I know this is long, but please, stay with me through it. Iīm very confused. I have read most of the forum and stil canīt figure out what Iīm dealing with.
I have two females. One of them, Pixie, seems to be about 3 to 4 months older, judging by when her iris appeared and her face cerum turned proper brown. Her cage mate (Nisser) and her bickered over food on occasion since I got them (Iīm gonna say they were between 4 and 8 months old?), but nothing serious, a little squabble here and there. Their fighting made it hard to train them, since the second one was getting a treat the other would fly to get the treat instead, so if I was feeding them, I had to use both hands. They have a double flight cage all for themselves+the door is always open so they have the entire room, with toys inside and outside, so I donīt think the issue is lack of space.
However I have the feeling that it is getting more consistent. They bicker every night without fail over sleeping arrangements. It is not a favored perch they squeak over, but Pixie will go to wherever Nisser chooses to sleep and try to force her out of there. She jumps Nisser when Nisser is not looking, will try to eat whatever Nisser is eating, even if the exact same food is available somewhere else, tackles her off surfaces(my hand, mainly, but not exclusively) and keeps her from getting into perches. Threats with an open beak,landing on top and tackling, screeching, all that. No blood has been shed though.
Nisser is no wallflower. She used to be the bossy one when they were babies, and wonīt allow herself to be bullied, answering with the open beak and screeching of her own (except when she is attacked by surprise, which is becoming more common). However, she does not attack Pixie, certainly not over non-food related issues, which make sme think itīs not just regular behavior. It is getting worse and worse and, even though I donīt fear for their physical safety, I do fear for Nisserīs ability to enjoy life. My partner thinks they "are just fine, bickering is normal" but Iīm not so sure this bickering is.
So, is this hormonal? territorial? just normal? Pixie is just a bully?
-What makes me think this may be hormonal:
Nisser going through her coming-of-age molt coincided with the worsening of Pixieīs behavior.
-What makes me think it wonīt be hormonal:
I keep them in as healthy a diet as I can, feeding them seed sprouts instead of simple seeds, and feeding them veggies and pellets. I also make sure that they have at least 12 hours of darkness each night, and there is no nesting box anywhere, unless somehow the curtains (they spend some time climbing them) have played the role
-What makes me think it is not territorial: It happens everywhere, not just inside the cage. It happens outside as they fly through the room as well.
-What makes me think it is normal: nobody gets hurt, and they donīt seem to hold too much resentment for each other. At least, they hang out together still, and sometimes scratch eachother.
-What makes me think it isnīt okay: even though they still interact, Nisser is becoming more fearful to go near food or new interesting toys unless Pixie is distracted. She has also gone from being my most extroverted girl to being anxious. It is also ridiculously deliberate, especially when it comes to knocking Nisser out of surfaces and perches, or keeping her from being able to get on one. It is also a behavior that has developed through time in Pixie. Nisser may bicker, but she wonīt do the same "flying to land on top of+tackle" Pixie does.
So you think Pixie is displaying territorial behavior here?
I live in a shared apartment so I canīt put them in any decent-size cage outside my room, all other rooms are common areas. I can, however, separate them in two different cages (partitioning the ZENY Bird Cage 53-Inchlarge cage they have into two). Would that work?
I have considered this, but then I worry about what would be best/worse for their psychological well being as flock birds, if finding themselves alone in a cage instead of in a flock like they were born to need, or being together and bickering and beak-fencing every night. They donīt play together or snuggle, and they donīt prune each other, but they tend to be in each-otherīs proximity, especially when my partner is in the room (they feel more unsafe when he is here, since they arenīt so sued to him). Which of the two living arrangements would be best for a budgie?
I believe it is best for you to separate the two budgies. If you do not, it is likely Pixel's behavior of aggressiveness will escalate and she will seriously injure Nisser. Even if she doesn't manage to hurt her physically, the emotional upset of constant bullying will be very detrimental to Nisser's health and well-being.
Many budgies live solo and are perfectly fine as long as they have sufficient interaction with their "human". In this case, you are going to have them next to each other so they still aren't really "alone".