At last! You already have one or more birds, and a new avian family member is coming into your home. You have selected the perfect species of bird; arranged a quarantine situation in your home; purchased the perfect cage and carefully chosen where her bird cage will be placed. Everything has been taken care — or has it? What about other existing family members, not only people but all of the other animals in the home? They also need to be prepared for the new addition, and it is up to you to do that appropriately.
There are many methods of introducing a new bird, and most of them work. If your home is peaceful and your bird and other animal family members have been respected and loved and taught healthy boundaries, you may want to try the following method of introducing new birds into your family unit.
First, prepare existing animals for the newcomer a week or two prior to her arrival. Let them know that another bird is coming, and where her cage will eventually be located. Point out where she is to be quarantined. Take your time and speak clearly and slowly, as you would to a young child.
Show affection to each of your birds and other animals. Make eye contact, and tell each one that you love him or her very much. Thank them for being your beloved family members, and tell them that you cannot wait for the new bird to meet them because they are so wonderful. Also add that you hope the new bird will be as wonderful as they are. Keep your attitude cheerful and enthusiastic.
Although we often want to immediately place our new avian family members in the main area with other birds, it is always best to have a quarantine period where they are housed and physically interacted with separately from other animals in the home. Although this may seem to be inconvenient, it can create an ideal situation for the new bird, where she can comfortably become accustomed to her new surroundings and her new human and animal family members. Most importantly, a quarantine period can protect both your existing avian family, as well as the newcomer.
The quarantine period also offers a wonderful opportunity for people to learn more about the new addition. Keen observation during this time can offer strong hints as to the new bird’s temperament, likes, dislikes, fears or idiosyncrasies. Take all these into consideration when introducing her to the other birds and animals in the home.
Unless the new bird is known to be ill, once she seems comfortable and is eating well, early introductions can start toward the end of the quarantine period. For example, one at a time, household birds can be held on the arm and taken just to the doorway of the room where she is housed, allowing them to visually check each other out. Introduce them to each other by name, and make a point of telling your new bird just how special your existing bird is and that he helps you.
An existing bird that may appear agitated or jealous because of the new bird’s presence often calms down considerably and quickly once you tell the new bird, in front of the existing bird, that he (the existing bird) is very important and that he helps you out in some essential way. During the same introduction, tell your existing bird that you will need his help in some way, by making the new bird comfortable, for example.
Even though the quarantine period pertains to existing birds in the home, dogs and cats can also be gradually and comfortably introduced to the newcomer during this time in a manner that is safe and comfortable for all involved. Make sure that they are also told that they are important and that their help is needed in taking care of her.
Although talking it out with animal companions may sound odd, try it. It works most of the time, especially on birds that live in a home environment where they are regularly spoken to as you would speak to a person.
Make the existing animals feel that they are not losing your love and attention and that the new bird is simply another addition that is not going to usurp them in any way. Always make introductions while holding the established family member and not the other way around. This helps them feel more accepting of the newcomer and they are not as inclined to become as upset as they would if things were the other way around. Be considerate. Do not put the new bird’s cage where your existing bird’s cage or another animal’s bed has always been.
We love and value all of our animal friends and want them to be happy and worry free. A harmonious environment, filled with love, respect and consideration, is one in which most new avian friends quickly and effortlessly become another member of the family, with little or no drama or dissension. By using the quarantine period to begin the assimilation of your new adoptee into your family, you greatly increase your chances of maintaining that harmony.
Want to learn more?
Transitioning A Parrot Flock
Jealousy And Your Bird