BREEDS & THEIR NEEDS              
(Cacatua Alba)

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This article was submitted by Club Member Janette - Many Thanks to her.

HPIM0166baby cockatoo & greys.sml.jpg (65471 bytes) HPIM0252molly & merlin.sml.jpg (68968 bytes) HPIM0374monty.sml.crp copy.jpg (67428 bytes) 2147FB3 cock bird in nest-box.sml.jpg (57812 bytes)
3 Baby Greys 
+ 1 Umbrella Chick
Molly & Merlin


Charlie protecting his N.Box

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  • White with a broad crest.

  • The underside of tail and wings are yellow.

  • Bill- blackish-horn colour.

  • Eyes black (reddish-brown iris in a mature female)

  • Length 45cm (18ins)


  •  The Birds' are dimorphic (i.e. look the same or very similar). 

    •  so their sex can only be established by DNA Testing (feathers or blood) 

    •  Or Surgical Sexing (by an Avian Vet).

  •  Or by the Adult bird's eyes once they reach about two+ years old.

  •  Female will have reddish-brown iris. 

  •  Male the eyes are jet black.  

  •  Mature female has a smaller head and beak than the male.


  • Umbrellas aren't particularly good at talking.

  • As a pet they need loads of constant attention.

  • Not a bird to be left on it's own all day - so if you work, this is not the bird for you!

  • They call them the "Velcro Bird" and that's exactly what they are like, very clingy.

  • Very loving but unpredictable when in "Breeding Mode".

  • NOT for the beginner  Breeder/ Bird-keeper or as a "First Pet Bird"!

  • They love to bathe.  It's lovely to watch them upside down with wings spread out 
    when there's a rain shower.


  • Mainly Indonesia.


  •  Forest, Open Woodland, Mangroves and Swamps.


  • Fairly noisy bird, initially shy. 

  • Quite a destructive bird, thin mesh is a Big "No No"  with these birds, they can chew thru. almost anything. 

  • Double, heavy-guage, parrot-proof wiring a must.  Esp. if you have other birds in an adjoining Aviary.


  •  Ideally, provide a spacious flight with shelter - 18 x 6 x 6 ft is an appropriate size.

  • Clean shavings and pieces of wood for them to chew are adequate for the nest box.


  • Good quality Parrot seed mix - not too many sunflower seeds.

  • They love monkey nuts. 

  • Walnuts are a special favourite but have to be halved for them, as they don't seem to be able to crack them open too well.

  •  Fruit and vegetables, love sweetcorn, peas and grated carrot mixed with egg food.

  • A calcium supplement, Daily essentials 3 + a Pro-biotic once a week.

  • Worming    x2 per year - spring b4 Breeding Season and Autumn after Breeding Season finished
    to prepare them for winter.


  • Usually begins in spring but can occur at other times of the year.

  • Breeding age starts around 4 - 5 years old. 

  • Hard wood nest box as ply wood won't last very long! 

  • A substantial Nest box size  : approx.15" square 30" high.

  • Clean shavings and pieces of wood for them to chew are adequate for them to create their own
    nest box base-bedding.

  • Chewing the wood helps to stimulate them into "Breeding mode".

  • CLUTCH :  is normally two eggs.

  • Both birds sit the eggs in turn and both parents feed the chicks.

  • Although, some do take longer to wean, they will beg for food for ages after they really need it.  

  • So, it's really a case of playing things by ear to make sure the babies don't suffer, physically or mentally.  

  • They should never move to a new home until they are fully independent.

Incubation -  28 days
Chicks Fledge - Around 14 weeks but still continue to be fed by the parents for weeks afterwards.
First moult   - Around 12 - 18 months old.


  • Age:  Usually ring them about 2-3 weeks old.

  • Ring Size :  W (12.7mm)


  • Some Captive-bred, domesticated Umbrellas don't sit their eggs well and if this is the case then it's best if the eggs are removed and put in Incubators.

  • Some will sit and hatch the chicks but tend just to feed one of the chicks and the other one is left to
    starve and eventually die. 

  • Here is where Nest box cameras can help identify the problem before the either chick gets to stage
    where it is beyond help.

  • It must then be removed (carefully & safely) then hand-reared.

  • Rarely, altho. it can happen, the parents manage to successfully rear both chicks.

  • Often they may feed them happily and regularly up to 2 weeks but often not past 3 weeks. 

  • Keeping a close eye on them is the key and if the parents start leaving the Nest box for extended periods,

    • it's best to remove the chicks and hand-rear, as they can easily get chilled,

    • esp. if the weather is cold and they don't have their parents to keep them warm.

  • If a chick becomes chilled, it's metabolism slows down and it's feed response suffers

    • so then it does not "beg" for food and therefore the parents are not stimulated to feed it.

  • It's a catch 22 situation - this is why it's best to remove the chick(s).

  • Make sure you warm the chick(s) through by putting it in a pre-heated Brooder.

  • This will help save it's life and also speed up it's metabolic rate to help kick-start it's "feed response"
    when you start to feed it.

  • Some breeders are lucky and do have Umbrella pairs that will parent-raise their chicks.

  • A hand-reared baby would be ready at around sixteen weeks old to go to a new home.

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