Ask Lafeber

Question:

March 8, 2021

Lovebird companion


I am considering acquiring a companion for my 6 month old male Peach-faced Lovebird. Kiwi seems very unhappy if he is stuck in his cage, and sometimes paces back and forth on the cage’s floor. If the cage is opened up on top, Kiwi has the habit of flying to the floor, and then running down the hallway searching for me. (He is quite attached to me.) What are the pros and cons of acquiring a Peach-faced Lovebird companion for Kiwi. Since I do not want to have a breeding pair, should I consider getting another male bird?


Answer:

Hi Sue,

If you want Kiwi to remain a tame pet, then I would not recommend getting another bird. Basically birds do not have other birds as friends, they have a bonded mate. In your case, you are Kiwi’s companion. But if you add another bird, even the same sex, then they will likely bond with each other and not want to be handled anymore. With the bond Kiwi has, he might not even accept another male. If you got a female, hormones would probably take over at some point and he would bond with her. If you get another bird to live in another cage, Kiwi would probably only be jealous. The best way to deal with this behavior is to let him learn to entertain himself. Make sure he has plenty of toys to play with. He is likely only pacing when he can see you. So give him alone time, where he is more likely to check out his toys. Instead of letting him out when you aren’t in the room, you should only have him out when you are handling him or supervising him. It’s not safe for him to walk around on the floor or to be out where you can’t see him. Foraging is a great, natural form of enrichment that can keep him busy for hours. In the wild, parrots spend much of their day foraging for their food. We take away their main incentive to be active and explore, by giving them food in a cup. We have some great videos and a webinar about foraging. Check them out and try some of these methods with Kiwi. Food or attention are the main incentives for training a pet bird. Kiwi is still young and learning, but he should start learning some independence because you can’t be there for him all of the time.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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