Budgies are quite sociable but can also get aggressive. The aggression can vary from the normal one caused struggle for resources to violence caused by hormonal changes or trauma from the past life.
Although budgies are sociable birds, they are also aggressive. If you have two budgies in the same cage, they will always clash over water, space, or even mating. This aggression is constant but often ends in seconds. The normal aspects of a budgie society consist of the usual outbursts for toys, clashes over friends, or struggle for territories. So then, if nothing gets out of hand during these moments of aggression, you have no reason to worry about it.
Avian research shows that 99% of budgies will be aggressive about mates, territories, friends, food, or space, and this will end shortly. However, if you realize that your budgie is particularly aggressive with one specific fellow and even hurts him, you may need to separate them lest they hurt each other badly. So then, let’s find out the probable causes of aggression in birds, how to spot them, and stop them.
Struggle for resources
The main reason why budgies will be aggressive is the struggle for food. This often happens when you have two or more birds in the same. Otherwise, if you have a single budgie in a cage, the struggle for resources will not be the reason for sudden aggression. When two or more budgies share a cage, they will often scramble for food, just like other birds, including chickens. Besides, budgies can be aggressive over mates. Once a female budgie has identified with a particular male budgie, it’s natural for her to want him for herself only.
Budgies may grow aggressive to protect their territory. They feel a sense of ownership and may want only themselves to belong to a particular territory, leading to fights. The other resource budgies can fight over is space; they may not want to share their space.
Another factor that can lead to a budgie’s sudden aggression is a new routine. For instance, if you buy that was not used to hand-feeding in the aviary and start hand-feeding him when you start taming him, the budgie may become aggressive. This is true, especially because the bird considers the activity completely new to him. New routines often cause aggression in budgies when new to an environment and have not acclimated to the new home.
Even training sessions can make a budgie aggressive before he gets used to them. So then, be gentle with your budgie, taking a step at a time. Do not overwhelm him with training after training. Rather, let the process be mutual and allow the bird to gain your trust before a successful training session.
Lack of proper socialization
Many budgies owe their sudden aggression to a lack of socialization in their earlier lives. For instance, when you bring your feathered friend home, you may start cuddling him and petting him, even hugging him often. While some budgies may get used to this really fast, others may not. This could be a completely new experience to them as they lacked proper socialization in the aviary.
As you try to do this unsuspectingly and not read the bird’s protesting signs because of the excitement to have him home, you may be welcomed by a bite in your cheeks or a prick on your eye or nose. In essence, your socialization with the bird might just scare him and make him behave callously towards you.
Mistreatment by former owners
If you notice your budgie behaving aggressively without a reason you can identify, it could be that he has remembered some memories of his earlier life. Probably, his previous owner mistreated him, and this has come back to the memory, stirring aggression. This is often true with older birds. As you take them to start taming them, you may not understand quite well what the bird has been through as he cannot relate to it.
For example, some owners shout and yell at budgies. This, when done consistently, instills fear in the budgie, stirring aggression. Some owners force birds to eat. When the birds refuse to eat, they hit the bird. This equally amounts to mistreatment, which translates to aggression later in life. When a new owner starts taming such a budgie, he may be reluctant and scared by the owner’s advances because he relates them to the previous mistreatment. He fears being mistreated again and expresses this through the sudden aggression.
Of course, this may sound so backlandish. However, just like the other reasons that have been highlighted in the previous sections, hormonal changes could stir sudden aggression in your budgie. This happens mostly during adolescence. The birds experience a couple of changes related to hormones when they are in adolescence (just like human beings). The hormonal changes evidently affect the bird’s emotions, causing him to be suddenly aggressive.
During this stage, the bird starts noticing and developing attraction for the fellows of the opposite sex, which could explain the changes. The hormonal changes make them more inclined to protect themselves and their significant other. In the process, the bird becomes aggressive.
How to tell that your budgie is aggressive
Now, it’s to your advantage that you know what can cause sudden aggression in your budgie. It can be anything from a struggle for resources to hormonal changes. However, how can you tell that your budgie is aggressive? Here are the signs;
- The budgie often raises its wings whole moving uncontrollably
- He hisses throatily, sending the ‘stay away’ message
- The bird bites the other bird’s feet in a non-mutual way that’s definitely not part of a mating session
- Your budgie picks up at another bird’s head and violently fights him or
- He picks up on the other’s feathers and freckles them
- The budgie not letting a particular fellow drink water or eat even after providing several sources of water and feeders
- The feathered friend chases a particular bird at all lengths non-stop in a non-mutual way that is definitely not part of a mating session
- The budgie subjecting a new target to detrimental bullying by chasing him
- Your budgie keeps defending its perch or the food bowl
Managing and stopping sudden aggression in budgies
Now you are well-equipped with the causes and the signs of sudden aggression in your feathered friend. The next thing now is to know how to go about the situation. Here are tips on how to manage and even stop your budgie’s sudden aggression;
Work on handling the budgie
This is especially important if your bird is a single pet in the cage. Maybe he is not used to new experiences. So you need to work hard daily, trying to train him to get used to you and not bite you again. You can explore various fun bird tricks and explore them with your bird. You can also help him get used to petting. With you working with him, he will know what fun and safe handling are and enjoy it.
Move him to a more neutral locality
This will especially work to the advantage of the budgies that show territorial aggression. As you train him, move him to a more neutral locality. Of course, he may resist this at first but will slowly get used to it. This way, he stops the outbursts of territorial aggression.
Avoid forcing contact with the bird
You may notice that your bird lunges at you when you reach for him, even with a treat. If that’s the case, take it easy, the bird will decide himself when he feels comfortable with you that it’s time for contact. When the bird becomes aggressive at your hand, do not quickly withdraw it. Rather, do it slowly and easily. This way, you help the bird not to become more apprehensive.
Use the stick-training approach
The stick-training approach will especially do well with birds that become suddenly aggressive because they don’t want to be handled or because their earlier life with the former owner was traumatizing. It involves using a stick to teach the bird to step up and perch. He gets used to the stick with time and may eventually be ready to be handled by the owner.
Refrain from yelling
Yelling and shouting will make your bird lose the trust he has in you. If you yell at the bird because he has done something wrong, he may actually enjoy getting such a big reaction from you. But at what cost? The budgie will become more and more aggressive. So instead of yelling, learn to be calm when handling your budgie. Yelling also scares the bird.
Don’t overwork your budgie
Budgies are prone to become suddenly aggressive when you overwhelm them with a routine they are not used to. Be modest with your training sessions and if you see him being aggressive because of exhaustion, let him be.
Get a bigger cage and more feeders
If your budgies get aggressive primarily because of overcrowding, it would be wise to make the cage bigger or separate the birds and move others to the other cage. Additionally, source some more bowls and feeders.