On our last Kevin update, I recounted the horrible evening we had trying to get everyone settled down for bed. We’ve done some tweaking since then, and now Kevin and Toby are living together in one cage with Kelly next door. Being a new parakeet fitting in is probably never easy, but Kevin really has his work cut out for him with our two ladies.
First, we spent a few days with everyone living mostly peacefully in a single flight cage. There were evening battles and Toby and Kelly would mix is up a couple of times a day, but they left Kevin out of it and it was going pretty well. So well, in fact, that I cleaned out the HQ Victorian Top cage and put it away in a closet, therefore damning myself with the universe, since the very next day everything fell apart!
It was a Sunday morning and we had several errands to run, so instead of letting the birds out right away I left them in the cage while we had our morning coffee and got ready to go. Well, Toby and Kelly began an epic battle that was reminiscent of last summer’s death matches. Toby went after Kelly, knocking her to the ground where they proceeded to roll around trying to kill each other, breaking apart only to have Kelly hop after Toby starting the whole thing over again. It’s bad enough just to have the two of them try to murder each other, but Kevin being in the middle of it was just added horror and he flitted around trying to stay out of their way.
We let them out, got everyone calmed down and I quickly rolled the HQ Victorian back out, once Toby and Kelly get into this mode it’s just not safe to leave them alone together. I didn’t want to delay the inevitable. But, we knew that night time would still be a major issue because Kelly does not like being alone. We covered the side of her cage that faces Toby and Kevin’s for a couple of days and she calmed down eventually. Now they all seem to understand who lives where, and ultimately except for the addition of Kevin it’s exactly the same configuration as before.
Poor Kevin has been a total angel throughout everything. He’s very intelligent, you can see him constantly observing the girls and thinking about how to navigate life with them. He always defers to either girl on matters of who should eat, who will sit where, basically in all things he lets them go first and then hangs back until it’s his “turn”.
I’ve been worried about him since we brought him home, because he wasn’t playing with toys, singing, or eating enough. In the couple of weeks since he’s been out of quarantine I’ve seen him playing and eating more, and then in one single day last week he ate millet that we offered him, tried some broccoli, AND started singing again! He’s not singing very often yet, or consistently eating millet or vegetables, but it was such a relief that he’s coming around to life with us. We are still working on human acceptance, so far I can tell he likes it when we speak or sing to him and tell him what a good boy he is.
On several occasions I’ve seen him think about hopping on my hand or shoulder, and he’s not ready to make that leap yet. But, he’ll get there soon enough. He also has one flight feather grown back in and he does exceptionally well with short flights. I think when he’s got all his feathers back he’ll be the best flier out of all of them!
As far as fitting in with the girls I was just so wrong about how it would go (of course). Isn’t there an expression about making plans and the universe laughing? I assumed that if Kelly had a friend who would reciprocate affection to her she would stop fixating on Toby. But, she’s equally as focused on Toby and obviously it’s going as poorly as it ever has! Kelly has been more consistently aggressive to Kevin as well, especially when they are in the same cage alone, she doesn’t take to him at all.
Toby, as expected, doesn’t want much to do with him, but tolerates his presence as long as he doesn’t get in her way. As far as possible inroads, they have been spotted playing with the same toy, one at the bottom and one at the top, so that’s good! They do pretty well at bed time too, with some very minor squabbles that fizzle quickly once Toby realized Kevin isn’t interested in fighting.
I know it’s way too early to call it a fail, which it isn’t no matter what happens because Kevin is such a joy. But I don’t think he’s going to fix any of the inter-bird relationships that we already had going so wrong. He was very ready the first day out of quarantine to start bonding with them, he tried regurgitating to Toby and getting close and has been rejected over and over again. Now having adjusted his approach he may win them over on the long run.
Some folks may disagree with me, but what Kevin has shown more than anything is that I don’t want to have any more girl parakeets. I know that it varies greatly by bird, and some girls, like Toby, can be very nice. But listening to Kevin sing and watching him be so sweet and thoughtful, it’s a totally different parakeet experience. I feel bad bringing him into this environment where it’s tough to be a part of the flock. Right now he’s a bit of an outsider, I’m confident that he’s reasonably happy and figuring things out, but it’s not ideal.
Still, we adore him and we are enjoying him so much! Since Toby is so obsessed with Patrick I’m hoping that Kevin and I can bond. Kelly will still be the odd bird out, but that may be her lot in life. She’s very intense, overbearing, cranky and out of step with everyone.
As much as I now have diminished (realistic?) expectations for Kevin, I’m excited to see how he develops, both in his flock relationships and his personal development as he gets more comfortable at home.