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Territorial lovebird - how to discourage

sharky

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Hello! We have a 3yo female peach face lovebird and are adding a pionus to our flock soon. Have had the lovie since she was weaned.

Lovie has historically been extremely hormonal - she laid a clutch of 4 eggs every 3 months when she turned 2. We have tamed the egg laying with lupron and the standard behavior dampening techniques (longer nights, cage rearrangement, toy cycling, always keeping her on her toes a bit) but she still goes crazy for cavities and is undeterred by anything, and unmotivated to do anything else (not even her favorite treats can tempt her to stop!). She's also got a huge ego, thinks she owns everything and gets very embarrassed when she's knocked down a peg.

Since we are adding the new bird soon, I've gotten the cage and playstand for it, and lovie is DESPERATELY trying to claim them as her own. I've covered the cage with a blanket and she has made it her mission to get under the blanket every time she's let out of her cage. She got under it once and immediately started beak banging/rubbing all over it. While she seems pretty content in her own cage, I do want to make sure she has a good amount of outside time. Aside from going the whole entire separation route (which I am prepared to do as a last resort) what else can I do to deter her from claiming this new bird's stuff as her territory?
 
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flyzipper

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Your entire home is currently your Lovebird's territory and I would expect them to be curious about anything new that's added -- that's normal.

"she still goes crazy for cavities", so it's no surprise she, "has made it her mission to get under the blanket every time she's let out of her cage" (you created a cavity for her).

In my experience with my crew, carving out space for a new flock member was the result of the new member having their own space and claiming it as their own.

So, just be patient to see what happens and your pair might work things out on their own.

That said, a pionus is 4x the size of a lovebird, so it's wise that you're prepared to keep them separate.

She's also got a huge ego, thinks she owns everything and gets very embarrassed when she's knocked down a peg
Regarding that, I would caution against anthropomorphizing when interacting with our birds, and I don't understand how "knocked down a peg" fits in the context of positive reinforcement (rather than punishment, which should never be pursued).
 

sharky

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Thanks for the quick response! Guess it's just a waiting game then, really hope they are able to warm up to each other. Separation is never fun.

Oh and we don't use negative reinforcement/punishment! By "knocked down a peg" I meant what she does to herself - when she trips over her own feet or doesn't stick a landing (fully flighted). She's done the classic "pulled a blanket off a shelf while she's standing on it" and was in a sour mood the rest of the day
 

tka

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Bear in mind that pionus can easily be spicy and territorial themselves and because they are so much bigger than a lovebird, your lovebird could be seriously injured or even killed in a tussle over space. Personally, I would never get a bird smaller or larger than my pionus hens because my older bird, Leia, would absolutely not play nicely and would either injure a smaller bird or get injured herself if she tried to go for a larger bird. We have to work a lot on stationing and rewarding calm behaviour around Kira.

I really would advise separation. If the cages are in the same room and one bird is out, they will inevitably land on the other bird's cage and get their toes bitten so you need to ensure that this situation cannot arise. It really is safest if you assume that these birds will never be able to share space safely and happily.
 

sharky

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I really would advise separation. If the cages are in the same room and one bird is out, they will inevitably land on the other bird's cage and get their toes bitten so you need to ensure that this situation cannot arise. It really is safest if you assume that these birds will never be able to share space safely and happily.
Yes I am fully prepared to separate them, I just am hoping that they'll be able to get along to the point that we can keep them in the same room. we have a 2bd apt so i can definitely completely keep them apart if necessary. the lovebird is my partner's baby and the pi will be mine. hope for the best prepare for the worst :)
 

April

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@Zara will hopefully be able to give you some insight.
 

Zara

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We´ve had small issues here with the birds wanting the new birds cage, but as my birds are all lovebirds, no one has gotten injured in any squabbles as I´m always here to separate any sparring.
I still have to remove birds from the tops of other birds cages.

Honestly, I would proceed with extreme caution when your bring your pionus home. I have been reading @tka ´s threads about Leia for years and I don´t think I´d be comfortable at all having my birds anywhere near her. A lovebird won´t back down from a squabble just because the other is way larger, and it´s clear the lovebird would not win the fight.
Even if you were able to target train your bird, it only takes one time being ¨disobedient¨ for them to get hurt.

I hope you are able to figure something out that works for your and your birds. And remember, if you move one bird out of that living area, it should be the newcomer.

I´ll tag @sunnysmom , she has smaller and larger birds so may have some better insight.
 

sunnysmom

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I have a goffin and cockatiels. I never let them out together. I have all males and none of them are really territorial or aggressive. However, my goffin can play rough and with the difference in beak size, I just don't trust them out together. During the day, I do have them in the same room- opposite sides of the room. And I think my goffin enjoys hanging out with them. My cockatiels pretty much ignore him though. I don't let Rosie, my one tiel, out in that room at all with my goffin as he is not the best flyer. I will let Scooter out in the room but he doesn't go anywhere near my goffin's cage. Initially, I would cover the top of Elvis's, my goffin's, cage, when Scooter was out just in case he would land on it. He did once. Elvis scared him, and he has never done it since. When I let Elvis out, I take the cockatiels upstairs, He has landed on their cages before- I think just to see them- but it really scared the tiels. So, upstairs they go. I would definitely not let a lovie and a pi out together. And I would take extra precautions even just letting one out of the cage with the other in the cage in the same room. Toes can get bitten pretty quickly.
 

sharky

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@sunnysmom @Zara thanks so much for the insight, i really appreciate it! definitely going to proceed with utmost caution. still have two months till baby comes home so I've got time to prepare and get the protocol down :)
 

Peachey111

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Hello! We have a 3yo female peach face lovebird and are adding a pionus to our flock soon. Have had the lovie since she was weaned.

Lovie has historically been extremely hormonal - she laid a clutch of 4 eggs every 3 months when she turned 2. We have tamed the egg laying with lupron and the standard behavior dampening techniques (longer nights, cage rearrangement, toy cycling, always keeping her on her toes a bit) but she still goes crazy for cavities and is undeterred by anything, and unmotivated to do anything else (not even her favorite treats can tempt her to stop!). She's also got a huge ego, thinks she owns everything and gets very embarrassed when she's knocked down a peg.

Since we are adding the new bird soon, I've gotten the cage and playstand for it, and lovie is DESPERATELY trying to claim them as her own. I've covered the cage with a blanket and she has made it her mission to get under the blanket every time she's let out of her cage. She got under it once and immediately started beak banging/rubbing all over it. While she seems pretty content in her own cage, I do want to make sure she has a good amount of outside time. Aside from going the whole entire separation route (which I am prepared to do as a last resort) what else can I do to deter her from claiming this new bird's stuff as her territory?
How about talk to your lovie about the new bird? When new bird arrives, talk lovingly. And tell her its okay. Introduce everyone. Point to new bird and say it's name then point to lovie say its name, point to yourself say your name. Blink slowly with each introduction to show friendliness. Talk sweetly and be patient.
 
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