Want to House Two Birds Together?
If you already own a bird, or your dream of owning birds, you probably have fantasized about a large aviary with lots of different bird species intermingling and cohabitating. This idea, while serene, is not always realistic. Mixing different species of birds is complex and there’s no tried and true guide to getting these things to work. But, there are a few techniques that will not hurt.
Pick on someone your own size!
Do not mix birds of vastly different sizes in the same aviary. You wouldn’t want to live with a giant, would you? Keeping birds of similar size will help to reduce stress and prevent a hierarchy from forming and leaning towards the larger birds. Small birds can become very stressed and intimidated by large birds, even if the large birds are peaceful.
You should also be aware of any similar-sized bird species that should not be paired together such as finches and doves, peafowl and quail, or hookbills and finches. These pairings can be dangerous to both birds. Button quail and finches are an exception to the rule as they typically get along well.
Make sure there’s enough to go around
Housing closely related birds with identical preferences will increase the competition for places to roots, nest, and feed. So make sure you have a large enough space for all the birds to comfortably do all these things. You’ll also want to make sure to have an alternative space for non-breeding birds during breeding seasons to prevent issues.
Provide extra feeding stations and water containers so there are plenty of options and there is less chance of birds becoming territorial over food and water containers, preventing other birds from using them. Keep an eye on all your birds and make sure that all of them are getting equal access to the feeding and watering stations.
For community aviaries, you’ll want to provide plenty of plants to create division of the interior space. This will help your birds to feel as if they have a place to “get away” from the rest of the flock. This will also help pairs or families feel secure and protected. In the event of a disagreement, which will happen, plants provide a nice hiding space until you can intervene.
Make sure there’s enough room for everyone
Crowding birds can be stressful and cause aggression and feather picking issues. However, there is no straight-forward answer for how much room each bird or pair needs. Just ensure that each bird can perch by themselves, two-feet away from companion birds that are not their pair.
If your objective in having an aviary is to breed, you may need to provide additional space between companion perches during breeding season. Birds can become much more aggressive and protective of their pair during mating season. Giving them an ample amount of space should help to minimize issues. Watch your birds and remove any pairs that are especially sensitive to disturbances during breeding.
Keep an eye on the pecking order
You’ll probably spend lots of time observing your birds. Make sure to note behavior signs that might indicate certain members of your flock are not getting along. Some of these behaviors include feather picking, chasing, and fighting.
Introducing all your birds at the same time will help to alleviate any hierarchies from forming. Introducing a new bird is similar to sending a teenager to a new high school, it’s not ideal for anyone involved. If you do plan on introducing new birds make sure it is not during the breeding season to avoid issues.
Avoid combining more than one pair of each species, unless you plan on having a flock species such as budgies. These can cause rivalries and aggression problems. On the other hand, it can result in unintended hybrids. If you are concerned about hybrids, make sure to house pairs instead of unmated singles.
To ensure a happy flock, combine species with similar dispositions. Bird species that are comfortable in captivity do better in large flock situations as well. When introducing a new bird, screen the bird’s disposition a behavior to make sure it matches your existing flock well. A nervous bird will cause stress to the rest of the flock.
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