Ask Lafeber

Question:

January 19, 2021

Caging mixed species together


wanting to add my canaries (2) parakeets (2) and cockatiels (2) together into a big cage …anything I should be worried about. Right now they are in separate cages but do see each other.


Answer:

Hi Kasey,

There is a very common misconception that birds can be caged together and peacefully co-exist. Unfortunately, this is not the case, even when the birds are the same species. In some situations, same or mixed species birds can share a large aviary and get along, as long as you do not provide nests or breeding material. But often, the relationships can change suddenly, and one bird may find itself being chased and bullied by others. If you have a large walk in type aviary, you might be able to cage your parakeets and cockatiels together, again providing you never give them nests or nest boxes, you provide plenty of food and water stations, and you are able to observe them for the first few days to make sure they are getting along. After that they should be checked on a few times a day – never assume they are all still getting along. Zoos use cameras or observation windows and keep mixed species exhibits under observation. Even then, an attack on another bird can happen quickly and it can be too late by the time you get to them. Do not ever cage a canary or any finch, also known as soft bills, with parrots. Cockatiels and parakeets can and will kill smaller birds, and a soft bill has no defense against a hook bill. If you simply have a large indoor cage, it is best for each pair to stay separate. Cockatiels can injure or kill parakeets, and actually female parakeets can get very territorial and are capable of killing a cockatiel. Dr. Lamb discussed the dangers of mixing birds, especially different sized birds, in her Safety First webinar – link provided below. So while it seems like it would be good for birds to be with other birds, there are generally more risks than benefits. There are a few species that do well in colonies, but they still should not be set up to breed and fights can still occur.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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