Ask Lafeber

Question:

July 19, 2022

Golden conures


I am thinking about getting two females (they have been sexed) that are from sane clutch and are presently in same cage being still hand fed
Will this be ok to continue to keep them in the same cage bonded?
I presently have an African grey almost one year old that of course will be in her own cage


Answer:

Hi Carmen,

The problem with keeping two birds in the same cage, is they will almost always end up forming a bond, and most of the time they lose interest in being handled. Even sisters or any same sex birds will tend to form the same close bond as a breeding pair. There can be exceptions, but in most cases a bird will choose another bird as their preferred companion if they share a cage. Sometimes one might remain more tame than the other. But then there ends up being a love triangle. The tame bird wants both you and the other bird as a companion, and this can end up causing fighting, or vicious attacks on the other bird or on you. The reason behind this is that once a pair of parrots forms a mate bond, it’s their instinct to not allow other mature birds close to their mate. In the wild, the male is typically the enforcer, and he will chase off other flock members that he views as rivals. If the pair happens to be nesting, he may turn and attack the female to force her back to the nest. Even if it isn’t breeding season, the male still may turn on the female to keep her back and away from any rival. With a same sex bond in captivity, the behavior tends to be the same, with one bird taking the more protective role.

Since these are both females, there is one other major concern and that is with egg laying. A female in a pair is much more likely to start laying eggs, even if mate is another female. Chronic egg laying is a serious issue with many pet birds and can require hormone treatment and possibly separation from the mate if changes to the environment and caging do not work.

These are all things to consider. If you want a good companion, then the best option is you only get one of these birds and let the other one be a good companion for someone else. You could get both birds and cage them separately, but this will be harder on them since they have always been together. And there will always be some jealousy when you are handling one of them. I realize this is a lot to think about, and there can be exceptions, but most of the time everything will be great until the birds become sexually mature, and then things can change quickly.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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