I successfully introduced a new parakeet into my household to prevent my first parakeet, Bogey, from getting lonely.
Why I Decided to Bring Home a New Birdie
When I first brought my parakeet, Bogey, home, I thought he'd be a solo bird. A novice to bird-keeping, I just didn't have the confidence to take on more than one bird. Fortunately, Bogey proved to be an easy and patient little bird, so my confidence grew.
After a couple of months, I noticed that Bogey wasn't singing or playing much. He'd peck his toys a few times, but none of them seemed to hold his interest for long. I tried rotating his toys and adding new toys, but he didn't care—just a few pecks and that was it.
What Was Wrong With Bogey?
Quiet behavior from a bird can indicate a health problem and should always be checked first. Fortunately, Bogey was and is still a very healthy bird, so I had to look elsewhere for the cause. Lack of vocalizations in birds can also indicate fear, but Bogey quite happily jumped onto my finger and sat on my shoulder, all without a single nip. Whatever else was wrong, he didn't fear me.
I finally came to the conclusion that Bogey was lonely, in spite of the hours of attention that I heaped onto him. Parakeets in the wild congregate in flocks and are quite social. Bogey needed to be part of a flock. Since I couldn't bear to have him unhappy, I resolved to give him a friend. But before I brought that new companion home, I had several things to do.
Make Sure Your Cage Is Big Enough for Two
Cage size is crucial for parakeets. Before purchasing a second parakeet, check to make certain your cage is big enough for two birds. Generally, a cage that's 2'x2'x2' will be adequate for two parakeets.
Your cage should be long rather than tall to allow the parakeets enough room for exercise. You will also need an additional cage to keep your new parakeet in during the quarantine period.
Look for Features That Facilitate Cleanup
When purchasing a cage, look for options that will make day-to-day maintenance easier. Seed guards can reduce the mess on your floor. Trays should be easy to remove and clean. There should be at least one large door for you to easily move things like toys and bathtubs into and out of the cage.
Other Cage Considerations
Remember, your parakeets will be spending a significant portion of their time in their cage. Make sure that their home is comfortable.
Other factors to consider will be the placement, size, and types of doors on the cage. Check to see that the doors are located in good places to access what you need to access in the cage. A cage top that opens is the ultimate in convenience.
Remember, you'll need two cages: One for your current bird, and a temporary second for the new addition to your flock. The second cage can be smaller than the one that the birds will eventually live in, since the bird will only be living in the second cage during quarantine.
Pick the Perfect Companion
Parakeets pair up well in general. Temperament plays a part in your choice for a companion. If breeding is not a concern, two males will form a harmonious couple, but two females can lead to a lot of bickering.
Parakeets kept in odd-numbered flocks tend to fight amongst themselves more, with the majority ganging up on the unpaired bird. For the best results, make sure each parakeet has a buddy.
Make a Decision About Breeding
Parakeets breed easily, but does that mean you should enable them? Breeding parakeets requires an investment of time and money. In addition to the cost and trouble, you will have to find homes for your new birds unless you plan on keeping them all.
Breeding birds will need vitamins at the very least. Breeding boxes are relatively cheap. Baby birds will also require a special formula if hand-fed. Check with your pet store to make sure that the supplies you need are available.
Parakeets can clutch as many as eight eggs at a time, so consider carefully your ability to house so many new birds. Selling the babies is generally not profitable for the home breeder. Before breeding, plan for your new brood's welfare.
How to Introduce the New Parakeet
After quarantine, bring the new parakeet's cage out and place it by your current parakeet's cage. If they seem interested in each other and there is no fighting, allow them to mingle during out-of-cage time.
Once they appear comfortable with each other, place both of them in the same cage. If fighting ensues, go back to the first step and proceed slowly.
Generally, parakeets get along very well, so don't worry. This process in most cases won't take long and may happen in one day or less.
Bogey and Bella took to each other right away, although I think Bogey was a little overwhelmed by all the attention. Now they are a devoted couple with only the occasional squabble.
Keep your parakeets entertained to keep the peace. Don't overcrowd the cage with toys, though. Two or three will be plenty.Toys should be rotated often.
Don't Raise a Lonely Bird
Parakeets that are raised alone need a lot of attention. You must weigh your desire for a talking bird against the happiness of your parakeet.
If you don't have the time to give your parakeet a lot of attention, getting a companion bird will help ensure that your parakeet stays happy and healthy. I found that getting a second bird was the better choice for my flock.
If you desire expanded knowledge on how to care for your parakeet, you will find many good reference books about this popular bird. Whether you are a budgie beginner or an advanced breeder, you can find a guide to help you take the best care of your parakeets.
Pictures of My Parakeets
Green and yellow parakeet.
To Clip or Not to Clip?
Some owners keep their birds' wings clipped. Others feel that it is cruel.
I personally find it safer to keep my flock clipped. Neither Bogey nor Bella were hand-raised, and only Bogey will willingly step up on my finger. So I clip their wings once every six months. Where do you stand?
|Yes, sometimes it is necessary for the safety of the bird.||No, it should never be done under any circumstances.|
My son left us his birds while he is away at college. We wanted to clip their wings so we wouldn't have a problem with them getting out of the house. We were very careful but in the end, one of them, who had become attached to me, saw me leaving and flew over to me as I left. He saw the great beyond and we have never seen him since. My heart broke as did my son's. We have since clipped his mates’ wings. It was wonderful seeing them fly around the house and I hated doing it, but I feel if you are going to keep a bird you need to do what is in the best interest of the bird even when at first it doesn't seem like it. We have since created a play area for Azra and I am looking for a playmate for her so she will have a happy life with us. - anonymous
You should never ever clip a parakeet’s wings. If you are a responsible pet owner and supervise your bird when it is out of the cage, then it will be perfectly fine! Just put the dogs and cats in another room and never leave a large thing of water out that they can fall into. God gave flight to birds for a reason. We shouldn't alter them just to tame them. Let your bird have the freedom of flight it deserves. - Amber
Yes! It provides a safety net for them, and anyway, birds don't think like that. Sure, they have feelings, but once the wing clipping is done and they attempt to fly and feel that it's different, they adjust and move on with their happy selves. - anonymous
I think you shouldn't because I have two: one came with her wings clipped, and the other didn’t. I don't think the unclipped one sees her as an equal. - Jax
I think it is a good idea. Just recently found a very tame parakeet outside. It must have gotten away from someone. Its wings were not clipped so it flew far. If they were clipped, it may have had a chance to get back because then it could not fly too far. - pam
I think it is cruel to clip a bird’s wings. I have a cat so if I clip the bird’s wings it may get harmed. And birds love flying, so it would break my heart to clip my bird’s wings. I always make sure to close the door when my bird is flying around. I have owned parakeets for 16 years and not one parakeet I’ve had has ever had its wings clipped. I have 9 birds and none of them have ever gotten away. - retacake
bookpaw on June 22, 2018:
i have a one female and i want to get her a buddy but i am not sure i want to get a female and i not sure what to do with eggs if i get a boy
Anonymous on June 17, 2017:
Don't pair up two females and one male they will fight to death over male.
Marshmallow on March 07, 2016:
Amazing! This helps me a lot
Meganhere on November 12, 2013:
They're called budgies in Australia. I've had several and they're great pets. Cute lens.
maryseena on May 21, 2013:
We call them love birds as they love to snuggle up and preen each other! A single bird would be really lonely even with all the attention you can give!
Takkhis on May 21, 2013:
We have so many parrots where I live, they come almost everyday. They are red and green color parrots and very popular in Asia :)
wjlambert lm on May 20, 2013:
We have only 1 Cockatiel right now (his name is Beeb), I don't know if we could deal with twice the tweeting every morning. Plus he's a middle-age bird, having just seen his 12th bird-day. But since my wife follows the antics of Disco, it's not as though we haven't considered getting another. Thanks for the great lens.
Monika Weise (author) from Indianapolis, IN USA on May 20, 2013:
@OhMe: Thank you! I'm considering getting an African Grey, too. And then I really must stop lol
Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on May 20, 2013:
We have had parrots and now have a cockatiel but have never had a parakeet. Congrats on being in the top tier. Nice job.
Monika Weise (author) from Indianapolis, IN USA on May 18, 2013:
@SteveKaye: They are fascinating little dickens :) Mine give me endless hours of amusement.
SteveKaye on May 18, 2013:
Over the past three years, I've discovered that birds are fascinating animals. The more I observe them, the more impressed I am with their behavior.
Monika Weise (author) from Indianapolis, IN USA on May 08, 2013:
@Gypzeerose: Awww, another puppy would be cool. We are at the limit of what my landlord will allow, so for now my little tribe is complete with one dog, one cat, and four birds. But if I win the lottery, all bets are off! thanks for the visits and the angel dust :)
Rose Jones on May 07, 2013:
Happy to sprinkle some angel dust on this cool lens - you know me, stupid about animals. :) I am thinking about adding another dog - I have never had a bird. You have provided valuable information for bird lovers, pinned to my birds board and out by digg.
Cynthia Haltom from Diamondhead on May 07, 2013:
My mother used to raise parakeets. We always had a flock of them in the house. It was a real educational experience for me we were always excited when there were new eggs in the brooding box. I can understand how it feels to be homeless since I lived outside without real shelter after Katrina for many months.
Lori Green from Las Vegas on April 21, 2013:
I have had parakeets all my life. I never bred them, but I did breed cockatiels. Actually it was their idea not mine. Bonding between the birds is pretty intense. I had a pair that would scream bloody murder if they couldn't see each other at all times.
gottaloveit2 on April 19, 2013:
I had a parakeet (Tweetie) that I got for my aging Mom. Once she died, I knew my friends would love Tweetie more than I (and he liked them a whole lot better too). So, Tweetie is doing well and has even started to talk. Blessed article!
Virginia Allain from Central Florida on April 17, 2013:
My grandparents had a single parakeet which we all loved. Pretty Penny was such fun and picked up lots of words and phrases. My grandfather taught her to say "preposterous, birds can't talk."
Amy Trumpeter from Oxford on March 16, 2013:
Those birds are so cute!
anna-allen-90475 on March 02, 2013:
I love Parakeets. They have been a part of my life since 2002. I have a Male Parakeet who just lost is companion so I am trying to decide whether or not to get him a new mate. This site has useful information on introducing a new Parakeet.
anonymous on January 27, 2013:
I love my parakeets carla and simon are very wonderful
anonymous on September 23, 2012:
I have three budgies I just bought the third one yesterday but now the new and the oldest one are picking on my other one
Lynn Brophy from Commack on June 11, 2012:
Nice Lens..I have 7 parakeets at home, 5 English Budgies and 2 American parakeets. I am having a harmony problem lately so I have them separated into 3 cages. Would like to narrow it down to 2 cages (one big and one regular but having a hard time buddying them up. I know that 2 of them are a pair as different as they are, and they are in the regular sized cage...but the others are a mystery! This one hates that one...that one hates the other one...and the youngest is by himself because they pick on him. Would love to have any suggestions or ideas. Meanwhile, very nice lense...I enjoyed it.
MaryThereseBenn on June 06, 2012:
Loved your lens. Loved the pics!
Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on May 12, 2012:
Great lens. Love budgies. Enjoyed your photos.Thanks for sharing. Blessed
lyttlehalfpint from Canada on May 06, 2012:
I have 9 in a huge 6 foot cage ... much louder than I ever thought they could be. But I do adore them all.
SarahBelleHorn on April 30, 2012:
Wow, i didn't know all that. I just thought my parakeet was quiet, and now i'm seriously thinking of buying another so he'll be happier.
imolaK on February 27, 2012:
Thank you for sharing these helpful data with us. Blessed!
MGuberti on February 26, 2012:
Wow, I didn't know that much about parakeets!
BestItems on February 22, 2012:
Thanks for the information, I enjoy reading about parakeet's parrots and other birds.
anonymous on February 20, 2012:
Enjoyed my visit to your article tonight.
Missy Zane on February 19, 2012:
Love this lens. I learned so much!
Brandi from Maryland on February 18, 2012:
Bogey is beautiful! I've never had a bird for a pet, but I do enjoy the outside ones. Nice lens! :)
Frischy from Kentucky, USA on February 18, 2012:
Thank you for this lens! I think our little Juno will be getting a new friend soon. He brings us so much joy. Of course, we want him to be happy. Stay tuned for an announcement concerning a new family member!
Colony Parakeet Breeding Versus Breeding Single Pairs
According to South Coast Pet Hospital, there are two main practices for breeding parakeets: colony breeding and breeding individual pairs.
Colony Breeding for Parakeets
Colony breeding involves setting up several pairs in a large flight. The flight should be about 6' L x 3' W x 4' H, with wire spacing of no more than one-half inch. You should provide a nest box for each pair, plus one extra nest box to prevent fighting, and all the nest boxes should be hung at the same height near the top of the enclosure.
While colony breeding may provide some convenience, such as having one area to clean and ensuring your pairs get enough exercise, it also has some drawbacks.
- You can't ensure your pairs won't switch partners, or that an especially dominant male won't breed more than one female.
- There may still be fighting even though having a balanced number of males and females usually keeps things peaceful.
- There's a small chance that some parents will attack babies that aren't their own, and eggs are sometimes damaged as well.
- You may not be able to keep track of which chicks belong to which pair if you allow the parents to raise them through weaning.
Breeding Individual Pairs
It's much easier to control the situation if you give a single pair of parakeets their own space for breeding.
- You'll never have doubts about any chick's parentage.
- There's far less chance of fighting between the adults.
- Eggs are rarely damaged.
Introducing New Birds into Your Existing Flock
One of the biggest appeals for me about moving to our historic Appalachian homestead this fall was the opportunity to have some poultry. I have a love for chickens that defies common sense for someone that has never owned her own, so I convinced my husband to make it a priority to restore the old chicken coop on our property. When we arrived in late August, the chicken coop was so choked with a weed forest that the door couldn’t be opened.
We worked together over several several weeks to clean the coop and build an outdoor run for the birds. Learning as we went and utilizing the help of several work groups, we eventually twisted the last piece of poultry wire into place and were ready to claim some chickens for our own. One of our neighbors had agreed to sell us a portion of his expansive flock, so the two of us packed the dog's crate into the back of the Sisters' pickup and drove the half mile past Big Laurel to his property to buy them.
We gathered the hens without too much difficulty and brought them back to our newly restored coop. The size of the coop dwarfed our six tiny hens, and the underutilized space was all the encouragement we needed to peruse Craigslist until we found more fowl to add to the mix. Two weeks after getting our original six, we added two silkie chickens, and a month after that we introduced four guinea fowl.
Within a short amount of time we have managed to get three different varieties of bird and successfully acclimated them all to each other. But often times this posses a problem because introducing new birds into an existing flock puts all of them at risk for avian diseases, territorial behaviors and the perils of the pecking order. Below are some hints and tips (some that we followed and some that we will be using in the future!) for introducing new birds into your existing flock.
Quarantine the new girls. It is recommended that new poultry be quarantined for one to four weeks before being introduced to the new flock. The new birds should have a separate coop and run to use and should not share any space or breathing air with the established flock. Keeping them separate while they are stressed from being moved also allows the new birds to get used to your farm or homestead without the pressure of having to meet new flock mates right away.
Slow introduction. Once the quarantine period is over, allow your new birds to share some run space with the existing flock, separating them with a wire fence divider. This will allow them to get used to each other in a non-threatening environment and will prevent fights that could get nasty.
Introduce the new girls into the coop at night. A sleepy bird is a dopy bird, and a dopy bird isn't likely to pick a fight, even when new birds are in her territory. Chickens become very sleepy and docile when it gets dark out, meaning they are less apt to fight newcomers. The newest hens might take a few days to fully adjust to the coop, but they will benefit from watching the behavior of their new flock mates.
Let the pecking order resolve itself. Like many other animals, chickens have a pecking order that allows them to have a sense of where they belong in the flock. Some are dominant peckers, others are on the bottom and will be pecked into place. Pecking order will happen even if your chickens all look exactly the same to you. Throw some tasty scraps to your chickens, and by the fighting and pecking that ensues you will see who the top girls are! Pecking order is part of a chicken's biological nature, so try to stay uninvolved unless you think some hens aren't getting enough food or should be separated from the rest of the flock for their own safety.
Note: Problems can occur "mixing" breeds in a flock when you have several chickens that are very similar looking and then one or two of a different type. These oddballs are often mercilessly picked on. We feared this would happen to our silkie chickens and watched the very carefully for their first weeks in the coop. There was some territorial pecking from the youngest hens but nothing that seemed dangerous. One benefit for us is that our coop is big enough for the silkies to be able to keep to themselves and avoid some of the meaner hens if they need to.
Special instructions for Guinea fowl: Guinea fowl can be bullies with other poultry and won’t easily tolerate newcomers. They can be relentless in their pursuit of a victim, and may keep him or her away from the food. We didn't have this problem because our guinea fowl were only three months old when we introduced them and they were brought into a coop that already housed chickens that felt secure in their pecking order. So far there have been no issues for us, but keep their bullying behavior in mind if you chose to reverse the order of your introductions.
Lydia Noyes is serving as an Americorps volunteer with her husband in West Virginia at the Big Laurel Learning Center. There, they live with two nuns and help to run a sustainable homestead mountain-ridge retreat and ecology center that resides on a 500-acre land trust. You can find her at her personal blog and Instagram. Read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts.
All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.
Parakeet Aggressive Behavior
Parakeets are rarely aggressive by nature: their burst of temper will come and go quickly. They may fight over food, and will often clash briefly over friends, toys or territory but all of this is normal in parakeet society. 99% of the time, these aggressive outbursts are to do with food, personal space or mating. A cock bird will jealously guard his hen during the nest-building and mating period. A hen can also become aggressive during this period. AS long as things don’t get out of hand, then there’s nothing to worry about.
If you notice that a bird’s aggression is increasingly becoming focused on one individual in particular, it may be time to separate the two. On rare occasions this can be because two birds are simply not compatible, for reasons we still don’t understand. This is unfortunate if they are your only two birds, but for the well-being of both of them, it is best to separate the two and perhaps re-introduce them at a late date, first by putting the two cages side by side and then, if that goes well, allowing them to cohabit once more.
With mating season testosterone bubbling in his brain, a dominant cock bird might try to make life miserable for his neighbours. This can also be the case with a hen during nesting season. It’s important not to overreact in these situations, as this will normally bubble-down once the mating/nesting season is over, and as long as it’s not just one bird having to put up with all the grief, the flock will sort it problems out on its own. If a single bird is being bullied all the time, you may have to remove it while the aggressive one is attempting to be king or queen of the roost.
An aggressive parakeet will use its beak as a weapon
Parakeet Dominant Behavior
A dominant bird, whether cock or hen, will show aggression by squawking and biting. It will often raise its wings as it squawks -- the kind of behaviour you will encounter daily if you own lots of parakeets.
Actually spotting aggression in your birds may be hard for beginners or first time parakeet owners, as these little birds are more often than not hyperactive, vocal and socialising physically without being aggressive. Here are some of the tell-tale signs to look out for:
- Raised wings – the parakeet equivalent of raising your fists.
- Hissing – the throaty hiss of the parakeet says “keep away!”
- Biting another bird’s feet – this is never done as part of a mutual grooming session, and is always meant aggressively.
- Picking at another bird’s feathers or head – if done gently, with a happy recipient, this is simply mutual grooming, which is what contented birds do. If the action is violent, you’re witnessing a fight. It will usually fizzle out once the less dominant bird has had enough and retreats.
- Chasing birds around the cage – if an aggressive bird pursues another individual for any length of time, you might have a problem on your hands. If this happens regularly, one of the two birds will need isolating for a week. Keep a close eye on the birds once they have been reintegrated.
- Not letting another bird eat or drink – small outbreaks of bad temper around food and water are normal. Providing more than one feeding station – or a sufficiently big one – usually sorts this problem out. If a parakeet is going out of his way to keep another bird from feeding for any length of time, you have a similar problem to the chasing issue mentioned above.
- Targeting a new bird – a restocked flock will need to find its own balance. Keep an eye on behaviour, and only intervene if there is persistent, detrimental bullying. Jealousy may be an issue in a smaller cage set up – your established bird may resent the attention you are giving the newcomer. Keep the older bird happy with finger treats and attention, and his tantrum should subside.
- Defending a perch or food bowl – this is usually a symptom of overcrowding. Make sure you’ve given your birds enough space and provided plenty of different perches and bowls.
Cleaning your Birds Cage
Your birds cage should be cleaned often to avoid infection and disease. Keep perches free of feces. Food should never be allowed to sit around or under the cage to spoil. Grates should be scrubbed every week with soap and water, water and vinegar or a bird cage cleaner that is safe for birds.
Every season the cage should be scrubbed and disinfected outside. An ounce of bleach to a quart of water will disinfect the cage. Make sure to rinse it good and allow the sun to dry it and evaporate any bleach water. The sun is a natural disinfectant.
All toys should be inspected daily for any hazards. And rotated to avoid boredom.
A clean cage will go a long way to keep your bird healthy.
NOTE: Stainless Steel cages should only be cleaned with a non-abrasive
bird safe cleaner or just good old soap and water.
If you have hard water in your area it is always a good idea to dry your stainless steel cage to keep it beautiful and spot free.