New Buddies for a Budgie

by Elizabeth
(Baltimore MD USA)

So, I'm getting two new friends for my budgie Loki. She's about 2.5/3 years old, and the new keets are about 3 or 4 months old. I'm getting them from a breeder this upcoming weekend. I can't wait to get them, and she can't wait to get a friend or two. She's so lonely lately. I chirp with my mouth, and she tries to get inside to see if there's a bird in there. I have a few questions.

1) I was wondering how to introduce them best. With Loki's last friend, I just put the two in the same cage and they were fine with each other. They figured out the "pecking order" so to say and then were fast friends. Is introducing two new birds to one old one different than introducing one new one to the old one?

I have a new cage for them all as well. I was planning on putting the new ones in the new cage first...is that smart? How to introduce the old one to the new cage? Will any of them be territorial? Should I put toys in the new cage right away or slowly introduce them? I don't want the birds to get bored, especially the old one who is used to the toys.

I'm also wondering about the quarantine period. I didn't do it with the last bird, but that was because I didn't know about it. I'm assuming I should abide by it. Separate rooms is going to be hard to do, but I could try to make it work. If nothing else I can put them on opposite sides of the room... (college student here) Two weeks is the correct period right? I want the birds to be healthy. Could you give me some more information on this?

2) I'm going to take the new keets for a vet visit. What about the old one? She just got checked out about a month or two ago and was perfectly fine. I'm a college student so money's tight, should I take her back to the vet just in case or will it be ok if I don't? Also if I do take her back to the vet with the other birds how do I keep them quarantined??

3) I was also wondering what I can do to make sure the old budgie (Loki) eats all of her food. I don't want her teaching the other two bad habits but as of late I've noticed that she's been eating her seed and not much of her pellets (she has a 50/50 mixture) I tried making it so that it was more of a 75/25 mixture (more pellets) so that she'd feel she had to eat more of that, but she ended up just picking the pellets up with her beak and throwing them outside of the cage when she couldn't find anymore seed...I just ended up with a dirty floor for a few days. I'm afraid if I make her diet all pellets I'll end up with a dirty floor and a hungry bird. She also doesn't like veggies and fruits, which I've tried giving her. I want to try again and want to see if the other two will like them, any tips on this?

Thanks for any and all of your help.

Comments for New Buddies for a Budgie

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May 26, 2009
Thank you!
by: Elizabeth

Thank you! I have a vet visit for all three of them on Thursday :)

May 26, 2009
Polyomavirus test
by: The Vet

There is a test available for Polyomavirus. It is best just to vaccinate them. If they are carriers they will not show signs, and they will clear the virus and no longer be infected, then the vaccine will prevent re-infection. The vaccine is for avian polyomavirus.

Dr B

May 25, 2009
Vaccinations
by: Elizabeth

Ok I'll try that thanks. Is there any way to find out if they already are carriers? I mean...would they show any signs and are there any tests they can do at the vet? I'm going tomorrow. I just hope that the new birds will not associate me with being handled by the vet and needles...since they don't have much experience with me...with the vaccination, if they come into contact with a carrier, would they be fine then or...? I'm just a bit confused I'm sorry...

Also, what vaccinations should I ask the vet to give them?

Again thank you for your continuing help.

May 25, 2009
Eating pellets
by: The Vet

They will eat the pellets in the separate bowl. You need to limit the number of seeds to what they can eat in one sitting. When the seeds are gone there is only pellets to eat until the next meal of seeds in the evening.

Birds learn to drink from water bottles within 12-24 hours. Take the water bowl away for 3-4 hours, then give it back for a couple of minutes. Do this until you see them drink from the bottle.

You need to get them vaccinated to prevent them from being carriers. If they are carriers, it is easy for you to spread the virus on your clothes, hands, hair etc, when you go visiting other places that have birds.

Dr B

May 21, 2009
A few more questions
by: Eilzabeth

Thank you very much for your answers. I have a couple more questions.

With the pellets and seeds, if i put them in separate bowls won't she just never eat the pellets and be hungry? Also, I'm afraid that if I get a water bottle they won't know how to use it and won't drink anything...

Loki got a clean bill of health, but she has not received any vaccinations.

May 21, 2009
Adding birds to one cage
by: The Vet

Yes, you should not just throw them into a cage together. Keep them in separate cages initially, allow them to play outside of the cage a few times before introducing them into the cage together. When you do close them in the same cage, you should do it early in the day while it is still light. This way they will have time before dark to get settled.

You should not put anyone in the new cage first. Keep Loki in his cage, beside of another cage with the two new budgies, and keep the new cage empty and beside the two cages with Loki and the new ones. They are very territorial. This can be reduced by putting in lots of perches, and extra food dishes, especially high in the cage. You also need three perches that are equal in height in the cage and the highest in the cage. These are the roosting perches. I recommend the Safe Pedicure Perch for roosting to keep nails trim and feet healthy. After a period of time, which you can determine by their behaviors, that you put everyone into the new cage at the same time. You should put toys in the cage immediately and outfit it completely before you move the birds in.

It is not possible to truly quarantine birds in the same household. They need to be in completely separate airspace. If that is not possible, then you need to keep them physically separate for at least 30 days. During this 30 days you need to take them to an avian veterinarian for a check up and vaccinations. Then they can be introduced.

Loki should see a veterinarian, too. In fact, birds need to see a veterinarian annually for a check up and vaccinations. If Loki was seen that recently, it is not necessary to go again now.

Do not mix the pellets and seeds. She will not eat her pellets. She will pick around the and throw them out. The pellets need to be in a separate dish near the highest perch. You should have at least one pellet dish for each bird. The seeds should be in a separate dish and lower in the cage. You should only put about a teaspoon of seeds on the bowl and change them twice daily. You should have at least one seed bowl per bird in the cage. Budgies should eat bout 60% pellets, 30% seeds and the rest inn fresh vegetables, especially greens like spinach and dandelions. Side note: also put your birds on a Lixit water bottle instead of a bowl. Bottles are more sanitary and can be changed daily. Whereas a bowl should be cleaned every three hours.

Let me know if you have other questions.

Dr B

May 21, 2009
New fids
by: Anonymous

Now I see your reasoning. You sound like you are on top of it all. again, good luck. Let us know how it goes
M.A.

May 20, 2009
Loki
by: Elizabeth

thank you for your comments :) I will definitely try the organic apple juice. That's a great idea.

Also, I think I probably didn't express myself correctly. I'm getting the two birds because I want to. Also because Loki needs a friend, but if it doesn't work out with Loki and the others I'll still love having the other two. :) I'm really hoping it WILL work out though and that they don't gang up on her.

May 20, 2009
Loki
by: Anonymous

Take the new birds to the vet before they are brought home if that is possible. Try and set up the appointment for a little later than time you pick up the two new ones. If you go ahead and bring them into the older one's environment, she is sure to get whatever they may have. Bird's immune systems are somewhat compromised when being taken to a new home, and the birds already there are also under a great deal of stress.

If, after trip to vet, there seems to be no infections or other problems, then there would be no particular reason for the quarantine except for keeping them in their own cage for a while. As for introductions, if you have a play area for your budgies, that would be the best way to put them together later. For the first week, just feed everybody, talk to them and give them time to rest and check each other out. Moving too fast can cause problems plus all the birds' are already experiencing stress with the new setup.

The food issue is one you need to get on top of too. Buy some organic apple juice and use a little to flavor the pellets for both your older bird, and the new ones. With diets where seed is still being fed, birds will choose the seeds everytime. Birds pick out what they want not necessarily what is good for them. I found the apple juice worked in changing over my two Amazons who had only had seed since they were imported to the US. They are wild caught parrots, and did not like the pellets at all at first. It took a couple of months of work to get them to eat more pellets than seed, and I finally found that a few drops of organic apple juice on the pellets made them taste better. You may have to keep doing that for a while until they are eating more pellets than seeds. Seed alone is not even close to a balanced diet even though it has been used in the US for many, many years. Now, we have better foods for them, and we must take advantage of it. The pellets are actually made up of various grains and seeds. Try the Harrison's as it is made using organic products only. They also have a really delicious birdy bread mix that would help your birds convert over. Tracie carries the Harrison's out here. Get the organic Red Palm Oil, AVIx Booster, Tracie has to put in the bread mix. If your pellets have any kind of preservatives in them, it is wrong for the birds as these chemicals work on their liver and kidneys slowly but surely causing them to lose years off their lives.

Keep us posted.

May 20, 2009
Loki
by: Anonymous

I quarantine for at least 30 days. even a separate room is not perfect, and across the room is not much good. I recently got finches that I kept in the 1/2 bathroom. No hairspray, perfume, etc. in there.
I would introduce slowly. The 2 new ones may gang up on your fid. They are young and probably will be fine, but I would hate for anything to happen yo your "old girl"
And in reality, you should never get a bird for another bird, but get a bird for yourself. They may dislike each other and there is nothing you can do about this except keep in separate cages.
Good luck and please let us know how it goes.

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