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Old 12-10-2013, 12:36 PM
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Company for a lone bird

I've been thinking a lot about this recently and was wondering what experiences people have had?

At the moment I'm working more or less full time. I get up early enough to spend a couple of hours with Alice before work, and once I'm home she can be out and about all evening, so she gets lots of time with me, but it's still heartbreaking to be trying to leave for work and see her clinging to the bars calling for me. She has a huge cage and dozens of toys which get changed out regularly, and to be fair if I unexpectedly go back into the flat ten minutes later she's far more likely to be sat next to a toy than still clinging to the bars. The tv is left on - even if I'm home she prefers the tv or music to be on. Still I keep thinking if there's more I could be doing to make her day easier.

So, the remaining option seems to be some sort of company for her. I don't really want another large parrot that would be dependent on me for quality of life: I appreciate the problems that can occur introducing a second bird and honestly as a companion bird Alice is all I need. But I wonder whether a pair of smaller birds that would have each other for company but provide a bit of chatter - and make Alice feel like part of a flock even if her preferred person isn't about all the time - might be something that would improve things for her.

I'm thinking smaller birds, not bigger than cockatiel size, as space is not unlimited and I'd want them to be in a generous cage for the size of bird, particularly if there are two in the same cage.

So, anyone able to relay experiences, potential problems etc? Any way this could backfire?
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Old 12-10-2013, 01:03 PM
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Re: Company for a lone bird

I have my sennie and frankly I don't think she'd stand another bird that I had to give attention to. However, we have finches and a pair of linnies in the same room as Sammie. I don't know if she appreciates the chatter or not, but it makes me feel better :-)
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Old 12-10-2013, 01:11 PM
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Re: Company for a lone bird

Hi Jay ~ I do think another parrot type of bird, whether a parakeet or a cockatiel, etc., would actually require more of your time because you'd have to give that bird, because of their intelligence and requirements, 'me time' the same way you do the bird you currently have. Perhaps what theKarens said is a good choice for you - finches are very nice birds, don't require the same type of commitment that a parrot species does, don't require big cages, etc., and something like Zebra Finches are quite cheap and wouldn't be a big investment and might just give your parrot enough interaction and company to help solve your problem. I like finches a lot, the only danger here is that you could be bit by the finch bug and start breeding and there are some VERY fancy finches that cost an arm and a leg lol
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Old 12-10-2013, 01:33 PM
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Re: Company for a lone bird

When I had a cockatiel before Rosie didn't pay much attention to him, but at that time she was still unhealthy and not that reactive.

Kenji has made a big difference, it really seems like she enjoys his company when I'm at work.

A ringneck may be a good choice, they are awesome birds and only a tiny bit larger than a tiel.
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Old 12-10-2013, 01:51 PM
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Re: Company for a lone bird

This is you feeling guilty... NOT something your bird is asking for.

Big bird, little bird, is often a bad combination.

And if you don't feel you spend enough time with one, is getting a second really the right answer?!
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Old 12-10-2013, 02:10 PM
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Re: Company for a lone bird

We have a budgie as well as chili- and honestly, she could care less about Quigley lol even though their cages are in the same vicinity, she acts like Quigley doesn't exist.

How long are you away from home when you're working?? What do you do for work? Can you work from home? Work less hours? Can you take Alice to work with you?
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Old 12-10-2013, 04:27 PM
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Re: Company for a lone bird

Personally I like to have a Sun Conure or a Hahn Macaw in addition to my wonderful Lily. But I can't do that to my Lily. When Lily is on my shoulder, no other object can be near my head. When I comb my hair in the morning, she attacks the comb. When use the towel to dry my face, she attacks the towel. Same thing with toothbrush and dinning silverware. If I pay attention to the guinea pig, which has been with me for 2 years before Lily, she will fly down into the guinea pig pen and attack. Lily sticks to me like glue for 2 hours in the morning before I have to leave for work. She stays home inside her daytime cage with my wife who is always at home. Some times she gets to come out if my wife is not too busy with house work and taking care of the kids. My wife cannot do house work with Lily beeing out. She sticks to my wife like glue, too, if I am not there. When I come home at 6pm, she sticks to me for another 2 hours before she goes to sleep. As you can see, if you have such a jealous parrot, don't even bother thinking of adding another.

However, I have a large 6' tall 4'x8' outdoor aviary where keep Gouldian, Star, and Owl finches. Lily just ignore them when she is outside a few hours a day in her cage to get sunlight near the finches. She has more fun stairing at the sky ... scanning for hawks and crows I think. She got chased by a pair of hawks in the open sky once and got lucky to still be alive today.
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:37 PM
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Re: Company for a lone bird

Appreciate the responses so far. Some points to clarify:

I'm in work 7 hours, plus an hour travel. The original plan was for her to come in with me at least some days, but as I've had to overcome a lot of trust and fear issues with her, it's just not been on the cards. For the first two months she wouldn't even leave the room her cage was in! I'm going to start taking her out in the new year, but it's going to have to be handled in very small steps - throwing her into a busy environment that she can't escape for 7 hours is just going to terrify her. So as a long term solution, it's possible but not immediate.

She gets on average six hours with me a day - she doesn't start to slow down until approaching 10 in the evening so we have a long evening together. She's not caged in the evening, and although she won't get my undivided attention every second she's always able to be near me if she wants. This is in contrast to the shop she spent the previous six months in, where she was in an 18" square cage 24 hours a day and living off seeds. So her quality of life is much, much better than it was. She was an emotional wreck when I got her, and she's a totally different bird now, full of enthusiasm and affection. Birdman, you're right, I do feel guilty that she wants me to stay home with her and I can't, but I've done a lot to improve her life and this is not a question of getting another bird so I don't have to put the effort in. I'm looking at options to improve thing further.
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:41 PM
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Re: Company for a lone bird

Quote: Originally Posted by Copperarabian View Post
When I had a cockatiel before Rosie didn't pay much attention to him, but at that time she was still unhealthy and not that reactive.

Kenji has made a big difference, it really seems like she enjoys his company when I'm at work.

A ringneck may be a good choice, they are awesome birds and only a tiny bit larger than a tiel.
Ring necks are definitely a species I'm fond of, but I went to visit somewhere that breeds a lot of ring necks and really liked the plum heads they had, being a little smaller and daintier, so they've been the species I've been most attracted to.

Linnies would be another possibility.
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:44 PM
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Re: Company for a lone bird

My conure had no contact with any other animal for the first 4 years of his life, and he was immediately fascinated by my budgies. I guess I'm lucky because they do hang out and behave like a flock. Of course they're not housed together, but no one really goes in their cage until bedtime anyway. It is more work, especially since 2 out of 3 are Velcro birds competing for attention. But if no one is home they all hang out together and actually fly in unison.
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