How Keeping Different Birds Breeds Together

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Ideas on how to keep the different breeds of the bird together, and which birds do and don't mix well. Advice on cages, toys, and feeding.

Birds can make wonderful pets, especially for someone who is housebound or lives alone. Most pet bird owners are happy to own just one of the most popular species, but it is possible to keep different breeds together. Generally speaking, if you are going to keep different bird breeds together, the more time you spend with your birds, the better they will get on with each other, and with you. And keep in mind that two birds generally mean twice as much care and attention.
     
Always consult an expert before deciding to keep birds of different breeds together, but there are some general rules. Parrots, which are among the most popular of caged birds, generally interact well with other breeds in a neutral area, such as an enclosed room or yard. Most parrots are still instinctively flocked birds, and while they have their own personalities, they will still generally accept another bird into their flock. On the other hand, parrots can also be territorial and generally need to have their own cage or space. Tropical birds of any breed usually get on well with other tropical birds and can be caged together. Lovebirds, budgerigars, and canaries generally enjoy the company of other birds, regardless of breed. On the other hand, cardinals and blue jays can be territorial and have been known to chase other breeds of birds away from food or water.

Birds of different sizes sometimes don’t mix well together – if you want to have different breeds living peacefully together, try to make sure they are of the same size and personality type. Some birds are more aggressive and some just prefer to be left alone. A shy bird and an aggressive bird may not be an ideal combination to share a cage, although there is no accurate way to predict an individual bird’s behavior. The age of birds kept together is usually not so much of an influence on their behavior as the personality of the birds. A larger and stronger bird can sometimes accidentally injure or even kill a smaller bird.
     
Birds are creatures of habit and any change in their environment can be stressful for them. If you already have a pet bird and are thinking of having another, especially a different breed, there are some steps you can take to make the transition successful. Firstly, and most importantly, keep the new bird apart from your existing bird for about a month. You can keep them in separate cages in the same room, but with the cages spaced at opposite sides of the room or outdoor area. Keeping the birds apart at first will also minimize the risk of spreading disease and give you a chance to become better acquainted with the habits of the new bird. After a few weeks or a month, you can gradually move the cages closer together, leaving both cage doors open. This gives the birds a chance to meet each other when they are ready to do that, and in their own time. The birds should ideally meet on neutral ground, somewhere away from their cages. Always keep an eye on the situation when you have two different bird breeds meeting for the first time – one or both birds may become aggressive, resulting in injuries. Don’t leave the birds together alone until you are sure they will be compatible with each other.   
          
There are other things to consider when keeping different bird breeds together. You will want to make sure your cage is large enough to comfortably house two or more birds. Generally speaking, a cage should be large enough for each bird to comfortably spread its wings fully. Make sure you have sufficient playthings and space to perch for both birds. Ideally, each bird should have a plaything or a toy that they identify as theirs alone. You may spend more time on cleaning and maintaining their cage. Different types of birds may have different eating, sleeping and playing habits, and maybe more used to different temperatures.
      
Keeping birds together makes it more difficult to monitor your bird’s health individually – an effective way to monitor the health of more than one bird is to check their weight daily. Housing birds together can also stimulate their breeding instincts. To minimize the chances of this, don’t put items that may stimulate breeding such as bedding boxes, etc in the cage. Often, birds that get on together most of the time can become aggressive during their breeding time. But birds caged together are never lonely – they have constant companionship and can preen each other, and play together.


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