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Should You Have More than One Pet Bird?

Learn if it's good to pair birds or have several pet birds in this Howcast video featuring veterinarian Laurie Hess.


Doctor Hess: So when someone has a bird, they often end up wanting more than one bird. We love birds, and yes, we all have more than one bird. Everyone who works at our animal house has bird. They are addictive, but not all birds love to hang out together, we shouldn't force them to. Certainly, you know, we all have lots of friends but we don't all want to spend lots of time together. So if you have a bird and you're trying to introduce another bird into your home, you can't just throw two birds together, it can lead to serious problems. You have to really let them hear each other first, maybe not even see each other. You certainly want to quarantine a new bird that you're bringing in for at least a month, if not three months, to make sure that that bird is free of infectious and contagious disease, certainly you've brought that bird to a veterinarian to have that checked as well. But when you first put birds together you want them to be supervised, maybe see each other, spending some time in the same room, not necessarily putting them in the same cage. Even birds that are supposed to love each other, like lovebirds, you think, oh, they should love each other, they don't necessarily love each other. They can be very territorial, and they can fight, and they can really cause some problems and inflict damage. I know, I mean we've see that, right Sarah?

Sarah: Yes, especially with larger birds. Cockatoos, when paired together without any previous interaction, or if they haven't actually met, cockatoos have been know to kill each other over being put in a cage together, especially if it's a male and a female. Maybe the male is interested, the female is not, and you can have some pretty vicious fights that can end in serious injury or, as I said, death.

Doctor Hess: Yeah, you have to be really careful, and even if you have a big bird and a little bird in the same room, you have to be careful that you don't let one out and not the other, because notoriously they'll fly at each other's cages, and I can't tell you how often we see toe and leg injuries from one bird grabbing another bird's legs through the cage bars. You must supervise them, don't assume that they're all going to want to play together. It's normal for birds to be a little territorial, and just realize that you could appreciate them each unto their own right, and they don't all have to be together.

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