Keeping Parrots in Pairs - Talk Parrots Forums

Parrot Behavior, Bonding and Training Discuss parrot behavior, parrot training, parrot bonding, and other psychological aspects of parrot care.

 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2009, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
 
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Keeping Parrots in Pairs

In the wild, most parrot species find a mate in their young adulthood, and they spend their entire life with this one partner.
We also know that parrots need to be around other individuals of the same specie in order to thrive...

So how many of you firmly believe that it is important to keep your parrots in pairs? I know that there are some extreme cases with unfriendly birds, or the inability to house more than one parrot, etc.

Personally, I think it's important to keep parrots in same-specie pairs for necessary interaction and bonding. I originally started with one of each of my birds (one parrotlet, one lineolated parakeet, and one quaker) but I have since paired all of them except Harpo the quaker.
The pairs have exhibited increased happiness and self-comfort ever since they were paired. Although my parrotlet, Oscar, is no longer friendly or bonded to me, I don't mind - I'd rather him bond to another parrotlet (Maya, in this case) than to me. They are much happier.


What are your thoughts?

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Nick and the flock:
Lily & Linden - Lineolated Parakeets | Oscar & Maya - Parrotlets | Harpo - Quaker
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2009, 08:18 PM
 
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I agree. Birds are flock animals and I feel that we can never really measure up. They need a friend to eat with, sleep with, and someone to reach all those itchy pin feathers!

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2009, 08:38 PM
 
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Originally I just had one budgie, Bubbles. I loved him, but he never really bonded to me, so we got Misfit to keep him company and give him the companionship he clearly wanted. The difference in him when we got her was amazing. He was so much more content. It was definitely worth getting her for him, and although neither were exactly tame, we could still handle them both and take them in and out the cage. Now we have four and they're really happy together. They're not tame, but they'll step up to go in and out the cage, and we can handle them to check wings and trim nails without too much fuss - and if they fly off and get lost, they coming running to our hands to be "rescued", lol.

When we got the cockatiels, we got two because I work nine hours, and my bf is at uni so his timetables always changing, so we got two so they could keep each other company. They haven't bonded, possibly because they were hand raised and we got them just after weaning, but maybe not. I find though, that they do keep each other company during the day, and when we take them places (like on holiday) they are always together which I'm sure reduces stress for them, as they have each other as a constant, when we can't always be there.

At some point in the future though, I want to get a Maxi Pionus. I haven't yet decided whether I would get one or two. I won't really be in a position to decide that until I'm ready to get one, in a few years time.


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2009, 09:06 PM


 
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I think it's better to keep them in pairs, the only birds I own that are pair-less are my GCC (for now - getting her a 'friend') my Quaker, and soon my Indian Ringneck.

But anyway, I agree it definitely is more so important to keep same-species paired up.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2009, 10:20 PM
 
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I pair my birds which don't really want time with me together. I'm waiting to get Moose a friend, and Loki/Kai are paired because neither one really wants time with me Goober isn't paired because, for one, another one is another $1,000 I can't afford and because she's really rather nasty with other birds because she's so strongly bonded with me Oops?



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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2009, 10:35 PM
 
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Naw, we don't intentionally pair them up. I have one senegal and I am his mate. We like it that way him and me. I have one tiel and he paired up with our one bourke's, they like it so far! We have three gcc's and they are fine. Six keets, two are paired by gimpy wings and are unsociable to all others. Two other keets because one died and the 5th is uncivilized with all other birds. She lives alone with her mirror and is very nice to herself. Any others come along and she attacks. She is tame with us! The last keet has one leg only and all the other keets would sit on her tail and peck at her and shove her to a corner, meanies all! She is fine as the tiel goes to visit her everyday. One parrotlet girlie and we like her tame to us. Some evenings they are all out together and we might get almost 15 on the couch with us , coming and going, no fights. So we are an inter-species flock and it's working!
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2009, 11:17 PM
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I am dead set about pairing up my birds. I've attended a few Companion Parrot and Wildlife courses and every single one of them stressed the importance of not keeping birds as single pets (apparently this is true for guinea pigs, rats, gerbils, rabbits and mice too).

I've been to three different avian vets too and the information booklet I got from each also states the same.

I guess it is very much a personal choice, but I know I would never be able to keep a bird single for long.

Last edited by chompie_puppy; 11-07-2009 at 03:11 AM.
post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-07-2009, 04:59 AM


 
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I also feel you need more than one of the same species. Even if they are not in the same cage together they can see each other and talk to each other. I do have a few singles but they are not alone. In my Cockatiel aviary their is also a Major Mitchell whose wing was very badly broken when the owners had a pool put in. While bringing it into their yard by crane the pool hit the aviary and scared him. The vet tried to set it but it failed. He was given to me as they sold his mate and no one really wanted him as he was not perfect. He gets on great with the Cockatiels and he is about 20 years old now. My Galah's are either one pair or a small flock. Two aviaries, one with 3 and the other with 5. I tried to even them up but they did not want to accept a stranger. I have 2 pairs of Cockatoos together and the others are in individual cages but all are in sight of each other, the same for the Corella's. I only have one Bourke Parrot now after her mate died, she is not young and she flies in with the budgies and is very happy with them. They think she is just a funny coloured budgie. I do have a Princess Parrot on his own but as I am trying to breed the other 2 pairs he has to be separated from them at the moment as the hen out of one pair is his sister and I don't want them to breed and he would interfere with them bonding and mating. I have a pair of Suns together and 1 single Green Cheek. Until I can afford to get him a female he is on his own but he is next to the Suns so has other conures to talk to. All my lorikeets are in a group of suspended aviaries, some in pairs, some single and one cage with 3, but they can all see and hear each other. Until I can figure out sexes I have not altered their housing yet. And my 12 month old Alex's are together, their sexes are unknown as yet and I am hoping to get at least one partner for one of them. They could both be hens and because of finances I cannot afford 2 mates but I have someone that will let me artificially inseminate with a couple of males and I can then keep a male from each clutch to pair with the opposing hens. This way I will be line breeding and not in breeding or I may be able to swap youngsters with someone else for unrelated birds for mine.

One thin I have found is that birds seem to have a universal language, as well as their species language. A bit like humans with different dialects for the same country. They can inter-communicate with different species. I had a Cockatiel and an Alex who would always be deep in conversation with each other. So even if you can't have the ideal of a mate of the same species even just having another parrot that they can talk to assists in their happiness.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-07-2009, 05:56 PM
 
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We adopted Niblet on September 1st to keep Millie company while we're away. They bonded almost immediately and really love each other even though Niblet is going through some behaviour changes recently. We are lucky that we have the time to spend with them every day so they consider us part of their flock and have remained tame and bonded to us.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-10-2009, 12:52 PM
 
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I just have one of each and will keep it that way (as far as I can see) I would be worried about the extra vet bills and that they could hurt each other. I have seen tiels with bloody beaks and bit of toes because they did not get along with their cage mate Never mind the price of getting another of each species. My birds seem to be happy and I think they see themselfs as a flock. They eat, nap, play & preen usually at the same time. I like to go in the bird room (my computer room) Sit on the love seat and eat and watch Spike, Storm and Icarus all go to their food dishes and eat with me
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-28-2009, 01:26 AM
 
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I keep my birds as companions, and I think that as long as I give my birds the attention they need, I think they're alright.
If they were aviary birds I couldn't imagine keeping them alone, or if I didn't have the time.
It's an opinion thing I guess, and I'm not going to say too much, because this topic is almost as controversial as wing clipping I suppose.

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-28-2009, 07:28 AM
 
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I am getting my Parrotlet a girlfriend today, she flies in. My Apple, the Linnie is getting paired up when the baby is weaned. I will not pair up my GCC she's mine. LOL

And Kiwi (Senegal) will also be mine or hubbies bonded companion. LOL I will not pair him up.

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-29-2009, 04:36 PM
 
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I should add that pairing Millie with Niblet made the world of difference in her. She appeared to be a happy bird and bonded with us well but was frightened of everything and everyone except us. Since Niblet's arrival she has changed so much. She particularly likes to show him how to do things even those things that she's never done before. The amazing part is that the relationship with us hasn't changed at all, we are definitely part of the flock.
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