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Thread: Dominant bird, grumpy bird, or harassing bird?

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    Dominant bird, grumpy bird, or harassing bird?

    I recently gave my lone budgie (who had been alone with me for about six months) a friend. I introduced them slowly in separate cages over a period of about a month. They are now housed in the same cage, which looks like this.

    When they first met each other, they ate out of the same small food dish. Eventually it became apparent that the new bird did not like sharing the food dish and the older bird was happy to give him space. Generally, the birds do not fight: the new one just momentarily pecks at the other one and the other one leaves. We have put another food dish in the cage to make sure the older bird can eat unbothered--this eventually happens, though there is usually a morning ritual of the new bird following the older bird to the selected food dish, eating with him for a time and then shushing him out to the other dish. They go through a few cycles of changing food dishes but each eventually settles on his own dish and eats until satisfied.

    If it is near bed time and the newer bird is in his higher sleeping spot (new bird sleeps on higher perch than old bird) and older bird comes up for a preen, the newer bird may peck at him to tell him to go away or he may mutually preen.

    I should also note that both birds are/were molting. The older bird just finished his first adult molt and the newer bird is finishing up his baby molt. We noticed an uptick in the newer bird's more aggressive/territorial behaviors as his molt started. Generally older bird is very friendly and non-aggressive with the newer bird and with us. He loves to talk/warble to us and clicks his beak when we speak directly to him. He is more tame and more vocal than the newer bird and is now newly flighted.

    I guess I'm just checking to see if I should be worried about the new bird's aggressive-ish/territorial behaviors. As I said, the birds generally do not fight--my older bird just kind of acquiesces when the newer bird is crabby. But they do frequently mutually preen and chatter together. If they are out of the cage and in different spots in the room, they will contact call to each other and will usually seek each other out.

    My sense is that the newer bird just may be the more dominant bird, or he's crabby because he's molting, or maybe both.

    Any thoughts?

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    Tailfeather maxollie's Avatar
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    Re: Dominant bird, grumpy bird, or harassing bird?

    Hi, and welcome to the community! Congrats on bringing home your new budgie. The behavior you describe is pretty typical of introducing a new budgie, but usually, the o!der budgie will be the one that dominates. I think you have done everything right as to supp!ying them extra food cups, etc. And you are watching them carefully for any increased aggression. The behavior that is happening now, is what I call sparing. It is not mean aggressive, but definately domination.

    Do you know the age of the new budgie? Was it sold to you as a baby? If purchased in a petshop, sometimes, budgies do not get sold for a few months, so it is possible the new one may be o!der than your first one, and that could explain the domination better. If the dominant budgie pushes the other one off the perch, or bites him or will not let him eat at all, in either food cup, or chasing him all over, or gets very aggressive and mean, then you would need to put them in separate cages. I am hopeful this is temporary behavior, and that they will become best friends. If possible, post pics. I may be able to say if you have two girls, two boys, or a male and female.

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    Re: Dominant bird, grumpy bird, or harassing bird?

    Hi--

    You can view photos here.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/fzzmXWxeQ2tpSDSp7

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/B8JToEWTAwMVLfUU9

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/GUoHnQjoPKFS9eVZ9

    The one where the grey bird is alone was taken from today as he is finishing out when I think is his baby molt, so I think he is around 4 months old. His cere is still pink/purple. You'll notice that it's gotten more purple than pink since molting. He had the baby bars when I brought him home, though very faint due to his dilution. And you can see that his eyes are still basically without an iris. My husband and I were toying with the possibility that maybe he is actually a she because of the uptick in aggression. I guess we'll know for certain shortly when his cere finally changes.

    Yesterday Grey seemed pretty annoyed with little blue, who we think is about 1 year old, having just completed his adult molt. They bickered a little after grey joined blue on a perch, but they are currently perched next to each other like they are in the second picture.
    Last edited by beau_the_budgie; 10-24-2018 at 05:51 PM.

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    Re: Dominant bird, grumpy bird, or harassing bird?

    Awwww!!! What a beautiful pair! You are correct that the blue one looks to be male. The gray one, does look very young, and still has the faint black bars on top of head. I think this one might be female, but is too young as yet to know for sure. In a few months, it will be easier to tell. The very light co!or mutations !ike him or her are hard to sex. And often times the cere for a boy will be much lighter blue in a mutation like him or her. By looking at the pics, I tend to think you have blue, the boy, and gray, the girl. Females can be controlling of a male on occasion.

    Congrats!!! You picked two beautiful, gorgeous, budgies. We will watch for updates anytime!

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    Re: Dominant bird, grumpy bird, or harassing bird?

    Ellen gave you great advice and hopefully in time they will both get along great without one being aggressive. You do have two very beautiful little birds.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

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    Re: Dominant bird, grumpy bird, or harassing bird?

    Sounds like a female, in my opinion. From my experience, females are pretty aggressive. I had a baby female cockatiel to be a companion for my disabled cockatiel (he eats formula and he's nearly a year old. Doctor says he has stunted internal organs). Anyway, I raised the female from 2 weeks old. By the time she was 4 months old she was henpecking poor Wolfie. I brought her right back to my friend who owns the bird store and got another 2 week old baby. This baby turned out to be a beautiful male. He's the sweetest boy you could ever meet. He treats Wolfie with great respect.

    I've had several females and all the female parrots were aggressive. I'll only keep males in my home so that there's peace.
    Whitefaced Pearl Cockatiel Smokey Bear: Hatched June 14, 2018
    Whitefaced Pied Cockatiel Wolfie Barry James (Wolfgang): Hatched approx: December 25, 2017
    Yellow Naped Amazon Benny Francis: Hatched March 24, 2018

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