The natural range for cockatoos range from Australia to Indonesia -- dry lands to humid forests -- which means that the diet of your cockatoo will vary depending on the species of cockatoo you have. All you can do is try to mimic the wild diet of your cockatoo based off your cockatoo's needs by offering a variety of foods.
Mix Up the Menu
The staple diet should include 50 percent seeds and nuts (25 percent if you decide to offer pellets); 25 percent fruits, vegetables and greens; 15 percent rice, corn and beans; 10 percent pasta, cheese, meat and other table foods. Your cockatoo will pick his favorites off the menu, and he'll always leave the rest in his bowl. But, you want to make sure that your cockatoo consumes a little bit of everything -- fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and proteins.
Muscles, Bones, Beaks and Feet
In general, protein is essential for muscle and bone growth and repair, and all animals need meet and vegetable proteins in their diet to ensure a balanced diet with proper nutrition and health. Your bird needs proteins to help maintain their feathers, feet, muscles, bones, organ function, blood formation, energy levels and overall metabolic functions. Both essential and non-essential proteins are formed by amino acids, and there are several important amino acids that birds needs -- Arginine, Histidine, Leucine, Isoleucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylaline, Threonine, Tryptophane, Valine, Glutamic acid, Glycine and Proline. No one type of food will provide all the essential amino acids and proteins that your cockatoo needs, so it's important to offer a variety of dairy foods, beans, legumes, other vegetables and insects.
Milk a Cow, Pluck a Chicken, Pick a Bug
Low-fat dairy products can be a great source of protein for your cockatoo, but birds are slightly lactose intolerant and cannot digest large quantities of dairy. You can offer your cockatoo yogurt, cottage cheese and hard cheese, as well as scrambled or boiled eggs and cooked chicken as a good sources of protein. Some cockatoos will even eat insects, so try giving your cockatoo mealworms and crickets for an added source of protein in his diet.
Grow a Garden
Your cockatoo can consume vegetable proteins, as well as meat proteins, so you want to make sure that you offer vegetables, greens and legumes that are high in proteins. Offer bean shoots, lentils, soy beans, pinto beans and kidney beans in variation. Broccoli, cabbage, parsley, silverbeat, spinach and watercress are good sources of proteins, as well.
Grab a Pack of Seeds
Whether your decide to purchase a commercial seed mix or make your own seed mix, you'll want to ensure that the blend is full of protein-packed seeds. Sesame seeds, millet, canary, wheat, milo and sunflower seeds are all packed with proteins, but be careful of offering sesame and sunflower seeds in excess, as these seeds are also high in fats.
- Cockatoo Sanctuary: Diet
- Heather Parsons: Balancing the Protein Content Within a Bird's Diet
- Susan Schwab, D.V.M.: Multi-Scope Nutrition for Parrots
- My Pet Stages: Feeding a Cockatoo
- Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images