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How to Bond with Your Cockatoo

Oliver Jones

Who would not love his/her cockatoo feeling the same way they feel about the bird.  You want to be in synchrony with your bird and understand each other, being more of friends and family than adversaries in the house.

To achieve this, you have to create a strong bond with your pet, requiring a lot of patience, consistency, and love.

If you have just got your pet cockatoo, you must be concerned about how long it will take before the bird grows fond of you. There are several ways you can strengthen the bond with your bird, and depending on several factors, it may take longer or shorter than expected.

So what are some of the ways you can bond with your pet cockatoo?divider-birdcage

1. Daily Care

After you get the bird the first time, the level of care you offer will go a long way to show that you are a trustworthy and caring person. This means you should try and ensure you are the person taking care of it, especially until it gets used to you.

Taking care of the bird means you provide the food and drinks it uses, clean the cage, and provides all the health and medical needs it requires. This helps it rely on you for care, gradually building trust in you.


2. Have Some Fun Time with your Bird

It is important to have some playtime with the cockatoo to help encourage it to relax and show you are friends, rather than a source of danger.

You cannot just approach the bird after bringing it home, as you may risk a bite. The best thing to do will be to open the cage and let it familiarize itself with the surroundings as you gently and carefully start to interact with it.

Share some pleasant moments with the bird, and allow it to lead, meaning you should avoid forcing your will on it, such that you don’t pet it if it doesn’t want to.


3. Give Your Cockatoo Many Toys

Image Credit: sandid, Pixabay

Cockatoos love toys and things they can play with and chew on. Being that the pet is new and you are not yet bonded, spoiling it to bits is a good strategy to help accelerate the rate of bonding between the pet and her human.

Apart from entertaining the bird, the toys can also be a great way for you to play with the bird while outside her cage.


4. Never Harm

In the process of bonding with a cockatoo, one of the most regressive things you can do is disrespect, threaten or harm them in any way. It will result in a loss of all the trust created over time.

The cockatoo will interpret any negative actions toward it as a threat and may deal with it as such. You may get a nasty bite as the bird will immediately move to protect itself from anything it will deem a threat.


5. Positive Reinforcement

Cockatoo in a branch
Image Credit: ignartonosbg, Pixabay

One of the best-proven ways to get your pet to learn something new is rewarding anything good it does. This works the same for cockatoos, and getting a treat after doing something will encourage it t repeat the same and acquire a new trick or behavior.

Positive reinforcement works, and what has increased its popularity is the pace at which it yields fruit.

If the bird comes and perches on your shoulder, gives you a nibble, or does something you want to encourage, reward the habit and watch it adopt this new behavior and encourage deeper bonding.


6. Avoid Sudden Movements

This especially goes for the new cockatoo in your home. Being that they are already in a new environment, they are easily startled and may cause a problem with the human.

New pet cockatoos owners should ensure they keep calm and reduce sudden movements. This will help keep the bird calm without having to look over its shoulder constantly.

You should also try and reduce too many gestures around the bird, which may be translated as threatening. If this happens, the bird may go into protective mode, and the results will not be good in terms of the bond that you need to create.


7. Training

baby cockatoo eating
Image Credit: Omer Ejaz, Shutterstock

One of the most important things to help your bird bond better with you is training. Considering that they had lived with other people before they met you, it means they have acquired some habits and behaviors from other people and environments, which may not all agree with you.

Find a way to train your bird into behaviors that are agreeable to you.

Research on ways to train your bird and, if necessary, employ some help, especially when it comes to such things as behavioral training. This will help prevent any cases of injury, especially from a badly behaved bird.


8. Talk with the Bird

Most birds are stealthy and mostly use a surprise attack for their prey. This is not different from cockatoos, and if not careful, you may be the prey, and the bird may be planning the next attack.

If you want to prevent this, you should speak to your cockatoo at any opportunity you can get to show you are both in the same space and do not wish it any harm. Speaking to your bird makes it aware of your presence, reducing an element of surprise on your part and a reactionary attack on theirs.

When you speak to the bird, speak softly to ensure you do not send out any threatening demeanor.

You May Also Like: 10 Best Talking Pet Bird Species (With Pictures)


9. Eliminate all Sources of External Stress

Cockatoo Sunbathing
Cockatoo Sunbathing (Image Credit: William Warby, Flickr CC 2.0)

Lastly, try and ensure you keep your bird in a stress-free environment. Especially if it still adjusting to both you and the new environment, ensure you do everything you can to keep it stress-free. This may involve the kind of cage you provide, their private space, and all the accessories they need.

Keep any other pets away from the bird at first, unless you are available for monitoring. Cockatoos are not good with other pets and may move to dominate them.

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Conclusion

Cockatoos are beautiful, intelligent, and complicated creatures that will require a lot of time and patience to get them to be just the way you’d intended. Make some time and try bonding with your pet, and soon enough you will be best of friends with it.


Featured Image Credit: Murilo Mazzo, Shutterstock

Oliver Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones - A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master's degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.