Ditch the 'tiel?

The attention-grabbing title is actually describing a much more complex situation.I’ve had a budgie for two years. He was very tame–he could “shake” when prompted with “Nice to meet you!”, he could do flight recall, touch, ring his bell or spin his wheel when requested…I later moved to a house where more and more people moved in until I didn’t feel safe having him anywhere except our room (he’s free-flight) unless he was cage. This limited my bonding time with him, so he still steps up and sometimes wants scritches but doesn’t do all the things he used to.Since I started grad school, I’ve also been away more during the day. A year or so ago we got a cockatiel who is now bonded to the budgie. They call for each other and if I separate them for a day or two, they are so excited to see each other they run to each other open arms–and then stop short when they remember they have very different ideas of personal contact. The cockatiel wants to hold foreheads together and the budgie wants to beak tap in joy. They also have kind of a big brother/little brother relationship. The 'tiel likes to watch the budgie play, but doesn’t like the budgie to get all up in his face. I originally rescued the cockatiel as just a foster parent, but grew attached. He was hand-traumatized so he could step up but hissed at any hands he saw. He also sometimes freaks out and hisses in misc. circumstances. He has wet 'tiel poop (everywhere) and feather dust (I have asthma). Between those challenges and the fact that he wasn’t a good companion for the budgie, I really thought I should rehome him but I never did. Soooo, I was just about to give up and rehome him but then all the sudden yesterday he is stepping up and doing flight recall, sometimes without even a food incentive! What?! Is this the same bird I was about to rehome because he was so hard to work with? The budgie also is infatuated with him…Now I am thinking, what if I get another budgie to add to the flock? Then the budgies could do their budgie play and noise making (which I love) and keep out of the tiel’s personal space because they’ll have each other to beak tap with. I can also work with the tiel without the budgie being lonely or contact calling.Thoughts?

I think you should get two birds, a budgie for the budgie and a tiel for the tiel. It will diminish the attention you are now getting from them but you, yourself, said you have less time now for them what with grade school (and, I am sure, more social obligations, too), having a mate will enrich their lives tremendously and, in truth, it’s not really that much more work because it would still be two cages to clean. Just make sure you quarantine them and, by the time you are done with it, they would already know there are new birds of their own species in the house and it will be a breeze to introduce them.

Thanks!My only concern with that is I don’t want to become a bird collector. Also (I know you will all disagree about this) but my budgie and cockatiel currently share a large cage (and free-flight around the room together). They get upset if I put them in separate cages. As I said, they really like each other they just have different ideas of how you should spend time with your best friend.Also, I forgot to mention that the cockatiel is technically my husband’s bird. He does not “work” with him, making sure he is finger tame and whatnot, but they spend a lot of time together watching movies and on the computer. I prefer a more active relationship, but the cockatiel seems to like how laid back my husband is. I also live in rentals and prefer to live with other housemates. With just the budgie everyone loved it. With the cockatiel they get a little annoyed when he contact calls or shakes out dust into the air, or accidentally poops outside his cage. Three birds (and four for sure!) is just something that people have a harder time swallowing, especially landlords who want to think of birds as like fish who just sit in their cage.My husband is not enthused by the idea of a third bird, nevermind a fourth. Also, after understanding the dust, volume, and poop of a cockatiel better, I would never get another cockatiel. Budgies are where it is at!Maybe a brown-headed parrot someday when my future kids leave the nest…Also, I could probably spend more time with the budgie if he wasn’t a magnet to the cocketiel (the cockatiel doesn’t feel quite as strongly, he was hand-fed I think). Perhaps I should separate them between my room and the living room when I am available to spend time with him. The problem is then they get really loud contact calling. =P

Well, I look at living with animals differently. I don’t do things because I like them or are convenient to me, I consider myself their ward and their happiness and wellbeing my first responsibility - and, for social birds, that means having another bird to interact with. Territorial species do well on their lonesome (canaries, cats) but not social ones, they need company of their own species. Besides, how much dust can a cockatiel produce? Not much, that’s for sure! They are very small birds. Now, if we were talking about a second cockatoo, that’s another story! And all you have to do about the dust and the poop and people complaining about it is keep them in your room when they are out of the cage. End of problem! As to your husband’s objections, well, I guess you can’t go by me because I never listen to my husband’s if what he wants is not the best for the animals (not that he even tries it because he knows it’s futile )But, my dear, it seems to me that you had already made up your mind to just get a second budgie so why bother asking for opinions? I can only tell you what’s best for the birds, not what’s best for you. One word of caution, though, if you do get another budgie, you will have to get a second cage for them, you can’t keep them with the tiel, they will bully him.

You can also get an air purifier for the dust.

I have an air purifier, but that doesn’t stop the dust (actually, 5 mm feather bits) from flying up after he grooms and landing on my laptop or in people’s drinks, or becoming embedded into my pillow.

I haven’t made up my mind at all, that’s why I’m asking opinions. I know every situation is different though so I will take what everyone says and see how it makes sense or not for my situation. Everyone says you can’t keep a budgie and a cockatiel in the same cage but my two are happy together, the budgie is not a bully at all (it depends on the bird).My husband suggested we rehome the cockatiel to someone who has another cockatiel and get another budgie for the budgie. Since the budgie is the one who is less interested in being with me right now that feels counterproductive as far as my longing to spend time with my birds (which I manage to find a lot more time for when they are hand-tamed. Sitting there talking at them through the bars isn’t the highlight of my day by any means).I don’t want to abandon the cockatiel, however, since he seems attached to my husband and I. If he was the one who just hung out by himself it would be more clear-cut, or if budgies were just not for me, but I know how awesome budgies can be. I also don’t want to base my decision on circumstances right now, since graduate school will only last another year.

I get what your saying about your birds getting on atm although I personally wouldnt risk keeping them together but once you add a budgie and they become bonded to each other they are quite likely to turn on your tiel so although it’s working ok at the moment two bonded budgies will want to protect each other.theres also plenty that can be done about the dust from cockatiels, I have some pretty severe allergies and asthma so the dust is a big deal to me, if you would like to know what measures are helpful there are threads on it within the forums or just ask and I can outline everything I do that makes it possible to keep my birds with me.Keeping birds with another of their own species is always best and although mine are different species atm I will be getting them mates as soon as the opportunity arises but they wont be allowed to have babies. Of course with each new addition the dynamics of the flock changes, they will be less dependant on their humans for company but its still possible to have a really deep bond with them, cockatiels tend to be quieter in pairs too, you wont have to worry if you need to pop out for a bit longer than expected because they will have each other for company, they will be happier and healthier. There really is a ton of advantages to keeping pairs rather than singles of a species. Of cours there are a few negatives too such as extra expenses, slightly more mess, it takes a bit more effort to train them etc but its all worth it imo.

I don’t know… my tiels certainly don’t produce that much dust. Do you bathe him regularly? Is he free-fed high protein? Because those are the only reasons why he could produce that much dust (it comes from special feathers that disintegrate into it). But, in any case, if you just want to keep one single cage and his dust is a issue then, yes, by all means, rehome him to somebody who might have a little flock and/or an unattached female, knows how to care for them and will not breed them and get a mate for your budgie. They will both be very grateful for the welcomed change.But (and this is just a clarification of the way I see things and not a scolding in any way), talking to a bird through the cage bars is not the only way of enjoying them. They are very interesting animals with distinct personalities and which can teach humans a thing or two about compassion, empathy and charity of heart -especially tiels which are so very sweet-tempered.