Last Updated on: 27th September 2023, 08:50 am
Parakeets, also called budgies, are small birds with larger-than-life personalities. While American parakeets are usually social and enjoy living in pairs or flocks, conflict can arise in certain situations.
Never pair 2 budgies in a cage smaller than 36″ x 24″ x 24.” Living space is vital to a harmonious avian relationship, especially if you pair highly territorial female birds.
Aside from territory, parakeets may fight over food, water, perches, and toys. Ensure that each bird in the cage has at least 2 perches, and provide several feeding and hydration bowls/bottles.
Parakeets can become jealous of each other if they believe the other is getting a better deal. Also, be aware of hormonal fluctuations and behavioral changes during the breeding season in the spring.
Is it Normal for Parakeets to Fight?
Most parakeets coexist peacefully if you provide an appropriate cage layout, food, and entertainment. Some birds won’t get along and share a space, seemingly fighting for no reason.
Parakeets can come into conflict for the following reasons:
If you’re wondering, “Why are my female parakeets fighting?” territorial disputes are likely the answer, as females are considerably more territorial than males.
If a pair of budgies share a cage that doesn’t afford enough space, they’ll fight for territory. If the parakeets often fight at night, they’re likely squabbling over a perch to sleep on.
Budgies need horizontal space to fly, so ensure both birds can move freely. Provide a minimum of 2 perches per bird, strategically locating them around the cage, especially in elevated positions.
Allowing budgies to exercise outside their cage more regularly reduces the likelihood of territoriality.
The more time budgies spend in their cage, the more defensive they’ll become over ‘their’ terrain. If budgies frequently fly free, they’re more likely to feel tired and relaxed when caged at night.
Food and Toys
Fighting over food and toys can also be expected in parakeets, sometimes called “resource riots.” Each bird would prefer separate food and entertainment sources unless bonded.
The easiest way to manage conflict is to ensure each budgie has its own food dish and water bowl. Budgies can see and detect different colors. Avoid bright and intense reds and oranges.
Resource riots become more common when you don’t feed budgies based on a reliable schedule.
If you keep 2 or more parakeets together, they must be treated equally.
Like all psittacines, budgies experience a wide range of emotions, including jealousy and envy. If a parakeet feels a cagemate is gaining more attention, it may grow hostile to the other.
This is common when introducing a new parakeet to a household with an incumbent bird.
The existing budgie will fear that the new arrival will become the focus of your care and attention or will attempt to take its food and resources, leading to hostility.
Parakeets may fight in spring when their hormones and mating instincts are triggered. Mating season can result in 2 males becoming slightly more hostile toward each other.
Both birds may be sexually frustrated because they want to breed and can’t do so. Equally, a pair of males will fight over a female’s attention in multi-bird cages.
The territorial instincts of a female parakeet will also be elevated during mating season.
The female will be increasingly protective of her terrain as her desire to nest takes hold and may start “food guarding” to ensure she has enough to sustain herself and her hatchlings.
If you don’t intend to breed parakeets, separate them until their hormones calm down. Once the urge to mate passes, the birds will coexist harmoniously.
Common reasons parakeets become stressed include:
- Overcrowding in a cage.
- Unsanitary living conditions.
- Lack of stimulation.
- Insufficient sleep due to noise.
- Unsuitable ambient temperature.
- Fear of other pets in the home.
Agrarian and Biological Sciences recommends increasing the parrot’s enrichment levels.
How Do I Know if My Parakeets Are Fighting?
It’s rare to find 2 budgies fighting without a preamble. Usually, parakeets will provide a warning their aggression levels are elevated, including the following:
- Raising the wings. This is intended to make it look bigger and more intimidating.
- Screaming. Parakeets can be vocal, but this level of volume is unfriendly.
- Foot biting. Hostile budgies will bite each other’s feet. This isn’t mutual grooming.
- Chasing. One bird pursuing the other signifies possible aggression.
- Hiding. If a budgie is being bullied, it’ll likely be afraid. It’ll hide to avoid detection.
- Injuries. One or both of the birds will have wounds and injuries.
- Hoarding and guarding. One bird will stop the other from accessing resources.
Learn to recognize the warning signs of fighting and separate the birds before the situation escalates.
Are My Parakeets Playing or Fighting?
The budgies may be playing, but it’s not friendly if one of both birds aggressively pecks at the feet.
Look out for wrestling. Parakeets don’t fight for fun, meaning they intend to injure each other. If one of the parakeets draws blood, the conflict is severe and must be stopped.
Monitor chasing games carefully. Budgies may fly around a cage and chase each other for recreation, but each bird should take turns. A bird constantly fleeing is the victim of bullying.
Are My Parakeets Fighting or Mating?
Bonded parakeets of the opposite sex may breed in captivity. This can resemble fighting because the male will mount the female from behind and flap its wings, but this is to maintain balance.
If the parakeets have displayed the following behaviors toward each other immediately before their physical interaction, they’re likelier to be mating than fighting.
These are common courtship behaviors in budgies:
- Singing to each other – as per Animal Behavior, an amorous male will imitate the calls of a female.
- Preening and displaying plumage.
- Head bobbing and dancing.
- Mutual grooming.
- Relaxing on the same perch.
- Sharing food through regurgitation.
This doesn’t mean male and female parakeets will never fight.
Disputes can arise in any cage if the environment is unsuitable or the inhabitants dislike each other. However, female parakeets are likelier to clash with each other than males.
How Do I Stop My Parakeets from Fighting?
A fight between parakeets can turn nasty, so keep a spare cage in the home. If the parakeets actively fight, they should be separated until they cool off.
Parakeets remember conspecifics, meaning that fighting will be recalled. If the budgies never bonded before fighting, they shouldn’t live together for some time.
To this end, avoiding fights before disagreements manifest is preferable. Do the following:
- Ensure the cage is large enough to accommodate all birds.
- Provide several perches so that each budgie has its own space.
- Ensure the cage has enough entertainment to stave off boredom and stress.
- Let the parakeets leave the cage for exercise to expend energy.
- Provide food and water sources to prevent feelings of insecurity and the need to hoard.
- Treat all budgies equally in terms of attention and treats.
If you want to be particularly cautious, only house male parakeets together in a single cage because this pairing is least likely to result in hostility.