Cockatoos are appreciated by many as companion birds because they enjoy “cuddling.” However, they require so much attention that they can be noisy and destructive if improperly socialized. Imprinted cockatoos may become excessively possessive of their owners, leading to aggression toward others, unpredictability and other vices such as feather picking. Because of these issues, cockatoos are not recommended as a first bird or in families with children. Cockatoos have some capacity to mimic but their voice is not as clear as other parrots.Most cockatoos are playful and easily amused with simple toys, which they love to chew. Providing chew toys or fresh-cut branches from nontoxic, pesticide-free trees may prevent some cockatoos from destroying their perches as quickly.
Many common disease conditions in cockatoos, including respiratory disorders, fatty tumors, xanthomas and obesity, are the result of malnutrition. Their tendency toward aggression and feather picking may be reduced by feeding Harrison’s exclusively without the addition of seeds, nuts and table foods. Some smaller cockatoo species (e.g., Goffin’s, bare-eyed or rose-breasted) seem to be less inclined to feather pick.