One Bird or Two?

Most people, when buying their first bird, think to get a second one so the first doesn’t get lonely. But then they fall into the groove of, “My bird doesn’t want anything to do with me” and that’s because you got it a friend. This friend goes through it all with them, and he trusts his birdie companion over you. If you just want your bird for looks, then yes, get it a birdie companion and keep them in an outside aviary so they can be real birds instead of look pretty inside your house and yet get nothing from you as their owner. Better yet, get a fake bird or two if all you want them for is decoration. However, if you’d like a cuddly and fun companion to play with then get just one bird. Even if you have to leave on a trip, there are boarding places (often times at your vet) that can care for your bird while you’re away. Two birds is the starting of a mate, and a flock. One bird relies on you and itself to get along. With one bird, you need to have the time to stimulate his mind. This means a generous amount of toys; all different types and kinds and colors, as well as shapes and sizes. Foraging toys work great for keeping your bird busy during the day when you’re not around. Edible perches are great, too. Any type or mirror toy is not! Putting a mirror in your bird’s cage is the equivalent to getting another bird. Also with two birds (or a mirror) parrots will become aggressive towards you in order to protect and defend the other bird. They are standing up for their mate or small flock in which you are not part of.  

It is possible to have more than one bird in a cage and have them all be hand-tamed. I have three parakeets (also referred to as budgies) who live in the same cage. I can take any one of them out (or all) and have them be happy and playful. However, the way I tamed them was I raised them all from babies (I bred their parents) and had them housed separately during the process of taming and training. Two of them are brother and sister, the other one is unrelated from a different set of parents and he joined them later. They were all housed individually first, tamed, and then properly socialized, then put together in one cage. The cage was new to every one of them so there were no territorial issues to be had and they all went in at the same time. If I noticed one toy was loved over the others, I got more. For example, the boings. All 3 parakeets loved playing on a boing toy! So, I got three. It’s also important the cage space is large enough that they can get away from one another if they need to (mine were all fully flighted). If your birds’ wings are clipped, it makes it easier to pick on and harder for the bird to get away. Paying attention to food bowls is important as well, to make sure everyone is getting a fair share. There is usually a more dominant bird out of the flock that will kick the other birds out of the food dishes, so make sure the food is plentiful as are the dishes. I actually prefer taming more than one bird and then keeping them together. It is said that birds are not used to being alone in the wild - they always stay in earshot of either their mate, or their flock. So being solo isn't natural for them and shouldn't have to be in captivity, either. (Source from Of Parrots and People by Mira Tweti).

Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.

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