Rose-breasted Cockatoos


Rose-breasted cockatoos are among the most beautiful of all the parrots; Looked after properly, treated with the best of care and fed the proper diets, they can result in the most prolific breeders that you might ever have in your aviaries. Handfed Rose-breasted cockatoos are not only good breeders, but they make delightful pets as well.

Captive Breeding

There are many opinions and ideas that people share from time to time claiming to be IDhe[(l)ne and only method of success for keeping and raising Rose-breasted cockatoos or Galahs, as they are known in their native Australia. One of my favorite was one opinion shared with me, when Joseph Forshaw was visiting our farm. He asked why I kept Galahs. (As most of you are aware, the Galah is an agricultural pest in Australia and is treated similar to the pigeon or the sparrow in the United States) so this was a legitimate question. Joe then told me that the best way to raise Galahs would be to just ignore them and they would breed like chickens. There is a lot of wisdom in what he shared as I have watched breeders with Rosebreasted cockatoos over the period of approximately 35 years.

The first and foremost deterrent to your Rosebreasted being prepared for the breeding season is paying too much attention to them. This is translated in my opinion to over feeding. The Rose-breasted cockatoo has evolved into a very finely tuned feast or famine survivor. In their native habitat, they are accustomed to abundant times of food availability and devastating drought conditions at other times. Their metabolisms have developed the ability to store fat in reserve during abundant feed and to draw on these during famine. Of course this is accompanied with strenuous exercise throughout the year flying to and from food sources, nesting sights and courtship. Not to mention the rearing of young in-between all of this activity.

In captivity we have a tendency to feed fattening seed diets to our parrots and house them in low activity tolerant caging. Have you ever watched your Rosies in their cage? Which do they prefer, walking or flying? My experience has been to watch the Rosies and in their wisdom, conserving their energy preferring walking and short flights.

So here it comes; one more of IDhe[(l)ne and only methods of success opinions from the book of Hawley.

Many years ago Bernard Roer, my dear and remembered friend, suggested to me that I feed parakeet seed to all of the Rosies, approximately "V4 to % cup per pair thrown on the ground at the bottom of each cage (adjusted according to how they eat). The reasoning behind his advice was to avoid overfeeding and promote exercise in simulating foraging for food. During the colder months, cockatiel seed is used in place of parakeet seed.

Beginning in November, a diet of sprouted seeds mixed with chopped vegetables, fruits, some pellets and a very small amount of whole cooked corn, (approximately "V4 to % cup of mixture per pair) is thrown to the bottom of the cage and the addition of one peanut per bird is also fed in preparation for breeding season. This regime of feeding is followed until the end of July and starts all over again the following November.

One of our Christmas traditions is that if we want Christmas lights on the house, we have to have our nest boxes ready for...



Forshaw, J., illustrated by Cooper, W., 2002. Australian Parrots, Third [Revised] Edition: Genus Elophus Bonaparte, page 131, Queensland: Alexander Editions

Rowley, I., 1990. Behavioral Ecology of the Galah Eolophus roseicapilla in the Wheatbelt of Western Australia. Chipping Norton:

Surrey Beatty and Sons.Hawley, J., and M. Hawley, 1972. The Book of Hawley: Rose-breasted husbandry, Arizona: unpublished held close to the chest.