Birds are the fourth most popular pet in the nation, with Parakeet (budgies) and the Canaries being some of the public’s favorites.
If you want both, you may be tempted to house them together.
However, there are a few details you must take into account first.
This article will examine whether or not Canaries and Parakeets can live harmoniously if you keep them in the same cage, as well as what to do if they don’t get along with each other!
Key Details About Parakeets and Canaries
If you’re considering housing parakeets and canaries together, then you’ll need to be familiar with their behavioral patterns and wellness requirements to ensure they’re compatible with each other.
In general, most bird owners advise against housing parakeets and canaries together, for many of the differences discussed below.
However, if you insist on cohabitation, it’s essential to know their husbandry basics to make it work.
Having your two birds live in the same cage is not as simple as whether they will or won’t fight. Instead, it’s whether their required living conditions are, in some way, similar to one another.
Here are some fundamental details to know about housing both species to inform you of whether you can keep the two together.
Also read: Canary vs. Parakeet- What’s the Difference?
What to Know About Keeping a Parakeet
First, there’s the parakeet (affectionately nicknamed the “budgie,” derived from their Australian name, “budgerigar.”).
Parakeets are highly social birds that love to live in a community. For these pets, two or more birds are ideal.
Luckily, sex is not a huge factor for birds of the same species, as they’re happy to be in company with either males or females without added risk either way. (This can become a big problem when housing budgies and canaries together, though, which is discussed in further detail below.)
Another crucial factor in understanding housing multiple parakeets together is that they’ll be harder to tame in a colony setting.
Since they’re getting all their desired attention from the other birds, they’re likely to be more invested in their relationships with other birds than with you.
This might be the case with a canary cagemate, too, depending on how well they get along.
Ideally, a parakeet’s cage should measure 14″ L x 16″ H x 17″ W (the Center for Animal Rehab & Education suggests at least 18″ x 18″ x 24″), with the length being the most important.
Additionally, the bar spacing should be at least ½”. Make sure to include several perches (appropriately sized to accommodate your budgie’s feet – about ½-1″ in diameter).
What Should You Know About Housing a Canary?
Now, onto critical factors to consider when keeping a canary. These birds love attention from their humans.
Plus, they’re relatively high-energy, so make sure you give them plenty of enrichment and talk to them often.
You can even play some music for your beloved bird, and it’ll love you for it.
In terms of sociality, this species can live with others of the same species. Experts recommend against keeping the bird with another kind, like a budgie.
Additionally, housing male canaries together can be problematic, too.
Plus, canaries’ cages should be a bit bigger than for budgies, measuring at a minimum 18″ x 24″ x 18″ with ¼-½” bar spacing. They can also accept perches that are a bit smaller than those suitable for parakeets, down to ¼”.
This means that if you do wind up housing the two species together, you’ll either have to install multiple perches of different sizes.
Otherwise, hope that your canary grows big enough to share the budgie’s perches.
Aggression Between Same- and Opposite-Sex Cagemates
Unfortunately, sex-based aggression can become a pretty big problem when you intermix species. This is especially so if they’re housed in a relatively compact cage.
A larger enclosure will give the two birds space they need to mitigate any conflict that arises, so keep both species’ ideal cage sizes in mind.
(Some bird owners recommend a minimum 30′ wide enclosure with a dedicated canary area. It sounds massive, but it’s worth it for your birds’ safety.)
The canaries are more likely to get along with another species. However, parakeets are notoriously grumpy toward others, no matter the sex.
This bird may not tolerate living with a canary. Plus, it’s much larger than the other. If the two were to fight, the canary could end up severely wounded and may even die.
In addition to having adequate space from one another, the birds will also have the room to fly and burn off excess energy.
When you add enrichment items like toys, ropes, branches, and cuttlebones, you enhance their wellbeing even further. This reduces the potential for conflict.
Still, you need to take budgies’ sex-based aggressive tendencies into account, no matter how well you outfit the cage. Without ample space, a female parakeet will likely become aggressive toward another female, budgie or otherwise.
Plus, in mixed-species cages, you also need to account for the risk of reproduction.
When housing the two birds together, some have witnessed males becoming attracted to a female of the other species.
Here is where you’ll need to consider aggression related to female canaries.
In general, you now know that a parakeet female is not as likely to tolerate other birds in her cage; but canary females can be quite aggressive in the context of mating.
Pecking Order in Domestic Birds
Anytime you keep multiple birds in the same enclosure, you’ll need to consider their inclination to establish a pecking order.
This means how likely they are to nip and engage in other fighting behaviors to determine a dominance hierarchy.
Many studies have focused on this behavior in chicken flocks or wild birds; you might see it manifest between canaries and budgies through pecking at each other’s legs.
This is particularly dangerous due to the differences in sizes mentioned earlier. If a parakeet gets the chance to peck at a canary’s legs, it can quite literally snap the leg in half.
Their hooked beaks are quite powerful, introducing a level of risk to their cohabitation that you might want to avoid entirely.
Feeding Parakeets and Canaries
Parakeets and budgies share many diet similarities. If you keep the two species together, this is an area you won’t really need to worry about.
First, the ideal diet for budgies would include some of the following.
This can change seasonally, although most commercial mixes contain 2-8 variants. You’ll need to mix this with other dietary elements.
This includes seed mixes that often lack critical vitamins and minerals and are low in protein. Generally, this food type contains high fat and carbs.
This should comprise 20-25% of your budgie’s diet. Fruits, veggies, and greens should always be washed and cut small before feeding.
Further, you should only leave these items in your birds’ cage for a few hours at a time to avoid spoiling.
The best fruits and veggies to feed include apples, coconut, grapefruit, spinach, and carrots.
It’s a good idea to include dietary supplements in your birds’ feeding routine now and then, especially during specific periods of hormonal changes (e.g., egg-laying). Supplements containing omega fatty acids and calcium are best.
Commercial seed mixes for canaries differ slightly from those meant for parakeets. These are typically limited to five seed types.
Like budgies’ food, these seeds are often high in fat and carbs but lack in other nutritional areas.
Apart from this, the guidelines for feeding a canary are virtually identical to those above for a budgie.
So, if you decide to keep them together, you won’t have to stress too much about separating their food.
In both cases, avoid feeding your birds avocado. This food is potentially toxic to birds, so it’s best to keep it out of their cage.
Attention Requirements for Parakeets and Canaries
Expanding on their social needs, these two species differ quite extensively in how they might interact with you, apart from other birds.
This might influence your choice for their housing, as you might not want to disturb a less needy bird to handle the other frequently.
Keep in mind that there are no hard rules for human-bird companionship between canaries and parakeets.
For instance, some bird owners report that the former is less needy than the latter. Specifically, according to some owners’ experiences, male canaries are happy to live alone with a few toys.
On the other hand, parakeets demand more attention and will more readily bond with their humans.
However, experts say quite the opposite, claiming that most canaries love quality time with their owners.
Because of the differences of opinion with these two species’ handling requirements, it’s best to observe your birds separately.
Once you know them better, you can attempt to house them together.
This way, you can be sure that you won’t disturb your less needy bird too often. This can increase stress levels and raise the risk of conflict between cagemates.
Should You House Parakeets and Canaries Together?
With all the above information considered, it’s best to avoid putting budgies and canaries in the same cage.
Although the two species have a few things in common, there is potential for aggression and conflict.
Even experienced bird owners are better off keeping them separate.
However, if you do insist on putting the two together, take some time to get to know your birds first.
Understand their needs for human attention, so you don’t disturb the bird(s) that are fine being left alone.
Finally, you’ll need to house the two species in a large cage, to mitigate any instances of aggression due to invasion of space or pecking order establishment.
Other articles you may also like: