• Welcome to Avian Avenue! To view our forum with less advertisments please register with us.
    Memberships are free and it will just take a moment. Click here

MBS (Multiple Bird Syndrome) AKA Just one more...

elitys

Sprinting down the street
Joined
4/29/20
Messages
371
Location
OR, USA
Real Name
Elise
I might be interested in getting another bird in the future, but for now, my limit is one. (Poppy is my personal bird whereas the two boys are my boyfriend's.) This limit is mostly due to time, money, and Poppy's personality.

Poppy is bird aggressive, so she would not be inclined to make friends with any new birds I were to add to the household, especially once they inevitably absorb some of my attention. In addition, I am a college student so my time and funds are limited. Poppy gets enough attention, but splitting my time between her and another bird would not feel adequate to me. Not to mention the fact that I would definitely not be able to double the funds I already allocate for food, toys, and vet bills.

No matter how enticing it may seem, adding another bird given my current capacity would reduce the quality of Poppy's care. She's the one I've already committed to and it would not be fair to lower her quality of life for my own selfish desires.
 

Karen

Biking along the boulevard
Avenue Veteran
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
10/22/09
Messages
5,041
Poppy is bird aggressive, so she would not be inclined to make friends with any new birds I were to add to the household, especially once they inevitably absorb some of my attention.
Thank you for mentioning that. My bird is similar, if I felt he could or would make friends I would change my position of one.
 

keirieski17

Sprinting down the street
Avenue Veteran
Joined
7/3/17
Messages
362
Location
Central Florida
Real Name
Keila
Since the addition of Titus, we have 2 cats and 2 birds. I feel like this really rounds out our family, which keeps me from being keen on any more. Ella has been so much happier since the addition of Titus, and I am still at a point where I feel like I have time and attention and money enough for all my babies. The cats have clean litter boxes, toys, and food. The birds have clean cages, toys, and food and I am constantly looking for ways to make their lives better. I think even one more animal of any kind would put me over a limit, and that’s not fair to any of us.
 

scrape

Rollerblading along the road
Celebirdy of the Month
Joined
5/4/19
Messages
2,501
I've never quite understood MBS. I can't get past the figure I come to when I start multiplying vet bills, food bills, accessories, my space, my time etc. to even think about another bird. Two used to be my limit, now its one.
Maybe it depends on species. This may be foolish, but I totally intend to get 2 budgies. Vet bills sound like a great way to cure it: the vet, not just for curing animals. :D I've yet to experience this phenomenon, but maybe spending time with your current birds &/ or other pets will help take your mind off of others. :)
The problem is, I just want one. I just want one that is friendly and cuddly, like I originally wanted. If I had that, I wouldn't be torturing myself so much, looking at listing ads.
And I know I could care for one, better than a lot of (uneducated) people can.
:sos:
Opps, sorry. TMI:p
 

elitys

Sprinting down the street
Joined
4/29/20
Messages
371
Location
OR, USA
Real Name
Elise
Thank you for mentioning that. My bird is similar, if I felt he could or would make friends I would change my position of one.
I agree. Even if finances weren't an issue, the aggression still is. Maybe at some point I would like to get another GCC, especially after seeing how happy the cockatiels are together, but Poppy is a different case. It would not benefit her the same way it benefits them to have another bird around, and I have to respect that. So, she's the only silly green cheek I'll be having around for quite some time, and you know, I'm alright with that. :)
 

fluffypoptarts

Biking along the boulevard
Avenue Veteran
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
11/15/12
Messages
6,833
Location
Florida
@elitys Not all of my lovebirds get along with each other, but they still seem to see each other as part of the flock, if that makes sense. The birds don’t always have to be “friends”, per se - it’s more about the company when humans can’t be with them (few of us can be with our feathered babies 24/7). Mine seem to benefit from having the others around.
 

elitys

Sprinting down the street
Joined
4/29/20
Messages
371
Location
OR, USA
Real Name
Elise
@elitys Not all of my lovebirds get along with each other, but they still seem to see each other as part of the flock, if that makes sense. The birds don’t always have to be “friends”, per se - it’s more about the company when humans can’t be with them (few of us can be with our feathered babies 24/7). Mine seem to benefit from having the others around.
Yeah, we have other birds in the house so she isn't ever left completely alone, and she does answer their contact calls. I just wouldn't want to have another bird that's my own and have to start splitting attention time.
 

webchirp

Joyriding the Neighborhood
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
8/2/10
Messages
17,601
Location
Ohio
Real Name
Chandra
I'm severely infected...I got nothing :ashamed3:
 

laracroft

Strolling the yard
Joined
3/28/19
Messages
142
I get the longing for another bird sometimes, but I've always been able to decide against it without much trouble by playing on my own emotions. For me the urge to get another bird and the urge not to come from the same place--I love Micah so much, he's so awesome, and if one is good then two has to be better right? Except, no, because when I think about what would change about my life with a second bird, it's less time with Micah. Micah doesn't want another bird, it's very unlikely he'd be friendly, so I'd be splitting my time between the two. So when I want a second bird I just think about how upset he would be with suddenly getting half of the time out of cage he does now, and that kills it for me.
 

Sophia101

Jogging around the block
Avenue Veteran
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
4/2/14
Messages
611
Location
Vermont
Real Name
Sophia
I have often had friends and family ask me if I am a hoarder and even accuse me of it (without really realizing what it means and how hurtful it is). Lots of people believe that a hoarder is merely someone who has a lot of animals and if that was the true definition, that is most certainly me! However, the true definition in my eyes is someone who has gone past the amount of animals that they can properly care for, not just meaning giving them food and water everyday, but also having the ability to mentally stimulate them and keep them happy. I have 13 parrots as well as 4 quail and other animals! I would like to mention that I have been breeding rodents for about 6 years and recently got out of the rat portion of that hobby because it was taking up too much time that I didn't have and it wasn't keeping me happy anymore. I decided to sell my breeding stock of rats and found them all wonderful homes! This has made everyone more happy because I have much more time and I realized how much that was affecting the quality of my care for myself as well as everyone else, it was becoming difficult to care for everyone since it was taking up so much time.

My small birds (parakeets, lovebirds, and cockatiels) are not really people birds and prefer to hang out amongst themselves (they have all paired up, which was what I expected) rather than hang out with me or my boyfriend, so the amount of care I have to give them is not equal to that of my larger fids. What they require is lots of cage enrichment such as, toys, treats, varied foods, and water. This takes up DRASTICALLY less time than my other birds but is equally important to keep them happy. They also require large cages with lots of toys since they don't like to come out as often and it actually stresses them out MUCH MORE when they do. This is why making a bird room is so important for them as well as the larger birds, they will have a large territory that they will feel MUCH safer in and I will hopefully be able to join them in their habitat without the usual stress human interaction often causes them.

My larger birds (conures, indian ringnecks, and alexandrine) require a slightly different level of care that is based highly on my interactions with them. My conures are cling on birds, but one is cage aggressive and very temperamental which we are slowly getting better about. My indian ringnecks are both a bit skittish but love to be out and about on their cages and have time to exercise and fly around the house. The alexandrine is very sweet and wants human interaction but is also cage aggressive and needs her time out with people to bond and be happy. I was planning on creating a bird room before truly looking into the benefits, but after reading John's post on cage aggression, I realized just how much this would truly help all of my birds have better behaviors. These birds require not only the time my small birds do providing food, treats, varied diet, enrichment, and water, but also intense one-on-one attention EVERY SINGLE DAY! They all tolerate each other which makes it easier to have them all out of their cages at once hanging out on our shoulders and their cages, giving them treats and working on training. Even after they learn one trick, start on another to keep their minds sharp and fresh, teach them to tolerate putting a harness on or playing dead. But you have to recognize that those are all things that you will need to do with each of them in order to keep them happy, healthy, and tame.

I am lucky enough to work from home part time and in an office close to my home the rest of the time. I have a lot of time to dedicate to my birds, but sometimes even that doesn't seem like enough. To help people understand that, I'll go over my daily care of the critters, that alone might scare most people off! In the morning my boyfriend lets the dogs outside, and feeds and waters them as well as the cats. I run around like a chicken with my head cut off to make sure that the hamsters, chameleon, leopard gecko, and birds have food and water for the day. I work an eight hour day in an office or often from home, but working from home doesn't always mean I'm at home, it often means travelling around. When I return home, the dogs have to go outside again, hamsters are checked on and Syrians (teddy bear hamsters) have to be smelled to see if they are in heat to be bred (they get a musty smell when they're in heat, weird I know). If any are in heat, it can take up to half an hour to check them all for heats and put them with males and watching them (they're a highly aggressive species that can't be left alone together). I then put the foster cats in crates (we currently have two six month old foster kittens and their mom that are avid hunters, but my personal cat has no prey drive due to a mental deficiency) and let the bigger birds out. Coco the green cheek spends her time on my boyfriend's shoulder while he does homework and the others spend their time on top of their cages or flying around and stretching their wings. Mango the peach fronted conure spends his time staring me down in case I leave the room for three seconds and he has to follow me or scream until I return. I take this time to make their dinner and ours, usually my boyfriend does the dishes while I prepare their fruit and add that and their chop to their cages. I use this time to use sunflower seeds for training, I buy them already hulled and use them only for training (and not everyday because that are so fatty, sometimes I use their fruit for training and add whatever is left over to their cages. We do this until my boyfriend is done with his homework and I have finished with dinner and we have eaten and then I put them back in their cages to eat. I take this time to take the dogs outside for their long walk/playtime. If I feel the birds haven't been outside long enough, I'll let them back out after the dogs are done otherwise they are in for the night and my boyfriend and I go lay in bed and watch TV until we pass out to repeat it again in the morning. This means from the time I get home at 5:30 until about 9:30 or 10:00, the birds are out with us getting attention and working on training. They say to train dogs for 15 minutes a day and I think this applies to parrots too, although they are extremely smart and can usually handle more time and concentrate longer than that. I still like to spend 90% of their time giving them attention and doing what THEY want once they are tame. If they need more taming or training, we spend more time on that, but Coco is so tame already that it is good for her to just hang out and cuddle and play how she likes.

Now this is just the amount of time you're spending, this is not including the money spent on toys, food, vet bills, etc. My alexandrine and indian ringneck are my most destructive birds, I don't even get a chance to switch out their toys, they've already destroyed them before the week is over and need new ones. I have taken to adding paper towel tubes every day just to keep them busy. Amazon packaging? Not for long! One week my indian ringneck decided she didn't want to play with any of her toys and spent that time killing her twisty rope perch! The alexandrine destroys old mail with ease and breaks into food packaging for fun! I have gotten creative with what I provide them because it is too expensive to buy them all the time for the two of them. I tend to pass toys that my others have grown bored of onto them to completely finish off and destroy. I can't even imagine what people with macaws and cockatoos must feel like! I buy veggies and grains for chop in advance to freeze but I also buy fruits for the week or buy premade fresh fruit mixes which are fairly inexpensive and one feeds all the birds for a day. Then I also have their pellets that get fed every day and of course, they're all picky about what they like and will waste a food if they don't like the color, taste, etc.

Vet bills deserve their own paragraph because so many people don't realize how expensive it truly is! I am lucky enough to have worked at a raptor rehab where I was able to gain lots of information about what to look for in birds! I also have vet tech friends from there that answer questions and are extremely nice! I have an emergency vet bill fund and haven't EVER had to break into it (knock on wood) which is just pure luck at this point! There are also yearly exams, fecals, health testing, etc. I try to get birds I am unsure of DNA tested because while not necessary, it can be extremely helpful in understanding some of their behavior and medical issues that tend to happen to one over the other. For example, my alexandrine is a female and they are known to change a bit when they hit sexual maturity. She is cage aggressive and grumpy but still sweet! Knowing she is female helped with that! I pay all of the bills for animals since they are all legally mine, my boyfriend helps out sometimes by picking things up for me when I need them and things like that, but the responsibility is solely mine. I make the money in my household and I pay for the animals. Bare this in mind, you may not have a boyfriend, parents, siblings, roommates, etc. to help you out forever, are you still able to care for your animals on your own?

I apologize for the long write up, but I definitely am a victim of this and while I wouldn't change it for the world, it can be very stressful, you don't always have time for yourself and there have been times when I didn't have a boyfriend and all of the work was done by myself. I have downsized considerably now that I don't have any rats (I previously had over 100 at times) and that has made things easier, but they still need care when you're sick or away and you need to have plans for all circumstances.
 

Ali

Biking along the boulevard
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
4/16/20
Messages
8,040
Location
Dorset, England, UK
Real Name
Alistair
I have often had friends and family ask me if I am a hoarder and even accuse me of it (without really realizing what it means and how hurtful it is). Lots of people believe that a hoarder is merely someone who has a lot of animals and if that was the true definition, that is most certainly me! However, the true definition in my eyes is someone who has gone past the amount of animals that they can properly care for, not just meaning giving them food and water everyday, but also having the ability to mentally stimulate them and keep them happy. I have 13 parrots as well as 4 quail and other animals!
:heart:
Totally agree. I too have been accused of this and it really is hurtful as you say. I think that your definition is perfect.
 

Sparkles99

Biking along the boulevard
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
8/9/20
Messages
5,001
Location
Ontario, Canada
Wow, that's a lot of pets. :)

Most people would be overwhelmed. That's probably why your friends & family are concerned. Because if they were in that situation, they'd be in over their heads. I would be. It's important to accept your limits, & this varies by person.

Most animal hoarders apparently start as well intentioned, overwhelmed caregivers. I think it really helps if your pets get along. An aviary with 10 birds is one aviary to clean. 10 cages are 10 cages. I know which I'd choose, & I don't even have my budgies yet.

It sounds like you take good care of your pets, physically & mentally. So maybe try to kindly educate them the next time they call you a hoarder. Especially if they're not into pets, they may not recognize the superior care you give.
 

Sophia101

Jogging around the block
Avenue Veteran
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
4/2/14
Messages
611
Location
Vermont
Real Name
Sophia
Thank you @Sparkles99, I have learned to just accept it, especially with my mother. She has never been a fan of the animals that I had because she is a dog person and that is about it. She tolerates all animals but she would never own more than dogs and cats herself. I know that I do my best for all of my animals and thankfully everyone is able to peacefully coexist (with supervision of course) besides the three foster kitties who will hopefully be on their way to new homes in the near future. I do believe that at times I let myself get overwhelmed, but thankfully that hasn't happened in a while. Now that we have gotten the hang of our little schedule, life is pretty good for us.
 

Screech

Jogging around the block
Joined
6/13/21
Messages
697
Location
New Zealand
One more flight cage to build, one more feed dish to prepare, one more cage to clean, one more mouth to feed, one more opportunity for a problem, one more mess, one more bird to tame, one more toy to replace, one more vet bill in the event of a flock infection, one more screaming angry child.
That's what I tell myself when I see all the cute birds at the pet shops. That's one more bird.
 

cassiesdad

Ripping up the road
Weather Authority
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Avian Angel
Joined
3/21/11
Messages
1,000,000
Location
Erie PA
Real Name
Bob Weisman
One more flight cage to build, one more feed dish to prepare, one more cage to clean, one more mouth to feed, one more opportunity for a problem, one more mess, one more bird to tame, one more toy to replace, one more vet bill in the event of a flock infection, one more screaming angry child.
That's what I tell myself when I see all the cute birds at the pet shops. That's one more bird.
...also one more beautiful soul for SOMEONE ELSE to experience! :heart:
 

Pickles&Co

Meeting neighbors
Joined
8/4/21
Messages
21
We have three cockatiels and one sun. That is my personal limit, I'm the one home with them all day so I get the final say. I am completely content with what we have. The cockatiels for the most part prefer doing their own thing and keep each other company with the occasional request for a scratch. Pickles is my buddy and spends her day hanging out with me while my husband is at work. Could I make time for another bird? Sure, but I guess my question to myself would be why. Pickles is a wonderful companion and what I was looking for when I decided I would like something a little more interactive than my tiels. At this point adding another would just take away from the time and attention the others particularly Pickles receives. I applaud people who can manage large flocks, but its definitely not for me.
 

bonjourtok

Meeting neighbors
Joined
5/6/22
Messages
65
Personally, its a species rather than number limit. I think I could have 10 lovebirds and be happy. My absolute favorites are moluccans and galahs but the space, time, noise, bite strength, boarding costs, and lifetime commitment are too much for my young family to even have 1 of them. I think I'll have to admire them from afar & just count myself lucky that I grew up with some great 'toos in my house.
 

Pixiebeak

Rollerblading along the road
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
6/18/22
Messages
1,350
Location
Florida
Real Name
Laura
Interesting thread :)

I started with one Burt the Burd! A green cheek conure much later I found out was female. I had just her for 10 years. I hadnt really thought of getting a parrot.....but on a pet store run....at least this pet store had a very knowledgeable bird lady and the parrots had large cages and enrichment really the best set up to date that I've personally seen in a pet store.

I walked over to view them, and this tiny bald headed headed green cheek was instantly smitten with me. Burt tried to get to me through the bars. All the others ignored me completely including green cheeks in other cages.

I visited the birds over several weeks . Decided I would get one, but felt I ought to get the larger prettier green cheek that was un interested in me but looked healthier than Burt. Burts head feathers had started to grow back with pins during this time. The bird lady came over to help me. She said why aren't you getting Burt? I've seen you visiting, and Burt has clearly chosen you. She explained how special it is to be choosen by a parrot , and asked me to hide in the store and observe how Burt was not like this with anyone else including her. Wow what an eye opener! Burt completely ignored and avoided all other customers! But as soon as I was in sight would rush to be near me!!

She explained that Burt was runty, he( sorry force of habit she). had gotten a respiratory infection during hand rearing, so had been placed back with his mom who had plucked his head bald. She explained he had been treated and cleared of infection and his feathers on head would grow back, and when he molted his other feathers would be pretty again, but he would always be small.

Bless you and thank you bird lady!

I got Burt the Bird ! We shared an amazing 17 years together!! The sweetest little soul. Feathers came back shiny and vibrant, including head.

When Burt the Burd was 10 I added another green cheek conure Ta-dah. It was instant love between them and most of their life they shared a cage and slept on top of each-other. Occasionally I'd have to separate them for a few weeks during their 7 years together but tgey remained intensly bonded. After seeing the 2 of them i Decided I would never have a solo parrot again.

When Burt passed, Ta-dah was devastated. I wanted a quaker so I added one. Ta-dah and Neptune bonded very close . Then within a week or 2 guess my mbs kicked in. 2 budgies needed a home and I added them. Then in 2 months I came across Penny quaker in such horror situation that I rescued and added her. Ta-dah loved the budgies, loved Neptune....but Penny had never been around other birds. She was terrified at first of all of them. Ta-dah came over to love on Penny but Penny freaked and there was a big fight. Those 2 have never liked each other since.....in the past 5 years. We had some adjustments time and intense management time , but now they can be out together or sitting on me together and all remains respectful and just give each-other space.

Within a few more months a quaker was in need of a home. So I added Pikachu. At first all the quakers just gave each-other space kept about 2 feet minimum distance between each other and Ta-dah the green cheek and the budgies. Tho Ta-dah became close with Neptune and the budgies, Penny became close with the budgies. It took 2 years for Pikachu and Penny to become close friends that preening each-other, sitting close and regurgitate to each other.

So after loosing Burt. I went from just having Ta-dah the green cheek, to adding 3 quakers and 2 budgies within a year!!! Definitely MBS. All kept in separate cages, but all able to be out together during the day, and foraging together from large serving dishes of veggies.

Over the years flock dynamic have changed and friendships deepened. I lost Neptune un expected ( devastating) and added Phoebe quaker.

So currently all 3 quakers are very close buddies tho this evolved over years. In the beginning they never preened each-other or sat closer than a foot preferring to stay several feet apart. Unless on me. To now they usually all stay within 6 inches or smoshed up together all preen and regurgitate to each-other. Penny quaker is close friends with budgies, Phoebe is ok friends with budgies sometimes regurgitate to them, Pikachu sweet but zero interest in budgies ignores them.

Ta-dah is friends with budgies. Ignores quakers since lost her buddy Neptune. Tho there are hints that she and Phoebe may become friends...only time will tell.

This is my limit. I simply can't take more mess and cleaning...and food/ accessories, veterinarian care are starting to be expensive.

Also attention , thankfully my flock all sits on me at the same time or flys in alternate so I can love on them all at once. They can all be out of cages together. If this was not the case I'd probably only have 2 parrots.
 
Top