Parakeets are social birds that enjoy the companionship of other birds. They do well both in pairs and in small flocks. However, certain steps and precautions should be taken when introducing a new parakeet to an established pair. Never place unfamiliar parakeets in a cage together without first properly socializing them to one another.
One thing to consider is whether your established pair is breeding. If the two parakeets you already have are male and female, then there is a good chance that they have formed a mating pair, and many species of parakeets mate for life, according to Animal-World. This doesn’t mean that a mated pair won’t accept a third parakeet into their flock. However, if the pair is actively breeding, they might become aggressive toward other birds, and they should be kept separate until the breeding period is over.
The gender of the birds being put together is an important factor. Female parakeets tend to be more dominant and territorial than males, according to BirdChannel.com, and placing two females in a cage together might lead to confrontational behavior between the birds. Male parakeets, on the other hand, generally get along well with one another. Of course, mixing genders carries with it the chance that the birds will breed, so think carefully about whether you’re equipped to help raise baby parakeets when choosing the sex of your newest flock-member.
Don't Neglect a Quarantine
A new bird brought into your home should undergo a 30- to 90-day quarantine, during which he is kept as far away as possible from the other birds. Keeping the new bird in a separate building is best, according to the Drs. Foster and Smith website, but if that’s not possible, at a minimum he should be kept in a separate room with the door closed. To further prevent the possible spreading of disease, thorough cleaning and sanitation measures should be taken any time you handle or interact with your birds.
Familiarization and Socialization
Once the quarantine period is over, allow the birds to gradually become familiar with one another. Keep the new bird in a separate cage in the same room with the other parakeets. To help prevent jealousy, Drs. Foster and Smith website recommends treating the original birds as the “alpha” birds to reassure them of their place in the flock, and to provide separate playtimes outside of the cage for the new bird and the established pair. Once the birds become more comfortable with one another, start allowing them to have supervised playtime outside of the cage together. Watch carefully for signs of aggression, and also self-mutilation, which is a sign that a parakeet is struggling with the new situation. Rather than trying to force all of the birds to live in one cage together, leave the cage doors open while they play and allow the birds to explore one another’s territory. Eventually, the parakeets themselves will decide which cage they want to inhabit as a flock, according to BirdChannel.com.
Jean Marie Bauhaus has been writing about a wide range of topics since 2000. Her articles have appeared on a number of popular websites, and she is also the author of two urban fantasy novels. She has a Bachelor of Science in social science from Rogers State University.