Giving your parakeet a companion can do wonders for boredom and loneliness, but you have to be careful about introducing them. Parakeets need some space to make acquaintances on their own terms, otherwise they can get territorial. Take your time with the introductions, and they'll get along better for it.
Bring your new parakeet into your home, but house him in a separate room from your other parakeet. The two need to be separated for one to three months to rule out the possibility of infecting your old parakeet with diseases from the outside. Don't allow the two to share toys or bowls, as illnesses could spread through these as well.
Introduce your new parakeet to your old parakeet's room. Place the two cages near each other, but keep the birds separate. For about a week, the two birds should occupy the same room, but not have access to each other. This is their time to grow used to the other bird in the room. During this adjustment period, devote equal time to each bird, so that neither feels threatened by the other.
Open the cage doors and allow the birds to greet each other on their own terms. Never put one parakeet in the other's cage manually, as this can upset both birds. Instead, let them feel each other out, explore and meet in a mutually agreeable environment. Eventually, they will decide on which cage they feel better cohabiting in. By letting them meet and cohabit on their own terms, you prevent the territorial fighting that could occur otherwise.
Double up on cage accoutrements like food dishes and toys, which will help prevent fighting.
- You may need to adjust the size of the cage, particularly depending on the gender of the birds. For example, while two male parakeets typically get along very well, two females are more likely to squawk and fight in territorial showdowns. If you plan to keep two females, you may need a larger cage so that they have room to move around without encroaching on one another. If you have a male and a female, they should also share a larger cage, so that the amorous advances of the male don't disrupt their day-to-day life.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.