We were given an unexpected surprise gift at Christmas time. We were working out at the farm near Christmas and we heard this child’s voice in the distance. All of our young people and staff had gone home for the day and all was quiet. We could see a white cockatoo in a tree about 50 metres away and within a short space of time he’d flown up to us, then he walked up to our feet and he said, “Hello Cocky, scratch” and that’s how we met Crackers for the first time.

Crackers was very hungry and very thirsty, so who knows how long he’d been flying for. He has a great vocabulary and obviously he was someone’s special pet. We tried everything but despite our best efforts we couldn’t find where he had come from. So, we built him a cage and he absolutely loves the social contact with all the kids.

We have had some wonderful experiences with Crackers in that he has formed some interesting connections with some of the young people. We have one young man with high functioning autism, who doesn’t have great communication skills, but who has a wonderful singing voice. One day he walked into the cage with Crackers. Crackers walked right up his arm and sat on his shoulder, then snuggled into his neck. This young man sang to Crackers and Crackers danced up and down, for quite a while. It has been such an amazing connection between the two of them ever since.

We have become very fond of Crackers and in such a short time he has become an important part of life on the farm.