Cockatoos, including Moluccan Cockatoos, are known to be high-maintenance parrots. Don’t give them what they want or demand and they can make your life miserable. Give them what they want and demand and they’ll demand more.
It doesn’t have to be this way. When you train your Moluccan Cockatoo, you will prevent the majority of behaviors from occurring. When they do occur strategic training will eliminate them.
If your Moluccan Cockatoo doesn’t think they’re getting enough attention, guess what?
They’re going to tell you. Most likely they’ll scream at you. To end this screaming and biting for good we have designed a special training program.
Your first reaction may be to ‘react’ to squirt them with water screaming to pull your hand away and yell if they bite you or pick them up if they’re pulling their feathers out.
None of those reactions will stop the behavior. In fact, they will reinforce it. Any aggressive behavior whether it is yelling, hitting, squirting water, or even something seemingly benign as putting them in their cage for a time out can reinforce the behavior.
Simply by reacting to it, you’re telling your Moluccan they can get a rise out of you. Not only is this too tempting for the intelligent Moluccan Cockatoo, but they may also be getting the exact reaction they want.
When they pull out their feathers and you pick them up, you’re giving them attention for undesirable behavior. You’re in fact, rewarding them. Feather plucking is caused by a great multitude of reasons and can take some time to figure out. We suggest you consult your avian vet if this is occurring.
Instead, and this is often hard to train yourself to do, don’t react at all.
This is part of the training process. When you don’t give your bird any attention for negative behavior and you give them positive attention, rewards, and praise for positive behaviors, they will eventually learn that negative behaviors don’t give them what they want. It takes time and patience and lots and lots of training but it does work and it is definitely worth your time.
Training works for all undesirable behaviors no matter what the cause, excluding of course medical issues related to feather plucking. If your Cockatoo is plucking their feathers first take them to your avian veterinarian to be evaluated and rule out medical causes first.
Boredom is a common cause of bad behaviors. Moluccan Cockatoos demand interaction, however when you cannot interact with them, play and train, keep them busy by providing them with an enriched environment.
Don’t give them things to chew on in their cage and you can bet your cockatoo will exercise its beak on your favorite chair. Cockatoos need things to keep their busy minds and mouths occupied. Toys that enable them to chew and explore are fantastic and stimulate their busy minds.
Some other common causes of behavior problems are jealousy, fear, stress, poor diet, lack of sleep, or too small of a cage. The solution to the majority of Moluccan Cockatoo behavior problems is diligence. Put on your detective hat and play detective to determine why your Moluccan is acting out.
Spend time training them to change their behavior and to prevent future undesirable behaviors. Take them to an avian veterinarian to rule out any medical reasons for their behavior and of course, a good diet, plenty of sleep, and a comfortable cage are necessary too.
Training is something every Moluccan Cockatoo owner can put into practice from day one. Integrate it into your daily routine. Not only will your cockatoo be better behaved, and happier, you’ll have built a strong bond of trust between the two of you.
Training strengthens your relationship with your parrot and forms a language between the two of you that you can both speak and understand so you can have a friendship based on fun and mutual respect. I promise you won’t regret putting the time and effort into your companion parrot!