We have a Moluccan and she is everything you talk about. She loves me and is jealous of my wife. She is 23 now. She lays eggs every 3 to 4 months, 2 or3. About when do they stop laying?
This is really more egg laying than is good for her. She probably views you as her mate and for her well being, you need to try to change the bond you have with her. Cockatoos can be very cuddly and we used to think it was fine to hug and love on them as if they were a dog or cat. But when you do this with a bird, you are sending the message that you are the mate. In the wild, only a mate would have close physical contact. When you handle her, it is best to limit any petting to head scratches. When you pet her on her back or around or under her tail or cuddle with her in general, this is triggering her hormones. I would recommend slowly weaning her off of this type of contact. There are many types of enrichment you can provide for her instead of the physical contact. Cockatoos are very smart and can learn a variety of tricks that are based on natural behaviors. Try researching behavior modification and trick training for birds. Nothing radical, but something like teaching her to toss a ball to you, and then into a basket or can. Maybe putting some rings on a pole. This type of play will give her physical and mental enrichment and hopefully take her mind off of laying eggs. Cockatoos can become chronic egg layers to the point where they endanger their own lives. In extreme cases, a Vet has to intervene and administer a hormone shot.
Other triggers for egg laying are feeding lots of fresh foods daily, too much light – long days – and a warm environment. Try limiting fresh foods to a couple of times a week. Cover her cage early in the evening and make sure she has plenty of quiet time rather than long, active days.
I’m going to give you some links to a couple of our pages that have articles on emotional well being, foraging, enrichment & playtime. And also our Avian Expert articles which can give you some great ideas for other types of interaction with your bird. So many cockatoos end up in rescue situations so it’s good to make some changes now because she is still young – in the wild she would not have started breeding and egg laying until she was well over 10 years old. Moluccans can live to be in their 80’s or older, so you don’t want to face decades of her laying eggs or having behavior issues.
Thank you for asking Lafeber,