Ok, I recently got two about six month old females from a breeder. A few days later someone else I had contacted (since I was looking for budgies on Craigslist) said that the other person didn't show up and if I was still interested in taking their two year old female. He said she had a cage-mate who had died not too long ago and that they got along great. I'm not home all the time so I thought it'd be good for the birds to have another friend. I also felt bad for the two year old and blah blah blah I got her.
I let her have some time to adjust after the car ride. I know you're supposed to wait a few days before you put the new bird's cage by the ones you already have, but I have a cat and didn't want to keep her on the floor in my room since that's the only other safe place. Well, she got super excited. Their cages were next to each other and she clung to the side so she could see them. The babies also seemed somewhat interested in her.
The next day I let them all out so I could clean the new one's cage and since they seemed happy thus far I thought they might like the chance to properly meet. It went very well. All three were together on the little jungle gym and seemed very content. Thinking this was a good sign I removed the side from their two cages combining them into one super-cage.
The two year old didn't like the others coming near when she was eating which I guess is pretty normal for new birds. The problem is that she would randomly peck at them and occasionally get into a fight. Thinking I may have jumped the gun a bit I put a wall up between the two cages separating the two year old and the two babies. And oh my goodness did she not like that! She kept climbing up and down the wall biting it and when she got tired she'd retreat to her perch and yell very angrily. This new set up didn't even last a day because she managed to push the bottom corner of the wall enough to slip to the other side and spent the night calmly with the other two.
Two days pass and whenever I happened to be around when the two year old would lash out, I'd put my hand near them to distract them and make them shuffle away from each other a bit. I started to feel like one of the babies was being outed a bit and my sister told me that she heard a lot of really out squawking while I was at work and went in to see them having a big fight. Finally I decided enough is enough, I don't want the two year old to hurt one of the younger ones and I don't want there to be any permanent social damage in the group. I separated them again and boy is the two year old mad. I don't know how else to put it, she's just very mad and I don't know if it's because she feels left out or just doesn't like not being able to access the other side of the cage. Either way her frenzies are making the other two restless.
Clearly I have no idea what I'm doing. I just want everyone to be happy and healthy. Any advise is great, thanks.
You've come to the right place to learn the best practices in caring for your budgies for their optimum health and well-being!
Flock Dynamics are tricky, as you have discovered.
The one year old budgie should have been quarantined.
Quarantine means housing the new bird in a different cage in a different room than the current bird (as far away from the room the current bird is in as possible) for a period of 35-45 days.
Budgies mask symptoms when they are ill. Symptoms may not show up for over two weeks.
Often you will not even realize your bird is not well. Many budgie illnesses are airborne which is why you need to quarantine your new bird in a completely different room.
It is also a good idea to always take a new budgie in to see an Avian Vet for a "well-birdie" check-up. This allows you to develop a good relationship with the vet and the vet can establish a baseline for your bird in case of any future illnesses or injuries.
After quarantine, the new birds cages should have been put side by side for about a week before trying to introduce them in neutral territory (generally outside any cage) to see how they got along.
At this point, since you've discovered the older budgie is a bully and aggressive, you are going to need to house her in a separate cage away in a different room in your home. Yes, the two year old is going to be "mad" but that can't be helped.
Generally, an uneven number of budgies can be problematic. The fact now have an older bird with aggressive bullying tendencies is not going to lend itself to the three being housed together (or probably even in the same room) in the future.
Please take the time to read through the Site Guidelines, all of the How To Guides, the FAQs, the Budgie Articles and the stickies located at the top of each section of the forum.
Truly, the very BEST advice anyone can offer you is to take the time to read ALL of the stickies throughout the various Talk Budgie forums as well as the Budgie Articles we have posted.
These are great resources for Talk Budgie members and have a wealth of reliable information which will assist you to learn the best practices in caring for your budgies for their optimal health and well-being.
You've been given great advice. The new older female should be housed by herself. Despite her reaction, she will get used to the separation soon and will be better off.
Meanwhile, you've come to the very best place to learn even more about budgies. Be sure to read through the links provided above, which include the forum's many articles and "stickies" (threads "stuck" to the top of each subforum for easy reference) to ensure you have all the right information to care for your little ones.
If you have any questions after reading through everything, please be sure to ask as we'd love to help
We'd love to meet your budgies when you get a chance!
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic