to hear this for a block or two during summer with windows open and your direct neighbors (if you live in a typical subdivision with small city-sized lots) on either side will hear the bird even in the winter with everyone's windows shut. Screaming can be a huge release of excess energy. Be careful when handling a bird that has gotten themselves worked up too, as that can often bring a nip as well.

If this bird hasn't had toys, she may exhibit a fear response over any new, large or gawdy toy. Intoducing toys and teaching her how to play with them and entertain herself will be very important to keeping the peace in your home. This page here might be helpful in giving you ideas for your new cockatoo - . Let me also prepare you for the expense of a cockatoo with regards to toys by informing you that many people who now run parrot toy businesses started out to help them defray the costs of keeping their cockatoo in toys. They would buy their cockatoo new $30-$50 toys and have them turned into toothpicks and shards within a few days. Other cockatoo owners choose to make their own toys. Let me also say that it seems that birds love the ugliest of toys while many beautiful store bought toys go un-noticed, the ugly strange looking homemade toys pieced together with parts of previously destroyed toys, those seem to be favorites. LOL!

These cockatoos can live to be in their 80s, so to have a 20 or 30 year old bird is still a young cockatoo (relatively speaking). Of course an older bird may begin experiencing arthritis or any of the other age-related types of problems that you might expect. Make sure the bird has a variety of perches of different textures and diameters.

Anyhow, I'm serious about the damage these birds can do to your house. I've seen pictures of large lower corners of wooden doors completely gone, major household damage around windows and door trim. There was a photo contest put on by Bird Talk magazine that asked for photos of your home in which the bird "redecorated" for you and these were the things we saw from cockatoo and the larger macaw owners especially.

I hope some of this helps you.

Diana wrote:
> So I'm "inheriting" a 15+ year-old Umbrella Cockatoo named Houdini. My
> grandmother has about 20 birds in her care right now, but is getting
> too sick to care for them all. Since Houdini has a crush on Gus (a
> Greater Sulfur Crested Cockatoo), she needs to be the first to go
> (Gus's mate isn't too excited about Houdini's visits to the cage).
> And I agreed to take this one...
> My problem is that I've never had an adult bird (or a large bird, for
> that matter). Here's what I know about Houdini: She's probably female,
> based on behavior. My grandma has had her for about fifteen years, but
> she may have been an adult when she was purchased. Her name is Houdini
> because she has a talent for getting out of her cage and letting all
> the other birds out as well (she now has locks on every opening of
> the cage she's in). I know that she doesn't get handled much~ her
> "out of cage" time is while she's being fed in the morning and in the
> evening. She has a large cage, but she doesn't have any toys. Oh, and
> she hasn't ever had her wings clipped. That's about it...
> So what do I need to know about adult birds? I don't expect her to be
> entirely friendly at first, but we're hoping she'll warm up to us. (My
> boyfriend wants her to bond to him since Kiwi is definitely my little
> boy.) From what I've read, she seems to be old enough to have already
> gotten over that scary hormonal peak. Should I be expecting anything
> dramatically different from what I'm used to? (Obviously every bird
> is going to have its own personality, but is there anything that
> regularly changes with age?)
> Not sure exactly what I'm asking here, but there are enough bird
> experts here that I thought maybe someone could figure that out for
> me :)
> Thanks,
> Diana

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