My Umbrella Cockatoo Turned 16 and Got Hormonal – Help!

My Umbrella Cockatoo Turned 16 and Got Hormonal – Help!

Last Updated on by Catherine Tobsing

Lucy G is concerned about her bird’s aggression.

Good afternoon Mitch,

I have an Umbrella Cockatoo that just turned 16 years old this month. I have had him since he was 6 months.

He is a loving beautiful boy. However, lately, he has been very aggressive towards me. He will be happy and lovable and all of a sudden attacks me.

He bit my two thumbs from one side to the other. He does not do this to my husband, just to me. We take him every place we go.

He has two cat brothers and gets along with them. We all ride together in our vehicle. He will be in a happy, playful mood and then all of a sudden attacks me.

I don’t know what to do. Can you recommend something that will help him with his anger issues? He has bitten me since he was young. It has just gotten so bad, I am scared to be around him.

I am a desperate mom. I love him with all my heart. His name is Sunshine and he is the Sunshine of my life.

Thank you,


Catherine replied

Dear Lucy

Sorry, you are dealing with aggression. Cockatoos are a very emotional species and oh so strong.

Many years ago, after owning 2 Mollucan cockatoos that I felt were more than I was able to handle at that time. I found them better homes before they suffered due to my inexperience with such large birds.

Now they were very different. One was quiet and cage bound and the other was the opposite. One tame, one not. One talked the other didn’t. Regardless. They were out of my abilities and before they were with me too long, they were placed where they could flourish.

Since then I have met many other large birds who have done well in their homes and am so glad that you have done so well with yours until recently.

It may be hormones. These larger birds live a lot longer than smaller birds and they also are capable of hormonal behaviors through their long lives.

Are you your bird’s main person? Or is your husband? It sounds like your husband is the main person in your bird’s life. Just because you might do the bulk of the feeding and cleaning and care, your bird may have chosen him.

Your husband may be the one who is just the fun and affectionate partner. You may offer the same, but if you also do the feeding, cleaning, etc., your visits are not all fun and affectionate. The bird always knows your hubby is up for fun and loving, but is not sure what you will bring to the table.

Cockatoos need to be kept busy ALL the time. When you approach the cage to do things, bring something over for the bird. No matter what it is.

Measuring cup, plastic spoons, chopsticks. Empty carry-out containers closed up with a single nut inside. ANYTHING. Come over, hand off the item, and do what you need to do.

Also, if the bird’s beak is full, he can’t bite. Over time the bird will always look forward to the “something” and may stop biting you.

Also, exercise is helpful. If you tend to carry your bird around the house, consider letting him walk instead. Up and down stairs. Showers are also good as the bird will spend a lot of time grooming.

Do these things on a schedule. Meaning, that around the same time daily, do the walk up with an “item” for him. Do your cage maintenance, leave him with a walnut or something. Treats, bedtime, meals, and playtime should all be done at about the same time daily.

Daily at 8 pm, our birds are corralled into their cages for the night and each gets a bit of nummy. The bigger birds get some Avi-cake, and the little birds get some millet spray. They happily go to their cages for the treat and all are quiet. Then at 8:30 pm their lights go out. Very peaceful.

Birds can tell time and if they know something good is coming, they are more likely to wait and be more receptive.

One other option is to try a supplement that can calm your bird.

Nekton Relax is a good one.

Please give some of this a try, let us know if you see any improvement.

Kindest Regards,


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