Hi all,
I bought an umbrella cockatoo from a breeder under the belief that he was weaned. He was 6.5months when we got him.
He now calls 3 times a day to be hand feed, sits right back on his feet and tilts his head as a chick would do to its mother and cheeps. He is now 7months old and full of it, likes to swing and play but seems to forget that food is actually more important.
He refuses to eat solid fruit, veggies, nuts, I have given him pellets, to which he just likes ripping them up rather than eating them, I have tried mixing them into soft foods so he gets a taste for them but it just doesn't seem to be working.
My too will sometimes sit on his seed for a good 40minutes to an hour only managing to eat 3 grams of kernels.
I have tried making birdy bread out of the pellets but he still won't eat anything solid that's given to him. So I have been cooking a mass of different vegetables and liquidizing it to a smooth paste, then adding some fussy feeder vitamins to compensate for his lack of experimentation with food. He wants it hot and will never take anything cold! I tried making the paste a little lumpier every week but this failed from the start, as he sifts throgh each mouthful as if it were poison and if he finds a Lump or small chuck of anything in his mixture he spits the lot out!! by lump I am talking (1mm - 2mm) in length!!

He loves tea because of the warmth but I know he isn't supposed to have this so this a rarity. It is like he is scared of anything different unless its his seed or veggie paste!
Sometimes he will voluntarily fly on his seed but as I have said he will pick out the tiniest seeds such as safflowers and only eat 3 grams in the entire day.
His weight is up and down but seems to be hovering between 520 - 530 right now, thats with me still hand-feeding 3 times a day every 2-3hours.

I know this is a problem so what would be the best course of action to get this bird to wean off? I believe he was tricking the breeder into thinking he was actually weaned.
Any advice on getting this bird to eat properly would be great, as I don't want to damage his nature nor his animal instincts more than necessary but I felt I had to take this route or this "Too" would certainly not be here today.
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Hi all, I bought an umbrella cockatoo from a breeder under the belief that he was weaned. He was 6.5months ... than necessary but I felt I had to take this route or this "Too" would certainly not be here today.

U2s can be successfully weaned from 11 to 13 weeks. That means they are eating on their own with no issues and are active and maintaining or adding weight.
To continue to feed formula three times a day is what is creating the eating problems.
Stop.
Your bird knows what food is, how to eat it and will not starve. The begging will stop when you stop responding.
Time for baby to grow up.

Sincerely,
Joanne
If it's right for you, then it's right, . . . . . for you!!!

http://www.jobird.com
Hi all, I bought an umbrella cockatoo from a breeder under the belief that he was weaned. He was 6.5months ... the mix, so eventually she was just eating the pellets I had ground up and made into a soft ball.

The big thing in getting her to eat other things was having her watch me eat it. Anything I wanted to eat, she wanted to eat... Problem solved.
Your bird is training you very well. This is a common trait of misbehaving 2's. Today the bird is training you to feed on command. Tormorrow it will be a command to pick up and play. Before you know it, the bird will hoot in his loudest voice all the time and you won't know what the bird wants next.

You need to get with the breeder, a club or books on behavior training soon. These misbehaving birds are common in animal rescue because they are so uncontrollable. You want the bird to cuddle on your command, not the other way around.
Hi guys,
I appreciate all your comments! I do realize this is a problem as I have said in my previous call for help.
However I must disagree with starving the bird until it eats as unfortunately I believe this bird has not had the opportunity to eat or try any MUST HAVE foods from the breeder and obviously in knowing the birds true eating habits I would not of purchased under false pretense. Unfortunately the breeder is no longer contactable after a fall out but she made sure she kept both hands on the money, but thats another story.

My main concern is this birds welfare. Matt I completely understand where you are coming from with regard to trying food yourself and the bird wanting it, unfortunately in this case my too didn't even know how to crack any sort of seeds to start with.
After an hour of showing him, he began to crack open a few sunflowers but then dropped the lot, not knowing he was supposed to take the kernel out. Anyway after another few days of constantly showing him, I have eventually got him to eat seed by himself but it is minimal, he will still call for the food as I have already said before. The problem of not KNOWING that fruit of vegetables are edible is causing me concern.

The main reason I say I don't agree in starving the bird until he feeds is because I genuinely believe he will get very ill, when we first had him and it took me 2 - 3days to realize he actually wasn't eating he dropped 10% of his body weight, had weighed at a dangerous low of 475grams. Previous to that his breastbone was like a knife-edge which obviously indicates being underweight. I panicked by this and after failing to get anything solid down him for yet another day, he started to call for food. He weighs 530g today and since i've had him his breast has rounded out and he looks more like a healthy bird.

Maybe this is a "you have to be cruel to be kind" situation as you say Joanne & Luba, but can you advise a safer way to STOP the hand feeding? Or can give me assurance this will not make my bird so ill that he perhaps won't recover this time? I.e What I should expect?

Since posting I have cut out one handfeed over the past 2 days and urged him to go on his seed and pellets, it takes a good 30+ ups and downs before he will eventually stay there and eat.
Matt I will certainly give the "softballs" a go! Did your Macaw spit these out in the beginning or did he/she take to them straight away?

Thanks for all your replies once again guys!
If this was my bird I'd contact the avian vet immediately and get my information from a professional source. Not to say there aren't many very knowledgable people here, but your breeder is grossly inadequate and lied to you.
Do you know where the breeder lives? What did he/she do, disappear off the face of the planet?
People piss me off and this breeder shouldn't be selling birds.

Please do call the vet for guidance.
So this bird eats nothing unless you hand feed? aav.org has a list of avian vets. Spend the money. If you do not have an avian vet nearby, call the avian vet closest to you and ask for a referral. This matter needs to be handles straight away. It is not an emergency, but I'd be on the phone at 9am even on a Saturday.
Your question does not belong in a Usenet group.
Hiya Jang,
Thanks for your concern buddy. The breeder hasn't disappeared off the face of the earth and I do still in fact have address and phone number.

The bird has been to the vet and has had an antibiotic jab (this is when he wasn't eating anything originally) the jab seemed to spur on his eating within a few hours and his droppings improved instantly, however after reading more articles and documents I am under the impression that antibiotics which was given to my bird by a registered avian vet can destroy what little immune system the bird has. However I do believe he had an infection to start with. The vet also advised if the feeding didn't improve he would strongly recommend the U2 go back to the breeder to be either "re-weaned" or to properly be "weaned".

To cut a long story VERY short, I was informing the breeder every 2 days of the developing problems along with speaking with a few people online for second opinions and certainly more advice on my situation.

The breeder stumbled across the forum threads and despite me not having named any names or referred to her location in anyway she took personal offense to the facts being stated and took the opportunity to post an incredibly nasty post twisting all the known facts. I was originally contacting her to keep her informed out of good will of the bird's well being but it seems she was more interested in the money and wanted to assure she wasn't going to get any repercussion, as I also informed her of the vet's advice, so reading between the lines having the bird back would surely hurt her reputation as a "breeder" which would explain the awful forum post that was made.
Please note this whole tangled story I have tried to condense as much as possible so as not to cover old ground. The current situation is the bird is absolutely wonderful in himself, plays all day long and is spoilt rotten, but he would much rather play all day every day than feed himself. It's a constant battle every day to get him to eat seed by himself.
Luba, your concern is noted, the bird is eating very small seeds but only after constant persuasion. Please read my previous post RE: Vet would love to hear your take on things. (i think he posted at the same time)!
As I said in my original message. He can sit up there 40 mins + and only eat 3grams.
Anything I try and give him "solid food" wise if it even looks slightly different to these small safflower seeds he pulls his head away and backs off as if it's rat poison!!
Just tried Matt's suggestion for the first time warmed soft pellet balls no wider than 3mm and after 5 mins trying to get him to at least hold it he firstly touches it with his tongue and after realizing this is different he pulled away and was ducking and diving and eventually flew over onto the sofa. Will keep persisting!! Emotion: smile
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