Ask Lafeber


July 19, 2022

Introducing bonded males to a single males home

We want our single male cockatiel to have bird company. We have now been asked if we’d like to adopt a pair of male cockatiels unhomed by ill health of the owner. The two have been living together with their owner for 8 years. My question is, will my single bird feel invaded by the bonded birds or comforted by their presence, and are they likely to let my single bird in their company and then share grooming activities eventually?
My bird is a young rescue that has lived with us for three years now. He is still wary of hands and us, although I have been feeding him millet by hand. I’d hope my bird would become further trusting and involved and feel more at ease seeing the new two sitting on our hands and interacting, which I’ve been told these two do.
Any advice you can give, knowing bird behavior, would be so appreciated!


Hi Charlotte,

It’s generally not a good idea to have an odd bird out. Depending on the bond these two males have, they most likely will not accept a third wheel. It is interesting that they say these males can still be handled. Most of the time a bonded pair – even same sex – will not care to be handled anymore. I tend to give advice on what is most likely going to happen, but there can always be exceptions. But exceptions are less common and I don’t want you to count on things working out if they more likely will not. There are multi bird homes where each bird has their own cage, but they can all be let out together and will get along for the most part. When out of the cage, an odd bird is often ignored, but at least not chased or attacked as much as if you had three birds in the same cage. So with these males already remaining tame – if they truly are – then the three might get along outside of the cage. Again, more likely the pair will stick together and the single bird will be left out, wanting to be part of the fun. If he sees you interact with the two males, then he just might feel lonely enough to want some attention, too. If time goes by and he is still the 3rd wheel, you can always consider getting him a male companion of about the same age. Do not get a female and do not get a bird under about 2 years old. And keep in mind that none of this might work out. So make sure you would be OK with another extra cage, or 4 birds that don’t get along. You just never know – some birds seem to like any bird they meet, and some birds will take an instant dislike to another bird. Just like us, they each have their own personality so you never know what to expect. And there is one more possible scenario where one or both of the other males decide they like the single male more than their current companion. In that case, you could end up with some cage & mate swapping.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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