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can you separate a bonded pair of parakeets?

Can You Separate Bonded Parakeets?

Last Updated on: 12th July 2023, 05:37 pm

A tamed single budgie will be loving and affectionate toward its owner, while a pair of budgies will usually bond with each other, with the human owner playing a lesser role in the bird’s life.

If two budgies have bonded, allow them to live together. Separating bonded budgies causes distress, and the two parakeets will likely spend weeks searching and calling each other until reunited.

You may need to separate bonded budgies if one of the birds has an infectious illness, you have opposite-sex birds you don’t want to breed, or one of the budgies becomes territorial.

You may need to separate bonded budgies that start fighting, but this needn’t be a permanent estrangement. Parakeets can become irritable when hormonal or during molting, so their inability to get along may be temporary and circumstantial. 

If you need to separate bonded budgies, house them in individual cages in separate rooms. Budgies are flock animals that want to be together if they can see or hear each other.

How To Tell If Parakeets Are Bonded

It’ll soon become apparent if you keep two parakeets in the same cage that don’t get along.

One or both birds will flap their wings and vocalize loudly, avoiding contact other than fighting. However, it’s likelier that two opposite-sex budgies sharing space will form a deep and lasting bond.

Signs that a pair of parakeets have bonded and like each other’s company include:

  • Sharing a perch and sitting together in tranquility.
  • Eating simultaneously, frequently bringing food to the perch. A male budgie will share food by regurgitating into the female’s beak.
  • Imitating each other’s calls and songs.
  • Tapping beaks together.
  • Allogrooming and preening, including scratching each other’s heads with the tip of the beak.

Some budgies coexist in the same cage without forming a close bond.

If you keep two parakeets that don’t fight but rarely display the above behaviors, the birds are likely content to share a space but won’t protest at being separated.

how to separate two budgies

Do Parakeets Bond for Life?

When captive budgies form a bond, it usually lasts a lifetime. This union isn’t always about breeding.

Two male parakeets can share a lifelong platonic bond. Female parakeets are more territorial and are likelier to clash, adversely impacting their ability to bond in same-sex pairs.

Wild parakeets are slightly more fluid with their attachments. Budgies are driven to reproduce and propagate the species. If a male is infertile, a female may seek an alternative partner.

Can You Separate A Bonded Pair of Parakeets?

Parakeets miss their partners if separated, often searching and calling for the absent friend and showing signs of deep sadness when not reunited.

Budgies that have already formed a bond should be adopted as a pair, whether siblings or unrelated. Adopting one bird and leaving its partner behind will make rehoming more stressful.

A budgie will eventually accept life without its bonded partner but will be harder to train.

Once you’ve tamed the bird, consider introducing a second budgie to keep it company. Parakeets can form a new bond with a different bird, even if separated from a previous partner.

Caring for two parakeets makes them less likely to bond with an owner. This can make taming and training more challenging because the birds won’t feel compelled to please you.

If you wish to keep several parakeets, adopt the birds one at a time where possible.

Focus on taming the first budgie, then bring a second bird into your home. Keep this parakeet in a separate room, tame it, then introduce it to its potential mate.

Bonded parakeets are lower maintenance than a single bird, as they’ll take care of each other’s need for attention and company. This only becomes a problem if you need to separate the budgies.

Reasons for Separating Two Budgies

There are some genuine reasons why bonded parakeets should be separated:


Remove the sick bird immediately if one of the budgies has an infectious illness or ectoparasites (like mites). The most common symptoms of ill health in parakeets include:

The sick budgie should be quarantined in a separate cage in a different part of the home.

Bullying and Resource Guarding

Resource guarding is more common in female parakeets, who are naturally more territorial.

If a female budgie experiences a hormone rise, she may hoard food. This is commonly observed with nesting behaviors, especially during the breeding season.

If one parakeet refuses to allow the other to eat or access resources, the victim will become distressed.

Unwanted Breeding

If you keep a mixed-sex pairing of bonded budgies, unplanned breeding will happen.

Males will usually take the lead, demonstrating the following behaviors:

  • Regurgitating food into the mouth of a female or at her feet.
  • Preening and displaying colorful plumage.
  • Imitating the calls, chirps, and songs of a female.
  • Fluffing the feathers.
  • Head bobbing in the company of a female.

If a female welcomes these courtship rituals, she’ll respond in kind. You will find the budgies chirping and chattering as though deep in conversation.

Removing a male budgie from a shared cage won’t prevent egg laying. Proximity to a mate triggers a female’s breeding hormones, with the sole difference being that the eggs will be unfertilized.

reasons for separating two budgies


Two bonded parakeets are unlikely to fall out and start fighting for no reason. Observe the birds and ensure they’re not just playing, which can involve rough-and-tumble physicality.

A sign that budgies are behaving aggressively is pecking at the feet.

Bonded budgies fight for a reason, with aggression usually temporary and circumstantial. Common reasons for two previously loving and attentive parakeets to get physical include:

  • Spikes in hormones lead to uncharacteristic grumpiness.
  • Molting feathers can make budgies a little more ill-tempered.
  • Two parakeets outgrow a small cage, so the birds lack resources and territory.
  • Mating aggression, with a male attempting to breed with a disinterested female.

If you separate bonded budgies before the conflict becomes serious, the bond can be restored once both parakeets have cooled off. The bond may be permanently damaged if the fighting grows too intense.

How To Separate Two Budgies

If possible, enlist a friend to help because one of you can work on distracting the parakeet that’s staying put while the other captures and relocates the second bird.

After bonded parakeets have been separated, both birds need a clean break.

If you’re separating two budgies living in the same home, separate cages in the same room won’t work. Ideally, the two birds should be housed on different floors.

If bonded budgies can see or hear each other, they’ll attempt to reunite. This may start with calling to each other, with these calls growing distressed when answered but not resulting in proximity.

This will be even riskier if the birds can see each other. If bar spacing on a cage allows, the parakeets may push their heads through the bars, potentially causing injury.

Most budgie cages offer half an inch bar spacing, but smaller gaps are preferable as a parakeet’s head can squeeze through this gap.

Keep the budgies apart throughout the day, potentially allowing them to spend time together during out-of-cage time. Budgies should spend several hours per day flying free in a bird-proofed home.

Bonded budgies enjoy spending time together and won’t choose to be separated.