Ivory the Parakeet
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We had really felt that 3 keets was the perfect number - enough to have a flock, but not enough that they became wild and stopped bonding with us humans. However, my half-sister had a parakeet that she rarely got to spend time with. She worried that her keet was being neglected, and indeed, Ivory would sit still in her cage all day, never cheep, never move, just sit in one spot.
She says: "I believe I got her when I was living with dad and that would have been in the summer of 2002. We got her from a a petco and they get them pretty young I believe."
Finally, Ivory was brought to live with our flock, in 2004. We were very careful about how we integrated her. At first, her cage was simply in the same room with the main cage, and the birds could "get to know" each other with fweeping and looking. We worked on hand-training Ivory only when the other birds were locked up. After a few weeks, Ivory was fully hand trained. Still, we let them out at separate times so they could get used to each other.
Finally after a few weeks of this, we let them all out together. They were cautious the first two days, but after a while they began to "visit" each other. There was a little pecking, a little snuggling, as they figured each other out. The birds would always go back to their "own homes" to sleep.
It took a few more months before Ivory actively chose to sleep in the main cage with the rest of the flock. Even so, we waited a few weeks before we took her own cage away, just so that she knew she could go back there if she needed to.
The key here is patience. You can't just jam birds together and expect them to be happy. You can't just squish a bird into a new home without trauma. The more that you let the birds do things at their own pace, the happier they will be!
While we hadn't wanted 4 keets initially, we did actually find a good benefit here. Until we had Ivory, Nazo and Pinto would always snuggle together while Santo Mario was sort of left out. Santo was the "third wheel". Once Ivory integrated herself into the flock, Ivory began to snuggle with Santo, doing all of the preening and stuff together. So now the flock is all happy together - but there are also two pairings as far as preening and keeping comfy.
Update in 2010: Santo passed away from a tumor, and as Nazo had already passed away, that just left Ivory and Pinto. The two became fairly good friends! By this point Santo was going on 8 years old.
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