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· Registered
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I really need some advice, gang. I am having so much trouble with my two males - the most trouble I've had in my 15+ years of budgie ownership.

Some background: I currently have a young (just under 1 year old) male Nimbus and a 3 year old male Cosmo in a large cage. They are my only budgies right now. The 3 year old male, Cosmo, has taken all that time to bond with and tame, but he is finally starting to come around (getting more used to fingers, being on the shoulder, is finally directly interacting with my boyfriend and I - this bird has been very difficult since I got him as a baby). Cosmo has never been able to bond with the budgies he has shared the cage with over the years. When I first got him, I had a male that he bonded with - they preened each other and such - but that male died not long after, and Cosmo was rejected by the remaining budgies. Cosmo is always trying to feed whatever budgie he is with and is constantly pushing the boundaries. He is not aggressive in a "mean" sense, but he is always trying to preen or feed his cage mate and it is never well-received. I'd say his current cage mate Nimbus tolerates him at best, and his ability to tolerate it fluctuates. Cosmo is not obviously sexually aggressive, and I have never seen him *********e with a toy, or regurgitate to a toy in all the time I've had him. He just seems obsessed with wanting to preen his cagemate. He will at the moment literally never ever back off.

This post is about Nimbus though. This bird hit "puberty" hard 4-5 months ago and he is getting more and more out of control. We can't have plastic toys or bells in the cage because I am quite certain he will *********e and regurgitate to them to his death if we allowed it. We had a scare one time when a new toy was in the cage and he made himself sick from constantly regurgitating to it. They currently only have shredding toys in the cage because they don't seem to trigger him. Out of desperation, I will occasionally give him the most favoured toy long enough for him to "relieve himself" but I have to take it away quickly because he becomes so defensive and territorial of it, I am certain he would kill Cosmo (who still tries his best to feed or preen Nimbus while this is happening). During one of these relieving sessions the other day, he attacked Cosmo hard and nicked his beak. For Cosmo's safety, he can no longer be out of the cage when this is going down.

My partner and I have been forced to work from home for the last 2 years (and counting) and we live in a small, 2 bedroom apartment. I work in the same room as the budgie cage and there's no where else in the apartment for me to adequately retreat to. I think as a result of this, I have become the source of Nimbus's ultimate obsession, and I'm starting to think that it's driving him (and me) crazy. As time goes on, he can no longer tolerate being in the cage. Up until the last couple months, both birds happily and peacefully stayed in the cage all day until the work day ended, then we let them out for the evening. They would get to be out of the cage all day on the weekends. But once the days got short here in Alberta, Canada in the winter months, things have gotten out of control. Nimbus will now scream the whole entire work day and release his frustration upon Cosmo. If I relent and let them out, then I am harassed the whole day through. Nimbus will constantly fly to my head, hands, or laptop screen and try to mate with me. If Cosmo comes close, he chases him away aggressively. In fact, if I try interacting with Cosmo at all, it results in him getting chased. Even if I try to interact with Nimbus, he will first chase Cosmo away before interacting with me. Nimbus has become completely, utterly, and unhealthfully obsessed and fixated on me. If I leave the room, the screaming becomes manic. If I put them in another room, even moreso. This bird cannot settle for five seconds anymore, he is just fixated on me and aggressive towards Cosmo and it's pretty much become insanity from the moment I wake them up until the moment I put them to bed. We'll get a peaceful day here and there but it's becoming few and far between. I no longer enjoy interacting with Nimbus because it has become nothing but me shooing him away - all he does is try to mate with me and aggressively attack and chase Cosmo.

They are NOT like this towards my boyfriend though. My boyfriend is not within their line of sight all day which I think is a factor. They don't obsessively call for him or fight over him. Cosmo definitely prefers my boyfriend and I think it's because he doesn't get attacked for interacting with him. But if I'm in the picture, it's insanity.

I've owned budgies - specifically male budgies - for many years, but I've never had an issue like this before. I desperately want to return to the office so that I can get some separation from Nimbus, but with the continued COVID situation, it doesn't seem to be happening soon. I really at this point don't know what to do. I uncover them at 10am every morning and usually cover them at 10pm everyday but have recently started reducing that to 9pm (with the lights going down in the apartment at about 8pm to try and calm them). They are on a seed diet with veggies every day. I don't really know what else to do to try and quell their hormones. I don't know how to get the fixation off of me and I can only get so much separation from them during the workday. They behave well around my boyfriend, but any noises I make, such as a yawn, sneeze or cough, triggers the screaming hardcore. If I am in Nimbus's line of sight, then he's just going mental attacking Cosmo and trying to get out of the cage to me. Sometimes I let them out during the workday just to stop the manic screaming, but then I have to fight off Nimbus all day long who is trying to mate with me. I have never allowed him to *********e to my hand or near me, but he tries anyway.

What can I do here? I've never seen a budgie get this hormonal and crazy and for such a sustained period of time. It was easy to laugh it off the first few months because he was just "getting budgie puberty" but as he reaches a year old and the months go on, it's just getting worse and worse. The working from home situation, and always being around the budgies, is really exacerbating it. I would really like to add a 3rd male at some point (as until now, I've always kept 3 at a time) but I can't even imagine subjecting another baby to this situation. Today I have started locking them in the bedroom for the workday out of desperation. Prior to this hormonal surge, these two lived happily together. Now I am wondering if they'll be able to continue in the same cage. I have to guess that Cosmo is also hormonal due to the constant bugging to feed and preen. He will NOT stop.

Has anyone got any advice on what I can do here?

· Administrator
60,671 Posts
You need to separate the two budgies into individual cages.
1. To protect Nimbus from Cosmos constantly wanting to preen and feed him (which is stimulating Nimbus' hormones as well as being simply frustrating to him).
2. To protect Cosmos from Nimbus when he becomes territorial and/or aggressive when he is trying to pleasure himself.

Move Nimbus' cage into the second bedroom and play music in that room to help minimize his screaming (buy yourself some noise cancelling headphones and earplugs as well)
Give them separate out-of-cage time. Ensure you give each budgie one-on-one attention on a regular and consistent basis for a period of time each day.
Nimbus needs to have periods of time in his cage when he must entertain himself. When he is out of cage, encourage him to fly and or start clicker training him.
Ensure he has swings and ladders to play on.
Limit his daylight hours to no more than 8 hours per day.
Make sure you cover the cages at night. Top, three sides and 1/3 of the way down the front. Ensure there is a nightlight in the rooms to help prevent night frights.

Take Nimbus to an Avian Vet and explain the situation is out-of-control with Nimbus' hormonal issues. The vet will probably be able to offer a hormonal injection which will help calm Nimbus down somewhat. It sounds as though his body is over-producing testosterone.

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· Super Moderator
20,158 Posts
Hi there and welcome to the forums.

So sorry to hear about the issues you're having with Nimbus. I agree 100% with FaeryBee. I know you only have two bedrooms but rather than removing yourself you are going to have to remove Nimbus into his own room where the door can close during the day; your boyfriend should have no issue if he needs to work in there because Nimbus isn't like that towards him, or he can work with you in the same room, if needed, right?

I know he's uncontrollable when he's out of his cage but giving him some personal out of cage time is important for getting some of his manic energy out. Make sure he is in his own room and can't get to Cosmo during this time.

The most important thing is to get him to the vet. As you know from your experience having male budgies, this is not normal and indicates he could have an issue regulating testosterone production in his body, as FaeryBee said.

I hope that you are able to find a solution for little Nimbus.

Meanwhile, be sure to read through the links provided above to familiarize yourself with the forums, and if you have any questions after doing so, please be sure to ask as we'd love to help.

Hope to see you around!

· Registered
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the responses, StarlingWings and FaeryBee. Do you still recommend taking him to the vet when he hasn't yet reached a year old? Does this seem so out of sorts that it can't just be attributed to puberty? I won't hesitate to take him, I have access to a truly awesome avian vet, but I don't want to start messing with his hormones if it is just a hormonal rush and the joys of puberty.

It has been months since Nimbus has had an actual molt, meanwhile Cosmo molts frequently. I'd like to see Nimbus go through a full molt before going that route. He has only gone through one molt so far (when he lost his baby feathers).

In the mean time, I tried putting them in my bedroom today for some peace and that went well, but things fell apart as soon as I returned them to their usual spot. They are both really, really out of control today - honestly, today is the absolute worst I've ever seen them. I am guessing hormones are in abundance today for them both. Hoping to see this trend downwards soon. Bed time is coming super early for them today.

· Super Moderator
20,158 Posts
This 100% cannot be attributed solely to puberty; as you know male budgies do not normally become like this even if they are in condition. What you are describing is not normal behavior and if he continues it then he may also suffer mentally as well from the frustration, etc. Different birds moult at different frequencies; it doesn't really indicate anything about their maturity or age. Some birds loose a few feathers every couple of weeks while others have one big moult every few months, this really depends.

Why "them"? Have you not been able to separate Cosmo and Nimbus into two different cages? As mentioned, the first thing you should do is get a different cage for one of them if you don't already have one and put Nimbus by himself in his own room so that he is not in danger of injuring Cosmo, and is not constantly fixating on you. Until you get an opinion from the vet, I would NOT recommend putting them both back together, even in the same room. From what you've told us, it just riles up Nimbus and is probably putting a huge strain on Cosmo's well being.

At the very least tomorrow morning if you can you should call your vet and describe everything that you are seeing and what you have told us here. A vet visit is definitely in order but if you want to call ahead first and fill them in, that may help. It's great you have access to such a great vet.
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