Peace in the Aviary

A community of birds, especially mixed species, can be difficult to maintain. There is going to be a bit of unrest as a pecking order is established. But long-term aggression cannot be ignored. Something must be done.

Of course, you never want to house budgies, aka parakeets, with any other species. Yes, people have been known to do so with good outcomes. I’ve known a budgie or two that pair bonded with cockatiels. This is not the norm, and budgies in groups, especially the females, can be fatally aggressive. Everything from knocking eggs out of other birds’ nests to actually killing the hen and chicks.

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Also lovebirds are territorial and aggressive. You can put more than one pair into an aviary, as long as you have lots of space and lots of nest boxes to choose from. Just watch out for signs that the couples are not getting along with each other. You could spend a worse afternoon than sitting and watching your outdoor birds.

Cockatiels are usually the best birds in colony breeding situations. But recently I found out some of my male cockatiels were out and out trouble makers. The indoor problem child kept protecting one corner of the large cage where his mate laid eggs on the cage floor. The outside problem child, I believe, actually killed chicks in any nest box except his own.

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In the past, I have moved doves out of the aviary for harassing the button quail chicks and eggs. Then the single rosey Bourke hen I have did the same thing. And the button quail themselves kill each other and the chicks. After a while, it just gets old.

I rehomed twenty of my birds to a friend who had time for that many birds. She even won the hearts of our auxiliary pair of sun conures, and has them sitting with her and taking food from her hand. With us, the two were stressed all the time. The male, George, wanted to be friendly, but he wasn’t confident enough to actually step out of the cage. Gracie was confident, she left the cage every chance we gave her, but she always delivered a bite when she could.

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I also rehomed the problem children couples inside and out of the cockatiels. I warned her why I was rehoming the birds, and as she doesn’t breed, there is every chance the birds will be happier, too.

Now I can feed my flock in a single day, I can clean cages better and more frequently, and there are no fights going on in any cages. It’s the peace I needed. All of us benefit from the change.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back on Sunday.

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