Ask Lafeber


January 14, 2021

Cockatoo only eats her corn

I have a goffin cockatoo. I bought good food for her. The only thing she will eat is corn an sunflower seeds I know this isn’t good for her she is three years old. I love this bird an she loves me. But never was given anything healthy food she screams for corn if I don’t feed her she throws her seeds. Any help would be appreciated thank you


Hi Valerie,

When you are doing what is best for your bird, sometimes tough love is the only answer. I know you love her, but allowing her to eat this way is literally killing her with love. This isn’t a matter of her being really healthy or healthy enough. She will end up getting severely malnourished, which will cause internal organ damage as well as damage to her feathers, skin, eyes – every part of her needs to be properly nourished or she will slowly die. You probably make good diet choices for yourself most of the time. If you have a child who loves candy and chips, you aren’t going to allow that child to only eat junk food. The same goes for a pet. You have to change her diet if you want her to be healthy, happy and live a long life. You wouldn’t want to watch her suffer from seizures, skin conditions, blindness and any of a number of problems she is going to face if she keeps eating the way she is eating. I’ve never met a bird who could not be converted to a nutritionally balanced diet, but I have met many well meaning bird owners like yourself who gives in when the bird throws a tantrum. I have a Goffin’s who is in his 50’s. He has always been fed a nutritionally balanced diet and is a very healthy bird with no signs of being a senior. Goffin’s are extremely smart birds. Your bird has trained you well. If she screams, she gets what she wants. If she throws her food across the room, you give her what she wants. Can you imagine a human child acting like that? You are dealing with about a 3-5 year old child with feathers. You are allowing her to have her way, and eat fat and calories while getting no nutritional value from her food. You don’t have to convert her to pellets, but you must convert her to a nutritionally balanced diet. A loose seed mix will not work, even if it is fortified. Parrots remove the hulls from their seeds, so any added vitamins are lost when the bird eats. If you add vitamins to the water, they do not get enough and many vitamins do not remain stable in water.

I would recommend converting her to our foraging diets. Nutri-Berries, Pellet-Berries & Avi-Cakes are nutritionally balanced the same as a pellet, but they are not ground up. They contain whole, hulled seeds and other nutrients to provide a balanced diet. You would start by crumbling the food in with her regular food. Each day you need to reduce the amount of her old diet and give her more of the balanced food. If she screams wanting something else, ignore her. Don’t go to her, don’t try to reason with her, don’t do anything but walk out of the room quietly and ignore her. Any other response from you is a victory for her. She doesn’t care if you talk to her, yell at her, shake your finger at her – it’s a reaction and that’s what she wants. If she throws the new food, pick it up and put it back in the bowl, again saying nothing to her – don’t even make eye contact. If you see her try the new food, praise her. She will eat it eventually. But you have to be in charge, and be consistent and follow through because this is what is best for her. This is the best way to show her that you love her. When she is eating the new food, the next step is for her to eat it without you needing to crumble it. Again, she will do this as long as you do not give in. My Goffin’s eats and loves these foods and when he came to me, he came from a home where he only ate loose seed, mostly sunflower seeds. Our foraging f9ods are fun to eat and great for a smart cockatoo. Once she is eating the whole berries or cakes, then you need to make sure she is eating most of each berrie or cake without wasting too much. You can’t allow her to only pick out her favorite bits and throw the rest. She needs to eat most of each berrie or cake without wasting too much. we can help you through this. Call our customer service at 800-842-6445 and ask for Cyndi. Cyndi will talk with you and give you tips and encouragement as you work on this transition with your bird. Keep telling yourself you are loving her to good health, and if you find yourself wanting to give in, tell yourself you are killing her with love. Again, Goffin’s are very smart, and once she figures out that you aren’t going to let her train you anymore, she will eat the food and be very happy and healthy! I’ll give you a link to our feeding guide, as well as to three recent webinars we presented that all focus on nutrition. Good luck with her and I’m sure if you stick to it, she will be eating healthy foods in no time!

Bird Food and Nutrition Products

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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