Cockatiels are friendly birds, but not all cockatiels are going to get along with one another. Some birds are simply more social than others. Your bird's ages, histories and personalities factor into how well they will get along, as does your personal involvement. Cockatiels bonded from birth stand the best chance of getting along, but pairs who meet later on in life can also form strong attachments to one another.
Compatibility and Personality
Cockatiels are generally pretty friendly with one another, but conflicts can arise between individuals. It is important that you take your time when you introduce cockatiels to one another to make sure they get along well when you put them in a single cage. It is crucial not to take a seemingly good relationship between two birds for granted, because problems can develop over time or due to mating season. The personality of your birds, such as if they are aggressive, friendly or passive, will play a role in how well they get along. Cockatiels who are from the same clutch of eggs or have been been raised together from a very early age are more likely to get along than those who were introduced as adults, generally speaking. A pair of birds matched in age and used to being with a companion are more likely to become friends and stay friends than two birds who are significantly mismatched in age or who have not been socialized moderately.
Male and Female Cockatiels
Generally speaking, male and female cockatiels are going to get along relatively well: The males' and females' biological needs help encourage happy cohabitation between mixed-gender pairs. Males and females who are matched in personality and who enjoy one another's company should get along all year long, though the occasional squabble can be expected between any two birds who spend all their time in the same environment. If you aren't careful, your birds may get along too well, and you may wind up with more cockatiels than you were planning on owning. When you make the decision to house a male and a female together, you have a breeding pair regardless of whether or not you want one.
If you are going to keep more than two birds in one cage or aviary, you will want all of your birds to be the same gender. While three or more cockatiels can get along in a social setting, disputes tend to arise during mating season when multiple males or females in a single cage. For example, if you have two males and one female, your males may fight over the female during breeding season.
Help Make Your Birds Compatible
If you want to keep your birds in the same cage or aviary, you can take a few steps to help ensure they will get along. Your birds need to have been properly socialized, both with humans and other cockatiels, before you put them in the same cage together. Birds who do not understand how to get along with other birds or with humans may struggle to develop positive relationships. A well-socialized bird interacts willingly with other birds and with humans. He will not hide, behave in a fearful manner or act aggressively when approached by another bird or a human. A bird who is not properly socialized will need to be gradually introduced to social situations until he has learned to behave in an appropriate, friendly and accepting manner toward other birds and humans.
The Living Arrangement
Make sure your cage is large enough that your birds can get away from one another if they are bickering. Place plenty of toys, feed dishes, water dishes and perches in the cage so your cockatiels are not fighting over resources. Watch your birds carefully for signs they are not getting along -- such signs can include feather loss, pecking one another and loud, angry-sounding vocalizations. If your birds are not getting along, separate them into different cages. Some birds can be allowed to socialize in small doses but cannot stay together full time.
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.