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  #1  
Old 11-08-2016, 09:45 AM
lbeckman (Leah)
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Default Managing ever-changing flock dynamics

Sorry that this is absurdly long! It's an issue that I have been trying to think through and would love some input.

I now have eight budgies and two cockatiels in my house. The two cockatiels are mine, and I have requested not fostering cockatiels for a while, so they are out to the equation. Pretty much--they and the budgies do interact some, but not as much as when I only had one cockatiel.

I usually keep the budgies (and my cockatiels) in my very large bedroom, but for a variety of reasons, I don't think that is what I should do now. However, my upstairs bedroom is safe for not-particularly-tame birds to bop around in, the rest of my house, not so much.

The goal is, for the most part, to end up with bonded pairs of same gender budgies for adoption.

Barnes and Nobel are a pair of bonded males and are very ready to be tamed. I want to have them downstairs where it will be easy to work with them for 5-10 minutes frequently throughout the day as I pass by. They will clearly be the first pair that is adoptable. (And somebody will be very fortunate--they are two very charming budgies.)

Lime and Lemon are a pair on bonded females who have gotten into the upstairs routine: they come out of their cage, know how to find their way home, are gradually getting more settled just from the routines of the day. They were initially completely frantic around any human activity.

Coconut is a male, came with Lemon and Lime, I separated him when they got here, and I have him upstairs. Since Lemon and Lime aren't interested in him, that's been fine.

Now I also have Pip (male) and Ms. Green and Mr. Yellow who all came together--and squabbled a lot when they were in the same cage. They moved Pip to a separate cage thinking that Mr. Yellow was Ms. Yellow. Pip is happy upstairs at the moment taking it all in and chirping with the other birds. Since he's only been here two days, I haven't let him out, though I am teaching him about his treat cup The hope was that he and Coconut would become buddies.

Now I have the issue, however, that I need to separate Mr. Yellow and Ms. Green. They are currently downstairs next to Barnes and Noble. (Who chirp pretty much all day and are good company.) One possibility is moving Mr. Yellow upstairs and eventually seeing who pairs up out of Pip, Coconut, and him. Ms. Green wouldn't have a cage mate, but she would have B&N for company. That would cause the least amount of disruption of how they are now. My concern is whether Coconut, Pip, and/or Mr. Green would potentially court Lemon or Lime and break up their bond (well, not Coconut--they've already decided that they are not interested in him).

There are many other possibilities, but I'm not going to try to list them all! I know I'm going to have follow-up questions in any case!

Thank you!

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Old 11-08-2016, 11:46 AM
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I can certainly understand the amount of work and daily interaction/observation needed to pair up the foster budgies for a future adoption.

If you are thinking of moving Mr. Yellow upstairs, maybe you could come up with a schedule for out of cage time activities between the 3 boys.
Lime and Lemon would stay inside their cages during that time in order to limit the closer interactions and to avoid the development of a potential bond between the boys and the girls.
Even if despite that measure, you noticed that one of your boys was very interested in either Lemon or Lime and wouldn't leave their cage, then you could move the boys downstairs and take Ms. Green upstairs.
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Old 11-08-2016, 11:54 AM
lbeckman (Leah)
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Thank you! I'll also try to rearrange the cages so that the boys are close to each other and can interact more even while in their cages. My life would be a tad simpler if cockatiels Simon and Poppy would decide to move in together! (Fewer cages, easier to rearrange....)
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Old 11-08-2016, 12:28 PM
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You're very welcome and I hope everything works out for the best!
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Old 11-08-2016, 11:31 PM
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You've been given great advice

Best of luck with your flock!
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Old 11-09-2016, 06:32 AM
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With as many fosters as you've been so kind as to care for, I'm certain managing the ever-changing dynamics must be extremely challenging!

I think you are doing a wonderful job managing them and aluz has offered some good suggestions.

Best wishes!
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Old 11-09-2016, 08:43 AM
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Interesting reactions! So far, I have moved cockatiel Poppy to a new cage because his old one had 1/2" bar spacing and another cage I was planning on using has slightly wider spacing. The shapes of the two cages are almost identical, so I didn't think Poppy would mind much, but I was definitely getting a "What do you think you are doing?" look while moving his stuff over.

I now have a wall of cages in this order: Simon, Poppy, Lemon and Lime, Pip, Coconut, and an empty cage forming an L with these. Lemon and Lime are in a free standing cage, whereas Pip's and Coconut's cages are on a bench. Lemon and Lime can't even be bothered to go to the lower part of their cage to check out Pip!! Pip and Coconut, meanwhile, are becoming fast friends through their cage bars.

Pip and Coconut are doing so well, in fact, that I'm thinking of not even trying Mr. Yellow up here! I might move the empty cage next to Lemon and Lime and put Ms. Green in it next to them.

Lesson learned: I thought I was being lazy yesterday not getting all of the cages set up and the moves made, but it was better doing it in pieces.
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Old 11-09-2016, 01:16 PM
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It sounds as if you've done a great job.
Here's hoping little Pip and Coconut will become good buddies.
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Old 11-09-2016, 08:29 PM
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So, I had the "new" cage set up--the advantage of it for Ms. Green is that it's fairly tall and when placed on a bench it would have had her at the same level as Lemon and Lime. However, I was cleaning the cages up here and Coconut's requires opening his fairly large door. He managed to get out and ended up going into the new cage instead of his. Another decision made. I just left him in it, added a perch further down in the cage so that he could easily hang next to Pip in his smaller (and lower) cage. And Coconut is choosing to spend most of his time down talking to Pip. Actually, they're moving past the chit-chatting stage and head bobbing for each other. Adorable.

Ms. Green is now in Coconut's old cage placed next to Lemon and Lime. I've started lowering their food and water so that they'll be motivated to spend more time in the lower part of their cage and Ms. Green will get some company. She is clearly feeling a bit traumatized by the move (and my catching her), so I have her cage covered on three sides.

Mr. Yellow is choosing to spend most of his time in the half of his cage next to Barnes and Noble and is chit chatting with them. Not surprisingly, all three of them are looking at me with a bit of suspicion at the moment (wondering who I'm going to run off with next), but I hope they'll recover in a few day. I read them part of a story from an old NY Times, but they were not particularly impressed by it.
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Old 11-09-2016, 09:11 PM
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I think they would enjoy the stories "Round Robin" or "The Little Red Hen" much more than the NY Times.
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