As the bigger and more vocal cousins of cockatiels, you may better know these birds as the viral avian champions of YouTube and other social media. But, have you ever pondered how these fluffy garblers look during their infancy?
Baby Cockatoos, look like any other featherless baby bird once hatched, but look like nigh featherless, pink things that resemble a defeathered chicken you get from the grocery store, except with a larger head and beak by their 30th day of growth.
To learn about more vital information concerning the care and cost of a baby cockatoo and more, read on this article!
Things to Look for to Identify a Baby Cockatoo
It’s quite difficult to identify a freshly hatched cockatoo unless the breeder should inform you of the species being hatched, along with an accompanying sign that reads “cockatoo.” Cockatoo eggs are relatively the same size as a chicken egg and baby birds look similar to each other across all bird species.
In a week, these freshly hatched chicks rapidly grow muscle and features that would make them more easy to distinguish as cockatoos, a little around Day 9 should they begin to sprout little buds which denote the beginning of feathers.
Their eyes are still shut, during this time, until either the next day or Day 11. They may even begin to make their first parrot-like vocalizations, or squawkings. Feathers may start to turn darker on the wings, depending on species of cockatoo.
During the second week to third the bird will rapidly begin growing patches of bristles around its body, at the end of the third week it should be almost completely covered in these bristles which will grow into feathers.
Depending on what species of cockatoo the chick is, its colors should be visible. For example, if it is a galah cockatoo, it should clearly have a red head and black body and wings by the third week.
By the fourth week, feathers should be replacing the “bristles” on your chick. It should also have the ability to raise and let fall the signature crest on its head, albeit shorter in length compared to maturation.
By the 40th day it should almost resemble its mature adult form, at the size of a small female guinea pig, although neither the feathers on its head crest or wings are completely formed.
Baby Cockatoo Colors
Baby Cockatoos should be sporting the exact same colors as they will as matured adults, whose colors will depend on the species and date of growth.
As stated above, around the second to third week should these colors be evident. If it’s a galah cockatoo, for example, it would be red and black. A white cockatoo will obviously have white feathers, a sulphur-crested would be white and have a yellowed head crest.
A generic list of cockatoo colors are as follows:
Costs of Owning a Baby Cockatoo
Please keep in mind that the species of a cockatoo should be the biggest determinant of calculating expenses, not the initial purchasing price, as these birds are already expensive to keep and maintain.
Depending on the species of a Cockatoo, a baby cockatoo can cost from little as around $150 to even $15,000 USD and above.
Overall, a baby cockatoo will cost you less, because of the amount of care that’s required for a baby cockatoo to grow up.
However, be warned that a low price can possibly mean a badly behaved cockatoo, as these birds have the personality and intelligence of a 3-year old child.
Conversely, a cockatoo is sold at its most expensive when it is a young adult.
How Long Does It Take for a Baby Cockatoo to Grow?
It takes an estimated 2 months, or 60 to 100 days for a baby cockatoo to become fully feathered upon hatching. The speed of their maturation depends on the species.
Keep in mind, the above means “fully feathered,” not sexually mature. For it to be of reproductive age, depending on species it should age at least five to seven years.
For a detailed visual guide to the appearance of a baby cockatoo, consult this YouTube link for a 30 day video of a chick from hatching to a month.
Can Baby Cockatoos Live Together?
While the species of cockatoos determine if they’re cooperative with living under the same roof of other birds, it is generally best and safest to raise a baby cockatoo by itself, or at least, to provide separate care to chicks in different areas and rooms.
What Kind of Temperament Do Baby Cockatoos Have?
You may begin to start seeing many of the same temperament and attitudes a fully grown, mature cockatoo will express while it’s still a chick, albeit in a mitigated or restrained form.
Since cockatoos are noted for having unique personalities that differ between individual birds, you can begin seeing the famous cuddly affection develop in a baby cockatoo as it begins to see and trust you as its caretaker.
Over the weeks, especially once its eyes are open, it will begin walking and experimenting with its beak, chewing at things and trying to flap its wings. It will depend entirely on someone else, be it an adult cockatoo or breeder for its feeding needs.
Overall, baby cockatoos are mostly described as having inquisitive needs and curiosity to explore their surroundings. In the wild, they leave the nest at around 12 weeks, and even then are still cared and looked after by their parents.
What Does a Baby Cockatoo Sound Like?
Depending on the week of growth, the most a baby cockatoo can manage may be a loud chirp to a pathetic squawk resembling a parrot.
What Do Baby Cockatoos Eat?
Baby Cockatoos may only be fed through a vial as neonates, up to around the end of the first month by which they can finally eat solid food, although it’s unlikely that an owner would ever purchase a cockatoo right after it has hatched.
There are specially formulated bird pellets and other resources for birds with specific needs.
As it gets older, and it has the ability to walk and feed itself, it can eat parrot pellets, fresh fruit and veggies. Place the food in a bowl near an accessible location for the bird to eat when it deems fit.
It would be good to look up a list of foods to give and avoid for specific species of Cockatoo. For example, some prefer palm nuts, leaf buds or even insects.
Never give your baby cockatoo avocado, chocolate, carbonated drinks, coffee, or alcohol, which are all potentially lethal to your bird.
Be aware that cockatoos can develop into picky eaters, which can lead to concerns of insufficient nutrition. Talk to a vet to understand how your bird can get the nutrition it needs, as this leads to most health problems and deficiencies.
This means that seeds should never be part of the full diet, as cockatoos tend to pick these out while not being nutritionally complete.
How Often to Feed Baby Cockatoo
As soon as your chick has the autonomy to walk and feed itself, keep its food bowl full at all times, as it will know when to feed itself and when it’s full.
There are several rules of thumbs for one to follow concerning the feeding of baby cockatoos, which apply to fully grown ones as well:
- Always make fresh water readily available.
- Monitor the amount of a bird’s feeding EVERY day.
- Clean the areas/bowls providing food and water daily.
- Provide a variety of food daily.
How to Take Care of Baby Cockatoos
Consistency, close attention and care. This is required daily in order to raise a cockatoo from a fledgling into an adult.
When first introducing your baby cockatoo to the family, you need to respect its space. Approach slowly while speaking in a calming, soothing voice, and retreat if it shrinks back. Repeat until the bird warms up to your approach.
Since cockatoos thrive on attention, it’s never a good idea to flood a newcomer cockatoo, baby or not, with attention as any subsequent decrease in attention will cause it to feel neglected and possible depressed.
Like dogs, cockatoos should be socialized to family members, whom they will come to view as their flock.
Make food readily available within its cage, and pick foods that will fulfill its nutrient requirements, for which you must speak to a veterinarian to get the full scoop and information on.
Play with your cockatoo regularly, whether by letting it out of its cage to explore, providing it with toys, or teaching it tricks.
Cage Size & Setup
Set the cage in a center of the household where it can see all family members. Cockatoos are social animals, and will prefer the attention and presence of its human flock, otherwise depression can set in.
The cage for a baby cockatoo should be the same size as is necessary for a matured one, around 2 feet wide and 3 feet high. If your bird cannot spread its wings completely within the perimeters of your cage, then it needs to be bigger.
Can You Teach a Baby Cockatoo Tricks?
Considering that cockatoos can learn tricks well into their 70s and 80s (you read that right, cockatoos can live up to a century year old under captivity!), your “baby” cockatoo can definitely learn tricks, although it’s best to wait until its feathers have fully formed by the second or third month.