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How to keep a bird happy when I'm away?

Mari Amaral

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Hi guys, I'm kinda new here, and I don't really know if this is the right forum for my question, but here we go! (sorry if I'm in the wrong place)
I'm in the middle of my (very long) research before getting a bird... I explained that I live alone in an apartment, go to college and work after that. That means the house is unocuppied for about 9 hours a day (some days more, others less...).
Some people said I should not get a bird at all, others said it's okay (most people have full time jobs anyway), as long as I provide mental stimulation for my bird.... And other people said I should get two birds instead of one...

What do you guys think? Would foraging toys and other toys be enough to keep my future bird active? Or will it be too lonely?
Some people say you should never get two birds together because they won't bond to you, others say it would be bad for the bird to be alone all this time....
Basically everyone says different things and that's confusing me... I don't really know what to do...

I think it's important to say that when I'm at home, the bird will stay with me all the time.
Can you help me?
 

suileeka

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I am one of those that always recommends two birds over one. You can still have a great relationship with a bird that is bonded to another bird, and it is far better for their mental health to have a companion of their own kind rather than to be bonded solely to a human who won't be home all day. Keeping a bird "single" simply because it will bond more fiercely to a human is, IMO, selfish and doesn't take the bird's welfare into consideration at all. What is more important? That your bird(s) live a happy and fulfilled life or that you have an animal meant to live in a flock completely devoted to you because it has no other option?

I have a pair of linnies who are inseparable, but they still enjoy my company and each has their own individual relationship with me. I have a single conure who screams when I leave the room, doesn't like the other birds, and is alone all day while I'm at work. I could spend all of my free time with her, and it still wouldn't be what she truly deserves or needs to make her happy.
 

faislaq

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I think all social animals are happier when they're not alone, even if they're not housed together. That said, not all of us have the opportunity to have companions for our critters.

My husband and I make sure our birds have lots of toys and change their cages up regularly so they're not too bored and they're out of the cage whenever we're home. Puzzles and/or foraging opportunities are great ways to keep them stimulated. :)
 

suileeka

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Also, I think that if circumstances dictate that you can only have one, an idea would be to adopt a bird that has already been living the single companion lifestyle for a while... Some birds will have adapted to it and won't accept other bird companions anymore.
 

Garet

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Personally, I'm of the camp of 'either get two or none of all'. Giving a bird toys and foraging things is not the same as providing it a companion. Guzma was alone for seven years when I got him, and the second he heard Mims, he did everything he could to escape and be near her. Mims was a single bird before I got her as well, and her personality just did a complete 180* when I brought him home.

Compared to how she is now vs how she was then, I can tell that she was miserable, even with my company for most of the day, especially with you away at school and hardly interacting with your future bird. I think most of the working people on the forum do have more than one bird as well, if I'm not mistaken?
 

Mari Amaral

Meeting neighbors
Joined
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Location
São Paulo, Brazil
I think all social animals are happier when they're not alone, even if they're not housed together. That said, not all of us have the opportunity to have companions for our critters.

My husband and I make sure our birds have lots of toys and change their cages up regularly so they're not too bored and they're out of the cage whenever we're home. Puzzles and/or foraging opportunities are great ways to keep them stimulated. :)
I am one of those that always recommends two birds over one. You can still have a great relationship with a bird that is bonded to another bird, and it is far better for their mental health to have a companion of their own kind rather than to be bonded solely to a human who won't be home all day. Keeping a bird "single" simply because it will bond more fiercely to a human is, IMO, selfish and doesn't take the bird's welfare into consideration at all. What is more important? That your bird(s) live a happy and fulfilled life or that you have an animal meant to live in a flock completely devoted to you because it has no other option?

I have a pair of linnies who are inseparable, but they still enjoy my company and each has their own individual relationship with me. I have a single conure who screams when I leave the room, doesn't like the other birds, and is alone all day while I'm at work. I could spend all of my free time with her, and it still wouldn't be what she truly deserves or needs to make her happy.
Thanks, suileeka and faislaq!
I will highly consider getting to birds! They only down sides are that this will be more expensive (and adopting isn't really an option... I don't know why, but I can't find any adoption centers for birds in São Paulo (where I live in Brazil) and de cage will have to be bigger, so that will cost more money as well... maybe I'll have to wait more months to get them...

Oh, and another question... as I said, I live in an apartment... Do birds tend to vocalize more when they are in groups? (I'm not complaining, but I have to be a bit careful about that because I have neighbors...). If that's the case, then I'll have to get to birds that are more quiet or that don't have such loud voices hahaha.

What to you think about to ringnecks? I know they can be moody sometimes, but I really think they are fascinating! Do you guys think it would be a good (or an okay) option for me? - I have a brick wall structure and not a wood one...

Thanks again!!
 

Mari Amaral

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Personally, I'm of the camp of 'either get two or none of all'. Giving a bird toys and foraging things is not the same as providing it a companion. Guzma was alone for seven years when I got him, and the second he heard Mims, he did everything he could to escape and be near her. Mims was a single bird before I got her as well, and her personality just did a complete 180* when I brought him home.

Compared to how she is now vs how she was then, I can tell that she was miserable, even with my company for most of the day, especially with you away at school and hardly interacting with your future bird. I think most of the working people on the forum do have more than one bird as well, if I'm not mistaken?
Thank you! I'm getting more and more excited about getting two birds!
 

Garet

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Thank you! I'm getting more and more excited about getting two birds!
i'm glad to hear it! Also, I saw your question about the noise level, and personally, I find having multiples is far more quiet, though it can really vary from bird to bird.

For instance, Yen would contact call really loudly when she was in my room, as I couldn't leave her with Mims and Guz, who were a bonded pair (she tends to bully Mims). Now that she has Triss and Geralt in her room, she doesn't contact call nearly as loudly or as often as she used to when I have to leave. They chatter together, of course, but chattering>contact calls. Even with tiels, you're speaking about the difference between a bird screaming its head off for its flock vs a pair of birds having a pleasant birdy conversation.
 

faislaq

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Also, I think that if circumstances dictate that you can only have one, an idea would be to adopt a bird that has already been living the single companion lifestyle for a while... Some birds will have adapted to it and won't accept other bird companions anymore.
Personally, I'm of the camp of 'either get two or none of all'. Giving a bird toys and foraging things is not the same as providing it a companion. Guzma was alone for seven years when I got him, and the second he heard Mims, he did everything he could to escape and be near her. Mims was a single bird before I got her as well, and her personality just did a complete 180* when I brought him home.

Compared to how she is now vs how she was then, I can tell that she was miserable, even with my company for most of the day, especially with you away at school and hardly interacting with your future bird. I think most of the working people on the forum do have more than one bird as well, if I'm not mistaken?

Luv Bug has been an only bird her whole life. While our current situation is not ideal it is the best we can currently provide and I know she is better off than she was. However, it is obvious that she is very interested in our other birds and we do hope to get her another G2 at some point when we're able (and another macaw for Buzzard to talk to) even if they never get along it is beneficial for them to have some kind of avian fellowship. Until then, we're all about the toys. ;)

But not everyone can have two birds, but there are plenty of birds that need homes. If we are able to provide a loving home for an animal who needs one, I'm all for it even if it's not perfect. :)
 

suileeka

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Oh, and another question... as I said, I live in an apartment... Do birds tend to vocalize more when they are in groups? (I'm not complaining, but I have to be a bit careful about that because I have neighbors...). If that's the case, then I'll have to get to birds that are more quiet or that don't have such loud voices hahaha.
Mari, the wait is worth it to have the right set up and the right birds.. They will be with you for a long time, after all! I would say my single birds are louder more often than the pairs, because they yell to try to get my attention when I'm not in their room.
 

Garet

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Luv Bug has been an only bird her whole life. While our current situation is not ideal it is the best we can currently provide and I know she is better off than she was. However, it is obvious that she is very interested in our other birds and we do hope to get her another G2 at some point when we're able (and another macaw for Buzzard to talk to) even if they never get along it is beneficial for them to have some kind of avian fellowship. Until then, we're all about the toys. ;)

But not everyone can have two birds, but there are plenty of birds that need homes. If we are able to provide a loving home for an animal who needs one, I'm all for it even if it's not perfect. :)
S'why I said personally. I get that there are people that can't afford or find a suitable bird for their situation. And she's not technically an only bird if she has other birds to talk to. Even if they don't play together for their own safety, I'm sure Buzzard and Luv Bug appreciate having conversations.

Even if Mims is the only tiel here, she does enjoy having the lovebirds around. I was hoping to get a second tiel for her to talk with, but she and Guz just hit it off, and I wouldn't want to ruin their relationship.
 

faislaq

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I will highly consider getting to birds! They only down sides are that this will be more expensive (and adopting isn't really an option... I don't know why, but I can't find any adoption centers for birds in São Paulo (where I live in Brazil) and de cage will have to be bigger, so that will cost more money as well... maybe I'll have to wait more months to get them...

Oh, and another question... as I said, I live in an apartment... Do birds tend to vocalize more when they are in groups? (I'm not complaining, but I have to be a bit careful about that because I have neighbors...). If that's the case, then I'll have to get to birds that are more quiet or that don't have such loud voices hahaha.

What to you think about to ringnecks? I know they can be moody sometimes, but I really think they are fascinating! Do you guys think it would be a good (or an okay) option for me? - I have a brick wall structure and not a wood one...

Thanks again!!

Getting two birds may cost more but they'll probably be much happier healthier mentally, and I would think having two of a kind would be easier in a way?

i'm glad to hear it! Also, I saw your question about the noise level, and personally, I find having multiples is far more quiet, though it can really vary from bird to bird.

For instance, Yen would contact call really loudly when she was in my room, as I couldn't leave her with Mims and Guz, who were a bonded pair (she tends to bully Mims). Now that she has Triss and Geralt in her room, she doesn't contact call nearly as loudly or as often as she used to when I have to leave. They chatter together, of course, but chattering>contact calls. Even with tiels, you're speaking about the difference between a bird screaming its head off for its flock vs a pair of birds having a pleasant birdy conversation.

I agree. Even if they have a loud squawk fest now and then it'll probably be over fairly quickly as opposed to a bird who does their loudest flock call for 20 minutes after you've left for work. And I'd much rather hear happy chatting or even a little squabble between cagemates than screams from a bored bird.
 

Mari Amaral

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i'm glad to hear it! Also, I saw your question about the noise level, and personally, I find having multiples is far more quiet, though it can really vary from bird to bird.

For instance, Yen would contact call really loudly when she was in my room, as I couldn't leave her with Mims and Guz, who were a bonded pair (she tends to bully Mims). Now that she has Triss and Geralt in her room, she doesn't contact call nearly as loudly or as often as she used to when I have to leave. They chatter together, of course, but chattering>contact calls. Even with tiels, you're speaking about the difference between a bird screaming its head off for its flock vs a pair of birds having a pleasant birdy conversation.
Mari, the wait is worth it to have the right set up and the right birds.. They will be with you for a long time, after all! I would say my single birds are louder more often than the pairs, because they yell to try to get my attention when I'm not in their room.
Thanks, guys! You helped a lot!
 

suileeka

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Luv Bug has been an only bird her whole life. While our current situation is not ideal it is the best we can currently provide and I know she is better off than she was. However, it is obvious that she is very interested in our other birds and we do hope to get her another G2 at some point when we're able (and another macaw for Buzzard to talk to) even if they never get along it is beneficial for them to have some kind of avian fellowship. Until then, we're all about the toys. ;)
My Hahnsie is a singleton too (I don't think she's seen another Hahn's since she was a baby) and she generally seems content... she seems to view the little birds as somewhat entertaining weirdos (and she imitates the linnies most annoying sound, of course), but at least she has them to listen to/watch during the day. But she was so fascinated with an Amazon we saw at the vet, I wonder how she would like having a larger bird around.
 

Mari Amaral

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Getting two birds may cost more but they'll probably be much happier healthier mentally, and I would think having two of a kind would be easier in a way?


I agree. Even if they have a loud squawk fest now and then it'll probably be over fairly quickly as opposed to a bird who does their loudest flock call for 20 minutes after you've left for work. And I'd much rather hear happy chatting or even a little squabble between cagemates than screams from a bored bird.
thank you!!! :)
 

Garet

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I agree. Even if they have a loud squawk fest now and then it'll probably be over fairly quickly as opposed to a bird who does their loudest flock call for 20 minutes after you've left for work. And I'd much rather hear happy chatting or even a little squabble between cagemates than screams from a bored bird.
:dead: I wish Yen would only contact call for twenty minutes. With her, it's an all day thing. If she was in her own cage, she'd fling stuff and rattles things against the bars and scream. If she was out, she'd spend the day gnawing on the door, screaming, banging things against the door- it was horrible, she was miserable.
 

faislaq

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:dead: I wish Yen would only contact call for twenty minutes. With her, it's an all day thing.
Yeah, I was guesstimating the length of contact calls. There was a dog that lived in the apartment next door who would bark literally the entire time his owner was away. :(
When we leave the house, we give the birds nuts and the dogs treats so it's a positive event when we leave.
 

Garet

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Yeah, I was guesstimating the length of contact calls. There was a dog that lived in the apartment next door who would bark literally the entire time his owner was away. :(
When we leave the house, we give the birds nuts and the dogs treats so it's a positive event when we leave.
I wish that'd work with mine. Really, the only thing that worked for my animals was getting them a friend.
:sad4: Poor doggo. Must have been so miserable. Did they just move, or do you know what happened to him?
 

faislaq

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I wish that'd work with mine. Really, the only thing that worked for my animals was getting them a friend.
:sad4: Poor doggo. Must have been so miserable. Did they just move, or do you know what happened to him?

There were two dogs, that one just wanted his owner. They moved the following year hopefully to a house with a big backyard and a doggy door!
 

Nancy B

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I had 5 lovebirds at one time, two parents and 3 of their male offspring. Now I only have two of the babies left, and my Galah cockatoo, Freddy. The lovebirds and Freddy do chatter together as they hang out in the end of their cage closest to his, which was never the preferred area of their cage. I will probably always have more than 1 bird. My lovebirds are territorial so I can't allow them contact, and Freddy never approaches their cage, they respect each other's space. That's pretty amazing.
 
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