Some years ago, we got Morningstar ("Star" for short), and then a female we named Molly shortly thereafter as a companion. We had thought Star was a male initially, because of the light blue around the nose. But it seems she was a female after all; I suppose that explains the lack of interest in sports. In any case, the two gals got along fine generally, though with near-daily bickering over doubtlessly very important matters we mere humans cannot grasp. Neither were hand-tamed, so they were each others' primary source of social interaction.
Then Molly died. It was sudden and traumatic. This left poor Star alone. My lady and I both work, so she was alone for much of the time; it was obvious she missed Molly. We decided to get some other birds to give Star companionship. We picked two males, and named them Sky and Spot due to their colorations. (Plus, a bird named "Spot" is kinda funny.) We were concerned the two boys might fight over Star.
It hasn't actually worked out that way, however. While Sky and Spot got along fine, Star picked on the boys pretty relentlessly. She chased them around the cage and pecked them, especially around feeding time; she's quite a bit bigger. We thought this was just temporary, and once a pecking order was established the fighting would stop. But if anything, Star's bullying escalated over time, and it was clear Sky and Spot were distressed. (Not sure of Star's religious proclivities, but apparently it's one where genders must be separated, and mixing Is Not Allowed.)
So we got a smaller cage for Star and placed it beside the larger cage. Which was admittedly kind of a **** move, being the big cage was Star's home first. But two birds need more space than one, and crowding the boys together due to Star's behavior didn't seem fair. Now the birds can talk with one another and there's no bullying. The two boys get along great, with very little bickering; oddly enough, there's less fighting between them than there was between Star and dear departed Molly. (Curious, it's this gender behavior atypical or typical?) So after we bought two new birds to be companions for our lonely bird, we had to separate them. Figures.
So problem solved, right? But now Star spends much of her time and energy trying to get back to her old cage and the boys. The cages are right beside one another, and Star is trying to figure out how to get over there, chewing the bars of the cage (and ignoring all the chewy stuff we bought her!) and doing all sorts of birdy acrobatics. It's cute and funny to watch, but also kinda sad, because it's obvious she'd rather be Over There instead of her own cage. And the boys spend most of their time on the side of the cage where they can be adjacent to Star. So that the birds crave contact with one another is obvious, and is reasonable considering they're social animals. So I've been contemplating moving Star back over to the big cage with the two males.
Thing is, I don't know if Star wants back over there for social interaction, or if she wants to start kicking their asses all over again. She doesn't know why we moved her; she can't connect that event with her past behavior, especially since that happened so long ago. I'd consider doing this on a trial basis, except as I mentioned earlier, none of the fluffy little dinosaurs are hand-tamed. Handling them stresses them, because OH NOES MAMMAL FLEE FOR DEAR LIFE PREDATOR PANIC RIGHT NOW THREAT. I'm trying to do the math on whether it's worth the stress of moving Star, only to have to move her again if the bullying resumes, or to just leave well enough alone.
I'd appreciate some feedback on this issue. The happiness of all my birds is important to me and I don't want to do the wrong thing, here.
Hello! How did you introduce Star to her two new cagemates? If you allow them to meet on neutral territory, especially since Star seems to be interested in them, you might have a positive result. You can try opening both cages and then let them go back to the cage that they like as long as there is no feather pulling or heavy hitting (in which case, they should be separated).
It's possible that your two males have formed a bond and that putting Star back will have a negative impact on that. But you might be surprised and find that they all get along. I would let their behavior be your guide.
Best of luck!
Yes the points made by PrincipePio are really important, neutral ground when introducing them. Also there is an "imbalance" in the flock. Odd numbered groups are not good. One budgie will often be left out. In this case the 2 males bonded good but Star is left outside the group so she is actually alone. All the breeders I talked with said to me to always have even numbers in the group. If its a very large group of birds it wouldn't matter that much, but 3 birds creates imbalance. I would get a 4th budgie and introduce in a neutral environment with cages that you guys change around the interiors in so it looks new to all of em. I hope you guys have place for one bird more
About her bitchiness so to speak..its quite usual with a bird thats a bit more "dominant" and likes to bully so I don't think her behavior is odd, they are all individuals but as said, she been left outside the group by 2 males that has bonded will make her more bitchy.
Thanks for the advice. I've been concerned about the odd number of birds as well. Based on this discussion, I'll be adding another budgie to the mix (another female) and enrich their environment. Maybe found a way to connect the caves so they can all move back and forth.
I recently had the same problem, my two girls have lived together all their lives and suddenly at 14 years one decided to get territorial. She was pulling the other's feathers out! We had to separate them but you can see they still want to be together.
It's a tough move because being beside each other is not the same as being together. I was hoping to get them back together again and see how it works out but health issues have come up and it doesn't look like it's going to happen.
I have heard that mixing things up (moving toys, adding new ones, etc) can help with the territorial issue especially if they're fighting over specific things. Hopefully changing up their environment will help!