Besides being friendly and lovable, cockatiels are also laid back. Even so, it is not uncommon for these pet birds to fight when housed together in the same cage.
You may wonder, why my cockatiels are fighting? From fighting over food to being overly territorial, many reasons can trigger a fight between two cockatiels. But there are many ways to stop their fight, depending on the reason for fighting. Providing them more feeding stations, or putting them in separate cages or in a spacious cage with plenty of toys can prevent the fighting in most cases.
Besides, male cockatiels can act aggressively on their mate when they become possessive or sense any danger. There’s more to it, so keep reading to know how you can deal with all the possible fight scenarios and protect your birds from getting injured.
Why Are My Cockatiels Fighting Each Other?
Cockatiels are social and docile birds. As such, they do get along in most cases when housed together. However, sometimes these birds can become aggressive toward each other. This happens for reasons like:
1. Small cage
The minimum cage size for two cockatiels is 36 by 24 by 24 inches. Housing two or more cockatiels in a cage more petite than the recommended size might lead to fighting between the birds.
Male cockatiels in the wild usually pick their own mate and stay together. However, in captivity, you must choose a mate for your male cockatiels, which they may not be compatible with. And if both birds are incompatible, they may fight a lot.
3. Inadequate food and toys
When you house more than one cockatiel in a single cage, you must provide each bird with its own food bowl and toys. If the toys are few and the feeding station is just one, your cockatiels will fight.
4. Failure to bond
You cannot throw two cockatiels in one cage and expect them to get along. The birds need time to bond. If not, fighting will be inevitable.
5. Breeding season
During the breeding season, cockatiels usually undergo hormonal changes. This makes them very territorial in protecting their feeder and nest box. As such, you may find the female cockatiel aggressive toward other birds.
When you bring another new cockatiel, the existing bird may become jealous, leading to fights. This is because it will think the new cockatiel will take everything from it, including you and their birdcage.
7. Feeling threatened
Due to their territorial nature, cockatiels typically fight when they feel threatened. This happens when these birds feel their territory or birdcage is being invaded.
8. Stressed or lack of stimulation
When more than two cockatiels lack enough mental stimulation or are stressed, they act out. Typically, they may show aggressive behavior like feather-plucking, screaming, fighting, and injuring each other.
What To Do To Stop Cockatiels From Fighting
Tired of your cockatiels fighting every now and then and injuring each other? Below is what to do to stop them for good.
Step 1: Bond the birds
The first thing you must do is bond the birds. Place each cockatiel in its cage and then both birdcages side by side. This will allow the birds to see and communicate with each other without being in close contact.
After some time, let the cockatiels out of their cages to interact. Repeat this process until the birds are fully bonded, which may take several days or weeks.
Step 2: Get a spacious cage
Next, you must invest in a large cage. This way, each bird has its own space, preventing territorial issues. For example, if you keep two cockatiels, get a cage of 36-inch by 24-inch by 24-inch minimum size.
Step 3: Put enough toys, food dishes, and water bowls
If you are keeping two cockatiels, provide two separate feeding stations, water bowls, and bird baths. It would help if you also gave the birds different toys to minimize competition and keep them mentally stimulated throughout.
Step 4: Give your birds equal attention
Sometimes, your cockatiels may fight due to jealousy of each other. In this case, you will need to give both birds matching attention. This way, the existing cockatiel may not feel like the new bird is replacing it.
Step 5: Separate the birds
If the fighting persists, the next thing to do is separate your cockatiels temporarily. It would help if you did this, especially during the breeding season. If this does not stop the fights, you may need to repeat step one.
How Do You Tell Whether Cockatiels Are Fighting Or Playing?
Sometimes, your cockatiels may play aggressively, making you think they are fighting. So then, how do you tell whether or not your birds are actually fighting and not playing? Here are tips to help you.
Check the pupils
If you see your birds’ pupils suddenly dilate, this is a sign the cockatiels are about to fight. The eyes usually widen or flash because of the birds being angry.
Observe the feathers and the head
When your cockatiels are fighting, they will ruffle up their feathers. As for the head, their crest will flatten down close to the head.
Your cockatiel will flap its wings when frustrated, upset, or uncomfortable. Wing flapping is also common when these birds are fighting or about to.
Hissing and squawking
If your cockatiels are hissing like a snake, it clearly shows they are fighting and not playing. Generally, cockatiels will hiss and squawk when feeling threatened and upset.
Fighting cockatiels will snap in their opponent’s direction with their beak.
Check out this short video of two cockatiels fighting each other:
How Long Does It Take To Make Two Cockatiels Get Along?
There is no specific time frame since cockatiels have different personalities. Some cockatiels may get along immediately when you introduce them to each other, while others may take several weeks.
The best way to ensure your cockatiels get along quickly is to introduce them to each other gradually. This involves keeping the pair in separate cages and rooms during the first days. You could also try helping them bond through positive reinforcement. For instance, you can give them treats the more they get along.
Can cockatiels kill each other when fighting?
Yes, just like other parrot species, including budgies and lovebirds. If the fighting becomes increasingly violent, the birds may inflict much damage on each other. Eventually, the constant war may lead to death of one or both of the cockatiels. This is especially true when the birds are trapped in the same cage with nowhere to escape.
That is why the best solution for fighting cockatiels is separating them. And once you put them in separate cages, you must take the birds through the bonding process again. However, if the aviary is very spacious, you can just put a divider to keep the birds apart.
Without further ado, let’s quickly look at frequently asked queries regarding cockatiels fighting and what to do to stop them.
In most cases, a male cockatiel will attack its mate cockatiel when the female bird does not return its affection. This mostly happens during the breeding season.
If you don’t have the space or money for an extra cage, you could use a divider to separate the birdcage. A wall will keep the birds apart, helping prevent fights while allowing them to see each other.
Yes. This happens when either of the birds feels threatened or when the cockatiels are breeding due to hormonal changes.
It is not unusual for cockatiels to fight with each other. This usually happens for various reasons. Unfortunately, if you don’t help stop the fights, your birds could injure and kill each other.
Therefore, knowing how to stop cockatiels from fighting is critical. Also, learning how to differentiate when your pet birds are fighting and playing would be good.