Can a Parakeet and a Finch Be Housed Together?

by Barbara Bean-Mellinger, Demand Media
    Birds don't always welcome another bird to their cage, especially one of a different species.

    Birds don't always welcome another bird to their cage, especially one of a different species.

    Maybe. Some bird owners have successfully housed parakeets and finches together, but others have experienced problems with pairing the two. Before you make roommates of parakeets and finches, consider the birds' different needs and take steps to give the pairing a better chance of working well for you.

    Cage Needs

    Finches and parakeets are both very active birds. However, parakeets love to climb, while finches tend to fly. Cage recommendations, therefore, are different for each bird. Parakeets should have a tall cage so they can climb up and down. Finches need wide cages so they can fly back and forth. If you house them together, you need a large cage that is both tall and wide. The cage should be at least 24 inches wide for the finch and at least 24 inches high for the parakeet. A cage of these minimum di mensionswill hold one parakeet and one finch. If you house more of either in one cage, the cage will need to be larger to accommodate more birds. For both types of birds, the cage's bars should be no farther apart than one-half inch.

    Behavioral Problems

    Both parakeets and finches are sweet little birds, but sometimes parakeets -- especially females -- can be aggressive. They are known to be territorial of their cage and possessive of their toys. If you do house the two together, watch for signs of aggression and stress in either bird. An aggressive bird may peck or fly at the other bird and bite his feet. A stressed bird may pluck his own feathers. Screaming or screeching are signs of trouble regardless which bird it's coming from.

    Start Together

    If you do decide to put parakeets and finches in the same cage, introduce them from the time they are young. Ideally, bring them home from the store or the breeder at the same time or a few days apart. That way, neither bird will be as likely to consider the cage his own and react negatively to the perceived interloper. Regardless of their species, many birds do not appreciate having another bird join them in their cage after being alone or with a different companion.

    Give Them Their Space

    Just like human siblings, even birds that get along sometimes want to be alone. Have areas where each bird can go if they choose to sit, play or sleep alone. Separate food and water dishes are a must. Separate baths are a good idea too, because one may refuse to use it after the other bird bathes. Provide several swings and enough perches for each bird to have choices of where to sit and to fly or climb from one perch to another. The birds will choose their preferred spaces. Watch to see if several birds fight over swings or perches, and provide more of that type if needed to keep the peace. If the birds fight excessively and providing space to be alone hasn't helped, your birds probably should not be housed together.

    About the Author

    Barbara Bean-Mellinger is an award-winning writer in southwest Florida. She currently writes articles for newspapers, magazines and websites on topics including people, animals, careers and education, as well as advertising and promotional materials for businesses. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh.

    Photo Credits

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