I've got 3 budgies, 2 in a bonded pair caged together and 1 in a separate cage. The cage the bonded pair came in when I adopted them is about 18.5 in. long x 14 in. wide x 21.5 in. high. I know this is basically just big enough for a single budgie. My lone budgie is in a cage that's 18 in. long x 18 in. wide x 36 in. high (I could not find a wide cage, so I got the tallest one I could find).
I am having trouble with one of the bonded pair that I believe is female (I was told by the previous owner she's male, but she has a pink cere that gets crusty). The sex of her partner is supposed to be female, but I assume male because of a deep blue cere (the vet said the sex wasn't obvious without a DNA test). Basically, I think the previous owner got the sexes inverted for both budgies.
The female is now bullying the male. It's bad and hard to watch. The female will drive the male away from food, water, millet, perches, and chase the poor budgie around the cage. The male jumps away at the slightest movement from the female, because it's usually going to be a peck. I hear a little yelp when one of the pecks lands. It happens several times per day.
The previous owner asked me to promise not to separate the pair, because they've been together for 2 years. But that promise was made before I saw the bullying. Yes, they sometimes preen and cuddle together, but the majority of the time, the female is being a huge bully.
My other budgie in the other cage has lived alone the last 3 weeks that I've had her. Her sex is undetermined because she's only 3-4 months old, but I've been calling her female. I don't know how she would get along with another friend, but things seem friendly when the birds are having flight time. She lived with others at the pet store.
My question is: should I put the male budgie in with my single budgie (of possibly female sex)? This leaves the smaller cage to the female bully and would give the new pair the larger cage.
If your answer is yes, how should I introduce Sky to Kiwi's current home? After flight time, Sky returns by herself to the smaller cage with Sunny (the bully). None of my budgies are hand tamed.
A note about the bully: Sunny takes a certain joy out of biting me sometimes, too, if I pick her up or she gets scared (obviously, not my favorite bird. Have I mentioned her screeching?) I pity her, though, and will keep her. She and Sky were in a home with children who put their hands in the cage and waved them around for fun. I'm having to go back to taming from the beginning. They're taking millet from my hand, but still very scared of hand movement. If the millet moves too fast, Sunny will attack it like a viper. I don't think she's rehomeable, so she's part of the family now. Sometimes she can be nice. I see hope for her with humans, but I think she shouldn't live with any other birds. Any thoughts?
Sunny definitely needs to be housed alone.
She's proven herself to be aggressive with other birds so you cannot take chances.
With regard to her biting you when you pick her up, not all birds are willing to be handled.
When Sunny bites you, she is telling you to back off and leave her alone.
It is important that you work with birds on their terms and sometimes that means accepting they are not going to become hand-tame.
The cage Sunny and Sky are in right now definitely is not large enough for two birds.
The very minimum for two birds is 18"x18"x36" and bigger than that is better.
Do you give Sky and Kiwi both out of cage time?
Have they been introduced to one another in neutral territory?
Do you have a third cage?
Everyone should always have a spare cage for use as a quarantine, travel or hospital cage.
The situation you find yourself in right now is a prime example of why this is important.
The best solution would be to put Sky in a cage by himself, place that cage next to Kiwi's cage and let them become acquainted through the bars.
After that, you would introduce them in neutral territory and, if they get along OK, then you could house the two together.
Putting a bird into another bird's cage without proper introduction is not recommended.
It would be best for Sky and Kiwi to be introduced in neutral territory but if you are simply unable to do that, then you will need to rearrange everything currently in Kiwi's cage to help prevent her from becoming aggressive and territorial when Sky is put in the cage with her.
It is important that you remove him from the cage with Sunny as soon as possible to prevent him from serious physical injury and emotional damage.
By the way, you do not need DNA testing to determine a budgie's gender.
We can help determine their gender if you will post clear, in focus FULL SIZED close up photos of the birds' ceres taken in natural light.
No flash and no glaring daylight.
Do not use thumbnail attachments.
When you upload pictures as attachments directly from your computer, tablet or phone, the forum automatically defaults to landscape. Additionally, the picture appears as what we term a “thumbnail” attachment.
Thank you, FaeryBee! Sky and Kiwi have been all right together during flight time. I rearranged Kiwi's cage and Sky's in there now. There's pecking from Kiwi over millet and when Sky gets too close. Most of the pecks hit the air, only a few really land on Sky. Should I let them get acquainted for a few days? Or should I buy a new, 3rd cage tomorrow and house everyone separately? Thank you!
Let them get acquainted for a few days and keep a close eye on them to ensure Kiwi isn't going to start bullying Sky.
It sounds as if right now she is just letting him know her boundaries.
You may need to give them their millet treats individually during out of cage time.
Remember, millet should only be given sparingly as a treat.
Let me know in how things are going on Monday and we'll re-assess the situation at that time.
Good news! Kiwi and Sky are still living together and mostly leaving each other alone. They sometimes use the same big perch at the same time. Kiwi will let Sky know if she's getting too close, but she doesn't harass her or chase her like Sunny did. Kiwi's also more gentle. I think it's definitely a good change. They're cute when they eat side-by-side.