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How to Take Care of Baby Cockatoos (With Pictures)

Moluccan salmon-crested cockatoo

If you know anything about cockatoos, you already know that they are very high-maintenance birds. However, they are funny, lovable, and intelligent as well. Your cockatoo will need constant contact and care with you as his pet parent, especially as a baby.

It’s difficult to tell a baby cockatoo apart from similar birds when it’s born unless your breeder can confirm the species. The eggs of a cockatoo look like chicken eggs, and the hatchlings tend to look like any other baby bird out there, so it would be easy to be fooled. Make sure to purchase your baby cockatoo from a reputable breeder so that you don’t end up purchasing a parrot that isn’t exactly what you thought it was going to be.

Read on for our guide on how to take care of your baby cockatoo the right way and a few other things you might want to know when raising these beautiful birds.

divider-birdsThe Colors of a Baby Cockatoo

According to the species, baby cockatoos should have the same exact colors as their adult counterparts. Cockatoo colors can be black, white, red, grey, silver, pink, yellow, or brown. So, if you see a baby with different colors than these, that’s your first clue that it’s probably not the same type of bird.

How Much Does It Cost to Own a Cockatoo?

According to the species of cockatoo you’re considering, a baby can cost you between $150 and $15,000 or more. Be warned, however, that a baby cockatoo has the personality and temperament of a small child, so if you purchase one on the lower end of the price range, it is possible the bird will have behavioral problems. Also, the cost of raising a cockatoo is pretty expensive as well, as they are very high-maintenance birds in terms of money, care, and attention needed.

Can Baby Cockatoos Live Together?

Close Up of Two Inquisitive Cockatoos staring into the Camera
Image Credit: Annalucia, Shutterstock

It’s widely thought that it’s better to raise a baby cockatoo alone. If you have more than one baby cockatoo, we suggest that you keep them in different rooms and in separate cages, which is the safest choice for both you and your birds. Cockatoos in adulthood can live in the same house together, but they need to be kept in separate cages as well, and in separate rooms if possible.

What Should You Feed Your Baby Cockatoo?

Your baby cockatoo will need to be fed through a vial for the first month of his life. However, in most cases, the baby cockatoo will stay with the breeder until the end of the first month of life, so your little one should be able to eat solid food by the time you bring him home.

It’s best to feed your baby cockatoo specially formulated bird pellets to make sure you’re meeting his nutritional needs. Then, as your pet gets older, you can start feeding him parrot pellets, fruits, and veggies. Make sure to always keep fresh water in a bowl for him to drink when he sees fit.

If you’re unsure what to feed your baby cockatoo or he doesn’t seem to be taking to the food you’re giving him, it’s best to make an appointment with your vet for a checkup. Your vet can develop a diet plan that gives your cockatoo the nutrients he needs to be healthy and happy into adulthood and beyond. For example, as they grow into adulthood, some cockatoos prefer leaf buds, insects, or palm leaves to other foods.

It’s important to note that some cockatoos can be picky eaters, so you want to be prepared for that from day one. Also, never feed your baby cockatoo chocolate, alcohol, carbonated drinks, coffee, or avocadoes as those could be deadly to your bird.

How Often Should You Feed a Baby Cockatoo?

baby cockatoo eating
Image Credit: Omer Ejaz, Shutterstock

As soon as your baby cockatoo can walk and feed himself on his own, you can start giving him normal food. If you get your baby cockatoo as a neonate, then he’s going to need to be fed through a vial for his first month of life. Very few cockatoo owners, however, purchase a baby cockatoo before it can eat on its own.

Of course, you need to keep his food and water dish full at all times, as he’ll know when he’s hungry and when he’s had enough to eat. As he grows into adulthood, he will eat when he’s hungry, so free feeding is encouraged. Some rules to follow are listed below when it comes to feeding babies and adult cockatoos as well.

Rules To Follow
  • Monitor the amount of food your bird is eating every day
  • Always keep fresh water in his cage
  • Provide a wide variety of food daily
  • Clean his food and water bowl, as well as the area they are kept in daily

How to Take Care of Your Baby Cockatoo

Major Mitchell's cockatoo
Image Credit: Tanya Puntti, Shutterstock

You’ll need to take care of your baby cockatoo daily by feeding him, caring for him, and giving him plenty of attention to keep him healthy and happy.

When you first bring your baby cockatoo home to introduce him to your family, do so slowly. Too much attention at once in unfamiliar surroundings will upset him. Since he is a social creature, however, once he’s used to your family and the environment, he’s going to need attention on a daily basis, sometimes even more.

A cockatoo isn’t a bird that you can put in a cage, care for, and pay attention to occasionally. If you don’t pay them the proper amount of attention, your bird will become loud and self-destructive. So make sure to have plenty of suitable toys for your baby cockatoo as he grows to adulthood as well for the best results.

What Cage Setup and Size Is Best?

The cage size you choose for your baby cockatoo should be the same as you would choose for an adult. The best size is 2 feet wide and 3 feet high, so the cockatoo will have plenty of space to spread his wings.

The cage setup is simple. Once the cage is ready, put it in the middle of a room where your family gathers the most. Since your cockatoo is highly social and wants to be with family, this is the best place for him to be.

This concludes our guide on how to take care of a baby cockatoo. The thing to remember before you decide to adopt one of these birds as a pet is that they require a lot of care and attention, so make sure you’re prepared to do both.

Featured Image credit by: Imran Ashraf, Shutterstock

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