We Explore 4 Cockatoos Each With Unique Nutritional Needs

We Explore 4 Cockatoos Each With Unique Nutritional Needs

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Yay!! I can’t wait to read the article. By the way, do you or anyone you know have experience with Galahs (aka Rose-breasted cockatoos)?


I have one that I got as a baby (It was about 6-9 months old). She is just under 2 years old now. I wasn’t impressed when I drove out of state to buy her from the breeder that came with great recommendations.

She was in terrible shape…her wings had been clipped (too severely in my opinion) and they had to pull 2 blood feathers (or so I was told) so she had a lot of dried blood that they couldn’t wash off. It took me nearly a year to get her to perch on the dowels that are in her cage.


Of course she will not come to me either. I spent a lot of money at the vet and he couldn’t find anything broken that would account for the fact that the muscles in one wing were somewhat emaciated compared to the other wing.


He thought it might have been from it not being used but we do not know why it wasn’t being used. She would run slightly lop-sided when she had her wings out.


Now, she seems stable but doesn’t seem to realize that she can fly. It is not an easy task to get her out of her cage and I have tried everything and let her take her time but after a couple of months without being out of the cage I decided it was time that she get out and run around…she needed exercise in my opinion.


The good news is that once I do get her I can put her under a blanket with me or hold her against me and rub her head and watch her go to sleep. She is very cuddly. I am giving you this information wondering if you have ever experienced such a situation with a bird.



I did research on these birds for a couple of years and based my decision to get one because most of the things I read said that they were playful and were not as loud as some of the other Cockatoos.


By the way, she has a cockatiel in the cage next to her which she totally ignores despite his attempts to get her attention.


If you think of anything or know of some resources to go to, I would greatly appreciate it. She isn’t a perfect bird and definitely not what I was expecting but I would never consider re-homing her.

Lorie S


Hi Lorie

In that you got her at the age she was, there’s a good chance that her wings were clipped too early and she was never fledged, birds needs to be fledged.

editors note: When a young bird has enough initial flight feathers and and is ready to fly then does, it has fledged.

This may be why she “doesn’t seem to realize that she can fly.” Experts will tell you a bird can never fly if it never fledged.

We beg to differ, our 8 yo rescue female Senegal Peaches never fledged. She spent 22 hours a day in her cage – she had never flown – for 7-1/2 years.

We know this from her care giver who acquired her at 6 months old.

When you argue with the internet as much as I do you best have proof like in the video below


Yes, wing clipping especially with birds we know that are about to be sold is a mechanical process typically that does not address the needs of the bird (ability to control what little flight may be left) nor does it recognize the time that a bird needs to grow it’s feathers if the new caregiver decides to have a flighted bird.


Many species of cockatoos are referred to as “Velcro” birds. We all need a mate don’t we? Problem is two’s company and three’s a crowd.

There can be jealousy. Catherine can only handle Peaches on a stick. She will accept food but it is an ingratitude when it comes to care from Catherine, the other woman – you’ve been warned.

Speaking of which, the cockatiel in the bird cage next to her, why pay attention to other bird when she (the galah) has you?


There are no “perfect” birds but she seems like a lovely companion. Simply give her time to bond with you when feeding and the cuddly times.


It doesn’t take a lot to keep your bird engaged without spending every waking hour having to do face time with a beak and two beady little eyes.



Consider clicker training to get her attention and begin to behave based upon positive action. Ensure that her cage has plenty of foraging and enrichment opportunities as well as the places she man’s outside of the cage.


Take your time and report back to us next month





Nov 26, 11:18am

have 26 yr old goffins…wonderful bird lately won’t eat his roudybush pellets,,, vet suggested zupreem since they use fruit to color pellets instead of dye (hopefully he is correct) which of your zupreem products would u suggest


mitchr responds


Zupreem uses natural, artificial colors and artificial flavors then adds sugar for palatability, which gets your vet off the hook – what species doesn’t like sugar?


​Pellets in general are a counter intuitive bird food as there are no pellet trees in the rainforest. Birds can’t relate to the consistent texture of the food.

Colored pellets can pose issues with parrots much like an autistic child. I’ve had a number of captive bird keepers tell me the bird likes all the fruit shapes and and colors – “except the yellow bananas, tosses ’em right out.”

​Birds are never not communicating, knowing what food is exclusionary helps you ask questions like, “what about corn, it’s yellow?”

Test for everything,  we can always add supplements, fruits and veggies if our bird is content on a certain diet.

​I would advocate something like Safflower Gold from Higgins which has fruit veggies, and InTune pellets.

​Your food delivery system may be a little boring (for the bird) as well – here’s a video that illustrates a bird’s nutritional mind set.

​Keep us posted



Hi Mitch


I just rescued bare-eyed cockatoo. He/she is malnourished and I’d like to learn the best way to get her on a pellet diet


Mitchr replies


Kudos for the rescue we know how you order so we know you’re up to the task



A pellet diet is a very good choice, here’s a great method of converting to pellets.


Basically, it involves providing only pellets first thing in the morning and waiting until later to provide other food.


A slightly hungry bird will try things that a mostly full bird will not. A little while later, mix some of whatever diet she is used to into the pellets.

Also, some birds prefer damp pellets (think orange juice), but you have to remove them promptly because the damp environment can foster bacterial growth if left for all day.


We believe a bird’s diet should contain a lot of different veggies and fruit and you can easily introduce new items by letting her see you eat them while making a really big deal about how great they are.


Then offer her a taste. Her curiosity will get the best of her and she will try them.


A couple of pelleted diets we feel are very good and well balanced that you should try are Hagen Tropican Lifetime Parrot Granules available at  and TOPS Bird Food Pellets for All Hookbills.


If you prefer a seed mix, two good ones are: Volkman’s Avian Science Super Hookbill No Sunflower.


And Higgins Sunburst Parrot Mix (inclusive of Higgins InTune pellets) available at:. If you choose a seed mix, you’ll need to add supplements such as Hagen Prime by HARI (Hagen Avicultural Research Institute

I hope this helps and if we can help you further, please let us know.

On Mon, Aug 15, 2016 at 5:11 PM UTC, Cordelia B  wrote:


HI! I inherited a 10 year old cockatoo from my uncle about a year ago.


She was caged for most of the time with him, but with me, she enjoys traveling in the car (she’s very good!) and a flight cage outdoors and her perch.


She is well behaved and a bit shy of toys, but I think we’ll get there. I’m afraid she’s not getting the proper nutrition though.


She is a VERY picky eater! I’ve tried to get her to eat pellets to round out her diet (she likes snap peas and apples and peaches and a few other things) but she would be happy eating toast with butter every meal.


I try to get her organic nutty bread, but I still worry. Any ideas? Thanks!


Hey Cordelia


Please read some of my pellet conversion tips above. That said it sounds as though you are doing great but would advise baby steps.




Your (he/she species) probably has about 8000 feathers. Feathers are built from amino acids. Aminos are derived from protein.


Let’s step back and get the bird’s diet stabilized. Higgins Safflower Gold Parrot contains InTune pellets that she will eat without knowing.


Hagen’s Tropimix Large Parrot by HARI contains Tropican pellets, once again a win-win for you and the birds.


If you see the bird picking out and tossing certain nuts or fruits, make a note and will look for a more defined food.


Have you seen any of the cookable bird foods? They are “oatmealish” and will remind your FID of the good ole hand feeding days when everything was warm, gooey and yummy.


Higgins Worldly Cuisines has 6 flavors in small microwaveable bags that cooks in 3 minutes.  Enjoy the ‘splainr’ the video.



I would also advocate serving a bird supplement like Nekton S sprinkled on a Lafebers Avi-Cake.


Although considered a bird treat, Avi cakes contain 50% pellets making them a 100% comprehensive food a bird could live on for a lifetime.


But wait – there’s more!


Lafeber’s Avi Cakes are bound by molasses making the not only yummy but sticky.




Any powdered supplement “sticks” to the treat making them an ideal delivery system for powdered bird supplements.




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