For the past couple days, one of my birdies has been fighting with his buddy a bit more than usual. They have always done their little head bops towards each other when one is too close or in the way, but this is more aggressive. Tycho's "head bops" are more vehement and seems to be pushing Johannes around more often, like off his food dish or a toy. Yesterday, Johannes was in Tycho's way and got bitten! He was bleeding so I gave them both a mist bath, but it was so sad. I think it was a pin feather that got punctured, and my vet said I should just watch him and take him in if the wound opens again.
Here's poor little Johannes after his bath:
I'm really worried that this will happen again, or something even worse, specifically an eye getting pecked. Tycho has been acting normally towards me, and seems to apologize to Johannes after he lashes out at him (hops over to him, talks, then feeds him).
I would definitely not leave the two in the same cage together after one of them has drawn blood from the other. If I were you, I'd separate the two budgies at this time.
No budgie should be intimidated, bullied or subject to attack by a cagemate.
I suggest you put one in a different cage and keep the cages next to each other.
Only let them play together during supervised out-of-cage time for a couple of weeks. If there is no more aggression, then you can try caging them together for a few hours if you are around to keep an eye on them. In a few weeks if the behavior seems to warrant it, you can reconsider caging them together at that time.
I agree that the best thing to do here is to separate your budgies on a permanent basis.
Feather plucking resulting on drawing of blood during a fight is a big no-no to me and in this case, if I were in your shoes I would never trust your Tycho to be around Johannes, nor would I ever consider caging them together.
I wouldn't have the heart to leave them together unattended if I had to go out. It only takes a little thing to trigger bad behaviour and escalation of fighting. Things can go from bad to worse very fast.
The safest procedure is to really cage them separately and to not allow your Tycho to have a cagemate.
As far as separation goes, I'd say place the instigator (Tycho) on the new cage and have Johannes on the cage he's used to.
RIP sweet Tito (Summer 2008 - January 17th 2013).
You are missed and never will be forgotten.
I found my Sunny Jim with blood on his head like that - although I never saw any fighting between him and Louis so I don't know for sure what happened, but Louis also did a lot of head bobbing and chasing him around. I introduced a triangle swing, a budgie buddy and a mirror. Now things have settled down very well. They don't really take any notice of budgie buddy, but Louis does perch next to it sometimes and he also head bobs at himself in the mirror. It seems to have broken Louis' obsession with Sunny Jim and now they frequently perch on the swing together chirping away.Perhaps it could be an option for you if you decide to try them back together in the future. Good luck.
Okay, so an update: I didn't want to do anything without contacting my vet first, so I asked her if I should separate them. She hadn't mentioned it when I asked her what to do about Johannes' wound. She told me not to separate them now and not worry yet. This only happened once and we don't know if Tycho actually meant to hurt Johannes, or if this was an accident. Additionally, my family has not noticed Tycho being more aggressive and think I'm just viewing everything he does negatively because I was a bit mad at him.
So, I am going to watch them and only separate them if is happens again or Tycho acts aggressively enough for all of their human friends to see it. Like I said, I honestly don't know if Tycho was being more aggressive than usual before and after the incident; I was so upset with him that I think I was looking with a heavy bias. They're best friends, so I only ant to separate them if absolutely necessary, and the vet agreed.
Thanks for your concern everyone. Johannes' head is healing very well and the dried blood is mostly off. He hasn't been acting intimidated at all, and has been playing with Tycho like always.