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  #1  
Old 03-31-2015, 11:31 AM
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Default Can budgies hurt each other while preening?

I'm in the process of introducing my two budgies to each other. They have been in the same room but in separate cages for almost a month now. They both seem much happier for the company but they still bicker when they actually meet (always initiated by the older one) outside the cage, i.e. they peck at each other or lock beaks. When it starts looking too aggressive I separate them either by distracting them or placing millet spray/veggies/a toy between them.

Yesterday, however, I think that my older budgie also tried to preen the younger one (in between bickering ). She sort of rubbed the younger one's head and neck with her beak and pulled at her feathers. I'm pretty sure it wasn't aggressive but I'm still worried that she might hurt the younger budgie, mainly by accidentally poking at her eye with her beak. She seemed to be getting worryingly close to her eyes.

So far, I've always supervised them closely when they meet in person (or meet in budgie??? :scratch: but ideally, I'd like to move them in together soon. I'm worried though about them hurting each other either by accident or while fighting when I'm not around.

Can they accidentally hurt each other at all while preening?

How large is the risk that they hurt each other when bickering? Apart from introducing them very slowly, having two food and water bowls for each of them and a pretty large cage with lots of space and toys, is there anything else I can do to keep them safe when I'm not there?

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Old 03-31-2015, 11:43 AM
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In my 25+ years of budgie owership I never had a budgie to accidentally hurt the other while preening. It's true that they do get close to the eye area and can even preen on the eyelids and they do know very well what they are doing and are careful as well as thorough in their preens.
What you have described looks very normal to me, a few harmless light bickerings every once in a while are common as well.
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Old 03-31-2015, 12:10 PM
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I don't know how aggressive "looking too aggressive" is for you - but they will have to determine hierarchy between them, so it's possible that by distracting them from it you are prolonging the process a bit.
They are usually very careful with those beaks when preening near the eyes, and the bird being preened is probably in the best position to judge when it has to pull away from a too-enthusiastic preening. I agree with aluz - I also have about 25 years of budgie housemates and never seen any accidental injury from preening.

Ideally, the cage you keep them in together shouldn't be "owned" by either one or the other previously. If you're reusing a cage, redecorate if you can to make it "different".

"Normal" bickering usually doesn't result in injury either, by the way. a budgie aggressively attacking looks somewhat different - I'm sure you'd be able to see it if one was seriously trying to harm the other!
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Old 04-02-2015, 11:14 AM
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Thanks so much for the replies. That's very reassuring to know. The good news is that every day there is less of bickering and pecking.

I try not to separate them immediately when they start pecking at each other but I'm not sure how far to let them go so that they can establish hierarchy without being at risk to seriously hurt each other. I'm not sure how to post videos or I could show you.

I've got another question:

I was hoping to let them move in together into the same cage this weekend as I thought I could supervise them full time over the long Easter weekend. However, I will probably be away on Monday and Tuesday. If they move in together tomorrow and I supervise them for 3 days to make sure that they can safely live together in the same cage would it be ok to leave them alone with each other for 2 days (1 night)? The problem is if I don't do it this weekend I will have to do it on a normal 2 day weekend as I work full time.

I am planning to move the younger budgie into the older budgie's cage so unfortunately it won't be completely new to both of them. I will make sure to change everything in the cage. I've bought lots of new perches and toys to completely redecorate it.
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Old 04-03-2015, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pipsicle View Post
Thanks so much for the replies. That's very reassuring to know. The good news is that every day there is less of bickering and pecking.

I try not to separate them immediately when they start pecking at each other but I'm not sure how far to let them go so that they can establish hierarchy without being at risk to seriously hurt each other. I'm not sure how to post videos or I could show you.

I've got another question:

I was hoping to let them move in together into the same cage this weekend as I thought I could supervise them full time over the long Easter weekend. However, I will probably be away on Monday and Tuesday. If they move in together tomorrow and I supervise them for 3 days to make sure that they can safely live together in the same cage would it be ok to leave them alone with each other for 2 days (1 night)? The problem is if I don't do it this weekend I will have to do it on a normal 2 day weekend as I work full time.

I am planning to move the younger budgie into the older budgie's cage so unfortunately it won't be completely new to both of them. I will make sure to change everything in the cage. I've bought lots of new perches and toys to completely redecorate it.
I had the same concern the first day Albert went into the older budgies' cage. I moved everything around, cycled perches with new ones, new toys, lowered all the perches a big so baby Albert could get around, no perches higher than any of the others, two waters, two food dishes...and I still couldn't wait to get through the door to make sure everything was okay even though I know the older ones aren't the bossy type. Sure enough, everyone was fine. No feathers on the cage floor, they had been eating from both food dishes, and they were all three sitting apart, but on the same cotton rope perch, peacefully. Best of luck to you. Post some pics of your birds, please!
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