Moluccan Cockatoo FAQ's
COLORING: Moluccans have a pink/peach tint to their feathers that allegedly grows more noticable with age. Their crest is bright orange (Salmon-colored), which you would see if they become excited. They're also called "Salmon Crested" Cockatoos. The underside of their wings and tailfeathers are bright yellow. You can see a great example of these colors in the photo to the left. Some Moluccans' colors may not be as vivid as others. This can be due to hybridization and/or diet and care. We have found that by offering carrots and sweet potatoes, Baby's colors have become more vivid.
HOUSING: Moluccan Cockatoos are larger than almost all cockatoo species. Because of their size, Moluccans need a very large cage to call home. Both of the cages pictured above are California Cages, Deluxe Macaw size. Baby's cage (left) has a playtop on it.
We set up a BIRDROOM for our birds that was safe for them to roam around in, so they were out of their cages more than in. They were always in the cages when we were not around to supervise them. We provided them with their own TV (tuned in to cartoons) so they could enjoy bright colors and interesting noises. We also put in a FOUNTAIN, which provided a good amount of (needed) humidity, and the soothing sound of a waterfall. We had a HEPA air filter that was helping to keep down the dust in their room. Cockatoos are VERY dusty!
We also had a sizeable SCREENED PATIO we set up for the birds. It had a big swinging perch, a climbable cargo net, a cage to roost on, and various bungees/boings to land on and hang from. They got a lot of fresh air and sunshine each day, and used the space to do a lot of flying around for exercise.
TOYS: Toys are VERY important to have for them because they MUST have things to chew on. If you don't PROVIDE them with things to chew, they will help themselves to whatever else is available to chew on in your home, or they may decide to chew on their own feathers and/or flesh. That is not only destructive, but dangerous. We always provided Baby with a lot of "PREENING TOYS" (aka "shreddables") and foraging toys to keep her mind busy while she was in her cage. Keep in mind that Moluccan Cockatoos are the largest of the cockatoos. When you look for toys for them, look for X-large toys, or large ones if you can't find those. You can find some great safe toys like ours at a few places we would like to recommend:
BATHING: Baby always loved to sit in the shower anytime anyone is taking one. She found the sound of running water very soothing. She always let us know when she was ready for a drenching shower of her own by holding out her wings, clicking with her beak, and yelling like a bull-elephant. It was quite a show! She didn't like to get right under the water, but preffered some mist after it bounced off a human. She didn't like misting bottles at all, and only liked a misty shower when SHE wanted one. Birds have individual showering habits, so you'll have to figure out the best method for yours. But if you want more information about showering cockatoos, please visit the following link:
FEEDING: We have Baby eating a variety of fruits & veggies, potatoes (a favorite!) breads, rices, pastas, and Harrison's Adult Lifetime Coarse. Harrison's is by far the most highly recommended pellet for our birds. It IS expensive compared to regular pellets, but It contains doses of vitamins and minerals that are essential for them to take in daily, just in case they don't get all the necessary nutrients out of the other foods they're eating. (Baby has been known to be finicky!) Harrison's isn't found in your usual pet stores, so I recommend calling their customer service number and asking them if there is a distributer in your area. You can order Harrison's directly from them online as well.
PETTING: As is goes with many Moluccan Cockatoos, Baby loved to be cuddled, rubbed, petted, and scritched. I don't know much about other breeds of birds and how much attention they require, but Moluccans are notorious for their cuddly dispositions and need for lots of attention. Unfortunately, there is a down side to all that cuddling. Typically, most people purchase their birds from a pet store or breeder as babies. As we humans often do with young pets, we lavish them with affection. Moluccan's have a tendency to expect that same attention when they get older. Once they reach maturity (after the age of 3 or so), rubbing and skritching them anywhere below the neck can send them the wrong signals. Once they're mature, they may sense that the rubbings your giving them are a form of sexual advances. While baby Moluccan's are cuddy and difficult to resist, it's best to try to avoid overdoing it with the rubbing to avoid problems later on. Baby matured, and began exhibiting very aggressive behavior. When she was young, we didn't know better yet. As she got older, she DEMANDED that amount of attention. If she didn't get it, watch out! There is a LOT to learn about life with cockatoos, so please educate yourself before deciding to bring one home! You can learn a lot about Cockatoos by visiting MyToos
FLIGHT & WING CLIPPING: Wing clipping is an important and controversial issue, so we feel it's important to provide more information about it. Ultimately it is the individual owner's decision to make. Here are some links for you to visit explaining the Pros & Cons of freeflight, and some wing-clipping methods:
Project Bird Watch Library
DRAWBACKS: People always ask if Moluccans are "messy" and "noisy." The answer is "YES!" They have quite a loud voice when they feel like using it, so if you live in a community that won't appreciate noise I wouldn't recommend having a Moluccan move in! They like to call out at dawn and dusk. In the wild, this is a way for each individual bird to let the rest of the flock know they are there.
Parrots make a mess comparable to their size. Tile or vinyl flooring is best for easy maintenance. Carpeting is destined to be ruined with birds around! When they eat, food is usually dropped or thrown around. Even with the seed catchers food will get scattered on the floor surrounding the cage. And when the birds are aloud to roam on top of their cages they'll inevitably end up pooping off there. So if it misses the catchers it's nice to have something other than carpet under those cages!
When they play, they spread DUST everywhere. (Which brings me to the other drawback people have mentioned...) Moluccans are dust-based. They "powder" themselves many times a day. When you pet one you'll see a thin layer of dust build up on your hand. It's a very fine, silky dust. But unfortunately, it sometimes triggers respiratory problems in people who are prone to them. Another thing that is important to know, especially if you have very special knick-knacks and stuff around your home, is that (not only Moluccans) all parrots like to chew. They chew no matter what the mood is. As I mentioned in the piece above, you've GOT to provide things to chew on for them! You've got to do better than "child-proofing" your home because parrots are like eternal toddlers WITH WINGS! They'll get into things you'd never think possible.
There is another drawback I feel compelled to mention since we've gone through a severe case personally. HORMONES! Typically there is hormonal behavior in parrots in the Springtime (breeding season), as you should probably even notice with wild birds you've seen in your own backyard. These seasonal hormonal episodes come regularly after birds/parrots reach their maturity. It seems that some go through an elongated period of hormonal-ness that is somewhat comparable to the human teenage years. I've been told this period of time happens between the ages of 2 to 4 years old in Moluccans. Each bird is individual, so the severity of this hormonal time will differ, as well as the length of time they go through it, and the time of initial onset. Baby had an exceptionally long bout with her growing pains, and WAS quite dangerous to me throughout it. It WAS very emotionally taxing, and very painful physically. There were a couple of times when I thought I would lose a finger... or parts of my face!
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I hope everyone takes the time to view BoBo's video.
This Moluccan Cockatoo had a very difficult life.
It is my hope that this video will bring awareness
about the growing parrot overpopulation problem.
And prompt people to make donations toward the
conservation of their native lands so they can live on.
The Indonesian Parrot Project
is one such organization worthy of your help.