Katie L. Asks
Is there ever a chance my Quaker Parrot Blu will warm up to my other birds?
He just turned 1, I’ve had him since he was a baby.
We got Winnie the Cockatiel as a baby about 6 months after Blu and just a few weeks ago Chip the parakeet joined our flock.
Blu isn’t as aggressive w/Winnie at this point, but he used to stalk her.
He loved pulling a feather or biting her toes and as a result, Winnie is scared of Blu and little baby Chip.
Chip wants to be near the other birds but Winnie has only had bad experiences w/another bird and screams and flies away any time Chip tries to be near her.
Blu goes into what I call full “velociraptor mode”.
He studies little Chip, very curious, mimics Chips sounds but always wants to hurt him. I have taken measures to keep all 3 safe, they are never out at the same time.
I don’t know what to do, and poor Chip won’t come out of his cage.
I’m happy to give him time and patience but Blu is very dominating.
I’ve read things you’ve said about Peaches and how she only loves you and what you do if she bites.
I’ve been wondering how Peaches treats your new bird, Keto.
I know it’s hard to give advice when you haven’t seen them but I really want to do what is best for my birds and I can’t imagine it’s healthy for Blu to think he can pluck out feathers and generally be the schoolyard bully.
It doesn’t help that Blu will whisper through the bars of the cage to Chip “you’re a good good baby”.
He’s hilarious and I love him.
Any advice you have I will gladly accept.
Thank you and I hope all is well w/your birds.
Full transparency Katie,
We have rehomed Peaches basically for the very reason you speak of.
Once we brought home Keto, Peaches got very aggressive with him whether he was in the cage or out of the cage.
The bigger problem was she would attack Catherine when Catherine walked into the room.
Not just a warning but a full-blown where is your skin and how hard can I bite?
She would sit on top of the budgies cage clearly waiting to bite some feet.
They all know better and stay away.
She became too disruptive within the household.
We felt she would be better off in a home with a single keeper and as a single bird.
Having spent 22 hours a day and a birdcage for seven years certainly did some (emotional) damage we felt could not be undone.
So it’s very hard to predict what Blu will do.
You don’t mention your interactions with him now, how is that going?
Katie L. Replied
I’m really sorry to hear about Peaches.
It hasn’t gotten to that with Blu, but he did just bite my daughter Molly on the lip, drawing blood.
My daughter is 13 and understands how to handle birds (reading body language, etc) and is generally amazing with all animals.
Blu seems to target Molly (my daughter) and only flies to the top of her head; Blu flies to my hand or shoulder.
Or he stands on one of the cages just waiting for her to come near so he can bite her.
He doesn’t do this to my husband or 19-year-old son, just Molly.
Well, he’s bitten both of them but b/c Molly is with me the most and is interacting with the other 2 birds she gets a lot of Blu’s aggression.
My interactions w/Blu are pretty amazing.
And it’s heartbreaking.
I’m the only one who can touch him or pick him up, put him to bed or take him out of his bedtime cage.
He’s interested in me, I’m pretty sure I’m his human.
Now with our new budgie, Chip – I can’t get him out of his cage.
He was very comfortable being held, taken out of his cage, etc when we first got him.
It only took about a day or two for him to begin fearing my hand, and now it’s like trying to catch a mouse.
He’s still a baby but I’m shocked at how quickly things turned.
Blu doesn’t help, so poor Chip is just a scared little baby Budgie.
I’m beginning to realize I might have to re-home Chip.
I feel like I’m failing him.
He wants to cuddle up to my Cockatiel but Winnie is scared of her shadow and wants nothing to do w/baby Chip.
She isn’t aggressive, she just wants to be left alone.
I think I have a bigger issue w/Blu and probably shouldn’t have gotten Chip.
I feel like someone who has a small bird could take Chip – he desperately wants a companion and just b/c I want to have 8 birds doesn’t mean I should….
I think I answered my own question here. But I’m not sure if Blu’s behavior can be helped, fixed, made better?
It’s probably good to mention that our first Quaker, Koji, was the light of our life.
He was our first bird and just amazing.
He died in a very tragic freak accident before he was one.
Molly will never be the same.
Molly was Koji’s person and helped her through a difficult period in her life.
She called Koji her “emotional support animal”.
He had some of the same traits that Blu has but didn’t attack anyone.
He had a call that was only for Molly.
He was just fascinated with her and loved watching her.
She would read him books and that captivated him, he would just sit on her shoulder looking at the book, looking at her, back and forth.
If she was crying he would touch her face with his beak. I’ve never seen anything like it.
When he died it tore the house up.
Molly slept in my bed, she had breakdowns, it was the worst thing she’d been through.
So when my best friend found a breeder, she brought me a baby blue Quaker Parrot.
We knew it wasn’t Koji reincarnated, but we were so happy to have a Quaker again.
It’s not Blu’s fault that he isn’t Koji.
But I did not think Blu would choose me and then attack Molly.
Now I’m even sure what my original question was, I’m sorry this is so rambling.
I don’t know anyone with birds so I just appreciate the feedback.
And I read the Sunday brunch religiously 😊
Glad you like the brunch, Katie!
We start breaking it down at the geography.
Cockatiels and budgies are indigenous to Australia near desert climates.
Quaker parrots come from Argentina and nearby countries in South America.
They’re found in subtropical regions thus Quakers have many different instinctual expectations than the other two birds.
You can easily solve Chip the budgies issue by introducing another budgie just for Chip.
They would be more than happy to live in a nice roomy cage together without Blu or Winnie.
What neither Winnie nor Blu has learned is that cockatiels can fly faster than Quakers which may help establish a truce – of sorts.
Hard to say.
Has Molly been able to work with Winnie?
That might be a fine relationship once they get to know each other.
Note: If you are intent on trying to get Blu and Winnie to be able to be together you might consider clipping Blu’s wings just once, that would ground Blu so he might become less aggressive and Winnie would have a better chance of getting out of harms reach.
Then by the time Blu’s wings grow back out they may have a truce, there is no telling.
But it could just be that they are not compatible.
All three birds should have full spectrum lighting about their cages on timers providing 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.
This helps keep everyone’s hormones in check in case hormones are creating territorial behavior.
Blu and Winnie would definitely benefit from clicker training.