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Why Do Parakeets Fight Each Other? (Not All Budgies Get Along!)

Last Updated on January 24, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

A pair of parakeets (budgies) is usually happier than a lone bird, but conflict can arise. If your budgies are no longer getting along, they may bite, peck, wrestle, and chase each other.

Playing and fighting between budgies is commonly mistaken. Biting the other budgie’s feet and chasing, where the same bird is always the aggressor, are clear signs of bullying.

Never add a second budge without introducing them properly and increasing the cage size. Territory is fundamental to a harmonious pairing, but other explanations exist for aggression.

Parakeets may fight over food, water, perches, and toys. Ensure each bird has a minimum of 2 perches and 1 food and water bowl so they don’t need to compete for life-critical resources.

Parakeets can become jealous of each other if they believe they’re losing out somehow. Also, be aware of the effects of hormonal fluctuations and behavioral changes during the breeding season.

Why Parakeets Fight Each Other

Parakeets fight with each other for the following reasons:

Territorial Disputes

Two females are often more territorial than two males. Of course, that doesn’t mean a same-sex female pairing can’t work if both parakeets have sufficient space, toys, and resources.

If the budgies often fight at night, they’re likely squabbling over a favored perch. Elevated perches are more popular because they’re perceived as safer than ones lower to the ground.

Provide 2-4 perches per budgie, locating them around the cage at various angles and elevations.

Allowing budgies to spend time outside their cage may reduce territorial behavior. The more time budgies spend in their cage, the more defensive they’ll become over what belongs to them.

What are signs of aggression in parakeets?

Food And Water

It’s normal for budgies to lose their temper over food and resources, but conflict should end quickly.

Fighting over food, sometimes called “resource riots,” can occur between budgies. This usually happens when there’s just one small bowl or the food/water supply isn’t replenished regularly.

The most effective way to prevent conflict is to give each budgie well-stocked food and water bowls.

Some colors negatively affect Budgies, so avoid intense red and pink bowls. Red is a sign of danger in the wild, so it makes sense that this will lead to heightened tensions in a caged environment.

Jealousy

If you keep two or more budgies together, avoid showing favoritism.

Budgies experience a broad spectrum of emotions, including jealousy and envy. If a bird believes a cagemate is getting more food or attention, it may suddenly attack its companion.

This is most common when introducing a new parakeet to a cage of established birds.

The existing budgie(s) will fear that the new arrival will become the focus of your care and attention or will attempt to take its food, space, and resources. Jealousy can lead to fighting between budgies.

Hormones

Parakeets may fight in the spring (increased warmth and light) when their hormones and mating instincts are triggered. The breeding season can result in two males becoming more hostile toward each other.

Both budgies may be sexually frustrated because they want to breed and are unable to do so. Equally, a pair of males will fight over a female’s attention in multi-bird cages.

The female will become increasingly protective of her terrain as the desire to nest takes hold. She may start “food guarding” to ensure she has enough nourishment to sustain herself and her hatchlings.

If you don’t intend to breed parakeets, separate them until their hormones calm down.

Stress

Stressed behavior can manifest as aggression toward cagemates. The signs of stress in parakeets include appetite loss, feather-destructive behavior, and stress bars on feathers.

The reasons parakeets become stressed include:

  • Overcrowding in the cage.
  • Unsanitary conditions.
  • Lack of stimulation.
  • Insufficient sleep due to noise.
  • Unsuitable temperature.
  • Fear of other pets.

The hostility level should diminish once the pairing feels less stressed by environmental factors.

Warning Signs Parakeets Are Fighting

  • Raised wings. This is to make the bird look bigger and more intimidating.
  • Screaming. Parakeets are vocal, but screaming signifies something is wrong.
  • Foot biting. Fighting budgies bite each other’s feet. This isn’t mutual preening.
  • Chasing. One bird exclusively pursuing is usually aggression.
  • Hiding. If a budgie is bullied, it’ll likely be afraid and hide to avoid detection.
  • Injuries. One or both birds may experience injuries and blood loss.
  • Hoarding and guarding. One bird will prevent the other from accessing resources.

Parakeets Playing vs. Fighting

If parakeets aggressively peck at or bite the feet of a cagemate, the activity is always hostile.

Parakeets don’t wrestle or fight for fun, meaning they intend to injure each other. If one of the parakeets causes injury or draws blood, the conflict is severe and must be stopped.

Monitor chasing games. Budgies may fly around a cage and chase each other for fun, but each bird should take turns. If the same bird is constantly fleeing, it’s the victim of bullying.

Is it normal for parakeets to fight?

Parakeets Fighting vs. Mating

Bonded opposite-sex budgies may breed. This resembles fighting because the male will mount the female from behind and flap its wings to maintain balance.

Here are the courtship behaviors observed in budgies:

This doesn’t mean male and female parakeets will never fight.

Stopping Parakeets from Fighting

Some minor squabbling is expected between budgies, but it mustn’t get out of hand. A fight between budgies can turn nasty (injuries, blood loss, etc,) so keep a spare cage for an emergency.

If the parakeets fight, they should be separated until they cool off. Parrots remember their companions, meaning that disputes will be recalled. If the fighting is constant, they should live separately.

While fighting to the death is rare, there are recorded instances of one budgie killing its cagemate.

Avoiding fights is achievable with the following preventative measures:

  • Ensure the cage is large enough to accommodate all residents. As budgies favor elevated positions, two budgies need a 30″ x 18″ x 18″ cage, while 18″ x 18″ x 18″ is sufficient for a lone bird.
  • Provide 2-4 wooden perches per budgie at different angles and elevations.
  • Ensure the cage has enough toys to prevent stress and boredom.
  • Allow the parakeets to fly in a parrot-safe room to explore and expend energy.
  • Provide 2+ food and water sources per bird to avoid resource insecurity and the need to hoard.
  • Treat all budgies equally, giving them the same amount of one-on-one attention.

If you want to be particularly cautious, only house male parakeets together in a single cage.