Introducing a new flock member is both an exciting and nerve-wracking time. Will your new budgie get along with the bird(s) that are already part of your family? Will they fight over territory? In this article, you will read how to introduce your new budgie to your existing flock in a safe manner.
Time to quarantine
If you’re adding a new budgie to your flock, safety is of high importance for all birds involved. Ideally, you want to keep your new budgie in another room, separated from your existing flock for about two weeks. This way, if your new budgie shows any signs of disease you can take them to the vet without having to worry about the rest of the flock catching it. You can, of course, also choose to have your vet look at your new bird as soon as you pick it up from the breeder, its previous owners or the bird store. In that case, quarantining in another room won’t be necessary once your vet deems your budgie to be happy and healthy.
Another upside to quarantining your new budgie is that you can have someone on one time with them. These first few days are crucial to your relationship with your new friend. You can work on gaining their trust and getting to know their personality.
Call of the flock
If you choose to quarantine your new budgie in a room adjacent to the room your current flock is living in, there’s a big chance they will start calling to each other. Once both the new bird and the flock realize there is another bird present somewhere in your house, it will spark their interest. Over time they will get used to the presence of the other bird(s), even though they can’t see them yet.
Finally, the first interaction
After the quarantine it is finally time to formally introduce your new flockmember! Since these birds have only heard but never seen each other before, it’s wise to keep at least one of them in their cage. Personally, I prefer to keep the new bird in the cage while I let the existing flock roam the room freely. That way your flock can decide on their own when they are ready to meet their new friend.
For example: when I introduced my cockatiel, Falky, to my flock that existed of two budgies, Sky and Charlie, I set Falky’s cage in the living room. Sky is a very brave and curious budgie, so she went to investigate straight away. Charlie however, is more skittish and chose to observe from a distance first.
I am a huge supporter of letting parrots do things at their own pace, especially when it comes to overcoming fears.
Once your birds are used to each other you can open the cage of your new bird. Wait for them to come out on their own and don’t force them. Your new flock member might not be best friends with your current flock right away. Give them time to establish their own rules towards each other. Make sure to keep an eye on your birds at all times during this process. While lashing out to each other is normal, this behaviour has to stay within reason. If you see any signs of aggression, put your birds back in their cages and go back to the ‘first interaction’ step. Keep repeating this process until all of your birds can co-exist without problems.