Ask Lafeber

Question:

May 22, 2020

Should I Get My Cockatiel A Companion?


I have an 11-month old cockatiel called Marley who I got on Gumtree from assumed neglectful/ignorant owners. When I arrived the cage was outside which makes me worry they were outside all the time with other birds such as butcher birds as they are common in our area of Australia. Very nervous bird but after 6 months has come to be affectionate and more calm. I’m considering getting them a companion after they molt and I can hopefully find out their gender. Should I get a companion since I think it might help with the anxiety? And if I am should I get an older bird that could be a calming presence or another young cockatiel? I’m worried instead of soothing him/her that another bird could just stress them out or that bad experiences with other birds could have made him/her scared of other birds entirely.


Answer:

Hi Isobelle,

I am glad you are able to give Marley a good home. A lot of well intended bird owners feel like they need to get a companion for their bird. But when you cage birds together, even if they are the same sex, they are likely to bond and not be tame pets anymore. If Marley is your pet that you can handle now, and you want to continue handling him, then I would not recommend getting another bird – at least not in the same cage. If you would rather Marley be with another bird than be tame to humans, then you can try a companion. However, even if you get another cockatiel, there is no guarantee that they will like each other. It would be best to get a bird that is close to the same age. If it is a lot older, it might not have patience with a younger bird. And if the bird is too young, then Marley might pick on it. Marley will continue to adjust and get calmer over time so if you handle him and he has a large cage with toys to keep him busy, then there is no need to get him another companion.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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