WARNING: Graphic Images
A note on different bird species: No different species of birds should be housed together in the same cage, unless you do your research on what birds are OK to go together in an aviary only. This is a common mistake people make with Cockatiels and Budgies (Parakeets). Usually they get along very well and because of this their owners keep them in the same cage. This is often fine, but there are too many instances when even the best of friends take it one step too far. Budgies can get very aggressive when they are pushed too far and this is bound to happen at least once in the years they live together. When aggrivated, it is not uncommon for budgies to bite off the toes off Cockatiels. Someone from the Cockatiels (Weiros) Australia Facebook group had a budgie attack some young (weeks old) Cockatiels. Sadly only two of them survived. As goes with all different species, allow them to spend out of cage time supervised, but give them their own safe place to call a home. No matter how well they get along, just like with people, sometimes all it takes is a bad day and someone to push you over the line. Similarly, with bigger animals (cats, dogs, bigger birds), sometimes ‘playing’ to one is too rough for a small Cockatiel who can easily get injured. Play time should always be supervised!
Now to the how to’s.
Introducing new things to birds is almost always a slow process, regardless of whether it’s food, a companion, or toys.
- All new birds should be quarantined for 30 days in a separate room. Birds hide illnesses very well and even the most reputable breeder can unknowingly have ill birds. It could take a few weeks for it to show. This is also an important step with introducing new birds for the sake of them getting along. It will give them time to get used to the other bird’s chirp.
- Once quarantined (and ideally vet checked), move the new bird into the same room as the other one – the ‘bird room’ – but on different sides of the room. Allow them to suss each other out. Let one out at a time and supervise them. They’re likely to fly straight to the other’s cage and investigate which will of course be scary for the bird locked inside. For this reason I recommend letting the new bird out first. It is important that you spent equal time with each bird so neither feel jealous.
- Only you can know how long they need to do this for. Use your intuition – read the bird’s body language. It could be a day, it could be weeks. As soon as the intentions go from hostility to pure curiosity. Then you can move their cages closer together – even next to each other, but leave some space between. Again, wait for no hostility and only curiosity, and only let them out one at a time, sharing your time with them equally.
- Allow them both out at the same time. Remember, all of this must be supervised. They may get along like two peas in a pod, or they may clash while they assert who is going to be the dominant one. Try not to interfere in this process as it is a necessary part of nature – even if they start fighting with their beaks. However, if you start to see blood or hear screeching or get a bad feeling overall, then it’s time to intervene. It was too fast. Go back to step 3.
- When step 4 is a success you’ve pretty much got it. At some point they’re likely to ‘move in’ together on their own accord. If they don’t after a few weeks you can try putting them in the same cage one night and see how they go, but if they backslide, go back to step 4.
A story from a Cockatiels (Weiros) Australia member
Just to confirm quarantine reasons just in case people are impatient …We got Cleo and of course kept her quarantined the whole time anyway … but long story short I think …
Vet check the day after came up OK, warning though to keep in quarantine just in case, end of first week wanting to introduce them, but no … keep holding out just in case.
3 days later we end up with pic 2 (not unexpected but still sad) have Cleo on antibiotics and Jez on them just in case, update in two days as we couldn’t get to an avian vet as no money and if it doesn’t work off we go to a new vet … and either way at least another week of quarantine all going well
Comments & feedback highly appreciated