Parrots are sociable animals that form close bonds with same-species birds, so many owners consider getting a second parrot. The new parrot will be their companion, giving you additional free time.
Before introducing parrots to each other, house them in separate cages in different rooms for 30+ days. This quarantine period will give them time to settle down and reduce the risk of passing on diseases.
Once the new parrot seems happy, put its cage nearby in the same room. Eventually, put the new parrot inside a larger cage with the original parrot and monitor them closely, separating them if they fight.
Focus on assisting the pair bond with positive reinforcement. If they form a bond, leave them together.
Can Two Parrots Live in the Same Cage?
Two parrots can live in the same cage when the following apply:
- The cage is sufficiently large.
- Parrots are the same species.
- They’re both similar-sized parrots.
- There’s a carefully managed introduction.
- Sufficient resources (food, drink, and toys).
If one of these factors is missing, the parrots may get into territorial disputes with unpleasant consequences. Unfortunately, this can lead to food hoarding, stress, and injury.
Unless you have a large cage/aviary, keeping more than two parrots in the old cage isn’t recommended. You’ll need a sizable enclosure to house two macaws, cockatoos, Amazon parrots, etc.
How Much Space Do Parrots Need?
The amount of space parrots need depends on their species.
Large birds need a cage with the following dimensions:
- 2 feet deep.
- 3 feet wide.
- 4 feet high.
A parakeet can have a smaller cage, but they’re active and need room to explore or fly around.
For a single parakeet, you’ll need a cage that’s at least:
- 1.7 feet long.
- 1.5 feet deep.
- 1.5 feet wide.
If you add a second parrot, the size should be near-double. Some owners provide 50% more room when adding another parrot, but smaller cages are more likely to result in hostility.
How To Make Two Parrots Get Along
Two parrots will get along better when they’re introduced to each other correctly.
Here’s a beginners guide for introducing a pair of parrots:
Keep The Parrots In Separate Rooms And Cages
When you first bring a new parrot home, don’t let it meet the existing parrot yet. Instead, go to a different room and set it up in a cage. Avoid letting them see, speak, or interact with each other.
The new parrot will be unsettled by its new environment, encountering new smells, sights, and sounds. At this stage, encountering another parrot will further confuse or agitate it.
Keep it separate for 30 days. This quarantine period must be extended if the following apply:
A new parrot should calm down after a couple of weeks. However, give it additional time if it continues to be stressed and agitated. Avoid moving anything into the room or cage at this time.
Keep the lighting, types of food, etc., consistent. Parrots are unsettled by sudden changes, especially when they’re already agitated.
A new parrot may have illnesses or diseases from the pet store or breeder’s cages. The new parrot’s sickness may not be noticeable immediately, but it’ll likely become apparent.
Look for signs of illness, such as the following:
- Odd-colored feces.
- Intestinal parasites, like worms.
- Discharge from the nose and eyes.
- Diarrhea (runny stools).
- Sudden changes to energy levels or vitality.
- Sudden feather loss.
- Itchiness due to parasites, like mites or fleas.
- Respiratory distress, like wheezing and panting.
If any of these problems manifest, a veterinarian should examine the bird.
Allow The Parrots to See Each Other
Once the quarantine and settling-in time are over, allow the two parrots to see each other. Bring the new parrot into the same room as the existing one in their respective cages.
The cages should be kept several feet apart. If the room is small, each cage should be placed at the opposite end of the room. You can gradually move the cages closer to each other, and during this time, observe both parrots’ behavior and body language.
Take note if one of the parrots is ruffling its feathers or hiding on the floor of its cage. Avoid moving their cages closer until both parrots seem happy and contented.
After sufficient time has elapsed, you can set both cages a few inches apart, allowing each bird to see the other up close without fear of attack.
Let The Parrots Meet
Lift the new parrot and place it in its new home.
Alternatively, you can let both parrots out of their cages and let them meet face-to-face in an open area. Catching or separating them will be more difficult if fighting occurs.
It’s normal for birds to be initially cautious. You may see the original parrot walk over to greet the new one. Allow them to smell, communicate, and inspect each other without intervention.
If they scream or hiss, separate the two parrots to avoid conflict.
Help The Parrots Bond
If the parrots accept each other, keep them under close supervision.
You can leave them in the same cage and monitor how they interact. If they get along but still experience mild tension, put them in separate cages at night.
Use these steps to develop the relationship:
Reward the parrots for good behavior. According to the Journal of Comparative Medicine, birds are responsive to training through positive reinforcement.
You can achieve this with the following:
- Give both parrots a treat whenever they’re in the same cage together.
- Rub their heads affectionately when spending time with them.
- Offer encouragement when they’re friendly toward one another.
Provide Equal Attention
Don’t let the existing parrot feel like the new one replaces it during the introduction. Parrots can become jealous, which leads to altercations. Give equal attention to the original parrot by:
- Petting it whenever petting the new parrot.
- Offering treats fairly and equitably.
- Making eye contact and talking to it when you check on the new parrot.
- Letting the original parrot see and play with new toys.
Identify Good And Bad Behavior
Even if the parrots are doing well, they may still experience conflict. If so, separate them.
Check for the following types of hostile behavior:
Raising Their Wings
Parrots often flap their wings when excited. If the parrot raises its wings and holds them aloft, it’s trying to dominate the other parrot. The raised wings make the parrot look bigger and more intimidating.
Some parrots preen each other with their beaks. This is a positive behavior that should be encouraged. However, if one parrot acts aggressively and the other backs away, this is an act of aggression.
Parrots make different sounds based on their mood. The parrots may chirp or whistle at each other, which is a good sign. However, a parrot that hisses is warning or threatening the other parrot.
If you notice one parrot chasing the other around the cage, it could signify aggression. It’s not uncommon for parrots to chase each other playfully, but prolonged chasing is intimidation.
Defending A Food Bowl
One parrot may stand by the food bowl to prevent the other from coming closer, which could be an intimidation tactic. However, it may happen when the parrots have insufficient space.
What To Do If Your Parrots Fight?
Here’s how to handle fights when introducing parrots:
If conflicts aren’t one-offs, separate them immediately and introduce them later.
Parrots are more likely to fight due to excessive energy, so encourage them to channel this energy into other activities. Options include playing with toys, flying, talking, or learning tricks.
Despite being social creatures, parrots can grow overwhelmed by company.
The parrot won’t have sufficient space if the cage is too small. You may need a larger cage or let them stay in nearby cages.
Parrots have strong beaks with a potent bite force that can inflict significant damage. Owners concerned about their parrots getting injured may need to house them separately.
You can move each parrot to a separate cage or set up a divider. If you’re concerned the parrots are fighting due to insufficient space, consider upgrading to a larger cage.
How Many Parrots Should I Have?
The number of parrots you own depends on how much attention you can give them. Parrots aren’t solitary birds and require at least 2-4 hours of social interaction.
Wild parrots live in large flocks. In captivity, parrots often live in cages with no company and nowhere else to go. They’ll feel lonely if their favorite human isn’t around or is otherwise distracted.
A second parrot can provide much-needed company if you can’t fulfill a parrot’s social needs.
What Is Parrot Bonding Behavior
Bonding behavior is the easiest way to tell if two parrots are getting along. Since parrots are social creatures, they form close bonds with same-species birds.
The pair of parrots will enjoy each other’s company and defend each other in times of danger. These close bonds can often last a lifetime, especially between opposite-sex birds in captivity.
The following signs mean that two birds have accepted each other:
- Preening each other’s feathers.
- Nestling closely while sleeping.
- Playing together.
- Regurgitating food.
- Regular chirping and other happy sounds.
Avoid separating bonded parrots because this causes stress, depression, and other mental health issues. This applies to male-female and same-sex pair bonding.