I have a problem on my hands, I would really appreciate it if someone could tell me how serious this is: I have two budgies, a male and a female. My male budgie is my first, he came to me from a breeder, and he is sweet as can be and we have a very special bond. (He responds to all my moods, he likes to spend time with me when I'm in the room, and he's very sweet tempered.). I used to have his brother too, and they got along famously. Very very sadly, (and I'm still not over this yet), his brother passed last year from a fatty liver issue. He was very sad for a few weeks, and would sit on his perch all day and became much more attached to me. Reading research here, and from our vet, I waited to see if I needed to adopt another bird. His growing attachment to me, his insistence at sitting by my mirror all the time during out of cage time, and his much decreased playfulness convinced me he needed a friend. So, I adopted a baby female. I imposed the mandatory quarantine period of 60 days, with no contact, separate rooms, separate cages, etc. All was well, and I introduced them. From the beginning, it was apparent that the new baby was dominant. But there was not a problem with aggression. She would always run over to the bowl he was eating from, and shoo him away, and it would go on over and over again till I put the bowls as far apart as possible to make it a real hassle for her. My male baby is very sweet, and he always let her have whatever she wanted (the perch he was sitting on, his food bowl, etc). It has been seven months since they were introduced, and now I'm noticing a lot more aggression from the female, but it is mixed behavior. When they are out of the cage, they play together. The female is very dominant though, and a lot of the "play" is my male bird edging away from her, but they nibble on the same toys and he even regurgitates food to her. Sometimes they sit next to each other quietly and nap. The female did not come from a breeder and as such is not hand tame. She only recently started to interact with me (I think by observing my male bird), and now she likes to preen my face and play with my hair, and sometimes hop on my shoulder (pushes him out of the way whenever he starts), mostly as a competition for attention. This was a few weeks ago. Recently, in the last two days, she has become much more aggressive. Yesterday, I noticed that my male bird's tail looked a little ravaged. Later on in the day, I caught her going for his wing weathers while he screeched and tried to retreat. I immediately separated them and put her in a different cage, but she obsessively kept running over to the side of where the old cage was and kept trying to find ways to escape through the bars...even my male budgie became anxious, and would cry every time I left the room, till I put her back in their shared cage. She went for him a few more times, however. It would stop as soon as I would walk into the room. So I just watched them the whole time before bed. Today, it has escalated a bit more. Now, whenever I go to the side of the cage my male bird is on, to give him affection, he draws away, starts breathing with his beak open, and is obviously very nervous. If I continue to try to give him attention, the female runs over to my side of the cage. I think through some birdie communication, it has been decided that he will no longer accept affection from me without repercussions. Trust me I know how crazy this sounds, but I don't know what to do. I can't separate them without both of them freaking out, but I can't keep them together because I don't want my male budgie being traumatized this way. Is she just going through a hormonal phase? She was very young when I got her, so it could be puberty...or are they incompatible? If so, is there any resolution?
sorry, the only thing I'd like to add is that in the last few days, she has also taken to flipping his food cup upside down, therefore spilling all of the food to the bottom of the cage. And, from the beginning, she never allows him to share a perch with her that's high up on the cage. I just don't know what to do.
I started having a problem such as your experiencing but not to the same degree. I have a male and a female as well. What I did was totally revamped the cage over a week. Everyday I changed the perches around moved the feeding containers and the time of day that I feed them. It cured the problem. I did not give them a chance to get territorial. For now they will only come and sit on my hand to eat. I lost some progress with taming them. But I cured the dominance character of the female. For what it is worth you have very little to lose by trying this. I also glued with epoxy two magnets to the bottom of the bowls that I put food in. Impossible for them to turn them over now. You can get the flat magnets at a store that carries picture framing items. Hope you accomplish your goals. Please post your outcome or what you do to end this behavior.
You do have a problem and it is a serious one.
When one budgie is exceedingly dominant/bullying and becomes overly aggressive as your female has, she can easily severely injure or kill your male.
How large is the cage where you are housing these budgies?
The very minimum recommended cage for two would be 30" x 18" x 18" but the bigger the cage the better as long as the spacing between the bars does not exceed 1/2".
Your female is dominant/aggressive to begin with and is probably now going through puberty with her hormones in an uproar.
Has she come into condition yet?
The BEST thing you can do at this time is separate the two budgies into individual cages. Move one of the cages into a different room and play music in both so the budgies cannot hear one another.
After a few weeks time, you can try re-introducing them in neutral territory but only under close supervision.
While Richard's suggest might work (but only if the cage is particularly large) I would be extremely careful if you choose to go that route.
You have to continually monitor the budgies very closely for several days and, if the female is still showing aggression, then she must be removed into a separate cage.
Additionally, you must never allow this female to breed as she would likely kill her mate and/or any potential offspring.
Not all budgies get along and sometimes the only reasonable option is to house them separately on a permanent basis.
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Thank you very much for responding. I appreciate knowing that I am not overreacting to this. I actually rushed home from work after reading of your input, Faerybee, I was so scared I'd come home to a gruesome scene...I came home to them peacefully preening themselves in the cage, no sign of aggression...as of now. I'm still going to separate the female into a different cage and let her be for a while. I'm not sure what the signs of conditioning are, would you be able to explain them to me? Thank you so much. The other thing I found online is something called AviCalm by AviTech, I've used some of their supplements before and found them to be beneficial. Would you have any input on this? It is used to reduce aggression. Thank you so much.
When a female budgie goes "into condition" (ready for breeding) her cere will turn a brown and crusty.
When a male goes "into condition", his cere becomes a deeper color than it is normally.
I've not used AviCalm myself so I can't give you any input with regard to its efficacy.
I do use some of AviTech's supplements and have been quite pleased with them so I would feel safe in trying the AviCalm myself.
Thank you very much for all your help. I have separated the female, and she is now in a separate room. I did turn the tv on, but unfortunately they can hear each other still, it is not a big house. I will try the AviCalm and see if it helps any, but for now they're going to remain separate for a while. I will let you know.
Oh also, I don't think she's in condition, but she does look to me like she's gained some weight in recent times...there is nothing in either of their cages that could be mistaken for a nest, so I'm hoping its just weight gain and not that she has eggs she's getting ready to lay
How large is the cage the two of them were housed in together?
Length, Width and Height
If the cage is large enough, in a few weeks time you can bring the female back into the room with the male, re-introduce the two in neutral territory and see how they react to one another.
After a few of these meetings, you can try housing them together again as long as you keep a close eye on them.
Hopefully, the female will have passed through the aggressive stage and will co-exist peacefully with the male.
She will probably always continue to be "dominant" but as long as she doesn't continually bully him or become aggressive enough that she is pulling his feathers, not letting him perch or eat, etc. then it may work.
You don't want to subject the male to continual bullying because it will affect him emotionally as well as physically.
And, we certainly don't want the female to be in with him if she is going to be aggressive to the point of hurting him.
Let me know if you think the Avi-Calm helps. It will be nice to have a "product review" from someone on the forum who has actually used it!
The cage that they shared is 16.5" (L) x 11.8" (W) x 22" (H)
The cage that the female is in now is 20" (L) x 12.5" (w) x 22" (H)
I realize that this might be too small for them, especially given the issues. I didn't know it was too small for two birds, it was advertised to be sufficiently large. It just wasn't an issue before, since my old bird got along with his little brother. Also, they spend a lot of time out of cage since I can supervise them too, I'd say a good 5-6 hours. I guess it doesn't matter since feeding takes place IN cage and that's when the territorial issues rise.
I will look into getting a cage of the size you recommended, in a few weeks and set it up for a possible neutral ground for reintroduction.
I will also post a review of AviCalm once I have used it.
Thank you so much for all your help, advice, support and patience. I can't thank you enough, its helped me so much with my stress levels and feeling ok that I'm making the right decisions! I will buy one of those cages and see what happens in time, after reintroduction, I'm hopeful that they provide enough room for them to stay away from each other if need be.
The update I have is that my male bird seems so much happier and more carefree! I hadn't noticed just how much his behavior had changed till I saw him tonight. He's happier, flying around, chirping more, and just very carefree looking in general, like he used to be. My female is still unsure of her surroundings and is less active, but that is normal I suppose.