Why Do My Budgies Fight Over Food?

Your sweet little budgies fighting over food could cause you to worry. As a pet owner, understanding your pet budgies’ behavior is part of providing them with a nurturing, loving, and stress-free environment.

Budgies do fight over food. In the wild, budgies tend to live in large groups, making it normal to compete or fight for food, perches, or space. As a pet, it is still their instinct to assert themselves in a pair or group setting. Most of the time, it’s part of their socialization and not due to aggression.

You may have realized your budgies are very social animals. However, it is sometimes difficult to figure out if your feathered friends are fighting or playing and if its normal behavior. This article will discuss these concerns as well as give a few ways to reduce fighting and calm your budgies when a fight does happen.

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Are My Budgies Fighting Over Food?

Budgies are not picky about what they eat in the wild. They eat many things, like seeds, grains, grass, flowers, insects, fruits, and vegetables. Nonetheless, these birds will spat over what they see as the best food. Competing for the best food is normal for budgies, just like competing for mates and nesting areas.

These bubbly birds enjoy each other’s company, which is why budgies are typically found in rather large flocks in their natural habitats. The close interactions that are shared in the flocks increase the likelihood of fighting over the elements of survival: food, nesting spots, and mates.

Competition is an instinctual response with wild budgies and is a normal interaction seen in pet budgies. So, since food, watering areas, nesting areas, and toys are limited for your pets, they will fight for these things. (Source: Omlet)

Are My Budgies Fighting or Playing?

Budgies are docile, friendly, and curious birds with little inclination to fight. An easy way to distinguish between fighting or playing behavior is to know the difference between aggressive and playful behaviors. Many of the behaviors budgies exhibit are like most other social birds.

This list tells some behaviors you can expect from normal, happy budgies:

  • Head bobbing
  • Wing stretching
  • Noisy wing flapping while on their perch
  • Exploring surroundings, climbing, and swinging
  • Regurgitating on objects (shows possession)
  • Playing with and pecking at toys
  • Being obsessed with objects (e.g., bells & mirrors)
  • Preening or grooming each other
  • Chewing on objects
  • Chattering or chirping with each other and their owner
  • Group activities of eating and bathing
  • Feeding regurgitated food to each other (most often males feed females like this)

The flock mentality budgies are accustomed to translates to a vocal and loving pet that enjoys your company and the company of other budgies. One interesting budgie fact is: while a budgie is eating, they will instinctually grab a mouthful and pop their head up and look around. This action is the result of their instinct to be alert for predators in the area or other budgies trying to sneak away with their food.

Budgies are active, social birds that are not often alone. Rarely do these birds do or want to do things by themselves and will usually be unfazed by sharing things like food and water. However, their social nature causes them to display dominance at times, particularly during mating and nesting.

You need to know when their competition for dominance turns into aggression. Often, an aggressive budgie will present with itself with its head down, and its wings spread.

A budgie’s aggression will usually be directed toward one bird and can include behavior such as:

  • Biting at another budgie’s feet
  • Squawking or hissing with raised wings
  • Chasing
  • Pulling out another budgie’s feathers
  • Restlessness
  • Defending a food/water bowl to the point where other budgies cannot eat or drink

When budgies are worked up enough to fight, you will notice their approach towards other budgies changes. The budgie will stand taller, flatten its feathers, exhibit changes in its pupils, and may even repeatedly lunge at another budgie with its mouth open. These actions are usually enough to deter the other budgie from further confrontation. (Source: Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society, Inc.)

A simple way to prevent your budgies from fighting is to make sure there are several feeding and water bowls. Setting out more feed and water places will decrease the chances of budgie bickering.

Is It Normal for Budgies to Fight?

Because these little birds are so social, bouts of fighting are bound to happen. Quick incidents of squawking at one another with wing flapping are expected and no cause for alarm. However, anything more will require intervention.

Most fights are short-lived and caused by the standard budgie social hierarchy or competition over a mate, food, or territory.

  • Females tend to be more aggressive than males, especially during mating season, to defend their nest or territory.
  • Males fighting outside of the mating season is likely to be over food, toys, or owner’s affection.

Older birds tend not to be intimidated by younger birds. Males fight over females and for leadership roles when several males are housed together. However, this does not usually involve violent attacks. (Source: Cuteness)

Budgies will be quick to show when they don’t like something. This dislike is usually displayed by squawking or nipping at another budgie or their owner. Their display of displeasure is frequently over as quick as it began. If it lasts or escalates, then it could be related to tiredness, boredom, loneliness, hunger, or not wanting to go back in their cage.

Reducing Fighting and Techniques for Calming

Although mild fighting is an occurrence when budgies are housed together, helping to reduce fighting impacts the overall health of your budgies positively, prolonged bouts of stress and conflict can harm your budgie’s health. If you notice an increase in squabbles, then time apart in separate cages usually stops the more violent outbursts.

For larger cages and aviaries, you should have many feeding and watering stations. Remember to clean, rotate, and freshen the food at these stations often to decrease the chances of your budgies from becoming territorial. If the fighting continues, the budgies may need to have feeding times in separate locations or cages.

During mating season, place clean nesting areas for each pair of budgies to prevent fighting for space. Also, at this time, having mates for each budgie is important. If your pets live in male-female pairs with no single males or hens, little to no fighting will happen

Additionally, your budgies need exercise and stimulation. Changing toys out and offering enough for each of them to have at least one will reduce conflict. Letting your budges out to move around and stretch their wings is another way to lessen the chances of fighting. During playtime, make sure to show them all affection to help fend off jealousy.

In times of violent outbursts, calm your budgies before taking them out of the cage to prevent more harm to them or yourself. Follow these steps:

  • Begin by talking to them in a low calming tone
  • Next, encourage them to come to you.
  • Then, once they are calm, a separation period of the two birds needs to happen.
  • Finally, slowly reacclimate the two budgies to the same cage again.

In Conclusion

Overall, budgies are sweet birds who like to show and receive affection. They love the company of other budgies and their owners. Squabbling is a normal budgie behavior, and it can sometimes be hard to decipher whether your budgies are playing or fighting because of the social nature of budgies.

Knowing the difference between healthy and unhealthy behaviors will help you understand when there is a need to step in and when you should let your budgies work it out. Providing enough stimulation, space, enough food and water options, and mates will lead to happier budgies and less fighting.