How to Introduce a Second Budgie
Budgies are great friends to have. A quick browse on Google images reveals many images of their amusing antics. It's no wonder that they are so popular to have as a pet. Most people start with one, but quickly start to wonder... should I get a second one? This article will give you advice and useful tips, and what to do next.
A Second Budgie?
Most birdlovers start out with just the one budgie. You spent a lot of time thinking about it, gaining information, bought a cage and fun toys and got the best birdfood you could find. Then you're off to the animal shop, put down some cash and walk home proud with your very first budgie.
But it's not long before you start to wonder... should I get a second budgie? Maybe you've noticed Tweety is a little lonely, or someone else points out that budgies really are group animals and should have a buddy. Maybe you're just so hooked on your tiny friend that you just want to have more of the same thing. All are good reasons to get another, or even third or fourth, budgie. Then the doubts rear their head: what if they don't get along?
Budgies have a personality of their own, as any parakeet owner will surely tell you. Sometimes, as it is with humans, those personalities collide. So, before you decide to get a second budgie, make sure you are willing and able to keep a second, separate cage. This is not only a good back-up plan in case your budgies can't stand each other. If one (or heaven forbid: more than one) budgie gets sick, you need to be able to place it in quarantaine, so the other birds don't get contaminated.
Generally speaking though, budgies are very genial and will quickly befriend another parakeet.
Initially, your first budgie will keep itself at a distance towards the newcomer. Don't be surprised if, after you spent all that time building a good relationship with your budgie, he even becomes a little angry towards you. Some birds have been known to be kind and attached to their owner, only to suddenly to bite or refuse to perch on their finger. This is temporary. Imagine your budgie to be a 3 year-old, both in wits and personality. He's really actually jealous! He had a palace for himself, all that attention and food, the toys, ... Everything revolved around him. Now he sees there's another one like him. An invader! They are that smart. So how do you deal with a jealous little budgie?
Who Are You?
First, don't treat him any differently. Give him just as much attention as before. Keep the newcomer separated, but make sure the cages are within hearing distance of each other. This way, neither bird feels threatened by the other, and they are able to safely get used to the other's presence. Suspicion turns into curiosity.
Hey, Don't Touch That!
After a day, move the two cages close together, place them next to each other. The birds will climb their cage trying to get to the other one. They want to examine the other bird. Do not let them out, don't put them in one cage! They'll still fight! After 2-3 days, you can let the tame budgie out. It'll fly to the new bird, land on top of the cage and investigate. If it can reach a toy or food, it will play with it or eat it. He's trying to set the pecking order! "All this is mine now, I'm the boss."
Allow this to happen. Don't feel pity, in the long run it's the best for both birds. Just keep an eye out that neither bird hurts the other. If possible, you can put a vegetable or a piece of fruit between the bars of the cage, so both birds can easily eat from it. Eating together like this will create the first bond and further help establish the pecking order.
Let's Hang Out at My Place...
Eventually, when things seem to go well, you can allow the two birds to spend the day in one main cage. The entire previous process should take at least one week. Don't let them sleep together yet.
Do keep an eye out the first few days for fights. They'll still quarrel, which is normal, but if feathers start to fly or they roll squeaking through the cage holding on to each other, it's time to take action. Extend the separation time and re-evaluate.
Maybe We Should Move in Together?
Finally, if there are no further problems (give it at least 3 days), you can try allowing them to spend the night in one cage. Again, if problems arise, take a step back and re-evaluate.
I Think We Should Redecorate...
An extra tip when putting two budgies together. On the day you put the two budgies in one cage, clean, reorganize the main cage and put in some toys from the new bird. This will fool the budgies into thinking they're both being put in a new cage and prevent the first bird from feeling the need to defend its own territory.
If all these steps are followed and you can let them sleep together in one cage without problems, congratulations: you've successfully extended your bird family!
Give them enough time, and very soon, they'll be the very best of friends. They'll feed each other, wash each other, and so on. Eventually, you'll find them doing everything together!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.