Congratulations - you've made it! It's ALMOST the end of January - notoriously one of the hardest months of the year and we're nearly there! Woohoo!
Unfortunately it's going to be one of the saddest months for me too. Some of the following (lengthy) entry is part of the reason I've been a bit quieter this month on TB cause I've found this so tough. Thought I'd share here as many of you have been keeping up to date and helping me through first-time bird owning problems over the last few months.
As some of you will already know I adopted Olaf in October and we bonded instantly. He was a quick learner and keen to impress. I took the advise of not having mirrors etc as I wanted to bond with him and all was going well..
Then I read a poem on here about how lonely budgies can get sometimes, especially if you work full time like I do. I decided to compromise the bond we'd built and get him a full time friend; a beautiful female called Belle.
Belle and Olaf seemed to hit it off instantaneously; I was amazed that Belle was already very hand tame, but turns out she's a bit older than Olaf. Olaf learned things from Belle he was reluctant to try alone, like eating from my hand. The two got on like a house on fire; Olaf would preen Belle a lot (though not the other way around), they would regurgitate (hate that word) seed to one another, and generally seemed like they had found a good friend in one another; maybe even love!
Then things took a bit of a turn for the worst. Olaf became increasingly noisy - and I mean not your happy go lucky, hills are alive with the sound of music chirpy, but screechy and whiny. It really wasn't as delightful to listen to as his usual chirpy song. The sound was often so unbearable I couldn't sit in the same room as them; it was headache-inducing. I persevered with the thoughts that birds are birds, and hoped it may be to do with his moult etc. It's become apparent he may be trying to woo Belle; watching TV or anything else is near on impossible as he will compete for the loudest noise. Terrible. I couldn't decide if they were happy, content, broody or angry!
I live with my parents and my budgies are caged in my room; my mum loved Olaf but she didn't take to Belle as much because of the noise issue; if I took Olaf into the lounge for our nightly hang out in front of the TV they would call for each other frantically. Olaf, the family favourite, soon didn't get much attention from anyone because he had become so independent - he didn't like to step up (though sometimes reluctantly would) - but he just didn't like to "hang out" like we used to all the time.
I decided with a heavy heart the only viable option in everyones best interest was to rehome one of the birds. It would be that whichever stayed would get a lot more love and attention again, and I wouldn't resent being in my room with them so much because of the noise! My quandary was which one went up for adoption. Olaf is my first; I love how pretty he is, and I loved our bond. However I was worried about the bad habits he'd picked up and the bond we'd lost. He was also responsible for all the noise. Belle on the other hand is quiet, very hand tame and much more willing for human interaction than Olaf. But I did have a slight bit of resentment for her because of how Olafs personality had changed.
I decided against all odds that Belle should be rehomed; Olaf was here first, and I can only hope and pray that after he has recovered from the loss of Belle, he will rely on me again and re-build our bond. I also hope that with her absent, he won't feel the need to be so loud and aggressive with his sounds. (Anyone had any experience of this?)
I've been deliberating this for a few weeks now and haven't taken much action, but a colleague of mine from work keeps birds. She has kept them all her life and currently doesn't have any at home because her current two have moved to her mums (3 budgies, 2 cockatiels). She's offered to buy a new cage and home Belle. I'm glad because I know where she's going but I've begged her to not tell me how she's getting on unless I ask - I don't know if I could need a constant reminder of how I failed with her.
So the news is that I'll be taking Belle (with a very heavy heart) to her new home tomorrow night; where I hope she'll be happy and attended to. I hope I'm not making a mistake by rehoming the one that is tame and likes human interaction; the one thing I wanted most when I initially purchased Olaf.
I just thought I'd let you all know about this. Sorry it's so long winded and drawn out - but I didn't want my mentions of Belle to all of a sudden disappear from my posts without an explanation of where she had went or what had happened.
I've spoken to a few members in private who have reassured me this is probably the right thing to do. I can't help but feel that I've failed - I really wanted to raise two happy pets and I feel selfish that I can't because I "don't like the noise they make" - many people will say I should have researched better before becoming a bird owner and they're probably right. I just thought I was doing what was best for them. Has anyone else ever had to do this, came close to doing this or anything? I'd love some reassurance!!
Thanks for reading, and hopefully this might even help some people who are thinking of adopting another or maybe in a similar situation and unsure of what to do.
Any advice, comments etc always welcome as always!
Matt Im really sorry you have had to go through all of this. I really hope things will now settle down for you and olaf. I really appreciate you posting all of this because I am a new bird owner and I wondered about the noise level with a second bird if I decided down the road to get my guy a mate. I assumed things would be noisier but to the degree you mentioned would not work for me either. I have a very small apartment. I totally understand why you had to make the hard choice you made. Good luck Matt.
It sounds to me as if you've made a carefully thought-out decision and I don't believe you should second-guess yourself.
You've taken every aspect of your situation into consideration.
You've found a person who knows and loves birds that is willing to give Belle a safe and loving home and, at this point in your life, that will be best for Belle, you, Olaf and your family.
Don't beat yourself up.
Be happy that you had the time to learn and experience all that you did.
Concentrate only on the positives and work on regaining the trust and bond you had with Olaf in the beginning.
I'll be looking forward to hearing how things progress with regard to Olaf's noise issues and willingness to become one of the "human" flock again.
Do be aware that he may "flock call" for Belle incessantly for a few days when she first leaves as he's not going to understand what's happened to her. You will need to be extremely patient and understanding with him. Invest in some ear plugs and spend time with him even if he is noisy. Just talk to him calmly and quietly and let him know you're there for him.
Thanks Cindy - please don't let my experience put you off mind!! It really has been phenomenal watching them interact with one another - they do have completely different behaviours together. If you do want a friend another guy might be a better companion for him. I believe Olaf was desperate to impress Belle and probably wanted to mate - something I'm DEFINITELY not ready for!
Deb - as always thank you for your words of advice. I suspected he might do the flock call in her absence and I've planned this at a time where I have a few days off work to be with him and make sure he doesn't feel lonely at this hard time.I'll definitely keep updates on the "aftermath" and hopefully turn some of this into a real success story.
Definitely further down the line when I'm not living with family again, I'll be in a position to have as many budgies as I can manage! And have the opportunity to have various cages around the house like I know some owners here have! I'd love to have been able to house Belle elsewhere in the house to see if the situation improved much. But at least with her being with a friend she can still get the occasional visit!! Thanks again for your kind words of support
My suggestion would be that if you don't want him to be lonely, but don't want him to bond/mate with another budgie, get him a male budgie friend. Two males will sing to each other and enjoy each other's company, but they won't have the bonding ritual stuff that goes on with a female.
Thanks J.W! I suspected as much and wish I'd have thought of that when I adopted Belle. I did think I was getting a boy from the petshop but second time running; they got it wrong! It wasn't until some of you lovely folk here identified Belle as a female that I knew she would be a force to be reckoned with!
Retrospect is a wonderful thing in this situation but I'm confident that Olaf won't be lonely - he always had me and my other half around before. We were working quite a bit over Christmas which is when Belle was a good companion! Prior to that though if me and my partner are both working my mum would visit Olaf constantly throughout the day.
He's such a toy-lover where Belle was never really interested in any toys; so I'm constantly rotating his toys to make sure he is entertained if I'm not around, and there's always a radio on to make sure he has some noise; so I think for now I'll try to focus on some one-on-one bonding, and consider my next budgie when I get a place of my own! That way if something goes wrong he'll be re-roomed rather than re-homed! Hehe
While I respect your honesty and the decision, I have to say that it is not the decision I would have made. Sorry.
Thanks for the honest feedback Dee! I'd exhausted all options - in that with my living arrangements being restricted, ruling out moving Belle to another room; what other suggestions would you have to save me from having to do this?
I can't seem to find any other reason for the excessive noise; and I mean it when I say this isn't your run of the mill birds chirping - it was aggressive screeching which worried me; Olaf seems to be becoming increasingly hostile to Belle (especially when sharing treats etc), leading me to believe that separation is the only solution in the best interests of the birds too! I'm so open to any other solutions!!
Do you think Olaf is hormonal?
If so, you could try longer nights, meaning cover them for about 14 hours so that they get long sleep. It has helped my cockatiels before.
My fear is that after you remove Bella, he gets depressed and may not be the same bird any more.
I truly believe Matt has tried many different options and has come to his decision based on the circumstances as they stand at this point in time.
As many members on the forum know, sometimes the noise level of multiple budgies is one that is simply not acceptable to others in the living quarters and changes must be made even though they may not be what one's first choice would be.
Having been in correspondence with Matt through the last few weeks, I can attest to the fact that he's made every effort to find a solution that would allow him to keep both Bella and Olaf but none have brought about the hoped for outcome and at this point different arrangements need to be made.
With lots of TLC and interaction from his human flock, there is a good chance that Olaf will again be quite happy as a solo bird.