One Bird or Two



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This is a common question....would my bird like a buddy? With some families of birds, I would quickly say no. For example, the Poicephalus rarely want to share you with anyone else. Conures, on the other hand, are birds that love to preen and be preened, to cuddle and be cuddled, and they can  enjoy a buddy! But, you want to be sure that you included in their realm of buddies!

With a buddy, will they not be as attached to the person? Probably not, but that depends on what type of attachment the person wants. It also depends on how flexible the owner is. We have pet birds we keep together 80% of the time, but if one starts guarding the other or gets overly territorial, then I am sure to have a spare cage to separate them for a time. We also have our birds that share a day cage , but have separate sleep areas. One sleeps in the cage and the other sleeps on the play top
. Read about sleep cages by clicking here.

If someone wants 2 birds, I usually recommend that someone gets that first baby and develops a really tight bond. Then about 6 months later, or better yet, wait a year, get another, and  if they are not interested in breeding, that they get the same sex. Click here to read if two birds of the same sex will get along. You, as an owner, need to watch and know your birds well enough to anticipate a problem. If two start becoming aggressive to you in anyway, then I would separate them. You can have periods of time where they are together and periods of time where they are separate.

The first bird will have started bonding to you, and it will teach the new baby, which can be the same species or a similar-sized but different species. This second baby will often bond more to the first bird than to you because it hasn't had time alone with you like the first. I have had people keep their two birds separate until the second bird develops a tight bond too to their human.

But even if that second bird does bond tighter to the first, that can be a good thing. You do want them to enjoy each other, and it will reduce their neediness and demands on you. I don't really want them to be so clingy to me that they are constantly wanting to be with me, which a single bird will do unless you teach them as babies how to play by themselves.

Back to your question about how they get along with others. There is never a  hard rule about whether it is safe to put 2 birds in the same cage. They are all unique individuals. I know Crimson Bellies that have bonded to and been caged with Green cheeks with no problems. Yet, I have had squabbles even between proven pairs (meaning they are really bonded closely) that has resulted in death. Hormones can make birds change in attitude towards one another. I do always introduce 2 birds in a neutral territory and not inside  one of the cages. Usually, they meet on a table or play gym. It is just about impossible to predict if 2 birds will get along. Never count on adding a second bird and it sharing the cage with your first bird. If they can share a cage, then that is an added blessing, but be prepared for 2 cages. Read my article on if gender determines if 2 birds will get along....

Some birds will never get along, and some are fine together. And, I have even found that it will vary from home to home. We had 2 Pionus, Maxie and Chico. They were best of buddies, shared a cage and both were very handtame. They belonged to different daughters, but shared the same cage all day long and night long. We did not use sleep cages at that time. When Lisa bought Liberty, her Grey about 8 years ago, Maxie went to live with a lady nearby who was in the military. Chico stayed here alone for at least another 1 .5 years. Then, Chico went to live with a couple (who has a Green cheek of ours) up in Flagstaff. Eventually, the military lady asked me if I wanted Maxie back.  She wanted to give her to a good home for she was going overseas. We did not need another pet, so I contacted the couple who have Chico. They took in Maxie. Chico and Maxie no longer got along, or were able to share a cage. I know they are still working on things, but this was very interesting to me. Part of it could be that they were owned by different daughters here in my home, so there was no jealousy. But, currently we have 2 Greys side by side who do not get along and they are owned by 2 different people in our home. Birds make choices that I can't understand. I can just observe and try to make it all work.

Do be aware that your bird has the potential to be jealous and regards you as belonging to him. Many parrot owners buy a second bird, thinking that they are getting their pet parrot a companion, but that can backfire on the owner. Your birds wants you! Of course, if the first bird is older and more set in his ways, this situation is more likely than if they are both young and not sexually mature yet. Here is one example of jealousy.

I did have a lady write me this year about her "Peanut" who is a Blue Crown she got years ago from us. Peanut was a great companion for many years. The owner added a Sun conure last year (Butter) and that is when Peanut changed. He would just all of a sudden chomp down on her with no warning.  

Hi Beth:

Peanut has been biting me lately Beth. He really draws blood too, and my skin is so thin anymore, very distressing. He can act like he is going to be the little doll that he has always been, and then bam...he nails me good. Do you think if I found another home for Butter he would go back to his old kind self? I don't draw my hand back, I do take the bite, but darn it hurts, especially when he gets me on my arm that I hurt. Is he going thru his teenage years?

Butter and he tolerate each other, but will not hang out on the same cage together..Little Butter's personality is like Peanut's used to be, gives ya kisses, snuggles up in my ear, never bites, goes to anyone, and Peanut is a one person bird now, and now he is turning on me, the one person. Can you give me any hints on what to do? I will find Butter another home if you think that is what is going on. I try to give both of them the same amount of attention, but when I give Butter any attention, Peanut just goes bonkers...climbing up and down, flying off the cage, making  little clucking sounds. I love them both, but Peanut comes first...can you believe he is going to be 4 years old in August?

Thank you for the people that have had me make their birdies bunks...I have quite a bit of repeat orders, just got one the other day from Texas, she wants 4 of them and says her little sun sleeps on his back in his, how cute is that? Also one poor lady who is getting a bird from you, is it Connie? Or Donna, I don't remember which, I am so tired tonight, going to head for the hay as soon as I get this done...anyhow she has to have knee surgery, she is going to be able to bond big time with that wee birdie recuperating. I get orders from my website, I need to tweek it, but with everything happening, last thing I have wanted to get involved with.
Hope you and yours are doing well.
Thanx for any advice you have for me.
She called about 2 weeks ago and we talked for a while about Peanut and Butter. Finally I recommended moving Peanut to a room where he could not see Butter, and not playing with Butter in front of Peaunt. I was relieved to get this email from her:

Hi Beth: 
Just thought I would pass along that Peanut is back to his same ole that Butter is in the other  He sometimes gets a notion to be stinky, but I talk gently to him, sing him his little song and he perks right up.  I took him, not Butter, up to Lakeside for two days, got his flight suit on him and we went for walks, he enjoyed it and I did too for that matter, so much cooler up there than here.
I also am going to our religious convention next week in Tucson, taking Peanut only, as the hotel I am staying in allows pets, and my daughter is taking care of my other critters.  So, he is going to get more one on one attention.  I told him we are in it for the long haul, just try not to bite me anymore than he has to....he cocks his head and looks at me like, yeah, right!!
Stay cool as you can in this the way the attachment you sent to see the little miniatures, did not come thru.