I recently adopted 2 Budgies/Parakeets(never sure on the proper term there) from the local SPCA in Petco. They came together but the employees either wouldn't tell me or had no background info. As far as I can tell 1 is male and 1 female. They came in a very small cage so we bought a larger cage for them at the store. We also purchased a few toys: mirror, swing and staggered ladder.
After setting up the larger cage with the toy in a way to leave as much open area as possible I moved the birds by grabbing them(I now know was a mistake).
For the 1-3 weeks they stayed together and got along fine. Originally I wondered about keeping a male and female together but the SPCA people and a reading of the random pages Google search gives seemed to indicate they would be okay together as long as they get along. The male would chirp and they 'kissed' quite a bit thru the day.
The trouble began around the 3rd-4th week when I noticed the female seemed to peck at the male more and more. Keeping watch I also noted she was keeping him from the standard food dish. I then moved another dish we had gotten with the intent of using as a treat dish and put food in it in a different location. Again watching they sit side by side on the perch thru the day. Come time the female went to the newer food dish the male then would goto the other. When looking around the female noticing the male eating she would go chase him away and so it would go for a bit till he would give up. I would later notice him trying to eat while she was napping with her head tucked on her back. Again she would notice him and go run him off, eat a bit then return to their regular sitting area right beside him.
During this time I have been trying to work with hand training them in the cage using millet to get them to come and sit with me. Early on I didn't seem to have much problem but when the chasing behavior started the male would come sit on my finger and the female would come peck at his tail till he would leave.
Concerned for the male I was considering separating them but had not yet when she started chasing him around the cage. Perch, to the wall of the cage, up the ladder, and around again. I finally decided to separate them and moved the female back to the cage they came in.
Now separated I kept them near each other, this seems to lead to a new problem for which I am seeking advice. The male will come sit as close to the female as possible and sing to her off and on. The female however is climbing the walls of the cage pecking at the bars like trying to break them off. If I keep a barrier between the two so they cannot see each other the male will still sing to the female and she will remain on her perch, mostly, but there are still times where she seems to attack the cage.
I work at hand training with them both individually through the day and they will both sit on a finger even without the millet in hand(I do give after as reward thou).
I am at a loss as to what to do, they seem to really want to be with each other however it seems unsafe for the male anyway. During her pecking she never seemed to pulled any feathers and I have only ever seen a few of the tiny fluff feathers so I don't think she was hurting him except for hunger. During their time together I don't think they were in molt or mating that I could tell.
We were not given any name info from the SPCA so I named the male Francis, and my son named the female Alexandra.
Don't know the size of the new cage but re-arranging the perches and dishes might keep things more peaceful. Multiple (more than two) feed cups would also help out with her aggression. Having a mixed sex pair, make sure to not provide anything that they can view as a nest box. As they seem to be settling in you should continue with taming steps. Talk Budgies has the best information on all things budgie, so check out all of these resources.
Thanks for adopting and good luck. If you're unsure of their sex, send photos.
Thank you for rescuing the budgies. I'm sorry to hear you're having problems with them getting along.
If you post full frontal pictures of their ceres (taken in natural light - no flash and no direct sunlight) we can determine for sure if you have a male and female.
I recommend you remove any mirrors from both cages. Mirrors can cause budgies to become aggressive and territorial.
Not all budgies get along. I would recommend moving one of the cages to a different room for a few weeks and spending time with them individually.
When the female is totally away from the male, she may calm down. If she is currently in condition, she may be experiencing a strong hormonal surge
After a few weeks you could try giving them supervised out of cage time together to see how they do and then re-evaluate the situation at that point.
Please make sure that the cages you have the birds in are big enough. The very minimum size for one budgie is 18" Long x 18" Wide x 18" High.
I personally think a solo budgie should have that is a minimum of 30" Long x 18" Wide by 18" High
However, bigger is always better as long as the spacing between the bars is no more than 1/2".
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Truly, the very BEST advice anyone can offer you is to take the time to read ALL of the stickies throughout the various Talk Budgie forums as well as the Budgie Articles we have posted.
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Thank you for adopting these budgies! You've been given some great advice above by FaeryBee and others. Separating them, ensuring their cages are large enough, etc. are the best ways to deal with this matter.
Best of luck with them, we hope to see photos of them soon!
Meanwhile, you've come to a great place to learn even more about the best of budgie care practices. If you have any questions after reading through the links provided above by FaeryBee, be sure to ask as we'd love to help!
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic
Right now the male is in probably a minimum size cage, and the female is in the cage they both came in which is too small. Currently I cannot purchase a larger cage for her and if the government shutdown happens I may not get my checks for a bit. I am unable to locate any of my four tape measures now that I want them but I estimate her cage to be 12wx8dx14tall(at peak of dome)
The male also tends to try to get to her climbing the sides of the cage singing and tapping the bar with his beak(he does the same to the shiny metal keepers on the cuttle bone sometimes) but does not try to bite the bar like the female does. When they are able to see each other they chirp loudly and both tend to try to get to the other, just the female bites the bars. She mostly does it if they can see each other, otherwise she only seems to do it when the male sounds off a few loud chirps.
The female, Alexandra:
Her nose/cere used to be a different color. I think it was a light pink(my memory is bad)
Her cage, till I can get another:
I posted a vid to youtube of here biting: https://youtu.be/bzU8UgNKyWE
Sorry for the tv background, but thats about the only time Francis would really chirps loud while i have my phone in hand. You can hear him chirping leading her to peck at bars. She does it anyway but more so when he is chirping.
The male, Francis:
As for the mention of letting them out of their cages I don't think they are at that point. They will step up when i put my finger to their belly but will not yet cross the cage to me. A week or so back Francis got loose when I was cleaning his cage and would not return. He ended up flying into the closet and getting stuck in some clothes in there. They currently share my bedroom with me, I am disabled and spend the vast majority of my time there with them. Unfortunately I am worried about moving one of them to another room thou I would like to move the female, being 'my sons' bird, to his room but we have other animals in the house(3 dogs, 2 cats, and my daughter has hamsters in her room). I keep the other animals out of my room and frequently keep the door shut so the birds would be ok to fly around in there. Dogs are downstairs only, but cats have access to all areas of the house except for my room. I did place her covered in another room for a little while to try to spend more time working with the male however they both spent the entire time chirping loudly and the male would not work with me on hand training, instead climbing his bars looking all around and chirping.
Sorry for any ramblings. They really seem to want to be with each other, the female just chasing the male around the cage worries me too much thou
Your female is currently in breeding condition which is why her cere is brown and crusty looking.
Thanks, I was afraid of that.
Originally Posted by FaeryBee
Keep the budgies separated and perhaps think about moving them across the room from one another.
The more distance between the cages at this point, the better.
Currently trying putting the female in my sons room on a tall cabinet and only when he is in there to be sure the cat cannot get to it. This is leading the male to chirp very loudly and fly about his cage in turn getting the female riled and biting at her bars. Is this just something that will have to be ignored till they get used to the separation? I read somewhere that they mate for life, if they are a mated pair(I don't know their history) are there telling signs? Will the separation harm them?