In Australia, the wild budgies live in flocks of 10 – 100 specimens and consequently, of course, must never be kept alone.
When keeping them at home, not only the number but also the gender distribution is of great importance for the flock composition, otherwise major problems may occur.
In budgies, the hens have the say, so to speak, and are thus very dominant. This means that you can not only keep hens together, but also that an excess of hens leads to problems, because they not only behave “bitchy”, but can also “tyrannize” each other.
Appropriate gender ratio:
- only cocks
- same number of cocks as hens (in pairs)
- more cocks than hens (not optimal)
- only hens
- more hens than cocks
Number of budgies
As already mentioned, single keeping is against the species, because budgies are flock birds.
In addition, this violates exactly also against the German animal protection law, which applies übrigs also for the attitude without free flight.
If you “translate” the whole thing, it means with regard to budgies that they have to be kept species-appropriate, which of course excludes solitary keeping in the case of flock birds.
In flocks, constant calling and visual contact with conspecifics provides a sense of security.
When kept alone, the bird tries to compensate by trying to make unnaturally close contact with humans, or sometimes even imitating their speech.
However, this has little to do with trustfulness, but only with “pure desperation”. In addition, the pseudo-mate is not constantly in call or sight, which then represents an additional significant burden for the bird.
Sooner or later this then leads to behavioral disorders, such as feeding objects, shiny surfaces or even the finger of the human in the absence of a real conspecific.
The attempt of the plumage care or an “affectionate” nibbling however against can become even quite painful for humans, since these lack the “feather cushion”, which leads regularly to questions like “Why does my budgie bite me (and/or attack me)” in the different Internet forums.
Often the single attitude leads finally still to compulsive mating attempts with objects or also the hands and/or sometimes also the feet of humans. At the latest after the 3 repetition in quick succession this is anything but funny.
In the advanced stage, feather plucking and self-mutilation often occur. There may also be moulting disorders as well as extreme susceptibility to infectious and tumor diseases due to mental frustrations.
Finally, it can be assumed that a lack of real conspecifics has similar effects as depression in humans and thus is not necessarily beneficial to the life expectancy of the budgie.
One pair or two roosters
The smallest still justifiable number is the keeping of two budgies, in the form of an opposite-sex pair or of two roosters (never 2 hens!).
Allendings one should regard this rather as emergency solution, since budgerigars, as I can confirm from own experience, only starting from a number of four copies really “revive” and become correctly active.
Three budgies is a decidedly unfavorable number and should really work in very few cases, since in this constellation one of these is always “on the outside”, so to speak the proverbial “third wheel on the wagon”.
If you really want to try this out, you have to be aware that you will most likely have to add a fourth budgie sooner or later.
Four budgies or more
From my own experience I can say that it is best to keep at least four budgies together so that they feel comfortable.
Here you should pay attention to an even number if possible, although experience has shown that a number such as five budgies can work, but not necessarily.
So with an odd number, always keep in mind that you may need to add another budgie if one is left out.