How to Introduce a New Bird to Your Existing One

by R. Carnavale | December 12th, 2014 | Birds, Care
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finches (400x400)You already have a bird and are so happy with your beloved pet that you’d like to get a companion for your feathered friend or you’d like to start breeding. While birds tend to be quite sociable by nature, not all birds appreciate the sudden introduction of a second bird to their cage, so you’ll need to proceed with caution in order prevent distress in one or both birds and fighting. In fact, it may take weeks before you can house both birds in the same cage.

Your strategy is to introduce the new bird gradually to your existing bird, so you’ll need to get a second cage for the new bird and house her there for a couple of weeks for two reasons: First, to ensure the bird is healthy and second, to help your new bird adjust to its new surroundings. During the first week, you’ll want to put the cage for the second bird in a separate room from the room that houses your existing bird.

Be sure to treat your new bird with spray to kill feather lice or any mites. You can buy the spray at your vet’s or a pet supply store and follow the instructions to ensure your new bird is completely free of bugs.

After the first week, you can move your new bird’s cage so that the bird is within sight and sound of your existing bird — but not too close. You want to give them a chance to get to know each other from a distance.

Remember, you’ll need to avoid any unrealistic expectations of your birds and to show compassion, understanding and respect toward both of them to ensure positive long-term relationships.

If one bird becomes jealous of the other, apply positive reinforcement techniques such as giving the jealous one a special treat when the other bird is around or paying extra attention to the jealous bird. Your goal is to reassure the jealous bird and to encourage her┬áto have positive associations when the other bird is present. This will take time, so you need to be patient because you can’t force the issue.

When you finally house the birds in the same cage, they may fight each other because the cage is too small or they’re trying to establish their territory. Your existing bird may see the new bird as an intruder and bite it. Sometimes, your existing bird may see you as his mate and view another bird as a threat to the amount of attention you’ve been providing. If your birds are vastly different in size, the smaller one may constantly test the larger one and biting will ensue. The key is prevention: remove one of the birds from the situation for a while.

Finally, if you plan to breed the birds, be sure to introduce them into the breeding cage at the very same time so that the environment will be new to both birds so neither one has an advantage in the new environment.

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