Archive for the ‘Pets Encyclopedia’ Category

Bloodhound

Origin: Somewhat disputed! Belgium, France, England or ScotlandBloodhound

Type: Hound

Weight: Male 46–54 kg (101–119 lb)

Female 40–48 kg (88–106 lb)

Height: Male 64–72 cm (25–28 in)

Female 58–66 cm (23–26 in)

Appearance: This is a large and heavy boned dog reflecting the demands put on the breed in their early history. Bloodhound was originally bred to hunt the most challenging of prey, wild boar. They have a large, dense skeleton with much of the weight of the dog being found in the thick bones. Bloodhounds can be found in black and tan, liver and tan or red in colouration. Their fur is short and rather hard. Instantly recognisable characteristics of the breed include the long, downward-hanging ears and wrinkled skin, especially around the shoulders and the face.

Temperament: Bloodhounds are famed for a gentle temperament combined with intense stubbornness and apparently endless energy. The determination of the breed, their keen sense of smell, and strong interest in tracking scents can result in them being something of a challenge to train. It might be almost impossible to redirect these dogs once they’ve caught a scent, making them difficult to take for a walk on a lead. Experienced owners warn that a very secure garden or outdoor run is essential, as a bloodhound will follow any scent trail if the opportunity presents itself.

Skills: Although originally bred for hunting deer and boar, these scent hounds are more often used to track people. Their legendary ability to find and follow a trail even days after it was laid has been put to various uses. They’re often used by law enforcement agencies to pursue escaped prisoners, but equally bloodhounds have been used to trace lost children and even other pets.

Behaviour towards other animals and children: Bloodhounds are affectionate and even-tempered dogs who particularly seem to enjoy children. They have a reputation as great family pets. As with any dog, supervision around young children is essential. Bloodhounds generally enjoy the company of other dogs they’re familiar with and will be tolerant around cats they’ve been raised with. It’s worth noting that an instinct to track is not the same thing as the desire to chase and catch prey.

Common health problems: Bloodhounds are more susceptible to gastrointestinal problems than many breeds. The most common condition is bloat, also known as twisted stomach or gastric torsion. This can be fatal even with prompt professional intervention. Other common problems include eye, skin, and ear ailments. The thick coat of the breed also makes them vulnerable to overheating.

Lifespan: 9 -11 years

American Hairless Terrier

Origin: United States of AmericaAmerican Hairless Terrier

Type: Terrier/ Working dog

Weight: 2.5-12 kg

Height: 18-45 cm

 

Appearance: The American Hairless Terrier is a smooth-muscled, small-to-medium dog with a deep chest, strong shoulders, solid neck and powerful legs. One of the most distinctive features is of course the lack of hair, making them an excellent choice for homes that need to be hypo-allergenic. The skin of these dogs usually shows some amount of white but black, blue, pink, brown, tan, sable with patterns, brindled, spotted and saddled colours can all be observed and all are acceptable within the breed standard. Eyes may be brown, blue, grey, amber or turquoise. The ears are erect when the dog is alert, which is most of the time….these are true terriers! Even in the USA where docking may still be legal, the tail of hairless terriers must be left long.

Temperament: Typically of terriers, these are lively, playful, inquisitive, curious, alert and intelligent dogs. They’re affectionate towards their owners and, despite being quite territorial, will generally display a friendly disposition towards strangers. The energy level and playfulness of this breed need an outlet — they’ll enjoy lots of games, lots of walks and will do well with an owner who has an active lifestyle. As is often the case with small dogs, they need a strong human leader who knows how to take control and gently guide them towards positive behaviours. Generally speaking, these bright and eager to please dogs will learn quickly and respond well to training.

Skills: American Hairless Terriers like to dig and will chase small game. They make good watchdogs, as they can get quite vocal when alarmed. Although they boast a terrier heritage, their small size and lack of hair leaves them vulnerable to injury, so they’re not suited as working ratting dogs. The energy and hunting instincts of the AHT will find their best outlet in agility games and lots of exercise.

Behaviour towards other animals and children: American Hairless Terriers are generally good with children they were raised with but their strong hunting instinct may sometimes render them unsuitable for families with young children. Equally, while you can expect your terrier puppy to bond with other pets present in the household when they arrive, you may find introducing other animals into a home with an adult AHT more problematic.

Common health problems: Generally, this is a healthy breed but the lack of hair means that they need protection from the sun and also from the cold depending on weather conditions. Allergies to grass have been reported but no more so than in other breeds. American Hairless Terriers are not strong swimmers and should be monitored carefully around water.

Lifespan: A fairly long lived breed with an average lifespan of 14 – 16 years.

Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo

Origin: Inland areas of AustraliaMajor Mitchell's Cockatoo

Class: Aves

Order: Psittaciformes (parrots)

Family: Cacatuidae

Subfamily: Cacatuinae

Genus: Lophochroa

Species: L. leadbeateri

Size: Medium. Average of approx 40 cm (15 inches) from the tip of the beak to the end of the tail feathers

Weight: 300 to 450 g

Wingspan: 32 inches /81 cm

Appearance: Major Mitchell’s cockatoo is also known as the pink cockatoo. This is a strikingly beautiful medium-sized bird with a soft-textured white and salmon-pink plumage. It’s notable for the bright red and yellow head crest. Male and female birds are almost identical, the male tends to be the larger of a pair and the female has a broader yellow stripe on the crest. This cockatoo has grey feet and a horn coloured bead.

Procreation: Like many parrot and cockatoo species, monogamy is the norm for the Major Mitchell’s cockatoo. In the wild, they nest in tree hollows, generally during the second half of the year. Persuading them to breed in captivity is difficult. The female lays 2 or 3 eggs, which are incubated for 26-30 days. After being hatched, the young birds are able to leave the nest at around 6 to 8 weeks, but the parents, mostly the male will continue to feed them for around another 8 weeks.

Temperament: Major Mitchell’s cockatoos bond strongly with their owners and have the reputation of being one person birds. They’re very intelligent and affectionate but do require lots of socialisation and interaction if they’re to maintain good emotional health. Plenty of handling and human interaction from a young age is important if they’re to realise their full potential as tame and affectionate birds. If under-stimulated, they can become nippy or self-destructive. Because they need so much attention and care, they’re more suitable for experienced bird owners than for novices.

Talkativeness: These are loud birds, so not generally recommended as a choice for apartment dwellers. Their ability to learn to talk or learn tricks is average to high.

Environment: Major Mitchell’s need a lot of cage space: 4ft. x 3ft. x 4ft is regarded as a minimum. They can be good escape artists, quite capable of learning to open their cage. If allowed to fly freely around the house, they can be destructive, so a secure care and supervised free time is recommended. These intelligent birds will also appreciate toys to play with and some are especially fond of mirrors.

Preferred Food: In the wild, they feed on seeds of native and exotic melons and on the seeds of species of saltbush, wattles and cypress pines. A healthy diet for a pet Major Mitchell’s cockatoo should consist of high-quality pellets, a medium amount of seed mix, and daily helpings of fresh fruit and vegetables. Like many cockatoos, they can be prone to weight gain so a well-balanced diet with a limited fat intake is a must.

Relationship with People: Their need for attention means that these birds make great pets for the right owner. They’ll do best with someone who wants a true companion pet bird. Because they can be nippy or aggressive, they’re not generally regarded as the best pet for a family with young children.

Common Health Problems: These cockatoos are prone to Sarcocystis, a parasitic disease that can be fatal, bacterial and fungal infections. Good hygiene should limit the risk of all of these. Major Mitchell’s can be picky eaters, so should be encouraged to eat a varied diet. Most other common health problems are emotional rather than physical. Mate aggression is not unknown and is one of the reasons why it’s challenging to breed them in captivity. Feather picking and other forms of self-destructive behaviour are generally a result of boredom and frustration.

Lifespan: Up to 75 years in captivity.

Asian Cat

Origin: Britain (founding stock from Asia)Asian Cat Breed

Type: Pedigree

Weight: Males: 7-10 pounds;

Females: 6-8 pounds

Size: Medium

Coat Length: Short

Body Type: Medium, compact, muscular.

Appearance: In terms of coat colour and pattern, the Asian cat is divided into three separate breeds – the Asian self, the Asian smoke, and the Asian tabby. All three varieties are elegant, medium-sized cats with a muscular built and compact body. The chest is broad and rounded and the legs are slender. The straight tail is medium to long, reaching the shoulder if brought round along the side of the body. The Asian cats have a full-looking face and a rounded head with no flattened areas, with a very visible spot in profile. Eyes are round and wide-set, varying in colour from yellow to green. The coat texture is short and fine, lying close to the body.

Grooming Requirements: Asian cats require low maintenance. Occasional grooming is necessary to keep the coat in good condition. Regular brushing or combing will remove excess hair, prevent matting, and stimulate blood circulation. Shedding for this breed is minimal. These type of cats typically produce little to no dander and are considered hypo-allergenic.

Activity Level: This is a very active cat that likes to engage in activities. Owners should spend 10-15 minutes actively involved with an Asian cat several times a day. Daily exercise will help maintain proper body weight and keep their muscles toned and strong.

Affection: Asians are very affectionate and lovable cats.

Time Alone: No more than four hours.

Attention: These cats demand an owner who will pay attention to them, interact with them, pick them up and cuddle them often.

Talkativeness: Asian cats are known for being highly vocal with very loud voices.

Temperament: Asian cats have an extrovert, inquisitive nature, and high intelligence. Because it is such a sociable cat, the Asian relates to well to human company and will adapt well to indoor living, not feeling the need to go out. They don’t like noises especially from cars, lorries, or buses. This is not a city cat and will enjoy living somewhere in the suburbs, away from the every-day hustle and bustle of the city. Asians loves showing off, especially when there are visitors to impress. These cats are also gentle, which may appeal to more elderly people who are looking for a loyal companion.

Interesting Facts: Longhaired Asians of all varieties are called Tiffanies.

Behaviour Toward Other Animals and Kids: The breed is kid-friendly and their extrovert, curious nature and high intelligence make them an ideal family pet. Another feline companion, especially a cat with a similar extrovert personality, will be much appreciated.

Common Health Problems: This is a very long-lived and healthy cat, with very few health issues. They are prone to snoring and renal problems due to their facial structure. Like other cats, they need annual vaccination boosters against flu and enteritis, as well as against Feline Leukaemia if they go outdoors.

Lifespan: This is a long lived breed, up to 15 years.

Basenji

Origin: Democratic Republic of the CongoBasenji Dog Breed

Type: Hound

Weight: Male – 11kg (24lb)

Female – 9.5kg (21lb)

Height: Male – 43cm (17in)

Female – 40cm (16in)

Appearance: Basenjis are lightly-built dogs with a small, muscular body, wrinkled forehead, and erect ears. The tail is set high and curled. The Basenji coat is fine and short, in rich chestnut red, black, tricolour (black and chestnut), or brindle (black stripes on a chestnut background), all with white feet, chest, and tail tip. He may also have white markings on his legs, a white blaze between his eyes, or a white collar. His primary colour is always more than the white colourings. Basenjis share many unique traits with pariah dog types. Both Basenjis and Dingoes lack distinctive odour, and the Basenji is cat-like in his grooming habits, keeping himself very clean.

Temperament: This is an energetic and curious breed, who are affectionate and bond deeply with their owners but may retain reserved and aloof disposition towards strangers. Although highly intelligent, these dogs are also very independent and definitely not the kind of dog who will obey commands instantly. Basenjis are sight-hounds, which means that they’ll chase whatever motion catches their eyes – cats, squirrels, rabbits. They need early socialisation and training – it is best that they be enrolled in obedience training classes and be exposed to as many sounds, sights, people, and animals as possible early on. Basenjis are known as “barkless” dogs since they are prone to howls, yodels, and other vocalisations rather than the typical bark of modern dog breeds.

Skills: Basenjis use both scent and sight to hunt and were originally used to flush small game into hunters’ nets, as well as control rodent populations in villages. While Basenjis do not top obedience competitions, they can be successful if they are made to believe that the training and competition are their own idea. Basenjis excel at the sport of lure coursing, the perfect game for these dogs who hunt by sight and love to chase.

Behaviour Towards Other Pets and Children: Basenjis are known for not getting along very well with other non-canine pets. However, they can get on fine with cats and other small animals if they have been raised together and see them as part of the family. They shouldn’t be trusted around cats or other small animals they see outdoors.

Common Health Problems: Basenjis may experience liver problems, due to their sensitivity to environmental and household chemicals. They are also prone to blindness from PRA (progressive retinal atrophy), and kidney failure from Fanconi syndrome. Basenjis may also suffer from Hypothyroidism, IPSID (immunoproliferative systemic intestinal disease), and HA (Hemolytic Anemia). Some Basenjis may be faced with these health challenges in their lives, but the majority of this natural breed are healthy dogs.

Lifespan: 10 to 12 years.

Beagle

Origin: EnglandBeagle

Type: Hound dog

Weight: Male, 10–11kg / Female, 9–10kg

Height: 33-41cm

 

Appearance: The Beagle is a small to medium-sized dog with a range of colours, mostly white, with large black spots and light brown shading. They have a fairly long, slightly domed skull. Their ears are long, set moderately low, turning towards the cheeks slightly and rounded at the tips. Beagles have large eyes, mostly hazel or brown, with a mild hound-like pleading look. This breed has a typical, square-cut and defined muzzle with a black gumdrop nose. They have a thick, short neck rising light from the shoulders and a deep, but disproportionately wide chest. Their legs are strong and muscular. Beagles a have medium-length, smooth, hard coat.

Temperament: Beagles are intelligent but temporarily obedient due to their independent nature, which is common among hounds. This can make them hard to train as they get easily distracted by smells around them. Their instinct tells them to follow their nose, no matter where you’d rather have them go. Beagles are often described as merry and are considered amiable and, typically, neither aggressive nor timid. This breed can be standoffish with strangers, but they generally get along well with other dogs.

Skills: As a member of the hound group, the Beagle has one of the best developed sense of smell and tracking instincts, especially when it comes to hare. Other than rabbit trailing, this dog is used for detection of illegal goods, and beagle field trials. This makes them the ideal detection dogs. They make poor guards though, as they are easily won over and are mostly friendly with people.

Behaviour Towards Other Animals and Children: Beagles bond easily with everyone in the family, especially children. They are used to being a part of a pack, so they enjoy company and don’t like to be left alone. Another dog (or even a cat) will help meet their companionship needs as they get along well with other pets.
Health

Common Health Problems: Beagles may be prone to epilepsy. Hypothyroidism and a number of types of dwarfism are also possible. Hip dysplasia is also considered a problem in Beagles. They may develop immune mediated polygenic arthritis and neonatal cerebellar cortical degeneration. Not all Beagles will get any or all of these diseases but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.

British Longhair

Origin: Great BritainBritish Longhair Breed

Type: Pedigree

Size: Medium

Coat Length: Long

Body Type: Semi-cobby

Appearance: The British Longhair shares most of its visual traits with its Shorthair cousins, with the main difference being the length of the coat. They have the same sturdy body build, with slightly cobby legs, short tail and round head. The ears are small, with wide gap between them. The Longhair has round eyes, short neck, and a short, straight nose. Coat colours and patterns: various colours, including black, blue, red, cream, white, chocolate, lilac, tortie, and even the rarely seen fawn and cinnamon; patterns include tabby, bi-colour, smoke, tortoise-shell, smoke, tipped, and colour-pointed.

Grooming Requirement: Once a day.

Activity Level: Low.

Affection: Moderately affectionate.

Time Alone: 8 hours a day.

Attention: Very affectionate, but remains independent and does not like to be picked up.

Talkativeness: Quiet.

Temperament: The British Longhair is a laid-back and relaxed breed, however, they are fairly independent. They are not a demanding breed, and can enjoy their own company. They are tolerant but become irritated when annoyed or picked up.

Interesting Facts: This breed originated after WWII; to battle the dwindling population of British Shorthairs, breeders mixed them with longhair cats, imported from overseas.

Behaviour Toward Other Animals and Children: Although they are fairly independent, British Longhairs enjoy the company of other laid­-back cats. However, sharing a household with another dog might be a problem due to the active nature of dogs. The cat is tolerant to kids as well, as long as they are not picked up. British Longhair kittens are active and playful, but adults cannot be bothered to chase a toy – or another animal.

Common Health Problems: Besides higher risk of obesity, there are no known major health problems with this breed.

Lifespan: This is a long lived breed, up to 15 years.

Andalusian Hound

Origin: SpainAndalusian Hound Breed

Type: Hunting and guardian dog

Weight: Small: 5-11 kg
Medium: 10-22 kg
Large: 21­-33 kg

Height: Male (small): 32-42 cm
Male (medium): 43­-53 cm
Male (large): 54­-64 cm
Female (small): 32-­41 cm
Female (medium): 42-­53 cm
Female (large): 53-­61 cm

Appearance: The Andalusian Hound is a compact, pick­-eared sighthound. It has a harmonious build, similar to other Iberian breeds, such as the Portuguese Podengo, Podenco Canariao, Maneto, and the Ibizan Hound. The Podenco Andaluz is a compact breed of prick-­eared sighthound that occurs in three different sizes and coats. The breed comes in three different sizes – Podenco Andaluz Talla Grande, Podenco Andaluz Talla Mediana, Podenco Andaluz Talla Chica. It also has three distinct different types of coats, all of which lack an undercoat – wire hair, long­hair, and smooth.

Temperament: The breed is intelligent, somewhat submissive dog which always prefers logical over aggressive reactions. It is also a great watchdog, suspicious without the presence of its master, but cheerful and playful around his owner. It has been bred for hunting and has excellent sense of smell and enjoys chasing animals, both in water and rugged terrain. The Andalusian Hound reacts well to unexpected circumstances and has a powerful memory, able to retain information with ease.

Skills: The Podenco Andaluz is a hunting dog with a remarkable sense of smell and abundant stamina. The hunting history of the breed has resulted in fatigue resistance. This dog is not easily scared or intimidated. However, the breed is not suited to live in small quarters or with less active owners. It is a guardian dog which requires strong and confident master who has the experience to train and socialise large breeds.

Behaviour Toward Other Animals and Children: As with all hunting dog breeds, the Andalusian Hound requires early socialisation to ensure its hunting and protective instincts are tamed. The small variation of the breed is a great choice for some families with young children, but the size of the Talla Mediana and Talla Grande might make them unsuitable. The breed is loving and affectionate towards its owner; obedient and easily trained, compared to other hunting breeds. However, its hunting instincts might be a problem if there are other, smaller pets in the household.

Common Health Problems: Although the breed has existed for many years, research on health issues, related to the Podenco Andaluz, is scarce. As with other hunting dogs, the Andalusian Hound has been observed to be prone to arthritis. Ear infections and eye diseases are also common, especially in dogs which have not been excersided actively. Still, the breed is relatively healthy, with a normal lifespan for a dog of its size.

Lifespan: 10­ – 12 years.

Asian Semi­ Longhair

Asian Semi-longhair Breed

Origin: Great Britain

Type: Cross-breed

Size: Medium

Coat Length: Semi­-long

Body Type: Delicate

Appearance: This rather charming cat is alternately named the Tiffanie, or Tiffany. They were developed in the United Kingdom in the 1980s as a longer haired version of the Asian Shorthair and are believed to have originated as a cross breed of the Chinchilla with the long-haired Burmilla cat. Their coat colour may be dark brown, sable, brown or seal, also blue, black, brown, chocolate or lilac. Their fur is shiny, luxurious and silky in texture, less prone tangling than some other long haired breeds. The body type is rather delicate. The eyes of the Asian Semi­-longhair are medium in size, come in a range of shades of green and are often lined, which adds to the beauty of the cat.

Grooming Requirement: High; weekly grooming is required to keep this cat looking its best.

Activity Level: Moderate to high. Generally very playful.

Affection: Very Affectionate.

Attention: Asian Semi­-longhair cats expect and need a lot of attention.

Talkativeness: Vocal. To the extent that they can be regarded as unsuitable for small apartments, especially those with poor sound insulation.

Temperament: The Asian Semi­-longhair is a loyal, loving and sometimes dependant cat. They like to explore and keep themselves entertained but will expect and even demand a lot of attention from their owners. They’re of a gentle temperament in general, but best suited to an owner who can offer plenty of interaction. They love to play and will give an opinion on anything and everything. Because these are cats that bond strongly with their owners they can be very adaptable to new environments, just so long as they’re surrounded by familiar people.

Behaviour Toward Other Animals and Children: Asian Semi-­longhair cats are so attached to their humans that they can be jealous of other cats. On the other hand, they get on well with children and some of them seem to positively enjoy the company of dogs. As always there will be variations in the nature of an individual cat, which is partly down to heritage and partly down to early socialisation.

Common Health Problems: These are often kept as indoor cats, so need attention to their diet and plenty of activities to ensure they don’t develop health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Like all Asian heritage cats a possible genetic health condition is Hypokalaemic Polymyopathy (HK). Reputable breeders will have proof of the genetic status of the parents, so when buying a kitten ask to see this.

Lifespan: Around 15 years.

Blue­-Eyed Cockatoo

Origin: New Britain, Papua New Guinea

Class: Aves

Order: Psittaciformes

Family: Cacatuidae

Subfamily: Cacatuinae

Genus: Cacatua

Species: C. ophthalmica

Weight: 550 grams

Height: 17-­19 inches (43-­48 cm)

Appearance: The blue­-eyed cockatoo is a mainly white bird with a mobile, erectile yellow and white crest. They have black beaks, dark grey legs and, most distinctively, a light blue rim of featherless skin around the eyes. The male and female of the species are very similar in appearance.

Procreation: This bird reaches full maturity at 4 years of age. In the wild they generally nest in large and high trees, the average height of a blue-­eyed cockatoo’s nest is around 40 metres. The female generally lays just 2 eggs which are incubated for around 28­-30 days. Chicks leave the nest sometime between 14­-16 weeks.

Temperament: The blue­-eyed cockatoo is considered to the friendliest of all the cockatoo species. They love to cuddle, are playful and trainable but also very needy. They will demand attention from their owners, and if they don’t get it are prone to behaviour problems. They can be destructive and will pluck their own feathers if bored.

Talkativeness: Blue­-eyed cockatoos are noisy. They love to scream, so much so that most consider them to be unsuitable for apartment living. They can be trained to talk, though most will only learn a few words or phrases. They’re great mimics, don’t be surprised if your cockatoo learns the sound of your alarm clock, the doorbell, or even the boot up tune of your computer!

Environment: Because these are smaller than most cockatoos they don’t require as much living space. You could keep a blue­-eyed cockatoo in a cage as small as a metre in all dimensions, but he or she would then need plenty of time outside the cage to exercise and stay healthy.

Preferred Food: In the wild, blue­-eyed cockatoos feed on seeds, nuts, berries, fruits, insects and their larvae. In captivity their diet should be around 50% grains, 45% fruit and vegetables. Restrict the nuts, as like all cockatoos, blue­eyed’s can have a tendency to weight gain. They’re fun to watch while they’re eating, using their zygodactyl feet to hold objects and to bring food to their beak

Relationship with People: Blue­-eyed cockatoos love to play and they love to be loved. This is a perfect choice if you’re looking for a bird with the personality of a larger parrot but don’t have the space for one. However, if you aren’t prepared to devote a minimum of two hours a day to your pet, choose a less love-­hungry bird. They’ll appreciate several hours a day outside of their cage for ‘playtime’ so make great house pets. They are best suitable to experienced bird owners.

Common Health Problems: Mostly related to incorrect nutrition, though parasites can also be an issue. Correct diet and impeccable hygiene will go a long way towards keeping your blue­eyed cockatoo healthy. It’s worth remembering that when a bird looks ill, it’s likely that it’s already very unwell, as their natural instinct in the wild is to hide symptoms of weakness. Consult a vet with specialist bird knowledge at the first symptom that anything is not as it should be.

Lifespan: 50 years or longer


The Blue-eyed Cockatoo are highly intelligent, but to a large extent uncommunicative birds. Their ability to repeat some words or sounds can be accomplished with continuous training, however this is not their main distinctive feature. Instead, they revel in the act of performing. Cockatoos are very inventive and, if toys are not provided, they will use what is currently at hand. Such objects may often take the form of their food dishes or perches.

Taming Basics:

In order for an owner to train or handle a Cockatoo, that person should first gain the bird’s trust. Taming and training is best done in a room that offers as few distractions as possible. A hand-fed baby is more susceptible to training and could be handled from the start, because it would not feel threatened in the presence of humans.

Initial Training: The taming process is divided into several steps. The owner should start with cage taming. The owner’s aim here is to approach the cockatoo’s cage without the bird jumping off its perch and heading to an opposite corner. To achieve this effect, one should pronounce soothing words and make only slight movements until the parrot is accustomed to the owner’s behaviour. The second step involves hand taming, during which the Cockatoo will climb on the owner’s hand and will allow the latter to be carried around. This is done by offering the bird treats outside of the cage until the animal becomes comfortable with taking them from the owner’s hand. The cage door is then opened and the same process is repeated, however the owner should now offer the treat inside the cage. Once the person has earned the Cockatoo’s trust, the bird will begin climbing the owner’s hand and will allow to be petted.

Advanced Training: Other training, such as performing various tricks and imitating speech will require patience and repetition. However, the effort is bound to pay off, for almost every Cockatoo parrot is able to learn at least several words.

Blue-Eyed Cockatoo Taming

Speaking

The bird’s natural ability to imitate speech and sounds can be enhanced by spending time talking, whistling and singing to the young pet bird. The more the owner converses with the bird, the faster the parrot will learn proper speech. The process should be started by repeating the parrot’s name clearly at feeding times during mornings and afternoons. The short attention span of young birds means that speech lessons should be kept brief (2 to 5 minutes). Parrots are natural mimics and as such will imitate almost any sound they hear as often as possible. The owner should pronounce a few two to three-syllable words or phrases slowly and cheerfully. Timing and consistency are important – mornings and evenings tend to be the time when parrots are most focused and absorb the most information. The best way to get speech patterns set in place is to pronounce them regularly.

Blue-Eyed Cockatoo Speaking

When the owner converses with the bird, that person’s words should convey excitement and pleasure. When the bird is taught how to name objects, small and colourful ones should be prioritized. As a reward, the bird should receive the correctly guessed object.

Parrots may learn to speak softer than their usual high-pitched voices. The lesson should begin once the bird is relaxed. Training periods should not exceed more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time. This exercise should be started with simple short words and phrases, such as “hello” and “good morning”.


The Blue-eyed Cockatoo (Cacatua ophthalmica) is a large, mostly white-coloured parrot. The species’ name is derived from the light blue rim of featherless skin around parrot’s eyes. Not much is known of the Blue-eyed Cockatoo’s behaviour in the wild. These birds are usually found in pairs, however they may also congregate in flocks of up to 20 to 40 birds, effectively forming a conspicuous and screeching community.

Blue-Eyed Cockatoo in Wild

They are native to New Britain, Papua New Guinea, where they thrive in a suitable habitat. The species’ population is estimated to consist of at least 10,000 mature individuals and the total estimate for all Cockatoos is about 15,000 individuals. This species inhabits lowland rain forests, found at elevations of up to 1,000 metres within the tropical belt. Although the parrots may also inhabit disturbed and partly deforested areas, they are likely to be dependent on primary forests for nesting trees.

Blue-Eyed Cockatoo Habitat

This bird is under threat from the rapid clearing of lowland forests. The loss of suitable nesting trees may have had a significant impact on the species’ reproductive output. This problem, however, may be masked by the significant life expectancy of the Blue-eyed Cockatoo, which may trick one into believing that their numbers are still great. Unlike other Cockatoo species, the Blue-eyed one remained relatively unaffected from the trapping and pet trade activities. However, some of these birds are kept in plantations around the city of Rabaul in New Britain and there is evidence of them being traded.

A Blue-Eyed Cockatoo

The Blue-eyed Cockatoo is protected by the law and international trade of this species is carefully controlled and monitored on the grounds of Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). These birds have been bred at Chester Zoo in England over the course of many years and the zoo has also supported research endeavours targeted at the wild population.


Feeding

Cockatoos are prone to weight gain. As a result, they require a low-fat diet. They should be provided with meals that consist of high quality pellets and a moderate amount of seeds. These meals should then be supplemented with a variety of fresh, bird-safe fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.

Cockatoo Food

  • A suitable Cockatoo diet consists of a basic seed mix, with supplements containing sprouted seeds and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Apples, pears, plums, oranges, bananas, peaches, carrots, lettuce, chickweed, dandelions are some of the more suitable supplements.
  • The parrot should not be fed with avocado, for it has poisonous effects on birds.
  • The owner may occasionally provide the bird with foods high on protein, such as cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs and cooked meat bones.
  • The parrot should not be given any seasoned or processed meat.
  • Unless the bird is going through a stressful period, vitamins and minerals are not required in a well-varied diet.
  • If the Cockatoo has established a tendency of breaking calcium blocks to pieces, the owner may sprinkle the bird’s food with calcium once per week.
  • The bird should have access to fresh drinking water on a daily basis.

Blue-Eyed Cockatoo Feeding

Bathing

The personal hygiene of Cockatoos may include a weekly shower or bath to remove any accumulated dust from the feathers. These parrots should be lightly brushed in the direction of the feathers on the top of their heads, neck areas and other areas that are unreachable for them. This will help remove the feather sheaths from new feathers, which would otherwise make the birds feel uncomfortable. The feathers should be trimmed to discourage flight and prevent Cockatoos from flying through open windows or doors. If beaks and claws are not worn down from climbing and chewing, they would need to be trimmed as well. A variety of perches is required in order to keep the nails trimmed.

Exercise

Blue-eyed Cockatoos, similar to all Cockatoos varieties, need plenty of exercise. As a result, these birds should spend at least 3-4 hours out of their cages on a daily basis and under strict supervision. Exercise and play-related activities are important for the physical well-being and the psychological health of all Cockatoos. These will also prevent stress, as well as screeching and feather-plucking habits. Said activities need to be presented in the form of large link chains, bird ladders, parrot swings, ropes and fresh branches for chewing. Bird toys should also be rotated on a regular basis.