Unstable aggression in male Zebra finch

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Charles_Mu
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Hello,

So, I've had a pair of finches for several months - a male Zebra, and a female Society (I was told the Society was an English Pied Zebra) - but only recently (yesterday) got two more pairs. I own egg-eating snakes, so I need a pretty steady stream of small eggs to feed them, and I was told it was unhealthy to rely on just one hen. So, I built a large aviary (203 x 92 x 135 centimetres) and got a pair of English Pied Zebras, and a pair of Green Back Gouldians. I have read that ideally you want to introduce them all into a new environment at once, so I got the aviary set up and put all three pairs in. At first, things were fine, but after an hour or so the male Zebra (my original one) started being very aggressive towards the English Zebra finches.

I took the English Zebras out and put them in a cage to see if they were the main cause, and for a while I thought they were. But, sure enough, anther hour or so and he starts chasing and screaming at the Gouldians. It does not seem consistent. Sometimes, all four are just sitting on a perch, but he'll suddenly chase the Gouldians while screaming at them. He does not get physical - he merely chases them off. This happens for seemingly no reason. Sometimes he is just fine with eating, drinking, or sitting with them, but othertimes he'll just go mental. This stresses not only the Gouldians, but my Society finch, as well. There are three food sources, three bath sources, two water sources, perches all over, 6 nesting sites... Size and resources aren't the problem.

I just don't understand the instability. He'll go from not caring at all to caring a lot in a split second. And with all this stress caused on the hens, I'm afraid I won't be getting any eggs at all. It's only been a day, do I just need to give them more time? Is it a bad idea to add back in that third pair to try to reduce the fighting? He was physical with the English Pied Zebras, but he hasn't been with the Gouldians. I'm afraid to remove him, as my Society finch has bonded really well with him. I'm just not sure what the best option is. Any advice is appreciated.
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finchbreeder
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Put them all back in together. There is safety in numbers for the other birds. He can't chase them all at once. Whenever you introduce a new mix into an avairy they need to sort out the dynamics. Where everyone fits in the pecking order. But watch very carefully, that he does not actually injure anyone, or chase any one bird exclusively. Worse case scenario, he would need removing and put into a smaller cage beside or within the new one, while the others have the bigger space. Which way is the new avairy? 203cm Long?
LML
LML
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Charles_Mu
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finchbreeder wrote: 06 Sep 2020, 17:28 Put them all back in together. There is safety in numbers for the other birds. He can't chase them all at once. Whenever you introduce a new mix into an avairy they need to sort out the dynamics. Where everyone fits in the pecking order. But watch very carefully, that he does not actually injure anyone, or chase any one bird exclusively. Worse case scenario, he would need removing and put into a smaller cage beside or within the new one, while the others have the bigger space. Which way is the new avairy? 203cm Long?
LML
Alright, I'll put the other pair back in, watch for any injuries, and let them sort out the hierarchy. Was just afraid he'd hurt them so I very quickly pulled them out, but I suppose I just didn't give them the time. Thank you! As for the aviary, 203 cm in length, 92 in width, 135 in height - so 203 cm long, yeah. It's an indoor aviary, otherwise it would have been a fair bit bigger. But, from research, I found that this would be a good enough size for three pairs to be in. This is a good size, right?
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finchbreeder
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Just the right size for a 3 pair indoor avairy, I would think. But, being an Aussie I only have outdoor avairies that I can walk into. 4 of average size 2mtr cube. Hope the finches sort themselves out pretty quickly. But like people they have differing personalities.
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Charles_Mu
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finchbreeder wrote: 07 Sep 2020, 10:48 Just the right size for a 3 pair indoor avairy, I would think. But, being an Aussie I only have outdoor avairies that I can walk into. 4 of average size 2mtr cube. Hope the finches sort themselves out pretty quickly. But like people they have differing personalities.
LML
Hey, it's been a couple days, so I hope you don't mind me asking you for more advice. All of them have been in the aviary since the 6th. The original male zebra has chased them a bit, pecked at them, but they've chased and pecked back. It has gotten a lot calmer since the 6th, so I thought things were going good. But, just now, that original male zebra pinned the new female English Zebra down on the ground and was holding her by her throat. She could not get up or move at all, so I had to forcefully drag him off of her. Everything is back to being peaceful now...

So here's the question. I was told by someone else that if I were to get *another* English Zebra pair, that would help. Someone else recommended two more society finches. Of course, putting him back in his original cage is another option. What do you suggest, if you don't mind me asking? That was gut-wrenching to hear her scream, so I feel like I need to do something...

I'd really, really appreciate it.
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Craig52
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Charles can you put up some pics of your birds, it's hard to comment on the type and statist of them. A zebra finch is a zebra finch no matter where they come from but the colour mutation and size of them is a different matter.
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finchbreeder
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Overcrowding the avairy by adding more birds will not help, in my opinion.
Like Craig I am curious, what the visual difference between the birds you have been sold as "English Zebs" and your "Bad Boy" are.
I have many Zebs and they all look different, but similar, they are all Aussie Zebs. But there are Red Zebs, Pieds, Fawns, Grays, etc.
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Charles_Mu
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Craig52 wrote: 10 Sep 2020, 09:58 Charles can you put up some pics of your birds, it's hard to comment on the type and statist of them. A zebra finch is a zebra finch no matter where they come from but the colour mutation and size of them is a different matter.
finchbreeder wrote: 10 Sep 2020, 10:19 Overcrowding the avairy by adding more birds will not help, in my opinion.
Like Craig I am curious, what the visual difference between the birds you have been sold as "English Zebs" and your "Bad Boy" are.
I have many Zebs and they all look different, but similar, they are all Aussie Zebs. But there are Red Zebs, Pieds, Fawns, Grays, etc.
LML
"English", I think - over here in the States, at least - simply refers to a Zebra that was bred not for patterns or color, but pure size and fluffiness. Not too sure, personally, why they're even identified with that word, as, like you said, a Zebra's a Zebra - they might just be a bit more plump. Right now, though, they're smaller than him. That said, I've attached a picture of the two "English" Zebras, and then a picture of the problem child, below.

What's the most interesting to me is that most of his aggression seems to go towards the new female Zebra. She is the one he pinned down, and she's the one he chases the most. He has not chased the Gouldians at all since I put the new Zebras back in - it's just them, now. I just feel like this isn't fair to the new Zebras - or even the Gouldians who just watch it - to deal with this. I'm not sure if it will have any adverse effects on them (such as them becoming aggressive); but, I'm clearly very new to this, so I'm not sure if that can happen.



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finchbreeder
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The "English Zebs" are a very nice looking pair of grey pied Zebs. So possibly the other way round, and "English" are show birds? The "Bad Boy" is a normal gray Zeb, the most common type of Zeb. The bird beside him is a chocolate pied Society (what we in Australia call Bengos). If he is showing most agression to the "English" hen it could be his strange way of saying he fancies her? After all she is the only female of his species present. And he obviously considers himself the dominant bird in the avairy and worthy of her favours.
While I think that introducing more birds in general is not the solution. Introducing 1 more Zeb hen (of any sort) just may solve the problem by evening out the male to female ratio in the Zebs.
In this situation we are assuming that your "English Zebs" are already a bonded pair, and that the lady does not wish to swap husbands.
Good luck in solving the problem.
LML
LML
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