Parrotlets are adorable tiny parrots with huge personalities! If you’re thinking about bringing a companion home for your parrotlet but aren’t sure what birds will make a good companion for him, we’ll go over the ins and outs and possible solutions.
You definitely want your parrotlet to be comfortable, and we’re sure the last thing you want to do is stress your birds out, so we hope this article will help you make the right decision for you and your parrotlet.
The Single Bird
Many species of birds do appreciate living with other birds. If you’re unable to spend as much time with your pet as they require, finding a companion for him can give you both some extra company.
The benefit of a single bird is that he will bond with you, and you’ll have a very devoted and loving companion that will enjoy spending as much time as possible with you.
Additionally, some types of birds actually require the companionship of another bird – even a small flock. For example, smaller birds like finches do best when with 3 to 5 other finches.
The Single Parrotlet
But what about parrotlets? As a general rule, while they do tend to fly in flocks in the wild, it’s thought that they don’t actually need a cage companion. For all of their cuteness, parrotlets are very aggressive and territorial towards other birds – even their own kind.
The male birds will fight over food and territory, and they are known to attack females as well, particularly if the cage isn’t spacious enough.
The general rule is that one parrotlet should live in its own cage, and he doesn’t necessarily require a companion, except for you, of course.
Rules for Introducing Another Bird
If you’re still thinking of getting another bird, there are a few rules that you need to take into consideration before taking the final step.
1. Separate Cages
Under no circumstances should you put your parrotlet and companion bird in the same cage.
2. Cages Far Apart
Not only should they be housed separately, but the cages need to be far enough apart that neither bird should be able to reach each other through the bars. You’ll want to avoid nipping and fights that might occur between the bars.
3. Only One Other Bird
It’s quite possible that the parrotlet might end up getting along with (or just tolerating) one other bird, but if you introduce a third, it will more than likely upset the balance and create a more antagonistic environment.
4. Close Supervision
When both birds are outside of their cages, there needs to be constant supervision. This also includes if you only let just one of the birds out. The new bird could have his toes nipped at (or off!) if he lands on your parrotlet’s cage.
Once you have the birds in their separate cages, you should start by keeping the cages quite far apart and only let one out at a time. Eventually, you can bring the cages closer together and allow them both out at the same time when you feel that they are ready.
The Companion Bird
If you’ve decided you really would love a new bird but want to get one that can hold its own against your parrotlet, we have a list of five species that might do okay.
Budgerigar (or parakeets, depending on where you’re from) and parrotlets are both tiny birds from the parrot family. They are both active, affectionate, and intelligent birds that form bonds with their humans. Budgies are much more likely to get along with another bird as well.
Cockatiels are mellower and more easygoing than parrotlets. While cockatiels are bigger, they will still get beaten up by parrotlets because of their aggressive natures. There are cases of cockatiels getting along well with parrotlets, but it will depend on the dynamics.
3. Sierra Parakeet
Also known as the grey-hooded parakeet and the Aymara parakeet, these small birds have a similar diet to parrotlets, and they actually do well with other parrots that are roughly the same size. There have been homes that have kept parrotlets, and the Sierra housed in cages next to each other and have had successful bonds form between them.
As small as the parrotlet is, he could still get hurt if he goes after a much larger bird. Lovebirds are a fairly similar size to parrotlets and are also feisty and very active like the parrotlet.
5. Another Parrotlet
This is an obvious one. However, another parrotlet doesn’t guarantee that they will get along, so they still need to be placed in separate cages. There have been cases of bonded pairs turning on each other, so supervision is still super important.
These five types of birds are not necessarily perfect companions to parrotlets. If your bird is raised with another, they will more likely bond with each other and get along beautifully. But there are also instances when the parrotlet matures, the dynamics start to change, and you’ll end up caging them all separately anyway.
Each and every bird is an individual with its own unique personality, so there’s no telling how they will react to each other until you try.
Before You Buy Another Bird
Keep in mind that you will need to spend a lot of time with both birds to ensure the introduction and relationship goes well. If you don’t have that kind of time, keeping your parrotlet as a single bird is your best option.
And don’t forget quarantine. Your new bird should be kept in quarantine for a minimum of 30 and up to 60 days and seen by your vet before bringing him into the same room as your parrotlet.
You’re also risking losing the close bond you have with your parrotlet, as well as your parrotlet viewing the new bird as a threat to his relationship with you.
If you’re feeling guilty because you work outside of your home for much of the day, as long as you spend time with him when you are home, and he has a large cage and lots of toys, your parrotlet will be just fine.
You can also think about setting up a video camera so you can watch your parrotlet while you’re out. You might find watching him will make you feel better about leaving him alone.
Just be sure that if you do decide to bring home a new bird, that you’re getting him for yourself and not for your parrotlet.
So, there you have it! If your parrotlet is raised with another bird, it might work out for you all, but introducing a new bird to your adult parrotlet is rife with uncertainty and possible disaster. You certainly don’t want to stress out your parrotlet or a new bird, so you need to be prepared for a certain amount of stress for your birds as well as yourself.
It’s understandable that you’re looking to provide your Parrotlet with companionship given how long these birds live – 15 to 20 years, or even longer!
Do your research and have a plan of action on how to handle the situation, and look for advice on parrotlet message boards and groups. It could work out with lots of time and patience and especially close supervision, so the choice is yours.
Featured Image Credit: Midnight-Sight, Shutterstock
Kathryn was a librarian in a previous lifetime and is currently a writer about all things pets. When she was a child, she hoped to work in zoos or with wildlife in some way, thanks to her all-consuming love for animals. Unfortunately, she’s not strong in the sciences, so she fills her days with researching and writing about all kinds of animals and spends time playing with her adorable but terribly naughty tabby cat, Bella. Kathryn is hoping to add to her family in the near future – maybe another cat and a dog.