can you mix birds in a cage

Q: I am thinking of getting a quaker parrot. Can I put him in the same cage with my cockatiel? –Linda L., Minot, ND

A: This is just not a good idea. I have both species of birds and find that I have to watch the interaction between both closely even when they are in a common play area. Although they appear to be similar in size, the body type of the quaker is stockier, the beak larger and the personality more aggressive. The quaker is a more powerful bird than the cockatiel.

Even in cases where the birds seem to get along well, you have to consider the possibility that one day there might be an altercation between the two. The more delicate of the two birds, the cockatiel, would be the likely loser. And being confined in a cage, where there is no possibility of escape, things could get ugly, or worse.

It is inadvisable to put two birds of different sizes together in close proximity at all. Never make the assumption that you know your birds well enough to feel certain that neither would cause an incident. I promise you that you do not know your bird that well. None of us do. A bird regards and responds to its environment differently than we do as humans. We don’t now, and perhaps never will, fully understand their nature.

When I first came to Orlando, I introduced my goffins cockatoo, Theo, to the Womach’s rosebreasted cockatoos and african grey. Theo is smaller than than the other birds and is a bit timid in personality. Sweet and gentle Theo has never bitten anyone, ever – she’s a total marshmallow, and I expected her to come running to me for protection. Imagine my surprise when SHE was the aggressor with the larger birds and had no issues with telling THEM how things were going to be. The Womach birds just rolled their eyes and went about their business.

Parrots of the same species sometimes squabble, just like humans do, and often will simply opt to move away from each other. Different species have different levels of aggression and territorialism and might always regard another species in its cage as an invader. Just as wild birds run off other species that come too close to their nesting site, so might a captive bird. It isn’t worth the risk.

Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.

Even in situations where the birds appear to get along well, you need to take into account the chance that they may fight at some point. The cockatiel, which is the more delicate of the two birds, would probably lose. Furthermore, if you’re imprisoned in a cage with no way out, things might get ugly or worse.

I introduced the Womach’s rosebreasted cockatoos and african grey parrots to my goffin’s cockatoo, Theo, when I first arrived in Orlando. Theo has a timid personality and is smaller than the other birds. I expected Theo, who is kind and gentle and has never bitten anyone, to run to me for safety because she is a total marshmallow. To my surprise, she was the one who initiated the aggression with the bigger birds and didn’t hesitate to inform them of the outcome. The Womach birds simply rolled their eyes and carried on with their day.

Similar to humans, parrots of the same species can argue and frequently choose to avoid one another. Various species exhibit varying degrees of aggression and territorialism, and they may perceive a species that is in their cage as an intruder. Captive birds have the same ability to drive away other species that approach too closely to their nesting grounds as do wild birds. It isn’t worth the risk.

A: This is just not a good idea. Even in shared play areas, I still have to keep a close eye on the interactions between my two species of birds. Despite their apparent similarity in size, the quaker has a stockier body type, a larger beak, and an aggressive personality. The quaker is a more powerful bird than the cockatiel.

Q: I am thinking of getting a quaker parrot. Linda L. asked if she could keep him in the same cage as her cockatiel. , Minot, ND.

The last important factor to take into account when selecting your birds is not only the species but also the genders you get. And no, ladies—we’re sorry, but based on our experiences, it’s usually the females that cause issues! Females are typically a little bolder, larger, and more territorial, especially when breeding. Men can also be troublemakers, and it usually comes down to the individuals When other finch species are introduced, territorial disputes can quickly arise even though many finch species are peaceful and content to breed and nest among one another. There are two easy way to solve this problem. The first step in solving the problem is to carefully choose the genders of the birds you house, and avoid having multiple species of birds breed in one aviary. This can be achieved by simply not providing any appropriate nest sites or boxes—though finches in particular are content to build nests anywhere!—or by providing plenty of distinct territories, divided by visual barriers like shrubs and at least two additional nest boxes per species, which will help to avoid pair rivalry and fights over nests. Budgies are typically the most aggressive birds toward other birds in our experience with a variety of species kept together, though they can also make excellent choices for a non-breeding mixed aviary. The last section of this guide provides a more thorough explanation of our accomplishments, shortcomings, and potential risks.

Every keeper should take into account a species’ locality when combining birds. After all, if their wild counterparts do the same, species have a far higher chance of coexisting peacefully in an avian environment. Thus, consider keeping birds from the same region, like Australia, which is home to many different bird species, such as cockatiels, zebra finches, and budgies, many of which are sociable and live in close proximity to one another. Not to mention, if you have your birds in an indoor aviary, you should never mix Old World (the rest of the world) and New World (the Americas) species because the dander from the Old World birds can irritate other birds’ sensitive respiratory systems. Furthermore, by selecting birds from the same area, you can theme the décor and landscaping, giving your birds a natural and enriching environment to live in and a paradise that you can enjoy together. What could be better?

Due to disease transmission, a higher risk of injury, and a variety of other considerations, it is generally advised against keeping birds with other animals. Although there are accounts of birds being kept with tortoises, guinea pigs, and rabbits—and some online articles even advocate for this—it frequently doesn’t work out well. Birds are extremely messy and won’t care about pooping all over your mammals or tortoises in the base, which could lead to infection and an overall miserable life—you wouldn’t want it. Either species could be gravely harmed by the other. It is advised against mixing large parrots with other animals in an aviary setting, but if you must, do so at your own risk. There will almost definitely be a lot of bloodshed and possibly even fatalities.

The success of a harmonious collection depends on a number of factors that keepers who are starting a mixed aviary often overlook, the most common being location and diet. So how do you choose the right species?

I think the determining factor in what you can keep is enclosure size. Large aviaries, such as those found in zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, offer a much more natural setting and ample space for birds to freely escape one another, making them ideal for housing a wide variety of birds. Sadly, we rarely have the space or money for an aviary of this kind in our homes and gardens! Still, size is crucial when keeping mixed species, so you’ll need a sizable enclosure with enough room for décor, perches, and enough room for each bird to be able to hide from the others if they so choose. Our aviary is approximately 20 cubic feet, and even then, I would prefer it to be larger! I think that many aviaries are overstocked, and I would probably not want to house more than one (flighted) species in anything much smaller than ours, which is shown above. This is all explained in the Setting Up section at the top of the page. Make sure you have enough floor space for both flighted and non-flighted birds when keeping them together. Also, don’t prioritize the height of your aviary over its length and width—birds don’t fly like helicopters!


Can you put a new bird in a cage with another bird?

For a gradual introduction, you should keep the birds in different cages for at least 30 days. After the quarantine period, you can try placing the cages near each other, but if either bird seems stressed, place them at a greater distance. Look for signs of stress.

Can you keep different types of birds together?

Typically, unless you are introducing a small bird (such as a budgerigar, canary, or finch) to another (or a group) of similar small species, the two birds should not be housed together but rather should be given their own bird cages, feeding stations, perches and toys.

Can two birds stay in the same cage?

In some cases 2 birds can be housed in the same cage. However, for safety, each pet owner must assess the situation carefully and proceed with caution. As a general rule, 2 birds of the same species do best together, and usually of the opposite sex.