Cockatiels and budgies are two of the most popular pet birds in the United States. Both these birds have reputations for being docile, peaceful, and social birds, so it’s natural to wonder whether they can share the same cage. Can cockatiels and budgies live together in the same cage?
The answer is, unfortunately, not a simple yes or no. It can depend on various factors, but in general, it’s best to keep these birds in their own cages. In the wild, birds tend to be territorial when it comes to their nesting spaces. While your cockatiel and budgie may seem like best friends outside the cage or when their cages are placed close together, housing them both in one cage may present issues.
In this article, we look at factors to consider when housing these birds and whether it’s a good idea for them to share a cage. Let’s get started!
Why Shouldn’t Cockatiels and Budgies Live Together in One Cage?
Both these birds have shared the same habitat in the Australian outback for thousands of years, so they are no strangers to each other. In their natural habits, they live peacefully and happily and are both social birds that rarely fight. Because of this, budgies do not usually view cockatiels as a threat and vice versa, but this doesn’t mean they can share a cage peacefully. Here are a few reasons for that.
Budgies are small birds, and as such, they need to protect their nesting areas in the wild to avoid predators. This can cause them to be highly territorial of their nest, and they will guard it aggressively in the presence of other birds. While this is not a common trait in domesticated budgies, the instinct can still come up, especially in the breeding season, causing potential fights between your budgie and cockatiel.
Cockatiels are larger than budgies, and in a small space, they can accidentally injure them. Also, while cockatiels are known to be docile and peaceful birds, if there is a confrontation between your birds, a cockatiel can easily wound or kill your budgie simply due to their size.
Cockatiels need larger, taller cages than budgies, as they need the space to stretch and flap their wings. This can frighten or injure your budgie, and these large cages often have wider bars that your budgie could potentially escape through. Also, the toys and accessories needed for cockatiels are much larger than a budgie’s and can easily frighten or cause them stress. Your budgie also needs their own toys, which the strong beak of a cockatiel will make short work of.
Cockatiels are docile and calm birds, whereas budgies are far more active and noisy, and this difference in personality may cause stress for your cockatiel. Budgies also need more mental stimulation than cockatiels, and they may take their boredom out on your poor cockatiel!
Cockatiels and budgies have different dietary needs, and this can make feeding time a hassle. Cockatiels tend to need foods with higher fat content, which can be problematic or even fatal for budgies.
Can Cockatiels and Budgies Live Together in One Cage?
It is possible to keep cockatiels and budgies together in the same cage under the right circumstances, but there is no guarantee that they won’t fight at some point. Even when the environment is ideal and your birds seem like the best of friends, there is always the chance of a sudden altercation that may result in one or both of your birds getting injured. Here are a few tips to follow if you decide to give cage-sharing a try.
First impressions are important, so if you want to increase the chances of a peaceful union between your birds, it all starts with a proper introduction. A good place to begin is by placing their separate cages close to one another so they can get better acquainted first—never just put one bird into the other’s cage. This way, the birds will be able to see each other and form a bond. After a couple of days, you can let them both out—in a safe space —and let them play together outside their cages and in neutral territory.
Repeat this process a few times a week for several weeks, and you can then begin placing them in a neutral cage for short periods.
Having enough space inside the mutual cage is vital to keeping things peaceful. You’ll need a cage of at least 20 x 25 inches and 35 inches high, but the bigger, the better. The cage should have separate hiding spaces, like logs or small nests, where your birds can retreat to be alone. There should also be enough perch space for each bird to sit comfortably.
Since these birds have different dietary needs, you’ll need to provide them with their own food and water bowls on opposite sides of the cage, but it’s best to feed them separately—outside the cage, if possible, because you don’t want them eating each other’s food and potentially getting ill. You’ll also need to provide enough treats and chew toys to keep them both happy and avoid fights.
Keep a close eye on them
Even though things may seem to be going well and your birds are getting along, the breeding season can quickly change that. Keep a close eye on their behavior, and watch out for any aggression. Unfortunately, the only solution, if there is aggression during the breeding season, is to place both birds into separate cages and wait until breeding season is over. Once this passes, they should be buddies again.
There is, unfortunately, no way to guarantee that your birds will get along, though, as it depends on the individual personalities of your birds, and in many cases, cohabitation of the same cage is simply not possible.
While cockatiels and budgies share many similarities, including their native habitat, housing them together in the same cage is not recommended by most experts. There are several reasons for this, including size, temperament, and diet, so it’s best to keep them separate. That said, cohabitation is possible depending on the unique temperaments of your birds. With the steps outlined here, they may be able to live together peacefully.
Have you successfully housed cockatiels and budgies in the same cage? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured Image Credit: Dorina Oelsner, Shutterstock