How to safely bring a second bird into the family?

Mike

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Mar 15, 2011
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Atlanta, GA USA
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A Greenwing, a Sun Conure, and a Hahn's Macaw
I just got a second Macaw (8 year old Miligold). I'd like to hear how others introduced a second bird to their first bird (4 year old Greenwing). Both are female. I'd like to hear what behaviors you observed. Most of all, I'd like to know how to tell if a bird is playing, or if they're attempting to fight with the other bird.

There are two other birds (Sun Conure and Hahn's Macaw) in my house who make it very clear that they are attacking -- not playing. Most often, one bird will bite me to "save" me from the other small bird. These other two birds are much smaller than my Macaws. I do not try in any way to get these two smaller birds close to my Macaws. Their role in the house is to be pets to my daughters.

The role of my second Macaw is to be a companion to my first Macaw. Both birds are great with me and the other members of my family. For the past two months I've very slowly started bringing the Macaws together. I started with their cages in separate rooms. After hearing each other for about a week I'd take one into the other's room and let them see each other across the room. I did that for about two weeks, then gradually started bringing them closer and closer to each other's cage. They both seemed interested in each other. I didn't see any signs of aggression.

I'm to the point now where once a day I bring one bird to the other's cage and let them approach each other on the cage. There's a lot lunging, but very little contact. After about five minutes they'll get close enough to where they're hitting beaks together. At this point I break them up. I've never let them actually lock their beak on the other bird. I think they may be challenging each other or they may be simply playing with each other. They do not show any of the aggression I see with the two smaller birds I mentioned above.

My plan is to place both cages in a neutral room -- a room which neither considers their own. I plan to keep the cages apart and to gradually bring them closer together over a week or two. I will not leave the birds unattended together.

I'm building a large PVC playground and plan to place it in my home office in front of the window. I plan to take both birds to this new playground at the same time so neither feels ownership. The birds will continue going back to their sleep cages in the neutral room until I see that they can be safely left together. At that point I will bring their sleep cages into the same room as the playground. At that point my home office will become a bird room. I will be moving my office upstairs.

So, what do you think? Am I over planning this? Is there anything I should consider which I haven't mentioned here? Under no circumstances will I put one bird in danger, but sometimes I feel like maybe I'm interfering with their desire to play with each other.

Here is Mardy:
20150215_184116_zpshxbxbvly.jpg


Here is Georgie:
20150221_193229_zps0oxzqfik.jpg


Here they are eyeing each other in the family room:
Georgie%20and%20Mardy_zpssffancv1.jpg
 

JerseyWendy

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Jul 20, 2012
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Hi Mike,

No, I don't think you are over-planning this at all. :)

When I brought home my GW Ripley, Niko had been the only big mac in the house (I have 2 Amazons, but I don't let them ever interact with the big macs). I never allowed either big mac on the other one's cage, as I was more afraid that they may want to protect their 'house' than anything else.

I had 2 XL Java trees in the kitchen, about 6 feet apart. I placed Niko on his tree, and then Ripley on the other. Ripley promptly decided he wanted to spend time on Niko's cage and flew right on over. :eek: Niko almost had a stroke and hopped on the floor. No matter how far apart I would put the Java trees, Ripley was determined to be 'close' to Niko.

After less than a week I finally put the trees right next to each other. The tree 'set' is fairly enormous, probably 8' wide. Neither Ripley nor Niko showed any signs of aggression. On the contrary, Ripley obviously wanted to become friends with Niko, but Niko was ... ahem... afraid of Ripley at first. There was beak contact, no lunging or snapping, just contact. The occasional beak swiping, too. No raised plumage, no pinning of the eyes. There was some tail pulling. I guess out of curiosity, not anger. :) I was always within an arm's length away when I finally allowed them to be 'together'.

They ARE friends now. It took very little time for Niko to realize Ripley was not about to eat him, lol. Niko is 5, and Ripley is 3, so my guys are fairly young. The only time I have issues is out of jealousy over me. Neither can stand it when I start smooching with either one while they are both out, and they will take it out on each other. I do realize, that as they both sexually mature, I 'may' run into problems. It remains to be seen. For the time being they thoroughly enjoy each other's company during their 'out' time. They preen each other, talk to each other, and play together. :)

There's a whole lot of noise making, too, while they preen and play with each other. Heaven forbid the wrong feather is being preened. :rolleyes: Either will sound off as if someone was trying to decapitate him, followed by beak swiping. As of yet, they have never 'fought' or drawn any blood. I, OTOH, often felt I needed to learn to relax more, especially in the beginning, as I was on pins and needles.

Mardie and Georgie are both BEAUTIFUL, Mike! Good luck introducing them to the same playgym/jungle gym. :)

NikoampRipley1.jpg
 
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Mike

Mike

New member
Mar 15, 2011
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Atlanta, GA USA
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A Greenwing, a Sun Conure, and a Hahn's Macaw
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I shot this today. Tell me if this looks like play or not.

 

JerseyWendy

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Jul 20, 2012
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Georgie looked quite a bit uneasy when Mardy approached her. When Georgie lifted her foot, I think she was looking at you like "Dad..come and get me, please."

Mardy (LOVE how animated she is, and how she responds to you) didn't act overly aggressive, but rather confident, while Georgie was quite unsure of the whole situation.

No, it didn't look like 'play' to me. More like 'testing the waters'.
 

Birdman666

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2013
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San Antonio, TX
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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
Generally speaking, the birds themselves work it out. Beak wrestling is a part of that process. That doesn't necessarily indicate there is aggression, and if it becomes aggressive you will be able to tell by the TONE of their voice with each other...

There is kind of a distinct... okay, now I'm getting upset squeal that happens when one or the other starts to feel threatened and is now standing his ground and ready to fight... You start hearing that, it's over.

Introduce them slowly together out on a playstand. Sounds like you're doing everything right.
 

Birdman666

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2013
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San Antonio, TX
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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
Sorry missed the video earlier...

Your greenwing appears to be over the moon at his little macaw buddy. He was doing friendly bird displays, basically diving in with both feet, ready to play, and was even starting to regurge for your miligold...

Your Miligold looked overwhelmed, and unsure, exactly what Wendy said, that foot was an unmistakable... pick me up, get me outta here I don't know how to respond to this...

So you're greenwing is absolutely fine with it. Your Miligold is the one whose gonna need a little coaxing and reassurance.

Your greenwing appears to be as outgoing and friendly as these things ever get. Your Miligold appears to be a little on the shy side...
 
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Mike

Mike

New member
Mar 15, 2011
165
Media
12
Albums
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Atlanta, GA USA
Parrots
A Greenwing, a Sun Conure, and a Hahn's Macaw
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #7
Sorry missed the video earlier...

Your greenwing appears to be over the moon at his little macaw buddy. He was doing friendly bird displays, basically diving in with both feet, ready to play, and was even starting to regurge for your miligold...

Your Miligold looked overwhelmed, and unsure, exactly what Wendy said, that foot was an unmistakable... pick me up, get me outta here I don't know how to respond to this...

So you're greenwing is absolutely fine with it. Your Miligold is the one whose gonna need a little coaxing and reassurance.

Your greenwing appears to be as outgoing and friendly as these things ever get. Your Miligold appears to be a little on the shy side...
Thanks for the feedback. Mardy (GW) has been with me four years, Georgie only two months. It will take time to get Georgie comfortable. I'm heartened with your analysis that Mardy's behavior is positive.
 

Birdman666

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2013
9,904
258
San Antonio, TX
Parrots
Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
Well, if that bird doesn't want to play with your greenwing, I'd sure like too!

What a huge personality bird! That's my favorite thing about macs... and it seems to be a dominant trait of Greenwings... "Macaw Exuberism" as I like to call it.

Happy to see you. Happy to be alive. It's all just so exciting... LET'S PLAY!
 

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