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Q: I am planning to get two pet budgies next month, and I have read conflicting information on whether it is better to get two males or two females. Which will potentially get along better? I do not plan to breed them.

A: Since you do not plan to breed your new budgies, get two male budgerigars. Female budgerigars are notorious for squabbling among themselves. Although there may be exceptions to their bickering, male budgerigars generally get along better when they are housed together.

Often times, male budgerigars practice some courting behaviors with one another, such as singing a soft warbling song with intermittent accent notes while touching beak to beak or other against objects, while dilating their pupils. Enthusiastic male budgerigars may, in their gusty exuberance, try to mount one another in an attempt to breed.  This behavior is generally harmless. Usually, there is little hostile behavior between male budgerigars, whereas female budgerigars can become much more aggressive.

Fortunately, most budgies can be sexed at a young age by the color of their cere, the horny plate surrounding their nares (nostrils). In males, the cere appears blue; in females, the cere can range from white to tan, or dark brown during the breeding cycle. There are some exceptions to cere color, depending upon a budgie’s color mutation. Certain colors, such as recessive harlequin pieds, lutinos, albinos, or dark-eyed clears, carry pinkish-purple ceres. Younger budgie females may show a bluish-colored cere outlined in white; females in peak condition carry a dark-brown cere signifying they are at the height of the breeding cyle.

Get young budgergiars, preferably newly weaned at 38 to 42 days of age, as they’ll tame quickly. Training should be confined to a small room with closed doors and windows, with mirrors covered. It is easiest to work with one bird at a time until both birds are trained. Once tame, allow your budgies time together outside the cage for daily exercise, and to enjoy each other’s company in flight.

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