7 month old cockatoo reverted back to handfeeding

A healthy, 7 month old cockatoo that has been weaned now for about 2 months suddenly stopped eating, thinned, and cries constantly when an older cockatoo came into the picture. I have been putting him back on hand feedings becauae i know otherwise he would starve himself. Is this normal? And why is this happening?

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Jan 12, 2011
by: Anonymous

thank you for your responses. As far as weighing him, I have been for the past 5 days. He has not lost or gained. His weight is a steady 264g (Lesser Sulfur Crested) but he is WAY thin. He's actually always been a thin bird however because of his high activity level, but not this badly. He actually is wanting nothing to do with hand food anymore he is refusing, but still whines when I hold him. When I am not in the room I sneak a look and see him picking at his food dish. Is he fibbing me and is just truly wanting to be babied more because of the new cockatoo? I have been supplementing the food and water with extra vitamins to ensure that he is getting proper nutrition. I feel so bad!!

Jan 10, 2011
Cockatoo reverting back to handfeeding
by: The Avian Vet

This is not normal. You need to take this bird in to see an avian veterinarian for a work up. Bacterial infections commonly cause this. Find a specialist who is familiar with hand feeding and weaning. You need to stop the hand feeding. Baby formula is not good for a weaned bird. The nutrient levels are too high and can cause health problems.

Are you weighing your bird to know if it is loosing weight? If not, you need to get a scale and start immediately. What was this bird weaned onto? Pellets? IF not, that may be the problem. The bird may not be getting enough nutrition from its regular diet.

Dr B

Jan 09, 2011
7 month old cockatoo reverted back to handfeeding
by: Linda

Cockatoos are weaned way too quickly, and this causes a number of emotional problems later in life. In the wild, mother Toos feed their babies up to a year while teaching them to find food on their own.

Your baby feel threatened by the new bird and I'm glad you are again hand feeding him. Continue to hand feed him which is not only giving him the nourishment he needs, but is also reinforcing that he is special. Being handled is as important as feeding, so make sure you spend quality time with him outside of feeding times and continue to feed him until he shows interest again in eating on his own. This could be one month, two months or longer. Once he starts eating on his own again, you can begin to taper off one or more of the daily feeds. We suggest you take it one feed at a time just to make sure he is getting enough to eat. Get both your birds on a high quality organic pellet like Harrison's which is carried here. Since your baby Too is back on the "bottle", it should be easier to change him to organic pellets. For the older bird, here is a link for how to go about changing from an all seed diet written by an Avian Vet. The Harrisons pellets are Avian Vet endorsed and there are no preservatives, dyes, pesticide/fertilizer residue to worry about. Instructions on the bags tell you how much to feed and what veggies are best to feed along with the pellets. Pellets should be 80-85% of total diet. When starting to wean your baby again, baked sweet potato is a nice treat food, and most birds really like the texture, color and sweet taste. Buy organic if possible. If not, make sure you wash and scrub exterior of all fruit and veggies. Use hot water and very little soap because the residue will get into the meat of the food. Just make sure they are clean of all possible contaminants.
Switching Birds to Pellets article

If you've already had your baby to an Avian Vet, you'll need to take the other bird as well. New birds are stressed out and easily contract infections. If new bird is found to have an infection, then the little guy will need to go back and be reexamined.

Let us know how everything is going and send pictures when you can.


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